Leopards in Kruger National Park, South Africa

South Africa > Kruger National Park

14 May 2013

It was very fortunate for us to able to spot the leopards (three of them) in a span of just 30min. It is said only 10% of all visitors managed to sight these beautiful animals, so here’s our memorable leopard-hunting story.

Sunset in the bush is always a fantastic experience, as the whole place comes alive with nocturnal creatures.

As usual we do our evening drive in the bush, with Enoch (the spotter) at the bonnet seat holding a spotlight, while ranger Matt drives the awesome all-terrain safari jeep.

Even in darkness these guides know this huge bush area like the backs of their hands. Suddenly the radio crackles … another jeep has spotted a leopard nearby.

We scrambles over through the bush, and after demolishing some shrubs along the way (plus a couple of small trees), we spot a leopard!  Spotlight from the other jeep helps to guide us.

Though excited, everybody stays quite, just diesel engine noises from the jeeps, and the animal seems oblivious to it all, minding its own business.

A female leopard, and she strolls back and forth in the bush.

Suddenly a smaller one appears from the shadow … yes, it’s now mom and cub, on an evening out. Soon they saunter further into the thick bush and we decide to let them go. What a great experience to seek and stalk these magnificent creatures.

We get out of the bush and as we cruise along the dirt track, Enoch spots a hyena loitering to our right. If a hyena is behaving like this, then maybe he’s after something up one of the trees — Enoch trains his spotlight on the trees, and sure enough, another leopard! (By the way, one of my aims in Kruger is to see a hyena — it’s surprisingly large in size, as ugly as in telly, and keeps moving around. I can’t get a good shot of it due to very poor lighting.)

Suprising that even a leopard is not keen to engage a solitary hyena, such a vile creature it is. 🙂

Matt calls two other fellow jeeps about this rare find, one soon arrives with a good spotlight. The poor leopard just sits still to wait out the hyena in the bush below.

Suddenly it turns around, probably tracking the hyena which we can’t see at all.

A bit more waiting …

People in both jeeps are still busy clicking their cams away … doesn’t seem to bother the subject at all. The strong spotlight helps in getting my pics done — using the NEX-6 with 18-200mm lens.

Suddenly the beautiful animal just scrambles down the tree to disappear in the darkness. That is the last we see of it.

What a memorable experience — three leopards in a single evening, thanks to Matt and Enoch from Africa on Foot, seen here checking out some animal tracks. 😀








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