Day 9: Goodbye, with hop, swoop and a bang (Part 3 of 4)
I apologize for the delay….my next instalment
First I have to tell you about our “wonderful” luck with leopards. We are in Kruger at least once a month and our last leopard sighting in Kruger was on the S25, June 2003
. Our actually last leopard sighting, were during our Kgalagadi trip last year….came to drink at the Grootkolk waterhole. It is really weird the fact that we do not see leopards in Kruger, a mere 100 km from our home, and have to travel the odd 3000 km (return) to Kgalagadi to see this sly creature!
Ok, so we were told there was a leopard in a tree a distance on, but we took the drive there slow, stopping for bee-eaters etc. When we got to the spot where the leopard supposedly would have been, we saw nothing…we thought it was the spot because we could see from the tracks in the road that cars stopped there ….great thing about this gravel roads!
We scanned the area, but nothing. Then the jackals started crying on the other side of the dune…they were very excited. Eventually they stopped and came over the dune, running back to the riverbed. Other tourist stopped and asked us if we are merely looking at the jackals. We said “yes”, because we were not certain that this was the right spot where the leopard was, and we believed that if it was, the leopard has moved on over the dune.
Just as these people were pulling away, my SO noticed something moving against the dune a distance on.
Very relaxed with our presence, the leopard strolled down the dune and walked on the verge for a small distance
He then went into the road. The people in the other vehicle were not aware of the leopard at first…they were looking at something else (also a great sighting, will tell later) I flashed my lights and only then they saw the leopard in the road…can imagine their surprise, looking at something in the tree and woeps, next moment leopard in the road.
The leopard then made his way towards the Gemsbokplein waterhole
Where there were of cause Gemsbok. The light on this side was very bad for photos and we are not yet clued up with all the settings on our camera…took everything on automatic. Unfortunately these photos did not come out that great.
The gemsbok were very cautious of the leopard.
The leopard then had a nice long drink at the waterhole
After its drink it strolled around the area at the waterhole and marked its territory
We at this stage thought it is probably going to disappear over the dune on that side. However, it turned around and proceeded back to the road under the watchful eyes of the gemsbok.
At this stage our camera battery went flat….some serious activity in the car to get hold of the spare battery.
The leopard came straight to a dead tree next the road. Here continued his marking
While taking these photos my SO started laughing…said he just got a shot of a leopard carrying a tree.
After this the leopard, for the second time, crossed the road in front of our car.
On the other side the light was much better for photos and the sunlight highlighted his gorgeous skin.
As he made his way up the dune… I waited, and waited… and got his last pose.