Most rangers will have a list of sightings that they would like bear witness to. The longer one spends out here, the more chance of some of those taking place. Personally, whenever I drive along the Sand River, I always tell guests to scan along the tops of the large, flat granite boulders in case a leopard has chosen to lie on top of one. This would be a dream for me. Having driven along the river and said this many times, until one particular day recently day I had never actually seen a leopard on these boulders that I was promoting to the guests.
From time to time, the bush is quiet. Don’t come out here and expect to see Sir David Attenborough narrating a scene in which ten different animals are congregating at a waterhole in perfect evening light. It only happens once a week… (Don’t come out here if you didn’t get the joke either).
We were having one of those quiet afternoons, hoping for an elephant to step out into the road, or better, a leopard to appear in a tree. Neither of those happened. However, camp manager Graeme Gullacksen happened to be on his way out into the bush and called in a sighting on the radio close to the Causeway that crosses the Sand River. We weren’t too far away so headed straight there. Here’s what we saw…
Each time I drive past this area I still tell everyone to look for leopards lying on the rocks; at least now I know sometimes it really does happen. How lucky we were to witness such an incredible scene between mother and cub, that are seldom viewed due to the fact that the Nkoveni female frequently hides her cub away in the thickets of the river where it is difficult for even the Land Rovers to access.
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.