A couple of days ago we published a post about the first of a great run of sightings that senior ranger John Mohaud had with his guests.
Today John recounts the next great sighting he had (which actually took place over two drives).
Leopards in dead trees are some of the ultimate photographic subjects, so when we found the Mashaba female close to camp with a kill hoisted in a dead Knobthorn, we knew we simply had to wait it out. She was full-bellied and sleeping on the ground in the shade of a Gwarrie tree, so photographically the sighting didn’t offer much at first. We knew the potential though, so parked comfortably, and waited. And waited.
5 and a half hours later, the leopard did not look like moving at all. Since it was now approaching noon and we felt that she would probably not want to feed in an exposed tree during the heat of the day, we decided to head back to camp for a rest ourselves, to get some food and prepare for what we imagined would be another wait that afternoon.
Heading back there on afternoon drive, the leopard was still sleeping!
Eventually after another two hours, she started showing signs of waking up, and our patience was rewarded. With a quick leap she rocketed up into the main fork of the tree before deftly grabbing the kill and shifting it slightly higher to a more secure position. We had an incredible view of her and managed to snap some pictures.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
It is not often that one gets as lucky as John and sees a leopard up in a dead tree like this.
At the end of the day though, the real lesson here is patience. Knowing the leopard would go up the tree sometime, John was prepared to put in the time to get his guests the best possible photographic opportunity and viewing they could wish for. And all credit to the guests as well, who were prepared to wait that long, knowing the potential the sighting had to develop into something spectacular.
John’s run of spectacular sightings was far from over however. We’ll be releasing the next two later this week, so keep checking in at blog.londolozi.com…