I know most of the stories that we write about start with, “we came a round a corner and then bang there was a Leopard” but this is not how this story is going to start…
We came around the corner and then bang there was an impala. While we viewed the impala, the eagle-eye tracker Advice, put his hand up to tell me to wait, raising his binoculars which automatically made me do the same. Then bang… a Leopard sitting in the shade of a Guarrie bush a few hundred meters away.
It was late in the morning and the sun was starting to warm everything up, making us all put on our sunblock. We did not expect too much action from this leopard, as they prefer to move around when it’s cooler.
We decided to get a little closer, and upon this, we noticed it was the Nhlanguleni Female. Shortly after our arrival she got up and headed straight in a direction that got my heart pumping, I’ll tell you why…
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
It had been a few weeks since the Nhlanguleni Female’s cubs had been seen and we were unable to find her new den. This was why I got excited as she was leading us straight towards her old den. I told my guests that this could be it. We could potentially be about to see two tiny cubs. Well, I did tell them I need to relax. I also needed to try to breathe because I was out of words with excitement and it still was not guaranteed that this could be the den.
A few minutes later we arrived at the old den, which is a rocky area with lots of cracks and crevices, perfect for the leopard cubs to hide safely in. The Nhlanguleni Female softly grunted to call her cubs out. This is when we all knew to get our cameras ready and to get ready to experience something really special. My camera battery, unfortunately, died (which I know a rule in photography is to always have a spare) but luckily for me, my guests I was driving have kindly sent me their photos from this sighting.
Enjoy the series of events that took place as the Nhlanguleni Female moved her cubs towards the Sand River…
The sighting ended as the three leopards disappeared into the thick riparian forest in the middle channel of the Sand River.
Although I did not manage to get any photos I tried my best to capture them with my iPhone video.