My best leopard sighting this month was of a young male up on Boulders close to Pit road in Zuka. The leopard had been spotted earlier in the afternoon by an Mziki vehicle, which quickly drew much attention on the radio. Slowly throughout the afternoon he moved towards the mountain and as the sun was setting the other vehicles lost interest because of the poor visual of him. I took the gap and headed up to see if he was still around.
We sat for about fifteen minutes without seeing him. As I began to get concerned that he had disappeared into the thicket for good he lifted his head off the boulder only allowing us to catch a glimpse of his eyes in the spotlight. Soon after he stood up, gave a big yawn, stretched and moved into thick bush off the top of the koppie. We weren’t sure if we’d see him again but regardless the guests were ecstatic. It was their first view of a leopard and they were satisfied with what they had seen so far.
I turned and headed off road hoping we’d find him again in the bush. Soon after Bongani, the tracker spotted him again slowly making his way down the koppie. I switched the engine off and we waited for him to emerge at the bottom of the hill. He came right out into the open before crossing in front of the vehicle and heading up the small road, which leads to the top of the hill. When we turned to follow him we caught the smell of what seemed like an old kill coming from the bushes. While the guests reeled from the smell, Bongani and I became quite excited, knowing what it meant.
The leopard headed about ten meters off the road where it lay down in front of an nyala kill and fed in front of us. We were with the animal for about an hour totally undisturbed by other vehicles, making it a special evening for me.
Posted: Phinda by Amy Attenborough, Date: 18 October 2010