We went to Pilanesberg to spot some leopards, and actually we were quite successful. We saw a young male enjoying his catch about three meters from our car. Under a dense bush. Then there was a female with her catch – behind a tree. And then, the top of our sightings, a female with cub. In a very leafy tree, 30 meters away.
After three days we had seen spots, tails and whiskers, but little more than that. So when we arrived in Madikwe, we told our guide that we really would love to see a leopard with a complete body not hidden by bushes.
And we got what we came for! Leopards are not as often seen in Madikwe as in Pilanesberg, but we were lucky that this male had killed an impala two nights before and was still working his way through the carcass. He even deigned to look our way! Happy!
An elephant with its trunk in its mouth to squirt some water in it. It’s a personal thing, but I love the dramatic light and editing of this picture. The black background draws so much more attention to the structure of the elephants skin. For me that’s worth the loss of the trees in the background!
A beautiful male lion bashfully looking away. What an incredible feeling to be so close to these animals, and to notice that they don’t even see the open safari vehicle that you’re in! At first my hands were shaking, but with time I have confidence to come away unscathed…
A beautiful hike in the Garden Castle section of the Drakensberg Mountains. The hike goes up to a cave called Pillar Cave. Although we didn’t make it all the way to the cave (still struggling with my back…) the scenery was amazing. The smoke in the background is from controlled burning of the grasslands to create firebreaks, protecting the World Heritage Site of the Drakensberg.
From three months old, leopard cubs start to accompany their mother on the hunt. This one, though, was left to fend for itself during the day while his mother was… what? Hunting? Going to work? Shopping? I don’t know. At the end of the day he grew restless and tried his luck on some guinea fowls, who laughed at his attempts to catch them. There are a lot of skills a young leopard has to learn. They often do not leave their mothers until they are a year or a year and a half old. Some may even stay for longer than that.