Just back from an epic night drive. Remember the grass that stuck to my shoes this morning? While it was sticking itself there, exciting things were happening close by. I know this because the cool guests I had on my night drive tonight were parked at the same waterhole we’d walked from in the morning.
Before drives, I always ask guests what they’d seen and what they’ve loved so far about the Kalahari. For these guys, it was the leopard they saw take out a springbok. It killed it out in the open and dragged it 100m or so closer to the waterhole and to a tree. It pulled the bokkie up into the tree, ate for a while, walked over to the waterhole, went back and ate it again.
The springbok had been killed near where we were parked, while we were parked there, at about 7:20 this morning. All the leopardy action happened while we were out walking. When we drove out afterwards, we passed the springbok in the tree. We were totally oblivious. This is another thing I love about being here. That amazing things are always happening. They never stop happening. You may not see them, but they’re right beside you. Love love love.
So tonight the guys promised to show me where it all happened. I got the stories. I saw the photos. And then I saw the springbok high up in a Camel Thorn.
I knew she’d still be around. Most probably watching us. Leopards won’t stray too far from stashed food and they’ll keep tabs on anyone who gets close. The gathering jackals were on edge. We passed by the kill three times before we finally saw the leopard. She was sitting on the opposite riverbank watching us, and her kill. She was far away and It wasn’t likely that she’d return while we were there. Leopards will usually wait for cars and other eyes to go before they come back to their food. This is a good thing because I once came across a man in Kruger perched on the floor in the back of his van with his slidey doors open. Directly (and I mean inches) below his nose was a freshly killed impala. When I told him that this wasn’t a good plan, he didn’t understand why. He was just waiting for the leopard to come back… and eat its impala… in the van… with him… I don’t think he’d completed his thought process with this one.
It was a memorable night in the Kalahari. Good sightings, good stories and a good hunt for a leopard that we actually found.
Springbok in a tree
Bat Eared Fox
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
Spotted Eagle Owl