Leopard - Panthera Pardus
The largest of the spotted cats in Africa, sleek and solitary, the leopard is a stealthy nocturnal hunter, silently stalking its prey using acute night sight and hearing. Trees, rocks, long grass and water courses provide cover for the stalk and safe rest during the daylight. Deceptively strong, leopard have been known to drag the carcass of a young giraffe up into a tree for storage.
The lions roared and the hippos snorted during the night and sleep had been fitful. Morning game drive started out cold and breezy but soon the sun was warm and our guide got the radio call that there was young male leopard in a tree watching a large herd of impala, the usual one male with his 20 or so ladies! We hurried through the bush for a glimpse of our first spotted cat. Talk about impressive......this magnificent cat held us spellbound for almost an hour while he just watched and made no attempt to go for a kill.
These are photos taken while we waited.........our guide ST drove around the tree to enable us to get good shots. The guide makes sure everyone in the Land Rover gets good views during a game drive, and fortunately the animals are not easily disturbed as the vehicles change locations.
When several vehicles are parked for a viewing, the first ones move off to allow space for new arrivals. We left, went for a morning bush coffee break, returning about an hour later just in time to see the leopard make a decision to vacate the tree.
............and was obviously not interested in taking down an impala for lunch.
Being a young male he was probably just learning about hunting procedures and was more likely to return after dark for a kill.
This handsome leopard was definitely one of the most beautiful animals I viewed while in Africa.