One morning drive, one of the other rangers called tracks of our big male and female lions on the radio and asked for someone to come and help. When I got to the area, I saw how fresh these signs were and decided it is worth our time to follow these big cats.

As we were following, not even for a kilometre, we heard the male roaring not too far away. We wasted no time in following the loud roaring of this male lion. When we found him, he was lying under a tree, looking up while he was roaring – not a normal situation. As we looked up into the tree, we saw a leopard lying as high as he could to get away from the lions.

The lions were slowly losing interest in the leopard and moved a few meters away and fell asleep. This gave the leopard a slight chance to get away. As the leopard reached the ground, both lions jumped up and started chasing him. Luckily leopards are extremely good climbers and he made it up the nearest tree. This time, it was a smaller tree with very flimsy braches – the poor leopard was holding on for his life.

When we left, the leopard was still in the tree. But I heard that a herd of buffalo came to the rescue of the leopard and chased away the stubborn lions – a lucky break for the most elusive cat in Africa.

Nelson – Kapama River Lodge