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Recently Tim and I were guiding a group of Dutch tourists for three days and by day two we had seen all of the big five except for leopard. Predictably the guests started asking about leopard. I explained that because of their shy and solitary habit, they are the the “holy grail” of sightings on the reserve and we will be lucky to spot one. On their last game drive we spotted fresh female leopard tracks in the road, we quickly established that she left the road and headed into the bush and so we circled the block and no tracks came out. My tracker and I walked in on the tracks hoping to find her, as we were walking we heard impala giving frantic alarm snorts just ahead of us so we raced back to our vehicle, but still no sign of her. At this time the guests (who were all men) were hinting for a beer and sundowner stop. As we were doing that not far away we were passed by another ranger on his way to the lodge. He radioed seconds later saying he has spotted the leopard! We rushed there but to no avail, she simply melted away like a spotted ghost. Well as one guest remarked “that’s the way the cookie crumbles!”

 

Sebastiaan Janse van Vuuren

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

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