A few days ago on game drive we got very fresh leopard tracks and decided that we would spend time looking for the male and female whose tracks were left in the road. The tracks took us past a watering hole where we picked that they had drank water the previous night and there were lots of signs that these cats were mating. This is 90% the reason leopard walk together. Hearing the birds and vervet monkeys making warning calls in a block, we went straight in and got more track in an old dried up river bed and pursuit the tracking. At that moment I and my shangaan tracker looked at each other thinking what will happen if we do find these cats too late and they come straight for us.

We went on finding more and more signs of the cats in the block but no luck. We stumbled on a fresh kill they made last night which was a bushbuck dragged up a tree with lots of hyena tracks around the tree. The leopard finished all of the meat, and the remains were quickly snatched up by the rest of the scavengers that night. After about two hours of tracking we got back to the road to see if the leopard crossed the road to find nothing.

When we got back to the Landy we took the guests to the fresh kill. My guests found this incredibly thrilling and at that moment the birds went crazy with warning calls all around. The leopards had crossed our tracks while we spend time going back to the Landy. They knew from the beginning that we were fresh on the trail and decided to move deeper in to the block. We spent the whole drive searching and had no luck. As we moved out of the area my colleagues called in another leopard sighting on the other side of the reserve. I decided to make my way there thinking there is a good chance of us relocating the leopard after they lost the sighting four times on the way there. All went well until the moment we made our way in to the sighting, no more luck, she took the cub moved him away from the kill and was gone.

Well we made our way back to camp to go for dinner thinking we will never see this leopard ever and at that moment I was convinced of it. While having dinner with my guests we started talking about our experience and decided, after dinner make our way back to the area of the leopard. To our excitement when we got back to the area where the leopard was last seen, there she was not fifty meters from where she where!! My guest was at a lost for words and told me that they would not forget this for the rest of their lives.

Ranger: Frikkie Kotze

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