Traditionally, Zulu people hold the leopard in mighty high esteem – considering it to be a totem creature with special powers. Is it because this majestic hunter is so stealthy, so elusive, so dangerous and so beautiful? But what is for certain, is that spotting a leopard on any reserve is one of the most exciting things that can happen in a day. Several days ago, right here at Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge, we were spoilt with one of these unexpected visits.
After an eventful late afternoon game drive, Nambiti Hill’s Ranger Kelwan, took his guests to one of his favourite spots on the reserve to enjoy another beautiful African sunset and some refreshing drinks and snacks. While they were chatting about the incredible wildlife sightings that they had already seen, Kelwan took a moment to scan the cliff side that surrounded them with his binoculars. It was then that he heard it.
Nearby, Kudu began to bark – as they do when they intuitively sense danger approaching. He knew what this meant; a potential spotting of a wild predator. Would it be the lion perhaps? Or maybe even some hyena. He really did not expect to see what he did, perched up on the big flat rock above them. She was beautiful.
Kelwan immediately signalled to the guests to get their cameras out and take advantage of this rare sighting; a once in a lifetime moment to capture this solitary animal gazing out at her kingdom, proud and regal, almost posing for them: The leopard!
As you can imagine the trip back to the lodge was not a quiet one, as the guests excitedly spoke about the beautiful leopard and how lucky they were to have seen her, at the very end of another incredible day at Nambiti Hills.
That evening the guests and Kelwan all recalled their incredible encounter with the elusive big cat, to the jealously of the other guests and rangers, and agreed that if it hadn’t been for the Kudu warning calls, Kelwan would never have spotted her so cunningly camouflaged on the rock – her pelt blending into her surroundings, even in such an open space. Leopards spend more time on the ground than in the trees; taking to the branches only when competition from other predators creates a potentially dangerous situation. They are lone rangers, only pairing up for mating, and this of course, makes it much harder to find them, as they sneak in and out of the thicket on their own.
This sighting was a serious treat, and just goes to show you that every single day at Nambiti Hills can bring with it a new adventure.
5-star adventure awaits you at Nambiti Hills Game Lodge, come see for yourself!