There is always a first time for everything. This week I managed to have two firsts in one day.
After spending a great drive with my fellow ranger Nigel and a large breeding herd of elephants, it was time to stop for some drinks with guests. It was a perfect break to an amazing safari drive. The sun had set and the light quickly started to fade. Before we could even cheers our drinks, our tracker confidently exclaimed, “Wild Dogs”.
Everyone had been searching all afternoon for these swift moving canines, but to no avail. So it was surprising to hear these words being uttered from the trackers mouth. I moved towards the road and sure enough a pack of wild dogs came trotting down the road towards our drinks stop. This is a very rare occasion and a truly special event. This was the first time that these endangered animals had ever approached me on foot.
After a very entertaining afternoon we were really spoiled to find a female leopard later that evening. This was the first time that I had come across her since I’ve been at Leopard Hills. She is the beautiful Kelly Dam female. So it was a real treat to find her balancing delicately in a tree with an impala carcass dangling between her legs.
Usually these types of sightings are on high demand, but for some reason it was just us at the sighting. So we had ample time to view her casually eating the impala.
There are so many things to observe when an animal is feeding. These leopards will tear meat with their razor sharp teeth, lick meat off of bones with their sandpaper like tongues and easily crunch through bones. The sounds alone are an experience to behold.
No kill would be complete without a hyena skulking around to see what he could potentially scavenge. Kelly Dam managed to wedge her kill properly in the fork of the tree so no luck for the hyena that night.
For me these first time experiences are what make the bush so thrilling. You simply do not know what is going to happen next.