Leopard In Krugerpark/South Africa

It was at one of the picnic spots I made a break to brew myself another coffee. While my water was boiling, the engine of the car next to me was heating up too. The driver filled up cooling water in the system, when I asked I could help in any way. 

That’s how the conversation started. In like every talk in the Kruger Nationalpark, it’s leading to the latest sightings we encountered. That nice guy was telling me about a young, male leopard hiding in a tree. The location was in my direction I planned. Without wasting any more time I’m heading to that spot. 

Two other cars was parked in front of that huge jackalberry tree. The lush, green branches blocked the view to the big cat. I tried to get another angle, next to the other cars. And luck was with me, as the leopard stood up and changed to the branch in front of me. Despite the dense foliage we could look each other straight in the eyes …and camera lens.

Morgens im Krugerpark

Leise brummend rollt der Landrover über die gute Strasse im Krugerpark gen Süden. Mein Blick heftet sich am heller werdenden Horizont während meine müde Gedanken dahin schweifen. Ob es sich wirklich lohnt morgens um 4 Uhr aufzustehen, um noch vor dem Sonnenaufgang auf Pirsch zu gehen? Der kühle Morgen soll ja die beste Zeit sein, um Raubtiere aktiv zu sehen. Zumindest ist dieser Morgen sehr ruhig und ich bin in den 20 Minuten Fahrt noch keinem anderem Fahrzeug begegnet.

Die Silhouette weckt mich aus meinen Morgengedanken. der charakteristische, sehnige Körper mit langem Schwanz lässt sofort den Geparden erkennen. Im Gegenlicht bewegt er sich erhaben auf eine steinerne Mauer zu und setzt sich darauf. Gelassen beäugt er mich, bevor er sich die Gegend anschaut und dann im hohen Gras verschwindet.

Für heute hat sich das frühe Aufstehen also gelohnt. Und es blieb nicht beim einzigen Highlight. So beobachtete ich später noch ein Rudel Wildhunde, junge, spielende Hyänen und kämpfende Impalas, neben Elefanten, Krokodile und Flusspferde. Ganz unerwartet tauchte dann mittags sogar ein Leopard neben der Strasse auf und rundete so eine Fotopirschfahrt ab.

Tsavo West National Park

Surprised by the atmosphere, i didn’t regret to get up so early to reach the park entrance. Mist floats over a hilly area, birds chirping in the bush and the old volcanos looks promising. I’ve hardly seen any other vehicles in the park, but got on very remote tracks on top of volcano or in deep bushland. Stunning views and the loneliness of the place will keep in my memories. Most impressive was the last hour, actually on my way out of Tsavo West. A bit disappointed not having enough time to spot black rhinos in the rhino sanctuary, i got a clear view on a leopard, but missed to take a photo. Another leopard crossed my way around 20km further. This time i had my camera quickly on hands. Unfortunately, the light was already dimmed and my camera setting didn’t allowed a clear shot. It’s unbelievable that i got sight of a third leopard this day. It was next to the road, roaming slowly next to my Land Rover and allowed me to taking series of pictures of it. Sometimes the luck don’t come once, but trice 🙂

Photo Session With Leopard

We’ve been lucky in Etosha Nationalpark spotting lots of wildlife such as rhinos, giraffes, elephants and even lions. To see cheetahs are rarer and to observe and photograph leopards needs much more time, patience and luck. I remembered a guest farm who offered wildlife watching with a guarantee. Not really my thing but just right to give my parents the opportunity to observe those proud animals from close-by.

The driver entered a gate, called some names and get off the car. He elicits the animals with big lumps of raw meat. Two cheetahs appeared, well known their food arrived. For the sake of the tourists pleasure he plays with the animals, teased them with the meat and give them some strokes.

That’s different with the leopard within the fence. Those animals stays really wild and are not to trust, the driver explains. With big precaution he puts the meat on several places, also on big branches of a tree. A pair of eyes already watched him. A tense silence amongst the tourists in the open safari car, when they spotted the back of the leopard in the high grass. Some whispers started when that proud animal lifted its head. Then the cameras began to click, the photo session started.

Malawi – Nyika Nationalpark

Four young men are busy to press tobacco leafs in bales, while the golden sun disappears between the trees. We are allowed to camp overnight at the gate to the national park, just next to a village. On the next day a rough track brings the Landrover higher and higher in altitude. The landscape changes from lush forest to barren land. Islands of trees and scrub stand out of the valleys between the hills. Perfect hideaways for wildlife. Different antelopes, zebras or rabbits graze on open fields, observed from lurking leopards. We’ve been very lucky to see and photograph one of these big, proud cat in the bush just next to the track. The next days we enjoy driving trough the unique landscape, keep looking for more wildlife and watching stars over the bonfire.

Junge Männer pressen Tabakblätter zu Ballen, während die goldene Abendsonne zwischen den Bäumen verschwindet. Wir dürfen im Dorf vor dem Eintrittstor zum Nationalpark campen. Am nächsten Tag klettert der Landrover auf Schotterstrassen höher und höher bis zum Hochplateau auf über 2200m.ü.M. Die Landschaft wechselt von üppigen Wald zu hügeliger, kargen Landschaft. Aus den Tälern stehen vereinzelt kleine Wäldchen wie Inseln hervor. Ein perfektes Versteck für Tiere. Verschiedene Antilopenarten, Zebras und Hasen grasen auf dem offenen Feld, beobachtet von lauernden Leoparden. Einer dieser prächtigen Katzen fanden wir im Busch neben der Strasse. Mit viel Glück konnten wir sie beobachten und fotografieren. Die Tage darauf kurvten wir weiter durch die einzigartige Landschaft, hielten Ausschau nach Tieren und genossen den Sternenhimmel überm Lagerfeuer.