Some of you have been around in camp when we have heard the resident leopard calling. The sound they make is known as sawing, and this is done either to call a mate, or defend their territory. In our case the leopard is usually a male animal. It can be quite unnerving for those who are not used to such things, but for us, it is one of the most beautiful sounds in the bush and it gives us a thrill every time. In early August, we had Troy Sheldon, the ultimate gentleman of travel, visiting us on his own from Denver. During that period, we were particularly blessed and the leopard was very active while we sat around the campfire in the darkening hours when he would often serenade us, coming as close as 30 yards from where we were sitting! Then in September we had the lovely Yost and Johnson families here when he again became active close to camp. One evening, Kate was in the process of putting the final touches to the evening meal, and went out to her herb garden just outside the kitchen door to pick parsley, when she surprised our feline friend who gave two loud grunts and ran off into the dark! Don’t know who was more surprised actually…Kate or the leopard!
Another favourite leopard story, involved our delightful friends, Scott and Shannen Miller. We had completed a wonderful bow hunting and photo safari trip with Scott and Shannen and were staying at a small private reserve just outside Kruger Park before taking them to the Hoedspruit airport next morning to fly back to upstate New York. It was late in the season…early October and hot and dry. We were sitting out at the edge of the pool after dinner, when a leopard started to call very close to our camp. Phil and Kate exclaimed in delight at the sound, but Shannen and Scott were not so sure and we laughed like crazy people when Scott asked…”So is that a GOOD thing??” Our unanimous YES caused more hilarity. Next morning Shannen and I went to look for his tracks to ascertain how close he had been and it turns out he was just 25 yards away! It is incidents like these and many, many others, that add to the richness of the lives we are privileged to lead and share with our visitors.
If any of you have your own leopard story you enjoyed on safari with us, please share it on this forum.