Was eating my breakfast watching the view and minding my own business when suddenly we had a visitor just outside the camp fence line (where it’s been taken down).
I got called back 10m to the main dining area where our fellow students were whispering “it’s a leopard, it’s going for the kudu”… if only I hadn’t left my binoculars and camera in the tent!
I stepped back in the shadows of our lapa and saw it hidden to our left behind the bushes out of view from the female kudus walking left across the dam wall towards where leopard was hiding!
The kudus stopped about 5m before the leopard as if knowing danger was about.
Leopard sunk back behind his hiding place.
Patiently we watched as one, two, three kudu safely went past the leopard. We watched with baited breath as a 4th looked like it was to be the target.
The kudu stepped along the wall and stepped down the wall further into the bank closer to our camp and then, suddenly she was in our camp! Just far enough away from the leopard that it didn’t pounce but still within the leopard’s sight.
The kudu walked towards where we were all watching. The leopard slowly emerged from its hiding place watching the kudu. I’m sure it was also looking straight at us spectators too (not all of us were in the shade).
Quietly we willed for the kudu to go back out of camp and not be a target closer to us!
Minutes passed and the kudu within our camp was happily munching on the camel thorns near our tents (yes actually near my tent!!).
There were more kudu eating on the other side of the dam wall including a baby. We waited watching thinking it must be targeting that little one.
Then, the leopard moved. It stealth walked across the road from its hiding place … towards camp! Towards us! And then it went down below beneath the dam wall.
Suddenly we couldn’t see it and kudu in our camp was moving on closer to the centre of our camp (i.e. closer to where we were all gathered with no walls to separate us). Eek! How to shoo a kudu? Haven’t learnt that in our training…
And then out from below leopard shot out and ran along the dam wall to the right where the other kudu were still browsing. Kudu in our camp looked up just in time to see leopard on the dam wall.
WOW To hear that large but dainty antelope make that wallop of a sound. The sound went right through my body. That was it’s warning bark. The kudus on the other side got the message and stood alert and started barking to each other looking for the danger that passed near by.
Several barks later the kudus seemed to relax and eventually moved back down the dam wall to the left.
Back to finish my cold scrambled eggs. What a morning!
Photo credit: Andrew Russell