It’s Monday 10th July 2017 and a leaping leopard!

I do hope that you are all well, sitting comfortably and have had a wonderful weekend. Everyone here in the valley is being kept very busy with lots of guests coming through, meaning lots of game drives out in the park and plenty of wonderful sightings. It doesn’t start and end on game drives though as there is plenty to be seen right here in camp. At Nkwali this week we have had a hippo move into the lagoon so he is gently wallowing amongst the Nile cabbage as the open billed storks, sacred ibis and banded mongoose look on. And not to forget the guests being able to enjoy all of this from the pool loungers – notice I didn’t say from the swimming pool as we are still a little cold and wintery here!

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Luangwa Safari House is also reaping the benefits from the bush drying up and they are starting to get regular visits from large herds of elephants drinking from the lagoon. Earlier in the week guests were in the hide watching some 40 odd elephants coming down to drink, it was quite a spectacle.

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However it is Julius who is going to steal this week’s show with the most incredible sighting so let me get to it. Julius has been guiding down at Nkwali for a few days and was out on a game drive when he happened upon a male leopard tucked down hiding in some grass. They stopped to watch the leopard and then in the distance also observed a couple of male impalas rutting – displaying, grunting and chasing each other. As we are all aware the impala rutt is incredibly time consuming for the poor beasts and takes up all of their concentration and spacial awareness. At this point I am sure you can imagine what happened…..

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The two male impalas were so pre-occupied with each other and winning the territory and the ladies on that patch that they simply didn’t notice the leopard. The leopard sat patiently watching the two animals and then one male impala turned and ran – straight towards the un-seen leopard. The leopard pounced but missed, then the second impala still intent on chasing his rival off his turf continued running towards the leopard and at the last moment leapt into the air. The leopard similarly leapt into the air and literally caught the impala mid leap and brought him down. I mean talk about amazing. As if that wasn’t enough the sighting doesn’t end there, as the guests watched on it was not long before a hyena came to see what was going on and tried to steal the kill. The hyena ended up with the guts (incidentally whilst not first prize for a hyena this was acceptable) and the leopard dashed off and up a tree securing his dinner. At this point the guests were definitely ready for their sundowners and so the scene was left as things calmed down and status quo was resumed.

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The following morning Julius decided that they should swing past the scene of the crime to see what was going on. Expecting or hoping to see a male leopard with a kill they instead found two leopard cubs up the tree feasting on the remains. I mean seriously incredible set of sightings. Please, anyone reading this and coming out any time soon don’t expect to see this on every drive as this really was a one off and quite a treat!
So there you have it for this week, it’s all happening and alongside such wonderful sightings the guests have been serenaded almost every night at Nkwali with lions on the opposite side of the river but also behind camp – surround sound.

In all honesty after the leaping leopard there is very little that I can say that will beat such a story so I shall bid you all a very fond farewell and hope that you all have a truly wonderful week with lots of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after each other.

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