Paula Gilhooley…Leopard with Impala kill in KNP

On May 5, 2019 I took my first drive in Kruger National Park for this year’s visit.   We entered the park about 7 am and drove up s28, seeing impala, zebra a few wildebeests, to Lower Sabie Rest Camp where we stopped for a break  and something to eat.  Continuing north from Lower Sabie stopping at Sunset dam but there was very little activity.  We then drove to H12 fullsizeoutput_2a9acrossing over to H1-2 to Tshokwane seeing some Giraffe, Buffalo  and a few Elephants.  At Tshokwane we again stopped for a short break before driving down H10 towards Lower Sabie.  We did see some Ostrich, Elephants and a couple of Leopard Tortoise who seemed to want to walk down the middle of the road.

After crossing the Lower Sabie Bridge and driving south on H4-2 we were lucky to see a

fullsizeoutput_2a98 pair of male Lions on a Buffalo kill but only through the window of the car next to us as there was the usual traffic jam when a cat is spotted.  We continued driving south on H4-2 and were aproximately 6 km north of the southern 

 

entrance to the Gomondwane Loop road s130 when I hear from the back seat “LEOPARD”

I stop and was told to back up which I did about 100 meters.  There next to the vehicle coming out of the bush was a huge male Leopard carrying a very large Impala buck along the passenger side of the vehicle.  He dropped the Impala to take a breather and raised his head and looked directly into the vehicle before picking up the Impala again and crossing the road directly in front of the vehicle.  At the edge of the road he again dropped the Impala to take break allowing me to get a few good shots of

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his massive body before he picked up his prey once more and began dragging it into the bush on the opposite side of the road.  Because the Impala was so large the Leopard had to drop him every few meters to take a break before proceeding further. He continued his slow progress into the bush until he disappeared out of sight.

We were very lucky to be the first car on the sighting by at least a minute or two and to be able to get some very clear shots once the Leopard had crossed in front of us.  This has to  be my best leopard sighting  ever with the  best opportunity for photos; slightly surpassing the sighting last September of a mother Leopard and two very young babies which was equally exceptional but harder to get good photos of due to the traffic and the location of the rocks where the mother was caring for her cubs.

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