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Early morning last safari

on Feb 20, 2024

After almost four days with two safaris per day, we had seen almost everything our guests had wanted to see so we took our last safari together slowly. We were all relaxed and very content with the sightings we had enjoyed thus far.

We set out a bit earlier as our guests had an early departure. Right at the entrance to Selati Camp, we picked up on leopard tracks. My tracker was very excited as he could tell the leopard was not far away. Thoughts of a leopard having just walked through camp, minutes before us, had us even more excited! With over 30 years of experience, our veteran tracker Mike set out on foot to establish direction of the leopard and he came back to the vehicle showing us where the leopard had walked.

We followed his lead and as we drove away, we were halted by some impala alarm calling. Normally they would alarm call to tell other animals there might be danger close by and they often do that against predators such as leopard, lions and sometimes hyena.

As we found the impala alarm calling, there were hyenas lingering around in different directions and we knew something was up. One of the hyenas, as if they knew what we were looking for, led us to an impala carcass hoisted up a tree. The carcass looked fresh and likely killed not long before we got there with fresh blood dripping from the tree which would have attracted the hyena. There was a carcass, but no leopard to be seen which was a surprise to all of us.

A hyena at Sabi Sabi is spotted on game drive

We drove around looking for the leopard and a distance away was a big male leopard lying in the grass; quite odd for a leopard with a fresh kill to stay so far away from his prize. We sat with him, and it wasn’t long before we realised he might not be the one who made the kill as he had no blood stains on his skin despite panting heavily. We followed him as he made his way towards the kill.

Manoeuvring the vehicle in the bush may be tricky but we were lucky. As we turned into the right direction, a female leopard was in plain sight, but we had not seen her until this point. All along, she had been sitting on a nice branch of fallen over tree, also panting heavily with spots of blood on her feet.

Golonyi perches in a dead tree at Sabi Sabi.

Everything started to make sense. The young female leopard had killed the impala and before she should eat anything, the male leopard came through and chased her off her own kill.

Golonyi sits in a tree at Sabi Sabi.

We watched the male feed on the impala while the female tried to come closer but with all this drama, the hyenas also had hopes of the kill falling from the tree and securing an easy meal.

In a short space of time, a lot happened and witnessing the interaction between the hyenas and leopards, and between the leopards themselves, demonstrated once again how untamed and unpredictable nature is. The male ate his fill and dropped the remains to the hyenas whose patience paid off.

A hyena is spotted at Sabi Sabi

It paid to begin our safari earlier on this day and had we not, we may have missed it all entirely.
Blog by Ronald Mutero (Selati Camp Ranger)

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