May 7-10, 2008 - Around The World, Days 12-15 - Leopards, South Africa

May 7, Timbavati
On our first game drive, we find something lurking in a tree not far off the road.
The tell-tale spots give her away...

There she is!

She hangs out in a foul-smelling tree...

With her 10-month-old "baby" (right).

After a while, mama gets up

and walks around her tree.

Heading down...

We've been here for about 10 minutes. Right in between the cats is an antelope upon which they've been feasting. That explains the smell.

Their balance is amazing.

So is their ability to lie down anywhere.

After about 20 minutes, we notice a second "baby" on the ground.

mama's fat belly

The kids share a moment.

(The light is low and I'm just learning to use my camera. Later in the trip, this would be an awesome shot. Maybe we should just go back.)

Apparently antelope has the same effect as Thanksgiving turkey.

A parting shot at one of the leopard cubs and we head out, after about :30 with them.

May 9, Sabi Sands
On our last night drive, we track a leopard for about 30 minutes.
It is a new male in the region, which is very exciting for our ranger, Kerri Ann. She was very proud of Isaac, the tracker, for finding him.

He's a beautiful cat!

We obviously stay with him a while, though not as long as it appears.
The previous pictures were later than they look. (I've gotten better with my camera in the last 2 days.)

He sets off down the trail.

He rests along the road while he figures out what we're all about.

Apparently, he decides we don't smell appetizing, so he won't eat us and we can't eat him. So, he moves on.

This is cool. We get to see him rub all over bushes to mark his territory.

He seems to be enjoying it.

Ummm... Oh yeah!

That's the stuff right there...

So we get in front of him and watch him walk right by - literally 3 feet from me.
I could have reached out and touched him, should I have felt I no longer needed my hand - or perhaps life.

He really is checking me out as he passes.
I mean, I know I look good, but it was nice of him to notice.

One last shot and we move on to go have a couple of beers in the jungle and see the mongoose and jackyls and such.
What a cool experience!