Leopard Sighting & a Dutch Smoker

“Yes we did see leopard and Michael has some wonderful photos that he sent to me, I am sure he won’t mind if I ask him to send them on to you. The sighting happened on our last day on safari. No leopard had been seen for over three weeks. We had been out in the morning and had seen a huge group of over 200 elephants along with Eland and Lesser Kudu. Lorenzo decided to try to find a pair of mating lions as a finale and we set out in pursuit. Half was along a track levant his colleague received a call from his mobile and Lorenzo hastily turned around and set off in chase… and at pace! I was hanging on for dear life in the back seat, having tucked away all my camera equipment. We arrived next to a large Baobab tree where Mark ( a fellow Englishman) and his guide and a group of Dutch in another vehicle were eagerly looking up at the tree. We could just make out the head and shoulders of the leopard and waited patiently for a better view.

We noticed that after a time the two Dutch couples were drifting off to sleep apart from one of the group who was evidently itching to smoke a cigarette! He had been warned by Steve, their guide, not to make any noises and by NO account get out of the vehicle. The Dutchman however decided to ignore his advice and got out for his “cigey” regardless! Steve screamed at him, the leopard got up and looked intently at the car and the Dutchman, now very worried looking, got back into the vehicle. We weren’t sure if the cat was going to pounce or scarper! Luckily it decided to choose the later and moved to the back of the tree. Fortunately it settled in a ‘v’ of the tree and we had excellent views for some time before the leopard decided to literally crawl down the tree, rear end first, then stroll away. Wonderful experience followed by a glass of champagne with mark and his guide watching an amazing show of lightening strikes in the distance. An experience I will never forget.”
Martin Gascoigne-Pees

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