The picture of the Leopard above was taken on one of those evening drives and is without doubt my favourite photo of the whole trip. This is the mother we think, of the young Leopard cub on the previous post. We came across her after dark as she was hunting not too far from our camp. She took absolutely no notice of us as we watched excitedly from the open topped vehicle. Minutes later the whole scene changed when a large lioness suddenly emerged from the scrub on one side and a Hyena (pictured below) appeared from the other side. The Leopard reacted instantly and climbed a large tree incredibly quickly. The last thing she would want is a fight with a Lion, especially if the cub was hers, we had seen it alone again about twenty minutes earlier. In the picture, she is in the safety of the tree, but her eyes are fixed intently on the lioness who padded past and melted into the bush as silently as she had appeared.
This is the young Leopard seen earlier in the evening who is most likely the offspring of the Leopard in the tree.
This adult was seen a couple of times quite a distance from the camp. The first time we saw her she had just killed an Impala and was dragging it into the dense scrub. We returned on our way back to camp and could see that she had carried the Impala up a tree and draped it across a branch. We presumed she had hidden it for her cub. We were right. That evening we returned just in time to see the mother and cub turn up to feed on the kill. She bought the antelope down from the tree effortlessly and they both started feeding. Then a Hyena turned up, like they do, and the Impala was taken back up the tree where mother and cub enjoyed their meal in peace. Below are some more pictures of just a few of the hundreds of birds and animals seen at South Luangwa.
|PUKU IN THE LATE SUN|
A few of the many Crowned Cranes who flew in every morning to feed at the salt pans area of the park. Hot springs rise to the surface here creating great habitat for lots of different species.
|GREAT WHITE EGRET, AFRICAN SPOONBILL AND BLACK-HEADED HERON|
Male Kudu above and females below. Our favourite antelopes of the trip.
The Elephant above was having a mud bath in a wallow just alongside the camp
These Elephants were also very close to camp and on this occasion they point blank refused to allow us past on the track. Our guide edged very close to them in the hope that they would move over as they normally do but they wouldn't budge and started getting a bit irate. I for one was mightily relieved when the guide conceded and reversed back. We eventually had to go 'off road' to get past.
|LILAC BREASTED ROLLER (WHAT A STUNNER!)|
This baby Elephant seemed pleased to have found something his own size to practice charging at.
I mentioned earlier about our walking safari. It was great to get out on foot and apart from a very bad tempered bull Hippo who put the fear of God up me and Carol it went very well. Said Hippo didn't want to leave his cool mudhole for one, in an otherwise dry river bed. Our guide tried to persuade it to go quietly but instead it bellowed loudly and ran towards us. PANIC!! Luckily it veered to our right and ran into the scrub behind us. I walked on with my eyes regular checking over my shoulder for quite some time after that, fully expecting it to come back at us but thankfully it didn't.
What we didn't know was that we needed to cross the Luangwa in a canoe during our walk. Carol wasn't best pleased. The Croc above is the one on the island just past the canoe carrying Carol across in the pic below.
Quite apart from the Crocodiles (the river is teeming with them), the two Hippos below insisted on staying right in front of the canoe landing site. Gallantly, I suggested women and children first was the usual way when danger threatens. So off went Carol while Brian the guide and I bellowed back at the Hippos. They still wouldn't move so Carol, George the tea maker (he made fire to boil the water with two sticks, how good is that), and our armed ranger had to turn back and have a second attempt when the Hippos moved downstream.