Lions vs a leopard

The experience on my last game drive of my previous holiday is something I have wanted to post about since I got home. I am glad I have finally had a chance to go through the photos, select my favourites, and relive the experience.
We spent the last two nights of our trip at Londolozi, where we had the pleasure of having the team of Dave and Judas guiding us through the bush.  For anyone that missed it, I posted a few highlights from this trip previously: https://jennifersawicky.com/2015/06/29/londolozi-highlights/
On our last game drive, we had yet to see a leopard at Londolozi; and being that the property is known for amazing leopard sightings, our ranger was hoping we would see one before we set off for home.  We started a leisurely morning drive with a group of three rhinos, and then moved on to a herd of elephants in the most gorgeous morning light.  If that was all we saw that morning, I would have come home happy (me and elephants, everyone knows my love of them by now). Dave took a call about a leopard sighting quite some distance away, but a very unique one, a leopard that had been treed by a pride of lions. Dave put us on the sighting wait list, and we continued on with our drive. During a drive through a dry riverbed, we spotted an owl; while the light wasn’t favourable for photographs, I was still thrilled.
Still waiting our turn, we stopped for a coffee and watched a pair of giraffes grazing on acacia leaves. A hare hopped by and paused long enough for me to take a few photos before carrying on its way. Coffee finished, we took the call that our turn was coming up, and we made our way over to the area. As we drove into the area, two impala rams were facing off, rutting season being in full swing, and the noise they were making was absolutely incredible.

When we arrived, a female leopard called Mashaba was high in a tree, with the Tsalala lion pride lazing around near the base.

A full grown leopard in a very scrawny tree!

A full grown leopard in a very scrawny tree!

The group of lions waiting below.

The group of lions waiting below.

Her eyes were on either on the lions, or scanning the distance for other threats.

Her eyes were on either on the lions, or scanning the distance for other threats.

One of the young males of the Tsalala pride.

One of the young males of the Tsalala pride.

We weren’t there long though when the lions picked up the sounds of the nearby impala, and one by one, they slowly moved off.

Lions on the move.

Lions on the move.

As soon as the last lion was out of sight, Mashaba quickly made her way down the tree and disappeared, so we went to find out what had happened to the lions.

By this point, she had been in the tree for several hours.  She must have been tired of that perch.

By this point, she had been in the tree for several hours. She must have been tired of that perch.

Getting ready to begin her descent.

Getting ready to begin her descent.

Watching the lions moving off.

Stopping to scan again.

In the tree tops.

In the tree tops.

Such amazing agility.

Such amazing agility.

Pausing to scan for further threats.

Pausing to scan for further threats.

Heading for lower branches.

Heading for lower branches.

On the move.

On the move.

Double checking that the coast is clear.

Checking again that the coast is clear.

Leaping to safety.

Leaping to safety.

Viewer discretion is advised…

We found the lions a short distance away, and the impala rams were no longer.  The pride of seven took down two impala at the same time, and devoured them in less than a quarter hour.  I was concentrating more on still shots, but I did take a few video clips, which I have included more for the sound than anything. Mostly the lions fed relatively peacefully, without coming to blows with each other over the choice pieces.

Family dining.

Family dining.

The group made short work of two adult male impala.

The group made short work of two adult male impala.

Tug of war!

Tug of war!

Trying to grab a chunk to take away (at least one of the lions moved off with a large chunk of impala to enjoy in peace under the bushes).

Trying to grab a chunk to take away (at least one of the lions moved off with a large chunk of impala to enjoy in peace under the bushes).

Such intensity will eating.

Such intensity while eating.

This was how we left the group; not much left to their meal at this point.

This was how we left the group; not much left to their meal at this point.

It was a thrilling end to an amazing trip!

6 thoughts on “Lions vs a leopard

  1. Pingback: 2016-03-11: Impala Rut | Jennifer Sawicky Photography

  2. Pingback: 2017-01-29: Leopard Before and After | Jennifer Sawicky Photography

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