A Bush Walk to Remember

Sabi Sand | January 2020

Game viewing from our Land Rover had been unbelievable for our guests, so a different bush experience was next on our agenda. We decided that a bush walk would be a great way to end off a very successful safari!

Ruel was excited to share his broad knowledge of the tracks and signs left behind by animals and I was happy to leave the driver’s seat. Our guests were even more excited, because they had heard a lot about the thrill of tracking animals, looking at the smaller fauna and flora, interpreting of animal behaviour and getting closer to potentially dangerous ‘Big Five’ animals!

However, our walk didn’t last long! We stopped to look at some impala tracks and dung, giraffe tracks and took a closer look at Carrot seed grass, which easily gets latched onto your shoes and socks at this time of year.

A mere hundred metres into our walk, we had to abort mission! A wildebeest bull alarmed at our presence, followed by a herd of impala alarming. But their alarm calls didn’t stop alarm calling. I stayed with our guests whilst Ruel went forward to check it out.

Ruel didn’t see anything but hurried past us saying, “I’m getting the vehicle!” Waiting for a few minutes and trying to see what was causing the raucous calls, one of our guests spotted a leopard climbing a tree!

We took a closer look with binoculars to discover that the leopard was busy hoisting an impala lamb in a Marula tree! Ruel arrived and we jumped onto the vehicle. Making our way into the sighting, the tree was surrounded by quite a large herd of impala, still frantically snorting at the leopard that had taken one of theirs!

Stopping next to the Marula with a perfect view, we saw that it was the Khokhovela female that was now trying to find a better branch in the Marula tree to balance her kill on. With the impala in her jaws, she jumped to another branch where she found herself a perfect spot.

By this time the impala stopped alarming and moved off. She was now at peace and slowly started plucking hair from the carcass and was preparing to feed. Opening it up closer to the back side, she started to take small bites.