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We were on safari in the Savuti, Chobe National Park in Botswana during the winter months when the Savuti Channel had been reduced to a series of small pools. We knew about Savuti fishing leopards thanks to a BBC documentary we had watched, so we waited close to the waterhole where a leopard had recently been spotted in the hope of witnessing a fishing feline. Written by: Marco Ansón


And then we saw her. There were catfish in the waters, but when we saw the leopard move to the pool’s edge, we initially thought she would just have a drink.

fishing leopard

However, the leopard surprised us by slowly entering the water pool. Time stood still for us as we watched, and she seemed to take a long time to make her way steadily further into the shallows.

savuti

Everything was silent. Then suddenly, the leopard dunked her head into the dark pool and, as fast as lightning, caught a catfish (barbel) in her mouth!

fishing leopard

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She left the muddy waters quickly and came close to our vehicle to rest in the shade and eat her catfish trophy. We couldn’t believe our luck!

Watch the video of this fishing leopard here:

More about that Savute safari

Savute is the remote western section of Chobe National Park – far away from the shores of the Chobe River. Abundant wildlife – including lions that specialise in hunting elephants during the dry season – congregates along the Savute channel, which empties into the Savute Marsh.

The Savute River was dry from the late 19th century until it flowed some 75 years later in 1958, only to dry up again periodically for years and even decades. The dry savannas are dotted with rocky outcrops where ancient humans left their ochre drawings. Book your Savute safari here

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