Written by: Roger Bruchhausen
We arrived at Delaporte waterhole in Kruger National Park at around midday on our first day in the park. The waterhole was quiet, with only a giraffe and the herd of impala milling around. Cars came and went and, after about 40 minutes, we decided to move on to Skukuza. I was putting the camera on the back seat when my wife shouted, “There’s going to be a kill!”
I grabbed for the camera and, by the time I had it in position, all I could see through the bush in front of me was a struggle. Through the camera I couldn’t see much but I started shooting.
Everything quietened down and we moved the car around the bushes to an opening were we could clearly see a leopard in the water.
The leopard held an impala ram under the water for quite some time before bringing it to the surface and clamping its mouth around that of the ram as if trying to suffocating the impala. The leopard was in no hurry and at one stage put its entire head under the water to get a better grip on the ram. This was rather intriguing to us as we were of the opinion that cats did not really like water.
The leopard then started slowly moving the ram to the side of the waterhole before hoisting the impala out of the water. It was only at this point that one appreciated the strength of this leopard as the ram was bigger than it and appeared to be extremely heavy. It was quite a battle for the leopard to get the ram out of the water and they both kept slipping back into the waterhole.
Finally the leopard got the impala onto the side and took a few moments to strike a very proud pose – showing off its accomplishment.
It was amazing to witness the strength of this fantastic creature as it dragged the ram away from the water in short bursts.
Then an elephant arrived on the scene and put on a very playful mock charge towards the leopard, which was not too interested and continued moving the ram towards the far bank.
The elephant drank and then decided to move from left to right across the waterhole and that’s when we got our favourite photo of all time – the leopard and ram framed by the elephant.
The elephant crossed between us and the leopard, and then the leopard was gone – as if a curtain had dropped on the sighting – one which we will cherish for the rest of our lives.