We had a predator-filled weekend on a recent trip with Norman Carr Safaris! Starting on a Friday afternoon in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, we drove up to camp in the golden afternoon light. Disappointed after two near-missed wild dog pack sightings we made up for it the next day when we had the encounter of a lifetime with two leopards, a hyena and a very popular dead impala.
We had headed out early on Saturday to watch the sun rise over the Luangwa – so beautiful that it was worth the bleary-eyed 5:15am wake up. Little did we know what the day had in store for us!
After coming around a corner, we saw the tip of a leopard’s tail draping out of a sausage tree, and the dangling legs of an impala killed that morning. Driving towards the tree, we saw another leopard sitting at the base. Initially we thought they were either a mating pair or related because of how relaxed the second leopard appeared. But all was not as it seemed!
After determining they were in fact two females their interaction started to show that they were definitely not related.
The one in the tree was slightly younger and had been feeding for a while; with each crunch of her jaws, the carcass dropped further and further. Just as our guide Phil said, “she needs to be careful of hyenas” we heard a noise behind us and, sure enough, one emerged from a nearby bush, waiting for something to fall – disappointed with only small scraps.
After feeding for so long, the first leopard was clearly getting ready to come down from the tree, possibly to find water, but the presence of the second leopard was proving to be a strong deterrent. Finally the first leopard left the kill and within seconds, the waiting leopard leapt into the tree and with long practiced skill, secured the carcass and started to feed.
Sadly what the video below didn’t capture was the male leopard who came later and chased both females and the hyena away to finish the impala off. Later guests were able to witness this while we were away.
Actions definitely speak louder than words – the video captures the sighting better than my words!
It was such a privilege to be on our own in the middle of the South Luangwa National Park staying at Norman Carr Safaris‘ Kakuli and Mchenja camps.