Posts Tagged ‘leopards’

 “There is just something spectacular about seeing wildlife in its natural environment that thrills us … Arun Kejriwai

We were too late to catch our leopard up in a tree, but I couldn't resist sharing this Wikipedia photo of this magnificent one out on a limb.

African Safari: A Day to Remember

I welcomed my first morning in the Serengeti from the balcony of our spacious Sopa Lodge suite, breathing in Africa’s morning light that left me eager to start the day. Red-cheeked cordon bleus – what a strange name for a bird – welcomed the morning with me.

After breakfast, and more great African coffee, Bilal picked Kim and I for a full day of wildlife viewing.

Red-cheeked cordon bleu

The day’s fantastic wildlife started as we exited the lodge compound’s gate – beginning with a green wood- hoopoe (another strange bird name) and a troop of baboons that included several babies being lugged around on an adult’s back – and never let up.

We saw impalas, water buffalo, hippos, lions, cheetahs, ostriches, dik-diks, zebras, wildebeest, Nile crocodiles and of course many species of birds – all before we stopped for a nature hike in a developed tourist area where the wildlife were sculptures, well except for the monkeys, one of which tried to steal Kim’s box lunch.

Kim being funny during our nature walk among the wildlife sculptures. -- Photo by Pat Bean

After lunch, I wandered around doing my usual bird hunting until Kim came rushing up telling me to come quick.

Back at the Land Rover, Bilal said “Come on mama,” and then we were off on yet another wild ride.

This time we were racing toward a leopard sighting, which Bilal had learned about while talking Swahil on his radio with other guides. We weren’t the only racers. Only about one in five visitors to Tanzania are lucky enough to see a leopard, we had been told.

Our leopard intently watching a Grant's gazelle. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

It was like a traffic jam at the sighting site when we got there, and learned the leopard had just jumped out of a tree and disappeared.

Then suddenly, as all binoculars were turned toward the distant landscape trying to find the animal, it walked right in front of our Land Rover. Our spot in the traffic turned out to be the best one for leopard watching.

Little bee-eater

Ignoring all the human fuss going on around it, the leopard stayed in the area for the next 30 minutes or so, patiently stalking a Grant’s gazelle. The gazelle finally spotted it, however, and was off and running, while the leopard simply slunk out of sight.

For once, I forgot to look for birds.

Bird Log of New Lifers: Red-cheeked cordon bleu, green wood-hoopoe, red-billed oxpecker, spotted redshank, brown snake eagle, lilac-breasted roller, black crake, sooty chat, blue-capped cordon bleu, speckled-fronted weaver. Verreaux eagle owl, Hilderbrandt’s starling, speckled pigeon, grey-capped social weaver, purple grenadier, lesser masked weaver, wood sandpiper, yellow-breasted apalis, white-headed vulture, hoopoe, little bee-eater, white-bellied bustard, bare-faced go-awaybird, white-browed coucal, Aug. 24, 2007, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Next: Swahili

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