Sunday, 10 July 2011 – Bush, day 3
This morning we had a wonderful morning game drive, spotting of course tons of grazing animals, birds, and other creatures (saw my first African snake, although didn’t get a good enough look to see just what it was). We got a particularly good view of a pair of warthogs, certainly one of the most interesting animals in the bush to watch.
Back in camp, Constance and I were sitting on a log watching the Luangwa River flow past. Suddenly, a group of about 10 hippos or so on the opposite bank charged into the water, causing quite a scene. I assumed they had had enough of the hot sun, and decided at once to go for a cooling swim. When I inspected, however, I realize that the hippos were escaping something entirely different – they were fleeing a leopard! The leopard was walking along the steep river bank, scaring off everything in its path. Hippos fled to the safety of the water, as did a number of large lizards, and birds fled by wing. Crocodiles stood their ground, and the leopard just ignored them. We watched as the leopard walked about a half a kilometer or so along the bank, bothering just about every creature it passed, even pouncing at one point, apparently unsuccessfully, at an animal hiding in a bush at the water’s edge, until it climbed back up the bank and disappeared into the bush. There was no mistaking it this time, we had seen a leopard, even watched it on the hunt! That is, without question, one of the most beautiful animals I’ve ever seen, and I felt very lucky to have witnessed a few minutes of its life in the African wilderness.