I love the Sabi Sands quite simply because I love Leopards. When it comes to viewing and photographing these beautiful cats this is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best location in the world.
Add to that, the fact that we go out with guests who have all come for the same thing, to track and photograph the big cats. This gives us a unique and uninterrupted opportunity to follow these cats, not having to search many hours for other game that might not be in the area. We focus on the cats and therefore get some really great sightings and spend a lot of time with them.
There are also some very special leopards out there. Not particularly because they are bigger, stronger or more relaxed, as nice as that may be. They become special to those that see them grow up. Whether by visiting the lodges year after year, via the live drives that Wild Earth do, or even the waterhole cameras and Facebook pages that keep people up-to-date with the lives of these incredible animals.
The reason I say all that is because today I had an opportunity to see two leopard brothers, that I have seen grow up together, on a kill. It was a special sighting that many don’t get to see, as these boys are of the age where they have become independent and live a solitary life. They have started moving away from their mother’s territory and could move very far distances in the search for their own territory in the next few years. Seeing these two magnificent males together on a kill on our first drive was something I will always remember.
The call came over the radio for a Madoda Ingwe with a kill, but we didn’t know who. On arrival we saw one male lying on the ground staring up at the other with the kill in the tree. At that moment the thought entered my mind, could it be the brothers together?
I didn’t have to wait long to realize that it was them for sure as Kunyuma gave me his trademark snarl as we approached the tree.
We’re not sure who made the bushbuck kill but Quarantine was not going to leave anything for his smaller brother. Kunyuma lay there looking up in great displeasure as Quarantine carried on filling his belly.
Eventually Quarantine had his fill and made his way down the tree. Kunyuma then jumped up and ate the leftover scraps.
We eventually left the tree with Kunyuma in it and found Quarantine cleaning himself in the nearby river bed.
They had both given us many amazing photographic opportunities as well as a memorable and rare sighting.
I hope to see these boys in the future as we head back in August but, as young males, they will enter a nomadic life travelling some big distances soon.
Who knows when we’ll see them again. (More images below)
If you would like to join us on one of our Big Cat Photo Safaris – click here.