Please login to vote.
Saturday, 23 June 2007

Spotting a Leopard on Safari? - Page 3

Written by Paul Lalonde
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(0 votes)

For the first three days of our safari tour, she has eluded us. Our host, Corbis, offers a simple explanation: as one of Africa's stealthiest animals, the leopard can choose whether she'll be seen. He cautions us not to get discouraged, insisting she's always around you, sitting in the tall grass along the road, or high in a tree, lazing on a branch. He urges us to keep looking, saying that at any moment, without warning, you could find yourself facing her.

 

By drinks he means the "sundowner," the safari version of happy hour. This nightly tradition brings a little bit of civilization to the wild savannah. Our hosts set up a table with a white tablecloth, and guests enjoy cocktails as the sun sets over the mountains. For me, those moments capture the true mystery of Africa.

 

But tonight's sundowner must wait, because right now we're chasing a different African mystery. Gerritt drives us further into the bush, pushing deeper into the leopard's domain. When he accelerates over a small tree, it cracks loudly under our three tons of steel. It feels like we've kicked in the leopard's door.

 

Lawrence believes we're close. "She was spotted here this morning," he says. "We didn't see her tracks on the roads, so she's probably still here."

 

After announcing our presence with a wallop, it's time to crouch low and wait. Gerritt turns off the engine and we roll to a stop. Like Lawrence, I move my head up and down, my eyes probing low in the grass and high in the trees. In the silence, I imagine I'll be the one who spots her first, proving myself more than just another tourist. In my mind, our African tracker slaps me on the back, exclaiming that, like the leopard, I am a living example of the skill, patience, and brains it takes to survive in the wild.

 

sunsetBut it never happens. Not for me, nor for any of us. Dusk is turning to night, and we can search no longer. Gerritt starts the engine and steers onto the road. Moving quickly now, hurrying to catch the final moments of sunset.

 

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Search Content by Map

Search

All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2021 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.