We are just back from 3 months non-stop safaris and being asked “what was the nicest thing you saw” made us think a bit as there was a lot to choose from.
We were on a 3 week safari throughout Zimbabwe and the game viewing became better and better towards the end of the safari. The last afternoon drive close to Main Camp in Hwange NP we were not expecting to see more then what we already had the 2 days before: several times 12 wild dogs chasing impala, hundreds of elephant playing total hooligan in the mud, 2 male lion walking in front of the car for several kilometre without anybody else around, lion mammy’s and kids, the works.
So we went to an area where we hadn’t been before and there were few animals around until I spotted a leopard hanging the typical leopard way in a fork of a tree. The animal was far away and difficult to photograph as there were branches in the way so after some minutes we left it in peace and drove on. On our way back we checked if it was still there and yes, there it was again. This time she ( it was a young lady ) came down the tree and started walking in our direction. I told the clients not to talk and not to make sudden moves as she might come closer. Well, she did, this leopard walked to about a meter from the car and sat down very dog-like actually and looked us all over: the tyres, the roof, the clients ( who were suddenly hanging backwards as this was to close for comfort ), the logo on the car,… When satisfied, she walked to the front of the vehicle and gave this a good check and proceeded to the other side of the car until she got a sudden fright from a camera moving to quick. She then decided she had seen enough and walked lazily to a nearby tree and climbed up to start checking if any food was walking in the neighbourhood.
It was time to get back if we didn’t want to be late at the gate so we drove back quickly but the explosions of ooohggg’s and aahhh’s and yesyesyes from the client section showed that they had had their apotheosis from the trip, now they could go ! We had an extra bottle of wine that evening celebrating the leopard who came to see the tourists instead of the tourists looking for the leopard.