Life in the Sabi Sands has its challenges. Everyone who calls this wild pace home has their fair share of stories. Some of these involve creatures like scorpions in their bed sheets or a slithering snake turning up in a frightful place, a bit too close for comfort. This however was one encounter close to home that I doubt I will ever forget.
Early one evening my friend Genene and I were winding down in her lounge after another day in our COVID isolation space. We moved our conversations indoors from the usual outside veranda due to a cold wind that picked up suddenly. This particular day had a very ‘feline theme’ as multiple messages flowed in on the work Whatsapp group about a curious leopard slinking around our staff area. There are a few families with small children and a few pets so we were all on high alert. We were wondering if and when we might get a glimpse of this mysterious spotted cat.
It was not long after we sat down on the couch that Genene’s exclaimed “She’s here!”. I jumped to my feet and looked in the direction she was pointing. When I focused my glance to the direction Genene was looking I saw what caused her fright – a leopard on the veranda! There in plain sight, no more than five meters in front of us was the leopard. The nervous cat took a few retreating steps and swiftly jumped off the veranda. She paused, gave us a brief glance and quickly trotted her way out of the yard through the front gate.
My thoughts turned to warning my neighbours that the leopard may still be in our little staff village, but as Murphy goes the cellphone signal had disappeared. So we did it the old fashioned way through the bush telegraph… I shouted to Tom “There’s a leopard walking towards your house” and the message quickly got everyones attention. No small children or pets were harmed, just another evening in the bush.
Please see the video below which I managed to capture with my phone just as she made her exit.