Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime


Country: South Africa
Province: Mpumalanga
Location: The Sabi Sand Reserve
Lodge: Singita Boulders Lodge


This picture shows a spectacular, large leopard licking its lips with delight over its recently caught impala in the crotch of a large, leafless tree.  The head of the impala shows behind our leopard's rear foot.  Pound for pound, leopards are the strongest among big cats.  Like most other cats, leopards are superb tree-climbers. While this cat is about 20 feet off the ground, a  leopard can climb as high as 50 feet up the vertical trunk of a tree hauling a carcass of at least their own weight up.

The leopard is classically feline in its hunting behavior, specializing in ambushing and stalking its prey, then pouncing before the victim can react. With its head low, legs bent and belly nearly touching the ground, a leopard will try to stalk to within 10-20 feet before pouncing. If it misses, it will seldom chase its prey.

This picture was taken in the Sabi Sand Reserve.  The Sabi Sand Reserve is the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in Southern Africa, and is the oldest of all the private reserves in South Africa. Forever, it has been a wilderness area and  home to a vast wildlife population. The name comes from the Sabie and Sand Rivers that flow through the reserve.  Situated near to the Kruger Gate, the reserve shares a common 30+ mile unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park to the east.
The two rivers supply the game reserve with a valuable water source. The Sand River flows through the reserve for 31 miles and the Sabie River flows on the southern boundary. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa. Over two hundred different species live in abundance, as the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds. Such is the environment that the wildlife, save for the migratory birds, remain in their territories all year round.

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve, with its  legendary leopard viewing is the best known of the game reserves in the Kruger National Park area.  

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