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Matthew Poole | Leopard Love Story

Updated: Jun 8


After leaving an incredible sighting of mating lions, my guests and I heard a leopard rasping in the distance. As we were losing day light quickly, I picked up the pace and raced in the direction of the sound. Following the call, we waited next to a big drainage line for the leopard to appear into an open clearing.


She eventually came out onto the edge of the drainage line, calling and looking over her shoulder. She kept on walking along the edge of the drainage line, into the direction of a fallen-over, dead tree. As we were saying to each other how incredible it would be if she jumped onto that tree, she did exactly that.

Female leopard on fallen over tree branch, South Africa Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Female leopard on fallen over tree branch, South Africa Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The leopard settled on the tree and started to groom herself. With the sun setting in the background, this sighting of a leopard rasping on a beautiful dead tree seemed too good to be true. But she kept on rasping and looking around her attentively, which made us wonder if she had seen or heard something that we missed. Then we suddenly heard another leopard calling from across the drainage line!

Female leopard on fallen over tree branch, South Africa Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Female leopard on fallen over tree branch, South Africa Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Soon after that, the female leopard jumped down and started running in the direction of the call, disappearing into the drainage line. Excited to see whether the other leopard was a competing female or possibly a male leopard, we drove around the drainage line, hoping to catch her popping out on the other side. It was already dark when we managed to relocate her, together with the beautiful, dominant male leopard of the area. With both mating lions AND leopards on our afternoon game drive, it truly felt like love was in the air that night!

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