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Leopards of South Africa’s Kruger National Park


I'll share with you now my most impressive photos.


On a trip to South Africa I visited Kruger National Park. I've actually been there on two separate trips. This place is so awesome and unique it was worthy of a second stop when I was visiting nearby Zimbabwe. It didn't disappoint the second time.


Kruger National Park is huge. You can take a guided tour through the park or you can self-drive. Given those options I will almost always self drive as I did here. Driving alone allows more freedom to explore and more privacy with nature.


Driving through the park is a bit like fishing. You can go some time without seeing anything, then you spot a great siting and bam, you caught one! That's how I viewed it. Some animals were more difficult to spot than others. The big cats were usually the most difficult to spot.


This post I will focus on one particular cat, the leopard. I have a hard time distinguishing between a leopard and a cheetah. They look so similar to me. I learned one of the things to help distinguish is their habitat. The leopard can climb trees but the cheetah cannot. The cheetah just doesn't have the claws for it.


I was very lucky in my travels through the park. I got some amazing photos. I'll share them with you now.


This was a rare shot of a leopard perched high in a tree surveying his prey. I was so fortunate to see this!



How cool is that!?


I thought at the time this would be the best viewing of a leopard on this trip. They are so hard to spot. But I was wrong! I actually was lucky enough to see a leopard with his prey.


The following photos are a bit more graphic. Unfortunately they are not as clear as the ones above. They're probably better viewed on a laptop vs a phone for the bigger image,




The first time I drove by this tree I only saw this dead deer hanging from it. It was a big curiosity for me as I had never seen anything like this before.


I took a few pictures but nothing was happening so I drove away perplexed. But the curiosity was too much and it warranted a second visit. About 30 minutes later I returned and the puzzling question was answered!




The victor returned to his prey. The leopard had dragged the deer up the tree! What a powerful animal. I wish I had caught him in the act!


But why? Why would he go through all that trouble to drag him up a tree?


As I sat there and watched from my car the answer became transparent.


Because of these scavenger hunters. The hyena.


Enjoy the videos of these freeloaders circling the tree as the leopard guards his dinner.





These pictures, although not high in quality, are likely the best I've taken on any trip anywhere. I say that because of their uniqueness. It may be more impressive to photo the Devil's Throat at Iguazu Falls in Argentina, but that's always there and can be filmed again. This scene cannot be recaptured, at least by me in my lifetime.

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
May 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Mother nature is a unique thing thinking about that leopard dragging that deer up the tree to protect his prey. Think about dragging a dead animal on flat ground would be tough. Dragging one up a tree is very impressive. Great pictures

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Kirk
Kirk
May 11
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Thanks Mike…these are some of my greatest photos. I just wish I captured them on my later version iPhone rather than on this iPhone X I think it was.

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