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The_Norwegian

The quest for the spotted ghost of the dark

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xelas

You were both sleeping on the deck??

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The_Norwegian
23 minutes ago, xelas said:

You were both sleeping on the deck??

? That would be something! No, obviously i was sleeping inside my chalet, and when i woke up and opened the curtains, there she was ??? having a nap. She had a kill in a three next to my neighboring chalet. This 3.5 year old female was born under one of the decks, so she is seen quite regularly around the lodge, as she has taken over her mother's territory who passed away last year. But never would i think i was ever going to have that happen to me, it always seems to happen to someone else ?? this is truly an adventure! There is a pack of wilddogs resting under a three 200 meters away from my deck right now actually! Amazing stuff! 

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xelas

Taking photos through the glass window impacts the clarity and the contrast :lol:! Yours truly, Hulk from Ljubljana (here comes a dark green emoji but I cannot find one).

Edited by xelas

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The_Norwegian
19 hours ago, xelas said:

Taking photos through the glass window impacts the clarity and the contrast :lol:! Yours truly, Hulk from Ljubljana (here comes a dark green emoji but I cannot find one).

Well, this morning i didn't have to take pictures of her through glass at all ? and now i have the pictures to prove it ? sitting at Hoedspruit airport now, this has been nothing short of a trip dreams are made of. Spectacular! I think i got some keepers in my harddrive ??? I'll check in with you later, here's a little something before i make like a vulture and hit the skies! 

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xelas

A true stunner, this Western Barn Owl! Flash or spotlight?

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The_Norwegian
17 minutes ago, xelas said:

A true stunner, this Western Barn Owl! Flash or spotlight?

Spotlight ? whole new experience for me, really learned a lot! 

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The_Norwegian

Like a ghost in the night.... I`m back home, and I really don`t now what end to begin in this time :-O But I am super-stoked about what`s on my harddrive, and my dream about leopards has been fulfilled to a degree I never thought possible :-) So just a little teaser of whats to come, a picture i thought was very very cool! I might be alone with that opinion though lol :-D More to come folks! 

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xelas

@The_Norwegian, your trip report is nominated for the "Teaser Of The Year" award :D!

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The_Norwegian
2 hours ago, xelas said:

@The_Norwegian, your trip report is nominated for the "Teaser Of The Year" award :D!

:D oh really? Hang in there my friends ;-) 

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The_Norwegian

Here`s a leopard for you ;-) 

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shazdwn

You woke up with a leopard on your deck!  How awesome!

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The_Norwegian
On 12/6/2018 at 4:00 AM, shazdwn said:

You woke up with a leopard on your deck!  How awesome!

 

 

It sure was awesome! The fact that I didn't`t get a picture of it will forever bug me.. The following night I tried to rig my camera in the window of the bathroom, and set it up with that Nikon remote-app, but it just didn't work out. Oh well, who am I to complain? ;-) I set out to see a leopard, and as you already have seen, mission accomplished! The sabi sands clearly has gotten it reputation as the #1 leopard-destination for a reason. 

 

Not many minutes into our first gamedrive, our guide told us we were on our way to look for the resident leopardess who had a kill in a tree in a dry riverbed. We headed there, and it didn't take long to locate her, this is my very first shot of a leopard! Not the best one, a little out of focus, not great position, but it is my first shot! ASW_1708.jpg.8018f6f966e49b927318b5a4f8d5a6e5.jpg

 

This is Tiyani, a little over 3.5 years old. After her mother Salayexe died last year, she has taken over a good portion of her territory, so she has prime territory and are doing very great for herself indeed. It did not take very long before her kill tempted her to get more active, and showing us her beauty in all its glory! 

 

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She even dropped her impala-kill out of the tree at one point, giving us the opportunity to witness what strength these cats possesses. Straight down and hoisting it back up again. This impala, pregnant and all can't be far off what she weighs. She indeed has her name for a reason, as tiayani means "strong" in one of the local languages. 

 

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 A lilac breasted roller as we drove around. Beautiful birds. 

 

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Next up on our drive we went to see this beautiful lady, Xidulu. She is 4 years, so a little older then Tiyani. She neighbors Tiyani, and she was at the time I was there very pregnant, and word is that she has now given birth a is denning. They haven't located the densite, but they have reported seeing suckle marks, so exciting times for this first time mother! Looking intently at something here! ASW_2488.jpg.505c30251c87335cf1d773f0c389afdf.jpg

 

And here is what it was, and she went into flat cat pose straight away :-) Smart! 

 

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We soon left her as it was evident that she wasn't`t going to do something anytime soon, and went to see what else we could find. And before long, leopard #3 on the gamedrive presented itself! This is the dominant male of the area, and the father of the cubs of Xidulu. This is Hukumuri. Not the biggest male in the sabi sands, but oh boy do he has that "don't mess with me"-look to him. Stocky, just ready to go. He was on a mission this evening as he apparently had been seeing off an intruder that was making a move. A younger male who wisely had went back to were he came from. Hukumuri was scentmarking and calling like crazy, and it was cool to witness! Did you know that the scent marking of a leopard smells like buttered popcorn? I had been told this before, but it was almost freaky to smell for my own.. Exactly like popcorn! 

 

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Darkness falls really quick, and soon enough the spotlight had to be taken into use. A fairly new experience for me, but yields some really cool pictures! 

 

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Less than happy, salivating and blowing bubbles. Someone better do the clever thing and retreat this night! 

 

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Soon after he went on his way into the night, and we went back to the lodge. We had a great start, and my hopes greatly exceeded! 

 

More later on :-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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kittykat23uk

Fantastic sightings! What's next on your spotty cat list? 

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xelas

@The_Norwegian, Hukumuri, what a beauty, and the energy of the photo is palpable!

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The_Norwegian
4 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

Fantastic sightings! What's next on your spotty cat list? 

 

 

Indeed, this was worth every penny spent! Couldn't possibly ask for more :-) I'm actually going back there next year as well, so that`s next on my list. 

 

57 minutes ago, xelas said:

@The_Norwegian, Hukumuri, what a beauty, and the energy of the photo is palpable!

 

 

He is a wonderful cat! So confident, he just has something about him. He is not very old, he is between, or thought to be, 5-6 years old, so he will still bulk up a little more. He was born way down in Kruger near crocodile bridge, so he wandered well over 100km`s before settling in this area, quite a distance! And he has certainly earned it. He is neighboring the biggest and baddest leopard of them all in the sabi sands, the notorious Anderson male, and in fact made him shift south, that's saying something ;-) I could go on, I have learned quite a bit about these leopards of the sabi sands over the last couple of years, for me it almost felt like meeting celebrities :-) 

 

 

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The_Norwegian

Oh man, how the weeks and months fly away! My home is starting to look like an African safari, there are lions and leopards on the walls everywhere now :-D My trip in November was just incredible and was all I hoped for. In just a few days time I am booking plane tickets for my next trip in November again, I just need to go back to the sands, making it my 4th trip to Africa for 4 years running. Ron Magill wasn't kidding when he stated that "If you're going to visit all the continents in the world, visit Africa last". Chances are you'll never want to go anywhere else if you do it the other way around ;-) Ok then, some more spotted wonders perhaps, because you haven't even seen half of them :-) LOTS of pictures, so if you don't want to see many many pictures of leopards, then this is where you should go to the next post ;-) 

 

 

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I am pretty sure I got my moneys worth, what do you think? I came hoping to see a leopard or two, so I did :-) 

Edited by The_Norwegian

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Atravelynn

You may have missed the leopard on the deck photo, but you have that memory and so many other great shots of a variety of leopard activity.  That darkened night shot is a beaut.  Very cool indeed.

 

I am sure you got your money's worth, from what I have seen so far, but on the old laptop I am using right now, I cannot see your most recent post of photos.  I'll check them later on better equipment.

Edited by Atravelynn

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Peter Connan

Some really magnificent leopards in that last post Sir!

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Ritsgaai

"If you're going to visit all the continents in the world, visit Africa last". Chances are you'll never want to go anywhere else if you do it the other way around.

 

I love it :wub:

 

Beautiful photos!

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Kitsafari

awesome leopards! you've got your birthday wish last year. what is your birthday wish for the next trip?

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The_Norwegian
4 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

awesome leopards! you've got your birthday wish last year. what is your birthday wish for the next trip?

Well, i am leaving a few days before my birthday this time, so I guess i can't make any wishes ? but since two of the territorial females pictured here currently has their first litter of cubs, it would be amazing to see them although  they are not tiny fluffballs anymore in November. But as always, I'm happy with whatever nature decides to show me ??

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Kitsafari

I wish you all the best in seeing the leopard cubs. They are always so so special.

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Antee

Stunning night shots! 

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Hads

Awesome leopard shots @The_Norwegian, especially the night time pics - Sabi sands is leopard central.

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wilddog

Absolutely stunning images. 

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