Leopard sighting

17 January 2011

The managers house where I live is right down the southern end of the beach about 50 m past the last Banda. Yesterday afternoon around 4 pm I was walking home along the back path or service path that runs behind the Bandas. As I walking behind Banda 6 I could here the alarm calls of several animals on either side of the path. At first I thought all the fuss was because of me so I stopped and froze with my back to the trunk of a large Palm tree. I stood stock still for at least 30 seconds picking out the different alarm calls and looking for the culprits. Above me a troop of vervet monkeys were going crazy, further into the forest I noticed a flock of guinea foul who were also making a racket, and behind me and above Banda 6 I could hear several baboons barking their distinctive warning call. Just then I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and slowly turned my head to the right expecting to see a baboon walking behind the tree. My heart stopped beating, she was small, about 40 to 50kg, and stunning with a striking pattern which looked so clean and fresh, she was only 10 feet away. The leopard walked right behind the tree I was leaning against then strolled onto the path just 10 feet in front of me, she didnt look or even register that I was there. She slowly walked away down the path with her tail in the air curling to the left so that it looked like a question mark ? . The noise around me was incredible but her only reaction was a flick of the tail once then twice before she rounded the corner. I moved slowly after her and managed to see her turn into the grass and disappear.

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