12 | Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 31
Elusive Leopard Story and photos by Dick Berry
y recent trip to South Africa led me there with a single purpose: to find a way to improve the already aweinspiring experience of an African adventure for my business, Capture Africa Tours. I more than hit the jackpot when I stepped into the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR). On the morning of Saturday 17 January, on the road into the Klaserie, my guide spotted what appeared to be leopard tracks traveling in the same direction that we were headed. We climbed out of our vehicle for a better view and to confirm that they were, in fact, leopard tracks. A movement in the distance caught my eye. About 45 meters away I saw a female leopard on the road. When
she saw us she quickly headed into the brush. Immediately we returned to our vehicle and proceeded to follow her parallel to the road. To our amazement, we realised she had a cub shadowing her every move. In and out of the heavy brush they moved like ghosts, stopping only briefly to look in our direction. With my camera and 500mm lens ready, I focused through my viewfinder on their silent, graceful movement. We followed them for about an hour and I was able to capture some great images. I am in awe of the grace and power of the beautiful leopard. Grateful for the privilege of seeing
this experience up close, I returned to my goal of sharing this intimate look at Africa in all its natural glory and splendour so that others may appreciate it, too. My images allow me to share my journeys with others in ways that words fall short. They also serve as a reminder to my future self that a journey to Africa, and to the Klaserie in particular, is a journey worth taking time and time again. I strongly promote conservation efforts of wildlife and the natural habitat in which these animals live. I teach and practice patience and respect when watching and photographing wildlife. My focus is on allowing nature to unfold and not pressuring the circumstances to create the perfect shot. I believe you will fall in love with this reserve, as I did, and find many perfect moments before you and just around the next bend. To that end, our guide, Shaun Taylor, recognised that the leopards wanted to cross the road and our pursuit might be preventing them from doing that. And so, we respected their land and their wishes and continued on our travels, moving deeper into the Klaserie and on to the next unfolding adventure.
Klaserie Chronicle no 31