Brenton Honeyman visited Arathusa in November, 2010.
“My friend Ale and I arrived at Arathusa Safari Lodge before lunch on 26 November 2010, having seen our first leopard earlier that morning at another lodge where we had spent the previous two days. When we shared that we were going to Arathusa later that day, our ranger said “You’ll certainly see leopards there – that’s the leopard capital of the world!”. He wasn’t wrong! Soon after we set out on our first afternoon drive, Ryan (our ranger) and De Beer (our tracker) brought us face to face with a leopard – but there were many more to come the next morning.
Ale and I joined the morning drive on 27 November with Brendon as our ranger and De Beer as our tracker. On that drive, we saw 8 leopards! The first sighting happened when we observed a female impala staring into the bush in the early morning light. Brendon and De Beer decided to take us in the direction of her gaze – and it wasn’t long before we saw a male leopard up in a tree with a recently killed baby impala alongside it. The excitement of witnessing the leopard eat the baby impala, was mixed with the sadness of seeing the mother impala a short distance away watching its baby being eaten.
Shortly afterwards we followed another leopard, Safari, the oldest and best known leopard in the area. But the best was yet to come – we saw a male and female leopard as we ventured down a track. The male disappeared in the bush to the right of us, and the female, named Shadow, moved off to the left of the track. Brendon explained that it would be good to follow Shadow as far as possible because she may lead us to her two cubs. Thus began a thrilling journey deep into the bush, with De Beer maintaining sight of Shadow and navigating a way through the thick bush for Brendon to follow. We followed Shadow to a thicket where she had hidden her cubs. Cameras started clicking and my camcorder started recording the incredible scenes of the mother leopard grooming her cubs. After a while, she decided to move her cubs to a new hiding place. This provided us with an opportunity to see her and the cubs in more open spaces – all captured on video! It was the highlight of our Arathusa Safari experience!”