A safari guide in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa was searching for a leopard for his safari tour group earlier this month, and when they spotted one, it was walking along a riverbank seemingly without a care.
Little did the leopard know the safari tourists weren’t the only ones looking in his direction. And little did the tourists know they were about to see something rarely seen on safari.
“The male leopard started to walk along the banks of the Sand River, scent marking all the way,” Matthew Poole, 26, a guide from Kirkman’s Camp, said in the Kruger Sightings YouTube description. “It was at this moment we noticed the male lion lying in the river on the opposite bank.
“I said to my guests ‘Can you imagine if these two dominant males came together.’ It seemed as if my words weren’t cold because shortly after that the male leopard went to sleep and the lion started to stalk him from the other side of the river.”
As the lion stealthily approached, excitement began building among the tour group. With an attack appearing imminent, Poole felt the need to warn his clients that if the lion caught the leopard, it could possibly kill it.
Moments later, the lion was right below the sleeping and unsuspecting leopard that was on the embankment. The lion then pounced and, as Kruger Sightings put it, “scared the living daylights out of the leopard.”
The leopard jumped up and took a defensive posture before falling backward off the embankment, allowing it to escape.
“The lion drove the leopard into a Leadwood tree on the river bank and then had a drink and moved off out of the area,” Poole said.
Incidentally, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve borders the more well known Kruger National Park. The border is unfenced, allowing wildlife to move freely between the two. And on occasion, tourists get lucky with a sighting such as this one.
“[This was] by far the rarest sighting in my guiding career!” Poole said.
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