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Kian Barker
Shakabarker Tours

Kian Barker



Big Leopard, Small Lion...

Greetings and Salutations,

Well this account has little to do with one of those Confucius say: "Confucius say nothing." But then, since we are taking a swipe on some Asian cultural issue about a weird incident when a leopard ended up bigger than a lion. Sorry, neither that and since we are still in the East, it would have had to be a case of big leopard and small dragon. This account is African, maybe the Greeks were involved along the way, but more in the sense of their language rather than physically being present.

This happened on a fairly regular day in the iSimangaliso Park. I suppose each tour becomes more successful with the frequency of leopard sightings. In this instance I am happy to say that a big leopard made the right appearance in the perfect location. On our Eastern Shore Safari we stop at the Catalina Bay view sight. In the past we often found ourselves shuffling around in the grass at this great lookout point. Now we get to stand on a wooden Deck, plus after a glass or two of wine, or a GnT under your belt it is virtually possible to lean in any direction to avoid splashing into Lake St. Lucia. After a good leaning session, while watching several rafts of hippo amble from the warm depths of Lake St. Lucia, I summoned my guests and we boarded for the next part of our safari.

After standing around in almost shear darkness, the minute the spotlight are flicked into light, you tend to blink a little at the brightness. Not long and your eyes are accustomed to the spotlight light and you enter a "night phase" searching out any interesting animals. This must be really exciting for the average foreign visitor as I have visited Europe on a number of occasions and there is nothing like an African night drive. especially after a glass or two of wine. But when a big leopard appears not even five minutes into the night drive this can be a big surprise. We were lucky and although this spotted feline was a little apprehensive in the beginning he quickly settled down and we had an excellent photo session with the most elusive member of the big five. After the last few spots disappeared into the thicket, we headed on to see what else we could ferret out of the African bush. Since ferrets are not African and we have a similar animal called a genet and 'local is lekker' I should write: ... we headed off to see what else we could genet out of the bush? - nah, I think I will stick to ferret, but keep genet in Africa.

Not long after the big leopard we stumbled across a small lion. there are lion in iSimangaliso, but not "them big ones". We get Dandy lions - these are not gay lions, but plants. Ant-lions are plentiful and I am uncertain of what you would call a colony of ant-lions, I doubt if it would be a pride? And sea lion, only seen one here, arrived in a bad storm and disappeared before we were able to assist it. As for the rest no real lions, only a small one, commonly referred to as a chameleon. Chameo referring to a small broach and leon as in lion. this also amazes all those present. Hence a big leopard and a not a lion that was stunted or failed to get steroids, but rather a chameleon.

Hasta la vista

The Knait Wrydah

Posted by Kian

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