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Don’t Look for the Leopard, Listen to the Birds

April 3, 2015

Don’t Look for the Leopard, Listen to the Birds

- as seen by -

Tim Lewthwaite Tim Lewthwaite

I was sitting by a waterhole in Etosha National Park in northern Namibia. A small herd of impala presented themselves along the bush line. Impala are a common enough sight in southern Africa, but can make for beautiful photographs none-the-less.

I snapped off a few shots as I waited for the impala to come down the slope for an afternoon drink, but they hesitated. One doe arched her back as she stared past me. It didn’t immediately occur to me what was happening, focused as I was on the herd.

Slowly, a rising cacophony of bird calls filtered through – it had only a few moments before been completely silent. I turned to see what was causing the commotion, and saw a healthy looking leopard walking through the limestone strewn landscape just behind me. It was my first leopard sighting in six trips to Africa – a sighting I will always credit to the birds.


, Namibia Map It


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Alex Strachan
April 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

In all the years I’ve been to Etosha — and I feel like I’ve been over every inch of the park — I’ve never seen a leopard. A really privileged sighting, then, especially out in the open like this. The white limestone really brings out the colouring, too….

    Tim Lewthwaite
    April 4, 2015 at 10:30 am

    It was a remarkable sighting and a beautiful leopard. Etosha is a special place.