November 18, 2014 | By Donna Evans
In the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve of South Africa, there are many choices for ultimate experiences. I chose the fantastic camp of Leopard Hills, where we were greeted by the general manager, Duncan. Located in the private game preserve, there is no shortage of wildlife and encounters with the Big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard), including the leopards they boast in their name. Our spacious suite included our own plunge pool, a fully stocked bar, hammock, lounge chairs, indoor and outdoor showers and the sound of the bushveld.
We enjoyed the view from the deck at the top of the stairs, where we had breakfast and lunch, consisting of delicious cuisine and the service of the happy staff that seemed to be led by the effervescent Steve and his perpetual smile. He and his staff created a romantic dinner for us on our deck with candles and flower petals on the table, on the bed and in the drawn bath (complete with champagne). We were truly spoiled.
Sitting on our deck, we enjoyed observing many wildlife species passing by and grazing. We also watched wildlife from the dining deck, which overlooked a watering hole. In addition, a troop of vervet monkeys inhabit the trees that shade that deck and they are known to sneak over and grab a piece of toast or bread or whatever is left unattended. One new primate mom, with baby in tow, snatched a piece of toast and sat in the tree (smiling, I think) as she enjoyed her treat.
With leopards as our focus, we were not disappointed in seeing several unique encounters that will remain in our memories forever. Our different guides offered great information and we increased our knowledge and love for Africa and all she has to offer. Probably the highlight to any safari will be the animal behavior — not just seeing the animal, but watching to see what they do in the wild. We actually watched a mother rhino and her young calf as she chased away a pursuing male that seemed to be interested in her. The sights and sounds (and timing) create these unique experiences.
The face of the leopard will forever remind me of these beautiful experiences.