August 18, 2016 – Maasai Mara NR, Kenya
Patience pays off! For the afternoon game drive we returned to the crossing point along the Mara River. We arrived in time to see a couple of dozen Zebra cross the river and could see a few others were thinking about returning back!
A mother and calf Zebra were the first to return, dropping down the bank and into the water where about five Nile Crocodiles were lying in wait. Both individuals were attacked by crocodiles with the youngster getting away relatively quickly while the mother seemed to have a harder time but she did manage to get break free.
As both Zebras made it to the far shore it was obvious that the mother had suffered a broken leg. No sooner had she collapsed than a Leopard came out from the thicket, along the top of the bank, which was only a few feet from where the zebra was laying. What a combination seeing spots and stripes together! The Leopard went straight for the throat and began to suffocate her.
As that was going on, a massive Nile Crocodile, one of the ones that attacked the zebra, came ashore and began to try and grab the rear end of the Zebra. Its size, estimateld at 18 feet, was most impressive! A large boulder it was resting upon made it too awkward to reach the Zebra. Being incapable of getting at the meal, it rested with its long snout on a rock facing the Leopard and Zebra. Two other crocodiles pulled up beside the big one. The Leopard was not fazed one bit. There was no doubt as to who was going to win this battle. Once the Zebra was killed the Leopard began to dig into his meal. The crocs eventually backed off and returned to the river.
Once the Leopard was full he wandered down to the river for a long drink and on his way back up the river bank we noticed that he a severe limp. This was the leopard the warden at the hippo pool had told us about earlier in the morning. How luck he was being able to get such an easy meal. Being in the right place at the right time and having patience certainly paid off, not only for him but also for us, as we watched this amazing epic encounter unfold.
More exciting encounters can be seen on our next African Safaris: