A leopard strolling across the savanna had no idea it was being watched closely by a large lioness just meters away.
The amazing encounter was caught on camera by 24-Year-old French Biologist and freelance Safari guide, Valentin Lavis, during an 18-day private safari in Namibia.
Here’s how Valentin described the sighting in his own words:
“I was guiding an 18-day private safari with 2 clients for a honeymoon. We spent the first 12 days around the country visiting amazing landscapes and a bit of wildlife. My guests were super excited for Etosha National Park and so we spent the remaining 5 nights in the park with a safari every day.”
“We entered the park around midday and made our way to Olifantsrus campsite for the 1st night. We had some great sightings while on safari, but this afternoon was definitely one of the best in my life. It started with an elephant herd crossing in front of us, a tower of giraffes drinking with a honey badger having a mud bath in the middle and at around 5pm I decided to check one last waterhole before heading toward the camp to watch the sunset at the hide.”
“One of the reasons I love this part of Etosha is because it is very quiet and you can often have a sighting just for yourself without being disturbed. There was one vehicle parked next to the water, we started to approach slowly and one of my guests said ‘Lioness!’ Indeed it was! A beautiful lioness was sitting in the open not too far from the water. I soon spotted another animal drinking at the waterhole but it looked way smaller than the lioness… A leopard!!!”
“I quickly positioned the 4×4 to provide a good visual for my guests and waited for the confrontation to happen. It took mere seconds when the lioness started stalking the young female leopard who wasn’t even aware of the lioness’s presence at all! We all tensed up and waited, preparing ourselves for the dramatic but truly wild moment that had to follow, and realized that we are the only few people on earth who will experience this right as it happened.”
“My guests had their cameras ready, and, I too, started to film as steadily as possible while trying to contain my emotions. This was incredibly exciting! The lioness stalked quietly, waiting to get close enough to the leopardess before launching, but as her excitement built up, the leopardess noticed movement and became more than aware of her fate. For a moment, the two stared at each other and the lioness launched as the leopardess turned and speedily ran off into the thicket. After missing her chance, the lioness returned toward the Mopani thickets where she was lying at first. “
“I tried to follow the tracks of the leopardess who disappeared after the attack to try and find where she had run off to, we went toward the main gravel road and my client once again spotted her, she was up in a very uncomfortable thorny bush, completely terrified and alert. We stuck around for an hour or so to see if she would finally calm down and come back down from the tree. Sadly she only came about halfway down the tree when it was time for us to return to camp as the gates were about to close. All bush lovers can confirm: it’s always like this on safari!”
We saw a similar sighting when a lion stumbled upon a sleeping leopard. Watch that video below: