If a river runs through the middle of your territory, which it probably will if you are a large male leopard, then crossing that river is at times a necessity. This does not mean it is an activity that they look forward to, but if you have to do it, do it in style!
Before we get started, lets take a second to remember the lion’s method of crossing the same river: Hiss and growl at the water, cautiously put a paw in, then panic and run like a beast possessed, followed by an extremely ungraceful slip at the end! (See: https://kurtjaybertels.wordpress.com/?s=lions+crossing+river)
The leopard was spotted on the opposite bank of the river, which is always tricky, because if he moves away from the rivers edge, it is very difficult to re-find him in the long reeds that pack the riverbanks. Not having much option, we watched him move along the waters edge for a short while, when he stopped, had a quick look at the river, and made a dream come true! I have always wanted to see a leopard cross a major river, (or even a minor river for that matter), and even better, have a chance to photograph it. I got to do both, thanks to the great decision-making by the leopard.
I got to a good position, and started clicking away. He was cautious at first, much like the lions, which is a smart thing to be when there are large crocodiles about. Once he was in though, he switched to his ‘cool cap’, and nonchalantly walked through the river. Seemingly unperturbed by the lurking dangers, he even paused his crossing briefly to catch the classic ‘stare into the distance’ pose. My camera and I were very grateful!