Home Trail tales 2004 Old but exciting
Mike Dibb's magical moment ...
Leopards in the Magaliesberg
It was an October weekend in 1994 (10 years ago but the story is still told!!) at a Foothold weekend which culminated in the hikers training course.
In particular, the final module on ‘orienteering’ required a 7 km course to be laid out with markers. Early on the Saturday morning, Mike Dibb went on to the hills above Foothold and duly arrived at the first location. Mike opened his rucksack and set about securing a marker to the specified bush.
He was almost finished with his task and somehow he was aware of being watched – one knows this feeling – as if being caught with your hand in the cookie jar! Mike stood up, looked around and slowly realized that about ten metres away, down stream; a smallish leopard stood staring at him. He FROZE!! After what seemed ages, the leopard turned and bound down the narrow kloof and out of sight. Mike was left a little shaky – but overjoyed as after almost twenty years of hiking in the Magaliesberg, his dream had come true!!!!
How rare are leopards in the Magaliesberg?
No one really knows.
Sightings are rare, because leopards are basically nocturnal and spend the day lying up in dense bush (kloofs are especially favoured in the Magaliesberg). They are also basically silent. Farmers continue to complain of stock losses, and sightings DO occur (as Mike had experienced).
A party from the MCSA came across a leopard on an approach to Tonquani in the early 1990’s whilst in the early 1980’s another group spotted one in Upper Fernkloof. Scarce previous sightings have also been recoreded.