African Tales – Leopards and Dogs (not a good mix)

Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler

An African kopje

July 7 – During our time in Africa, we lived several times at Solusi Mission. Solusi was a very interesting mission station to live on, as the surrounding country had many kopjes (small hills composed of huge granite boulders piled on each other) that were great fun to climb and explore. There was the danger of encountering a venomous snake or a leopard in one of the caves, but we were always lucky and never were threatened.

I do recall being out hunting near the mission with our two fox terriers and my dad’s .22 rifle, and as we walked between a couple of kopjes the dogs closed in right beside me and stayed there as close as they could get for some time until we were out in the open again. Obviously they had scented a leopard and stayed close to me for protection.

A not-so-friendly leopard

A not-so-friendly leopard

Leopards do love dogs to eat, and one of them nearly did have one of our fox terriers for lunch one Sabbath afternoon. I was at Helderberg and so missed the excitement. The dog was exploring in a nearby kopje as the missionary group were taking a Sabbath afternoon walk, and suddenly he came streaking out of the trees and rocks at high speed. Not far behind him came a leopard. Seeing all these people in front of him, the leopard stopped and stared, while the dog continued his journey back to safe housing on the mission. Then the leopard turned around and went back into his kopje and the relieved missionaries heaved big sighs. My dad said his legs had almost turned to jelly! – DALE

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