This could actually be titled “Sighting of the Year” instead. I was on a day trip into the Kruger National Park, with a wonderful couple from Canada, taking in the birds and wildlife on a late November day as my final foray into the Kruger for the year of 2013. I picked Justene and Christo up at Skukuza Rest Camp, where they were staying, and decided to head down towards Pretoriuskop Rest Camp for some birding. I chose the Pretoriuskop area because the broadleaf woodland habitat holds a few birds which are not often seen in the other parts of the southern Kruger. The vegetation type is known as Pretoroiuskop Sourveld, and is characterised by dense woodland and tall stands of thatching grass, which make a great environment for the birds but which is not ideal for the grazing animals. Animal density is therefore relatively low, and this is not the best place in which to see big game. Indeed, if you were after cats specifically you’d be wiser to concentrate your efforts on the Skukuza / Lower Sabie region. Anyway, we started off with a wonderful Spotted Hyena sighting not far out of Skukuza, with two adults and two tiny pups at a den in a concrete drainage pipe under the road. We then birded our way to Lake Panic, where we had a productive session in the hide, before making our way to the nursery for a cup of coffee and some snacks. With a quick stop at the golf club we bagged the Broad-billed Roller, which was perched exactly as predicted in the big dead tree in the middle of the waterhole in front of the club house, before heading on towards Pretoriuskop for some lunch. I then decided to take the loop road around Shabeni, the massive granite dome located north-west of the camp. We were spotting birds as we came to the base of the koppie when suddenly Justene burst out with that wonderful word – “Leopard!!!!” “Where?” I answered, as it was in my blind spot where the windscreen and the driver’s window meet. “There, on the rock!” she answered, and sure enough, there she was, a small female Leopard lying on a rock under a large Fig Tree. She was incredibly cooperative, we were the only people there for the first ten minutes or so, and we must have spent nearly half an hour watching her before she got up, crossed the road in front of us and disappeared into the bush. This was not an everyday sighting. Far from it in fact, as you can go through a whole year without having one quite as good as this. And that’s the irony – despite all your skill at spotting, your knowledge of animal behaviour, your knowledge of the park, your planning, time and effort, it’s often just lady luck who has the final say.