Leopards are among the most secretive of Africa's big cats and it can be tricky to spot one in the wild – unless of course a particularly unfazed feline choses to saunter past your breakfast table. While enjoying a recent stay at Singita Ebony Lodge in South Africa's Sabi Sands Game Reserve a group of guests were seated on the camp's wooden deck engaging a post-breakfast chat when a leopard prowled past, seemingly unperturbed by the gobsmacked onlookers.

"We felt complete awe, reverence, respect and gratitude," says Erika Wiese, who filmed the encounter and shared the footage with Latest Sightings. "What a rare experience to have such an encounter with a leopard." The piercing alarm calls of vervet monkeys alerted the group to the presence of a predator. These wily primates are often the first animals to sound the alarm when a threat strays near. The leopard – a hefty male that had been spotted stalking antelope in the riverbed in front of the lodge earlier in the day – meandered across the upper deck before it descended onto the lower platform and disappeared from view.

While it's not advisable to get this close to a wild leopard, the tourists in this case had little choice in the matter as the cat chose the path of least resistance en route to the riverbed. "Singita's staff is well-trained to deal with encounters of this kind and have strict safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of both staff and guests in these situations," Wiese explained to Latest Sightings. "We were therefore able to remain calm, silent and in awe of the beautiful creature that was so close to us."

The swathe of privately owned and protected land that hugs the western border of the Kruger National Park is renowned for leopard sightings. Cats in this part of the world are likely more familiar with people and see them as neither threat nor food. Of course, where possible, it's always best to give wild animals their space. Even the calmest of creatures can turn aggressive in an instant if they feel threatened.

"This was extremely rare for me and all I can say to someone in that situation is to stay calm and respectful," Wiese added. "The situation proved that wildlife and people can live and interact with each other in harmony and respect."