It is the perfect time to take my dear friend and wife of 35 years, Shan, out on an afternoon “bumble” into the wilderness. The large front has just passed through, leaving us with 20mm of precious rain. After a long dry season, the visibility is now spectacular as the sun bathes everything in its rich golden light. The elephants have begun to wander towards their summer home range further north into the Kruger National Park. The land is resting, renewing and restoring itself as the miracle that is nature unfolds into summer.
After several lightning strikes burnt through the dry vegetation earlier in the month, the rain has now caused an iridescent flush of green to appear. On these grasslands, a rare sight of over 2000 buffalo are scattered across the grassy plain, having wandered in from somewhere in the 6 million acres we call home.
Plains game abounds and on top of a termite mound approximately 120 meters into the dense vegetation the old bullet (that would be me) spots a magnificent leopard scanning the landscape. (Okay it was 30 meters across an open plain, but the earlier description seemed more heroic)
I proudly call in my sighting expecting gratitude, groveling and congratulations from the other rangers out on drive with our precious guests; but there is nothing.
I call again…still no response….My radio must not be transmitting so I give it a quick check: “Anybody copy?”
Finally Tom Imrie, an old hand senior ranger, comes on the air with a somewhat tiresome tone to his voice:
“Go channel 2…” “…Listen Dave, we have three other sightings of leopard; the dogs are hunting in the west and two prides of lions are lying up one south and the other north.” (An area spanning over 60 square kms)
Shan and I look at each other and a feeling of well being engulfs us. We have the privilege of sitting all alone with this truly magnificent wild leopard as he scans his domain.
We engage with him energetically and the message from his side is that he too is well. Our relations are right and Londolozi, the protector of all living things, is the safe haven we always dreamed it would be. A haven for animals to live in harmony with us as we move towards a new era of global consciousness and of sharing space with each other on this great planet.
The sun sets as we wind our way home through the grassy green plains. Our vehicle just a speck amidst the pristine wilderness area that we are custodians of.
Written and Photographed by: Dave Varty