on Close Encounters of the Spotted Variety

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This is very brilliantly narrated. I presume you guys must be going on open vehicle. Going through your wonderful posts on a regular basis, I always wonder if these big cats attack, or pounce on you. What precautions do you take or how do you muster courage to go as close to these big cats as possible?? Take care


Thank you! Yes, the vehicle is open both on top and all sides. The animals are very used to the vehicles and do not see them as a threat or a predator, nor as a food source. They are basically indifferent. There are saftey rules however which our brilliant guide and tracker ensure we were aware of including: never stand up in the vehicle as it breaks the silhouette the animaks are used to; never leave the vehicle; never reach out to the animals; no sudden movement; no shouting or loud noises. Our hearts did quicken during the first couple of game drives when the cats came very close to the vehicle but eventually we got used to their proximity and we trusted your guide and tracker who know these animals and their behaviour very well.


Nicely reported and photographed! A year or so after our safari we met up with our tour guide and as I was telling some “newbies” that the cats never come into the car he related a story. Seems he was in the Okavango in an open car and leopard jumped into the vehicle next to the driver (shotgun) and was eyeing him from a foot or two. The driver sat there sweating bullets until the cat decided to decamp after a few minutes. Never say never!

Jenifer Westphal

Gayle – such a fabulous and heart wrenching story!! Thank you for sharing – I live vicarssly through all these stories and more!


I hope my trip to SA is as amazing as this.. Awesome, although a bit scary also.
Thank you for sharing


what is with majingilanes?? are they ok after fight with selatis? did they come back home or are they still at selatis teritory

Kate Neill
Guest contributor

Hi Marco,

James Tyrrell’s report on them recently is this:

All four Majingilane have been with the Sparta Pride recently. The male with the Scar-hip is limping quite badly, apparently with a nasty cut to one of his toe-pads on his front right leg.
He is keeping up with the Sparta pride though and they have been hunting successfully, so he is not going hungry. Lions have remarkable powers of recovery so we are sure he will be fine.

Hope this helps!
Kindest regards,

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