“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
It is no secret that I have a deep love for leopards, but one female in particular has captured my attention in the last year and has provided many guests and guides alike with unparalleled quality in sightings. She has a calmness about her that fascinates me. The privilege of being allowed into a leopard’s personal space is still something that blows my mind. These animals are by nature elusive and secretive and yet here we find ourselves being accepted into their world and they allow us to sit just metres away from them while they go about their daily activities.
Just last week I had a day where the Mashaba female and her youngster captured our hearts. I got to see them in the early morning and again later in the afternoon and both sightings were out of this world! It all began with us following mother and daughter as they walked through some thick brush alongside a drainage line, effortless for them but certainly not as easy for us. At this point, the Mashaba female headed towards a Marula tree that she climbed for a quick scan of the surroundings, which in itself had already made for an amazing sighting. When she came down though, her daughter was ready to give us the sighting of a lifetime.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
The following is a series of pictures of the Mashaba female pouncing into a tree from which her daughter had been watching her.
We left the two leopards late in the morning when they disappeared into the nearby drainage line, having decided that it was time for a rest in the shade. We headed for camp, all buzzing with excitement from what we had just witnessed. Later in the afternoon we returned to the area and it seems the bush gods were smiling on us. The two of them were lying on a termite mound and once they had a drink together, they were once again full of life and energy.
What ensued was a joy-filled afternoon, watching these two cats interact and play together. Knowing that these are solitary cats who will eventually go their separate ways, we revelled in this special bonding moment and felt very lucky to have been a part of it.
I hope that you enjoy the series of images.