Just one of the numerous, rewarding experiences of working at Londolozi is witnessing the growth and survival of animals. Being exposed to this environment on a daily basis allows us the opportunity to see certain animals regularly and thus watch their story unfold. It was just under a year ago that I witnessed the Mashaba female and her two cubs being guided to a kill that she had stashed in a Sausage tree not far from Pioneer camp. This was my first time that I had seen leopard cubs in the open and it was an absolutely incredible and memorable sighting. Believe it or not, almost a year on to the day, we had the privileged of viewing the Mashaba female and her surviving cub in the exact same tree.
A few days ago, I heard that this leopard had made a kill in the area surrounding the Sausage tree and my mind immediately reverted back to that initial sighting. Knowing that she could potentially hoist her kill in the same tree, I made a concerted effort to make get into the sighting. Having explained the back story to my guests, the excitement was palpable. Her kill was stashed in a drainage line adjacent to the Sausage tree and the surrounding area has many great hoisting spots, so you can imagine how I could barely believe it when I saw her walking straight towards that same tree.
With the presence of a large elephant bull, she tentatively dragged her kill slightly away from the elephant where she found a perfect spot to hoist. From there the cub and mother fed and played in the boughs of the large tree, leaving me to reminisce over how far this leopard has come in the past year. We are incredibly privileged to have been able to watch her so closely as she grows up and we look forward to seeing what more lies in store for this rapidly developing youngster.