Just before afternoon game drive my guests mentioned to me that they had met with other guests during the day who had seen a mother leopard and her cub and watched them playing. The other guests had taken “amazing” photographs and that they so hoped to see something like that! I told them that looking for those leopards again that afternoon was our plan all along. So, with hopeful hearts we went out searching for them.
A while after setting out to find the mother and cub, we managed to find the young male in a similar area to where they were seen that morning. At more than a year old, he is now almost as big as his mother. This was already incredible for the guests as they had never seen a leopard before.
He lay in the grass with his head up, observing his surroundings. About ten minutes later, as I turned to say something to the rest of the vehicle, I heard another ranger who was in the sighting with us, Guy Brunskill, excitedly say “Look there’s another leopard!!”. The Ximungwe female had returned, and the sighting went from good to incredible…
They found some pooled water in a marsh and began drinking. The cub was restless because he could smell blood on his mother’s mouth. We started to realise that the Ximungwe female had probably made a kill at around midday, and might be leading the cub there.
We started asking ourselves where the kill could be? How far was she going to walk with the cub? Everybody was bursting with energy at what was happening and at the prospect of what was to come.
After following the two of them for a while we noticed the kill in the distance, so drove towards the carcass and waited for the leopards to approach…
The young male saw the kill and excitedly ran towards it. His mother allowed him to feed first.
The young male jumped on the kill and bit the neck of the already dead impala. This is how he practices killing.
Finally, after an impressive display of feeding from the young male, he walked off with a full belly and his mother the huntress, moved in to feed herself.
The sighting was mesmerising to everybody who had the chance to see it! For my guests who had never seen a leopard before, experiencing something so incredible involving two leopards, was certainly unforgettable.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.