About the Author

Tristan Cooke

Writer

Tristan is a Zimbabwean born journalist. He grew up moving farms in his home country and moved to South Africa to attend Rhodes University. With a passion for wildlife it was a natural progression that he gravitated to Londolozi. He now works in ...

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30 Comments

on A Lived Leopard Legacy – Nhlanguleni’s cubs

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Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Thanks Tristan, that was beautiful – and how lovely you could illustrate it with your own wonderful photos. I totally understand Sean’s comment; to be able to view such amazing wildlife just going about their business as if we weren’t there takes us into their world in a very special way. It bears repeating that we can only do this because of all the work over many years that has gone into the land to allow the wildlife to flourish. Of course it also makes a massive difference when you own the land and can therefore restrict the number of vehicles per sighting to 3 or less – otherwise you affect the behaviour of the very animals you came to see.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Thank you Susan for your kind words. And I agree with your sentiments, Londolozi has managed the land incredibly and the bush has responded. We are blessed to venture into these places and to see the things we see.

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

Nicely said, Tristan, and how lucky you are to have experienced this event! Having seen the cubs and mum at the new den site, I can truly relate to your feelings.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

So so so lucky! And I’m glad you got to witness the same scene Mary.

Marcia Parker
Digital Tracker

Captivating story with some beautiful photos! Thanks!

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Thanks Marcia!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Tristan, Thanks for sharing your amazing story! The images tell part of the experience, but your words kept us waiting for the big moment! Incredible!

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Only a pleasure Michael and Terri, I loved this story, it was probably the easiest I’ve ever written. I found passion and it overflowed onto paper

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Thank you Tristan your story is captivating just like the fotos you took of the Nhlanguleni female and her beautiful, gorgeous cubs. You will never forget that sight and your heart will always have a special place for the Nhlanguleni female and her cubs. Sean has taught you a lot and he is so patient and his foto’s are stunning.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

You are correct Valmai, I will always recall this vividly! Thank you for your kind words

Ian Hall
Master Tracker

This blog should carry a sweetness warning notice, superb photos .

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Now this I love to hear, thank you Ian!

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Wow, such amazing pictures of the mother leopard carrying her cub!!!!

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Thank you Bob and Lucie!

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

“The land provides”, a good saying indeed.
The other day we drove early in the morning along a road and suddenly, behind a bend there was a leopard mother -without a certain name – carrying her cub to a new den. We were so surprised that nobody had a camera ready and she vanished down the hill towards a riverbed and into thick bush.
It was such a wonderful experience.
I love the leopards of Londolozi. The nice thing there is that you very often can really see and watch them.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

A fleeting sight but a view of a cub nonetheless, for some it will remain a figment of imagination. I agree Christa, the leopards of Londolozi are incredible!

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

And Tristan: Stunning photos! Thanks for sharing.

Jeff Rodgers
Digital Tracker

The passion and excitement is evident in your words and images. Well done.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Thanks Jeff, a while back I was told write what you love and you’ll love what you write. Passion creates incredible things!

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Greeat job describing your initial encounter with a leopard and the good fortine to observe mother carrying cub.
I can still clearly remember my first encounter.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Something that will live with us forever Vin!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Tristan, your words and photographs brought tears to my eyes. It is a gift to view these beautiful animals living their life, as though our presence is part of the surroundings, and not a threat. To view weeks old cubs has been on my bucket list for a couple of decades, and I hope each trip, that one of my drives will bring my wish to fruition. I was close last year as Ximungwe had given birth but her cub was well- hidden…. I can imagine you watching Nhlanguleni carry her precious cub, filled with awe, joy and excitement! Your photos are truly magical, capturing those special moments. Londolozi has provided a safe environment for all the animals living there, implementing conservation measures so that the land is rich with food, shelter and water. Fortunately John Varty and his tracker/friend led the way to habituating leopards, so that they’d feel protected and guests could be able to view them as easily as is possible with these elusive cats. There’s nothing to equal the feeling of a leopard passing by you, close enough to touch, it’s eyes looking deep into your own and then then continue on, silently moving into the bush. Thank you Londolozi and staff for providing that extraordinary experience!

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Denise I am humbled by your response. And share your sentiments! I look back at this piece of writing as some of my best work and I still feel that it falls short of truly replicating the events that took place. Stick with it, what you do know with this incredible place, the land will provide!

Carly M
Senior Digital Ranger

Really great read!

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Thank you Carly

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

When I think of perfection in nature, one of the first image that comes to my mind is leopard. Then, if anything more can be added, you have a tiny leopard cub! They are so wonderful, agile, elegant, expressive, intelligent animals and always take you by surprise. Besides all the captivating tales from Londolozi, like the adoption of a male cub or the legacy between father and son, I recently read about an Indian leopard that spent its night with a cow. Every night, they are inseparable. There is so much to learn about them, those wonderful creatures embedded in mystery so beautifully revealed by your pictures and tale.

Tristan Cooke
Writer

Well put Francesca, a rosette mystery box. An animal that we have befriended at Londolozi but are only scratching the surface with understanding their complex ways!

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Beautiful written Tristan as you can feel every word came from your heart. This magical meeting of leopard and human, where both respect the other, is certainly thanks to the time and patience the Londolozi family have dedicated in rewilding their land and ensuring that the leopard are given the space they need. Your photos say it all. I do hope you continue to enjoy more of these magical moments to share with us 🙏🏻

Lisa Antell
Digital Tracker

A sighting of a lifetime! And a bucket list sighting so many of us long for…….what terrific luck and tracking and searching, and rewarded so fabulously!

Pauli Bakker
Digital Ranger

Thankyou so much Tristan for your exquisite sightings and your beautifully expressed story of your amazing leopard encounters over the years at Londolozi….it was completely absorbing and a wonderful compelling read…. Thankyou again…take care, Pauli

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