Well spotted. Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside.

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In whispers of grass, a secret kept, A fleeting glimpse, our hearts leapt. A leopard cub, in dappled shade, In innocence, a world displayed.

 

 

 

The first leopard sighting on any trip is always exciting. We found this male not too far from where we had been driving. Like most leopard sightings, he played hide-and-seek with us for a while before stepping out into a clearing.

 

 

 

Like all cats, leopards could fall asleep at the drop of a safari hat…

 

 

 

Suddenly this loomed in the vegetation not too far from where the leopard was ‘dozing’. I am certain that could sense each other, but there was no actual interaction between the two.

 

 

 

The encounter seemed to be a big YAWN.

 

 

 

But the male did decide that discretion was the better part of valour and shortly after the display of his dental arry, he chose to leave the area. Lucky for us, because as he vanished into the thick bush we got a call that a female with 2 cubs had been found just a short drive from where we were.

 

 

 

Back to camp or is it time to leave? The trio decided to walk away from the camp.

 

 

 

The female had to keep an eye on the one sibling that loitered behind.

 

 

 

The only image I was able to capture of cubs and mom together out in the open.

 

 

 

The sighting of this leopard cub strolling down the road, not too far from its mother and sibling, elicited a range of emotions from those of us in the vehicle…

The rare and elusive nature of leopards, coupled with the sight of cute cubs, sparked excitement among the guests in our vehicle.

When witnessing a wild animal in its natural habitat, especially a young and vulnerable one, caused a sense of wonderment and awe in those of us watching.

It is difficult NOT to anthropomorphize when viewing young predators such as this cub, hence a feeling of tenderness and empathy towards the young animal and its potential struggles in the wild.

Those of us who are parents can identify (sort of) and feel admiration for the female leopard’s ability to raise and protect her offspring in a challenging environment.

 

 

 

Keeping a watchful eye from a vantage point close by…

 

 

 

Too much of the cute?

It is a fact that the mortality rate amongst leopard cubs is almost 50%, making a sighting like this where there are 2 cubs present, special.

 

 

 

Eyes that can stare deep into your soul.

 

 

 

Adoration?

 

 

 

Knowing that both her cubs were not in any danger, the female, quite literally, took a cat nap. Leaving those of us in the vehicles close by to be the guardians of her offspring while she took a moment of respite.

 

 

 

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