Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

they grow up so quickly

by Richard de Gouveia on November 24, 2012

What a great couple of days we have had with my favourite leopard, Nottins. This 13-year-old female just has such an aura about her that leaves me stunned every time I see her. This old girl still has what it takes to keep her genetics going and after her son, Selati male, was chased off he has since made a huge impression on the leopard population around us! Now she is raising the remaining cub of an original litter of 2 and this cub is female. This is a really great thing for us as we have a male dominated leopard population and the addition of another female will be great. Female leopards will reach independence sooner than males as they are less likely to be killed by the dominant males in the area as they could potentially be mated with. The other reason that she would stay is that her mother will give her a part of her territory.

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

For the past few days we have watched Nottins picking off at the buffet of impala lambs that have been around. This is great news for her cub as she will get the sustenance she needs to get stronger and possibly have an opportunity to practice her hunting skills. We watched the other day as she bounced around and played with her food as if she were trying to kill it. This behaviour is vitally important to her survival, as it is these skills that she will use when she becomes independent.

nottins drinking water at Sabi Sabi

nottins in a tree

 The mother-daughter relationship is still strong with the daughter cuddling mom and playing with her to strengthen and maintain these bonds for as long as possible. Being 8 months old, she is fast approaching the textbook age of independence but as we already know with Nottins, she may just keep her a little longer than the books say. Selati male was under her care for almost 2 years before he was left to fend for himself.

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

For now though Mom has been taking excellent care of her and she is looking fantastic! Her eyes are full of fire and lust for life and she is so relaxed around our vehicles which will mean that we will have even greater chance of watching this young leopardess move through her life.

nottins and cub while on safari game drive at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

nottins and cub at Sabi Sabi

nottins at waterhole

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins and cub

nottins and cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

nottins at waterhole while on safari game drive at Sabi Sabi

It was also a fitting goodbye to our Head Ranger Jaap van Dijk, who will be leaving us after many years of fantastic service. His time with us has been amazing and he has put a lot of effort into making the Safari Team as successful as what it has become. He has left some very big shoes to fill and he will leave behind a legacy that will continue for years to come. He has nurtured the team like my favourite leopard has nurtured her cub. It is customary for the ranger that first finds the new cubs to name them and it is fitting that Jaap was the first to find Nottins’ cub. After much deliberation we have decided to call her Mzilo, which means fire in Shangaan, due to her fiery eyes!

safari vehicle at Sabi Sabi

 by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)
 images by: Jaap van Dijk

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

sheila November 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Hmmph, my Mother never allowed me to play with my food :P Great blog…..as usual. That sequence of cuddle shots was really amazing. Thank you Richard.

Reply

sheila November 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

……and thank you to you too Jaap. Like I said, Amazing photos.

Reply

linda November 25, 2012 at 4:02 am

Thanks so much Jaap and happy travels whereever you are off to. I am sure the Sabi team will miss u. Gorgeous name for a beaut little girl. Nottins is the best mother leopard!!

Reply

heather chalmers November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm

What superb images, Richard!!! We will all miss you Jaap and wish you much success in your new endevours! Blessing to all at Sabi Sabi including Nottins and Mzilo.

Reply

pauline proszowski November 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Beautiful photos, beautiful name for this new cub too.
Jaap, we’re so very sorry to hear you’re leaving, as we wanted at least one more safari adventure with you (like the wild dogs off road ride when we first met!!). Thanks for all the great memories.
Wishing you much success and happiness in your next endeavor. I know you will be missed at Sabi. Please keep in touch.

Reply

tim driman November 30, 2012 at 7:14 am

Richard, These are awesome images! I am green with envy…

We photographed her last litter very young and then grow…If I am not mistaken the one male was killed by a big male in the area?

That shot I took of Fred with the leopard above his head in the tree ( Go back a few weeks in a photo I posted on your site ) is one of this female’s cubs..

I have a suggestion which you may like to try… Please contact me by email.

Keep up the great work in your end of paradise…

timdriman@iafrica.com

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: