Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

the call of silence

by Sabi Sabi on October 18, 2013

A misty, cold and rainy morning left us sleeping in and skipping the morning safari. We decided to head out into the bush straight after breakfast. With the sun finally shining confidently and the clouds drifting away, we knew it was our cue to leave the lodge. I heard from the rangers that a female leopard made an impala kill and she was found guiding her cub to feed on the soft and fresh meat.

leopard sighting while on safari at sabi sabi private game reserve

leopard at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

We headed out and I drove exactly to where this female was found. To my concern I had no visual of the female or her cub and this caused us to search around the area for her elusive appearance. Finally we found her on a broken down Marula tree and to our shock we found her contact calling to her young cub that was hidden in the thicket surroundings.

leopard in a tree at Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari lodges

leopard at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

She started calling more vigorously and alarmingly and her calls left us speechless and worried. She started walking around looking desperately in every direction and soon we figured out that her call attracted the only animal she was trying to avoid. Out of nowhere we heard rustling in the bush and through the long grass we watched a big male leopard approach her with determination and pure anger with his mouth left salivating profusely.

leopard walking in the road at Sabi Sabi Private game Reserve

leopards fighting at sabi sabi luxury safari lodges

She was walking away with no idea that behind her was the male that she had not mated with and it was clear that he was coming to find her and her cub. The male stalked her for about 100 meters and the next second, in one big flash, he decided to pounce on her and started a battle of clashes between the two of them. They were in the air, claw to claw, head bashing and jaw jabbing and this was a fight I thought would be to the death.

leopards fighting at sabi sabi luxury safari lodges

He then walked away with a cut lip and his nose in the air, trying to pick up on the scent of the precious little cub hiding away and nowhere to be seen. She followed closely and the tension was at its ultimate level. We sat in total silence with their intimidating calls penetrating our chests and we were petrified knowing what the end result will be.

leopard at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

leopard walking in the road at Sabi Sabi Private game Reserve

The male found her kill and started feeding as she lay only a few meters away, showing her motherly love and life skills, willing to risk her life to protect her young. The tension eased up and she lay helpless calling for her cub. Is her cub safe or will the intruder male leave her continuing her journey alone?

BY: MARCUS HACK (EARTH LODGE RANGER)
IMAGES BY: DIEGO DIAZ
VIDEO BY: VERONICA ELIZALDE

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

shirley October 19, 2013 at 6:12 am

Oh Know! I hope he didn’t get the cub!

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debbie grimes October 25, 2013 at 5:30 am

Don’t see the link for the video. Is it on this page?

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