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zimproguide

Can you sit with a leopard.....

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zimproguide

Over the last few days i have been thinking that i am due to see something good....

 

I did a walk this morning in the rocks between Masuma and camp with two guests. It is i guess my favourite area to walk in these parts. To give you and idea of what it is like you need to imagine a mini Matopos if you are a Zimbabwean or know Matopos. If you are not Zimbabwean and don’t know Matopos then imagine a place filled with huge Granite rocks creating hills all around. There are elephant paths weaving back and forth between them through the bush. It has a kind of spiritual feel to it.

 

Anyway the walk was going well, lots of interesting things to look at and talk about, my aim was to try and find some elephant bulls feeding in the rocks and approach them. We didn’t find any elephants but did find an adult lion skull which is something i have only found twice before so that was good. After we had been walking for about three hours i saw a nice looking rock with an easy slope on one side so we climbed up to the top about five metres up and i dished out some water from my backpack. After passing the water i turn and look out over the bush. In corner of my eye i see a little movement and turn and look. Sitting about ten metres away staring back at me is a sub adult leopard; it gets up and walks round a rock. I quickly tell my guests and pull them towards me to show them. The little leopard then walks out from behind the rock and to a small bush and sits again and stares at us.

 

I move us along to a place where we can all see it clearly and we sit. The leopard is now about fifteen metres away and just sitting and staring back at us as we stare at it. In my head i am just thinking...”you don’t SIT with leopards on foot” I have sat with Wild dogs many times, sat with Cheetah a few times and have sat with lions at a distance but leopard! The big bonus here is that this leopard is still a cub really. A very bold cub at that! I know by the size of the cub, its about eight months old . It is at a stage when mum can leave it for longer periods alone while she is hunting as it can pretty much look after itself as far as staying hidden and running away to hide. The fact that mum could possible appear is on my mind but to be honest i am mesmerised by this little animal.

 

After we have sat for about ten minutes the leopard starts to fall asleep, this brings a huge smile to my face. If an animal is comfortable enough to fall asleep in your presence you can pretty much say it is relaxed. A branch cracks behind it and you can see it instantly alert. It’s an elephant feeding in the distance. It relaxes again. I decide to see if the cat will let us get closer. I tell my guests to stand very slowly and follow me. I tell them to make their movements very slow, this is key when approaching anything on foot. We walk back down the rock and very slowly round towards the bush where the leopard is. We get to about twelve metres and then sit. The leopard just watches us. We watch the leopard. My mind is buzzing.....”you don’t SIT with leopards on foot”. I must say here that the reason that i say you don’t sit with leopards is they are the kings of camouflage and stealth. I always tell my guests....”leopards decide when you will see them, not the other way around” In my experience you are doing very well if you see a leopard at all from a vehicle let alone be on foot and SIT with it.

 

I decide to move closer again as the cat is showing me it is relaxed, we edge closer and are now about ten paces (i counted them after) from the cub. We sit for the next twenty five minutes just staring at each other. The cub starts to fall asleep again and again i smile. After a while the cub starts to look around and try to swat at a fly that is bothering then starts waving its tail around up behind it. Then stands up and looks at us one last time and turns and walks away down an elephant path. We sit and watch it go till it is out of view.

 

Well i guess that “you can sit with a leopard on foot”

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Sangeeta

That must have been magic - pure magic.

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Kitsafari

Wow oh wow. How rare n precious is that experience.

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kittykat23uk

Wonderful experience! :)

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wilddog

This brought a smile to my face to just imagining this special experience. How wonderful :)

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Peter Connan

What an amazing experience!

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Dkay

Wow, what a beautiful experience. Loved the way you narrated it!!

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Tom Kellie

~@zimproguide:

 

Wonderful tale!

I greatly enjoyed imagining what such an experience would be like.

Thank you for telling it in such a compelling way.

Tom K.

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vikramghanekar

Amazing experience!.

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Big Andy

@@vikramghanekar Thanks for bring this to the top of the pile, I missed it when originally posted. As everyone has said that must of been a fantastic experience.

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johnkok

What an experience. Truly one to treasure. I can only imagine and wish.

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Atravelynn

Just beautiful!

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