End of year surprise

There is always something to look forward to when out on safari. The bush knows no time and the wild rhythms simply continue.

After a week of on and off rains, the clouds finally broke and the sun shone through. To enjoy a sunny afternoon, a few members of my team enjoyed a little bumble drive to start off the weekend.

The impalas are still giving birth to the last set of youngsters. Each season I have to remind myself to capture the beauty of the little ones and each season I leave it too late. This time round I decided not to miss out on these cute little ones.

As we were making our way up to the Sand River, I was hoping we were heading off to a big surprise! Khokovela has been hanging around a rocky outcrop along the river bank for a few weeks now. It has recently been discovered that this successful female has revealed yet another set of leopard cubs.

Timing and patience, together with a little luck, can produce some phenomenal wildlife sightings. The afternoon sun was still warm, but as the sun slowly sank the temperatures dropped too. We arrived at the set of rocks where she was said to be keeping her cubs.

This was the first time that I had been around these rocks. At first glance I could see that this would make a fantastic den. There were so many cracks and fissures in the granite boulders. These cracks would provide the perfect safe haven for little cubs, should a predator pass through the area.

Khokovela was sitting in an open area close to the rocks. I could not see any cubs initially. I assumed the youngsters must have been sleeping in the den. We waited patiently and quietly. Then someone gasped, “there’s one, there’s one”.

One teeny tiny cub decided to venture from its hideout. It immediately went to join its mom and started to suckle. Once the little cubs belly was full it found amusement in moms flicking tail.

I got a few glimpses as the cub lifted its head behind the thick summer grasses. I was hoping that it would have the confidence to move up to the rock. Khokovela eventually got tired of laying around. She got up and moved up the rock to scan the environment around the den.

We all waited patiently and as luck would have it, the little cub followed suit and joined the mom. It was a little shy at first while it peered at me from the safety of a bush. Mom started to groom her baby and the little cub started to relax even more.

It is still a little unclear as to who the father is. This area is a loose territory boundary for Ravenscourt, Nyelethi and Euphorbia. There was a recent sighting of the Euphorbia male leopard that walked through the rocky outcrop. Best guess would be that he has sired the cubs.

I cannot wait until I get to view these adorable blue eyed cubs once more. As with the baby impalas, their fluffy coats and cute little faces do not last for too long.

9 Comments on “End of year surprise

  1. Dear Cal,
    I feel quite privileged to share your adventures by means of your blog. Your pics are always great and tell stories without the need for words. We once spent a little time with Khokovela and one of her cubs; she had caught a hare and had left it on one of the boulders near the Sand river for the little one to ‘play’ with. It was a magical sighting and your blog definitely brings back these treasured memories. I hope you will find us much more lovely surprises soon. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marianne, I am glad that you have thoroughly enjoyed yet another blog post. There will always be more surprises when you return again.


  2. Thank You Cal for sharing these lovely pictures and the great news about Khokovela.
    She is a great mother (like her mother Thlangisa)
    Keep fingers crossed for the little one to reach adulthood 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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