The Elusive One 

The Elusive One 

The “effective and properly-trained Russian army sleuth animal” is the best way to describe it. They are the ghost cats. Silent, swift and deadly. Unpredictable and efficient, nothing is more entertaining than watching a leopard hunt.

Anybody with bush smarts should never underestimate the incredible speed and lethal jaws of a stalking or skulking leopard. To me it holds the African animal ‘Hall of Fame’ just because of the sheer danger (or thrills) when encountered and the degree of danger involved, rather than for their size especially when on ground.

Tribes who held strong and firm beliefs regarding the spiritual world, their connections with Mother Earth believes in animal skins for their statuses. It is well known that the Zulu Kingdom view the wearing of Leopard skins, for example, as a sign of courage and bravery since part of this belief is that to be considered a person bearing such qualities, you had to as an initiate into the adult world, hunt the animal with primitive weapons and use skills such as stealth, patience and cunning (all qualities of a leopard) to survive the test to prove your worthiness to the King (and to impress the ladies no doubt)!

The Leopard
Genus Pathera
Order Carnivora
Family Felidae
Collective noun Leap

The spotted and shy one
Rosettes consisting of groups of three to six black spots around a yellow-brown core. Long white whiskers, blue-grey to green eyes and two lines across the throat, resembling the necklace, strongly-built short legs describes a leopard. The prey varies from as small as a mouse to Gemsbok.

Of all the larger cats a leopard is a very successful hunter especially taken into account that it hunts alone from land, air, rocks, trees, water etc. A heavily built and quite stocky body means that they possess the strength to hoist their kills up into the trees which also gives them a slightly bigger chance of not losing their hard-fought meals to other predators like lions or hyenas.

In the Welgevonden game reserve we have more leopards than any other big cats but their secretive habit makes it difficult to spot one. With winter approaching the trees are slowly withering and water becoming scarce makes spotting a leopard a lot easier.
Pictured here, we recently spotted an unusual sighting of a mother and 2 sub adults on a full-grown kudu kill on junction Taaibos and Fig tree plains. Apart from that beautiful sighting leopards has been spotted here and there.

Now that you know a little bit more about the leopard, why not make 57 Waterberg your next break away.
Until I meet you on a game drive when you visit.

Ranger Josphat Chinyanda.