I was in the Sabi Sands, South Africa early one winter. Although the cold in the lowveld is not exactly what you would call cold (especially if you are ready this from the Northern hempishere, it was pretty cold for us Saffas. We were on a mission that morning to find Tlangisa, a beautiful smallish female leopard who had killed the day before.
The search took us all over as we tracked her spore from tree to tree, and it seemed as if she had vanished. Perhaps some hyenas or lions had scared her off the kill and she fled. We were hoping she had gone in search of water instead and decided to sit and wait at a nearby waterhole for a while and see if we could hear any alarm calls from vervet monkeys or baboons signalling a leopard walking through the bush.
Eventually as we were about to drive off and carry on the search she appeared out of the dense bush, looking tired and thirsty. She lay down and drank for a while to replenish her thirst. And just as she appeared from nowhere she got up and walked straight back into the dense thicket again. We were determined to get the shot though, so we trapsed over the thick foliage until there was a clearing and from then on, we were treated to the most magical half an hour with the most beautiful Tlangisa. She posed and walked and came right up to the vehicle. She sat and stared us straight in the eyes. She moved with us and for a few moments we were all that was there in the world. In the wild of the Sabi Sands. At peace and one with nature. As it should be.
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