A Spotted Surprise

At Close Quarters


Yesterday afternoon we were joined by a new group of guests. After welcoming them and having a light lunch and briefing we headed out on drive. We heard that a female leopard (whom we were told was Thandi) had made a kill on Torchwood. As it was a very hot afternoon we decided to only head there later in the afternoon. As we made our way in that general direction we checked various water sources and popped past an old elephant carcass but did not find anything at the site.

We reached the place were the female leopard was seen and found her drinking at a small pan before she led us away. We followed her until she went and sat atop a large termite mound. We sat very patiently in the hope that her cub was around (thinking this was Thandi). Our patience was rewarded soon after as a small cub appeared. This cub was a lot smaller than we anticipated.


This was such a rare and special sighting for everyone. We relished the time spent with mom and cub. The cub even suckled right in front of us. We later identified the female as Kuchava, one of Thandi’s daughters who has been hiding her cub very successfully the last few months. It was not Thandi as initially thought. A fantastic surprise for all.

As it got darker we decided to leave the sighting an went for a fantastic celebratory drink. On the way home we checked for tracks of the Nkuhumas on the main roads but were unsuccessful in finding anything.

This morning we headed out to find the Nkuhuma lions. On our way, we found fresh tracks for a female leopard and a few minutes later, caught up with Xidulu. We found her on a boundary road and managed to spend a short time with her before she moved across the boundary.

We then went in search of the lions and after finding their tracks we managed to track and find them a fair distance into our traversing area, they had walked far in the night. They were totally flat in waist high grass and the photography was not easy. Their bellies looked empty. We decided to leave them and follow up on Kuchava and her cub. We then heard that a hyena was feeding on her kill and surmised that she must have been chased off the kill.

We looked around the area of the kill and soon found her and the cub’s tracks. After a short while we managed to track the two down. They seemed shy (presumably after being chased by the hyena) and we did not see much of the cub this time. We still managed to get a few good images of Kuchava. We then stopped on First Rock for coffee before heading home for brunch. This afternoon we plan to check up on the hungry lions.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Marc de Chalain

    Epic. Keep that cub there to 12th. Fantastic!

  • Gerald

    Great shots.

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