It was a very early start for us from the beautifully located Lemala Ewanjan, a tented camp set within the game-rich Seronera Valley in a secluded part of the central Serengeti in northern Tanzania. With a photographer in tow, today was the day we were planning to find what we were already fondly referring to as our leopard and her cub.
We had seen her briefly the day before, but with all the other vehicles around it was not so easy to actually enjoy any time with her – so today we were hoping it was going to be just us and her and her young cub.
Off we went to the Maasai Kopjes to have a look around, though sadly she was nowhere to be seen. We drove on for a bit and decided at one point to park on the side of the dirt road and scan the grasslands.
Then suddenly there she was! Perched on top a sand mound and clearly looking anxious. We quickly realised that she was looking for her youngster and so we too started scanning the area until we found him in the long grass, not far from our vehicle.
With our eyes peeled on the young cub and then back to the mother, it was difficult to know where to look first. She was anxious and scanning the grasslands, looking at us every so often. She was actively calling but the little one wouldn’t move.
Whether she knew where her cub was or not we will never know, but she continued to call, watch and listen intently, but the young cub didn’t moved and remained well and truly hidden.
And then this happened: Clearly fed up of waiting and calling she started lifting herself up on her hind legs, like a meerkat, to get a better eye view of the area, until she was standing at full height!
We couldn’t believe it. Never in all our years of being on safari and watching wildlife documentaries, had either of us ever seen a leopard do this.
From this vantage point she quickly spotted her cub, and she immediately started calling again, patiently waiting for the cub to join her. It didn’t take long before the two were finally reunited, making their way past our vehicle before disappearing into the grasslands.
It was a precious time for us with these leopards, and one that we will never forget – and to have enjoyed it all by ourselves (with the exception of a couple of 4×4 vehicles that joined us on the road) was a bonus! It just goes to show that waking up extra can be rewarded with spectacular sightings such as this one.