I set out this morning for a game drive at 6.am, with one objective, to see Zawadi the leopard at the leopard gorge. She had been reported to have one cub of about 3 months old. My mission and that of my guests who has been coming here for many years, was to establish the truth, since the leopard in reference is a known character who featured a few times on the BBC’s Big Cat Diary. She is about 16 yrs old by now and for her to have a cub at this age is proving us wrong in what we would have thought is not possible.
Back to the leopard gorge.... when i got there this morning, i found Jonathan Scott, a proffessional photographer in the Mara who has been following this particular leopard since she was a small cub. When we met, we talked of the good old days at the same place when we used to come and see Half tail, Zawadi’s mother in the early 90s. This particular spot was a popular land mark for the driver guides looking for leopards.
When i arrived, before my chat with Jonathan, i looked around and did not see teh leopard though i know she will be somewhere here if Jonathan is also around. It did not take long befroe i saw some movement in the grass on the opposite side of the gorge, and there our anticpiation and long drive was rewarded when she appeared with the cub. Our cameras immediatley went into “rapid fire” mode taking so many of the pictures we later deleted whne she posed nicely giving us the opportunity we wanted. We watched her and around 9am sh eleft the cub and walked away. We assumed she went to hunt and we did not want to spoil her hunt, so we just waited where we were. She came back and went to where the cub was and just slept! We waited until 5.45pm when she came out with the cub, and gave as some great nice poses, whne she knew well that the light was gone and we could not take any picture; well...tomorrow is another day, an di will be there early enough an dall set to spend another day at the gorge, either taking pictures of her, or waiting! Thats life in the Mara....my office.
With the tall grass, she has to be on the lookout all the time when her cub is playing
A lookout from her observation rock
Zawadi plays with her cub on the rocks above the gorge
The cub playing with mum's tail