Imagine the moment, when suddenly you see something, sense something, experience something even better than you were hoping for. . . WE have all been excitedly, and maybe even anxiously, waiting for news on Karula’s new youngsters. Friday night’s drive surprised us with Karula (and the Mapogos), and once again our hopes rose and WE all wondered when (and how) WE would see the two little leopards again. Some of us might even have started to ask: if WE would see them again! Then Saturday morning, looking for Mafufunjane, hoping to find a leopard. . .and then, that moment. Lieschen was so surprised, she stoped me in Afrikaans (our first language), I almost couldn’t believe the sight that met us. Karula and one cub (Induna, the male), lazily and perfectly placed in a marula tree. WE could not have hoped for a better view, even if WE dreamed it. Little Induna looked like a young prince. Curious, maybe a little unsure about us, but confident, playful and charming. It was also the day he seemed to fully realize, that if mom isn’t worried about us, then why should he? After his initial scamper into cover, he climbed back to Karula,some reasuring grooming from her, and he decided to climb and even play with mom. . .he reminded me a little of Saseka, not as beautiful as her, but making up for it in charm and sheer personality. I like him a lot! As WE left the magic of what WE’d shared, there was one question in the back of our minds. . .where is the other little one. . .where is Mixo? Mixo, meaning sunrise or early dawn, is and has been more secretive. WE’re not even sure if she is a she, but all have been hoping to find out more about her. . .now WE were hoping that she is still around! I say she, because when WE went back a second time, WE saw her! Alive and enchantingly beautiful! I was unable to sex it without doubt, but judging by the size of her brother’s feet and by her relatively delicate frame and cautious manner, I am pretty convinced Induna has a little sister. WE may have the privilage of seeing and sharing, the differences in a young male and young female leopard growing up together !! She came out from the thick grasses and lush vegetation, shy and tentative at first, but like her brother taking the lead, and certainly from her mother’s relaxed behaviour, she seemed to become more comfortable (and even intriuged) with us. It then got even better! WE follow them down the road, the little ones playing with each other and Karula even joining in once or twice, I can see how both youngsters are getting more used to us with every magical moment WE share. So much so that WE even saw Karula stalk a squirrel and little Induna getting involved with what must have been one of his first hunts with mom. . .and they caught it!
All I can say, apart from WOW, eish, sjoe and amazing, is that WE are now getting to know the nature of these two little ones. . .that Induna is as charming as Mixo is enchanting, and that WE are all excited by what WE may share and discover together, it is after all. . .in our nature!