Leopard lovin’

MalaMala Game Reserve - Mating leopards

Mating leopards by Jennifer Martin

Jennifer and Andy Martin live in Houston, USA. The couple visited MalaMala for the first time in 2009, and loved it so much they decided a return trip was in order. In the first half of July they finally realised that dream, and were kind enough to share some of the incredible photos they took of their holiday, including this video clip of the Kikilezi female leopard mating with the Emsagwen male. Andrew looked after Jen and Andy during their stay, and according to them he rates pretty high as rangers go.

An excerpt from Jen’s blog

“On our first night we spotted the Tamboti female leopard. We saw her as a cub back in 2009 when she was still known as the daughter of the Ngoboswan female.

The following day rivaled our mating lions treeing mating leopards sighting back in 2009. It was kind of a slow morning predator-wise. We were driving along the Sand River, not far from camp. I think our Andrew was looking for crocodiles. We came up over a small hill and, hey look, a leopard! As he maneuvered the vehicle into a good position to photograph her, we realized there was another leopard there, which can only mean one thing.

But then the male got up and walked off into some high reeds. DRAT. We took off into the reeds following him (apparently you want to track the male because the female always goes to the male). Insane 4×4-ing up and over mounds of sandy, reed covered hills. At one point we got stuck on something, and as we (well, the boys) were trying to free the vehicle we heard the screams of cats. At least they were still nearby. We looked and looked, but eventually we couldn’t drive any further and had to exit the ravine. Harumph. While scanning the reeds and discussing what to do next (have some food brought out to us, head back to camp, etc.) Andy looked the other way and there they were. Two leopards standing no more than twenty feet from where we’d stopped. We stayed with them for about an hour, and they mated three times. We caught up with them again on the afternoon drive and they were still at it, sometimes with no more than a few minutes in between sessions. A true National Geographic moment for sure.”

Be sure to visit Jen and Andy’s blog and Flikr album to see more of the magnificent mementos they captured while on drive.

Happy almost weekend folks, enjoy!

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