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Secrets of the Bush: New life appears from nowhere

  • November 06, 2023 | Rhulani Safari Lodge

Take a look here. New life is arising in the park. Much to the delight of Rhulani's ranger Alasdair, better known as "Captain Redbeard. Unlike in a zoo, where births are known and observed, in a large wildlife reserve like Madikwe, newcomers just appear, and we sit our vehicle and marvel. This story is about cheetahs and leopards. But let's tell Alasdair about it.

That's the Ashire cheetah female with the three babies

A super young, curious male leopard

On the way to the airstrip: a huge leopard on the tree

Do I see that correctly? A photo with four cheetahs together? We are reminded of the times about 10 years ago when there was a coalition of four cheetah brothers who roamed the Madikwe savannah together.

“That's the Ashire female with the 3 babies”, says Alasdair, “well, not babies anymore, as they are about eight or nine months old.” We know that a female cheetah with that name lives in the park but far away from us so we never get to see her.

Alasdair: “She is in the South-West now, so quite close to where Rhulani is located. Myself and Dean found her, so finally new life in the cheetahs taking the count up to nine. The Phinda boys are more than likely the father. 

This could is a record in the history of Madikwe!

But not enough yet. What kind of curious, cute and yet wild face is looking at us from a well-camouflaged hiding place between dry bushes and a small rock? 

Alasdair goes into a frenzy of joy because he knows how difficult it is for a leopard to lose its fear of approaching vehicles and allow itself to be seen. “"And this one was a super young male and I've never seen him before!"

The streak of luck continues. Alasdair not only finds the youngest leopard that day, but also the biggest. Another one he has never seen before.

After checking out, he drives the guests to the airstrip and actually made a joke: "Now I'll show you a huge leopard in a tree!" And that's how wishful thinking works. “I cannot believe, there is one, indeed, there on the tree, and it really huge!” Unbelievable. 

Unfortunately the photo is a bit blurry as it is a bit far away. And yet, we enter the summer season with joy and new life! Thanks Alasdair for telling the story.