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Meeting the LEOPARD whisperer

Travel Insights

Meeting the LEOPARD whisperer

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Fred and I am a leopard living in the Savuti area of Botswana. Even if I say so myself, I am a rather good-looking leopard. I am dainty, simply irresistible and on top of my game.  Even so, it’s a challenge to find a suitable lady with all the spots in the right places and who is worthy of carrying my children. As it so happened, I have recently found the lady of my dreams, her name is Ginger.

You might appreciate, that any disturbance during our honeymoon wouldn’t go down well in my books. When last did you visit Savuti? It’s not the way it used to be. It is overcrowded with foreign tourist and I find it rather difficult to find privacy for my everyday activities, let alone during a honeymoon.

As every avid viewer of National Geographic documentaries can tell you, Africa is full of noisy lions that roam the streets, of lazy leopards that spend hours on trees, temperamental elephants that chase people through Game Reserves and cheeky hyenas that laugh all night. Yeah, right.

Tourist come to Africa fully loaded with the newest photographic gadgets, zillion gigabyte memory cards for millions of pictures and telephoto lenses which can easily be used in any guerilla warfare.

As I said, Ginger and myself were on our honeymoon and we found a beautiful secluded spot far enough from the public campsite in Savuti. Or so we thought. The tranquility was only short-lived. Eight Europeans with their 2 guides descended onto our honeymoon suite. Why us? Couldn’t they have found another spot? Busily and hurriedly they packed up their camp and disappeared again. Peace….

However, it was not for long. Shortly after sunset they game back, lit the fire and started banging pots and pans together. And the chatter and laughter, the cacophony of different noises was absolutely deafening. You could not hear yourself breathe anymore. What a bunch….

Ginger, however, was rather intrigued and curious. She even ventured around their shower tent and pinched some sandals.  They are not very tasty, but nice to chew whilst watching these people from a safe distance. I couldn’t be bothered and disappeared into the thicket. Ginger lay about 20 metres from the fire behind a log, chewing happily on that smelly sandal. The people suddenly flared up their torches and moved towards Ginger, somebody must have voiced some kind of alarm.

After a short while, Ginger had had enough and came sprinting to my hiding place. Soon it all quietened down and even the fire went out. Peace at last? Ginger and I satisfied our curiosity by softly prowling through the camp. To get a better look into one of these tents, I climbed an Erioloba tree and peered into the darkness of a tent.

Ginger moved towards the other side and peered through the mosquito net of a tent. She really had to get close to see anything. Her face only centimeters away from the net, her gaze was met by 2 pairs of saucer-like eyes and a smallish torch which wouldn’t scare a squirrel.

Unbeknown to both of us, the tent Ginger peered into was home to a self-proclaimed leopard and lion whisperer. Apparently he could smell lions from miles away. Funny that he hasn’t spotted any lions. Not even Ginger could have imagined what happened next. To get a bit of fun out of this world-famous leopard whisperer, Ginger gently pawed the mosquito net.

The reaction was immediate and violent. The torch turned into weapon, the guy poked it toward Ginger. And then the screaming and shouting took over the night. I couldn’t understand a thing, but apparently the guy was screaming for help. Ever so gently Ginger looked these people up and down and tilted her beautiful head from side to side. Ziiiip, that typical noise of opening the zip of a tent. The guides armed with torches came to the rescue.

At that moment, we both decided enough is enough and disappeared into the night.

Only the next morning were our chewing sandals discovered behind the log. By that time we were long gone and had found our deserved privacy.

Written by: Rhino – Jenman Safaris Guide

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