Story by Buselaphi
I had a couple on my vehicle that had been going to the bush for 40 years. They were staying at Thanda Safari for three nights and their main request was that they really would like to see a leopard. This is the only mammal on their bucket list they haven’t seen yet and this will most likely be their last safari experience. No pressure. The first four-game drives there were no leopard recorded, so I mainly focused on all the other beautiful animals we have on the reserve.
On the fifth game drive, there was a leopard reported seen in the area. We went there to follow up, but no luck. I didn’t tell my guests anything because I know how elusive the leopard can be. But it is still early in the game drive and was planning to come back to the area when it got a bit cooler. While we were driving around, I started talking about the Zulu culture, which believes that the leopard is secret. That you must be really lucky to see them, and that the leopard is the president of the bush. Then we went for our sundowners where we spoke a bit more about general leopard knowledge.
Just as we were finishing up with our sundowners, I received an update that the leopard is out and very relaxing. I told Patrick that I’m going to show him his leopard in 15 min. All the guests were laughing, thinking that I’m joking with them.
After driving for 14min down the road, my tracker pointed out the leopard laying on the road. The guest still thought it’s a joke until they all realized that there was really a leopard laying on the road. The excitement on the vehicle was overwhelming. Then the leopard stood up and started to walk towards the vehicle, where the leopard stood 15m away from the vehicle. When everybody was taking photos, my eye caught Patrick crying. I could see that is was tears of joy not tears of sadness. After this amazing sighting of this leopard, we drove back to the lodge. Where everybody was very quiet, everybody was playing this amazing leopard sighting over in the mind. As we got to the lodge, they all invited us to come and have a drink on them. We need to calibrate this beautiful game drive they all just had.
After the drinks, he asks me and the lodge manager if I can join them for dinner. While we had dinner, he thanked me again for the most unforgettable experience that I have made possible for them and started crying again due to all the emotions that were going around. I still have the gift, that he gave me that night. Johnny Walker Blue Label as a momentum.