Last weekend we were in the Kruger National Park for a quick, but much needed getaway, after all of the stress from lockdown and being cooped up in the city. For those of you who aren't well acquainted with self-drive safaris, they are incredibly exciting but hard work.
My absolute favourite thing to see in the bushveld is a leopard. Their demure beauty is just breathtaking and are incredibly elusive and thus rare to spot. They are always on my wishlist when we set out for a trip, but have gone through a rather dry patch, where spotting them is concerned.
As luck would have it, late Saturday afternoon in particularly windy and dusty conditions we had been driving for about an hour, without seeing so much as an impala. We turned the bend on a quiet dirt road and BAM! There she was - a feline queen draped along and overturned tree trunk. She was the most spectacularly beautiful female leopard I think I've ever seen. We sat watching her for about 20 minutes in the gusts of wind and dust devils swirling around her, before she slipped off into the evening.
Because of this incredible sighting, we were on track to miss the closing of the main gate. With just 15 minutes to spare, and already under pressure, we came across another unbelievable sighting - a mother leopard had just killed an impala and while she was lying a short distance off, her little cub was experimenting with the carcass, still in tact. This was probably one of the cub's first encounters with meat and her mother was giving her the opportunity to learn.
What did I learn from these two experiences?
We think everything is in our control and we hold on so tightly (or at least I am guilty of that). We are impatient, often thinking that if we just work harder we will get there quicker. But at the end of the day, whether you believe in God, fate, karma your gut - the value is not necessarily in the destination; it's in the journey.
Sometimes you really have to sit back and be content with just enjoying the proverbial bushveld in those aweful windy and dusty conditions. Because through that struggle, you will be rewarded with an abundance of beauty, just as I was with my two one-of-a-kind leopard sightings.