Leopard Encounter…

Etosha National Park in Namibia is huge and sparsely populated. Most of the big animals we saw were far away. We would get excited upon seeing a silhouette of a giraffe or an elephant from a distance. I had a bad headache that day and I really wanted to close my eyes but I didn’t want to miss seeing any big cats, especially leopards. In my different safaris, I had already seen 4 of the big five in the wild (lions, elephants, rhinos and buffalos), but not leopards yet. I even saw hyenas and cheetahs, which are extremely rare to see in the wild. I only met leopards in captivity and refuse to go to places that tame and train them out of their wild nature. My head was throbbing and begging for rest and my heart was aching to meet a leopard. On a whim, I thought of my cat Goddess, Keesha, connected strongly with her, and asked her to guide me to leopards. Somehow this thought put me at ease and I closed my eyes and fell asleep for a while. When I woke up, I remembered that leopards like to hang out in trees so instead of looking towards the ground, like we do for lions, I started looking at tree tops. Within a few minutes, I saw a silhouette and I cried “STOP. STOP. STOP!”. We stopped, backed up the car, and there it was: about 10-15 meters away (33-50 feet), at the top of the tree, a beautiful adult leopard was dragging its dead prey, an impala, up the branches. Once at the top branch, giving us an excellent view, it sat down and started feasting with bits and pieces falling down to the ground. We could hear the bone crunching sounds of its chewing, music to my ears! Other cars stopped as well and we all enjoyed a show of a lifetime! After having its fill, the leopard climbed down a couple of branches and started licking its chops then, like all cats, stretched on a branch and fell asleep. For those few precious minutes, my headache was unnoticeable, overshadowed by excitement, joy, love and disbelief. Thank you Goddess Keesha! Thank you Namibia! Thank you Etosha!

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