Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

Inquisitive Cub

Country: Botswana                                            
Location: Linyanti Wildlife Reserve            
 Camp: King's Pool

Inquisitive Cub

This picture shows the inquisitive leopard cub perched about 6 feet off the ground against a massive tree. The hazy light plays off the tree's aged trunk with blacks, browns, grays, navy and silver tones highlighting the cub. This setting well shows the cub's stunning coat, with its spots and rosettes, the cubs eyes and his determined stare. 
Cubs weigh a bit over 1 pound at birth and their eyes open after a week. For the first two months the mother keeps her cubs hidden in dense bush, rock clefts or hollow tree trunks. The cubs will venture from hiding after six to eight weeks, by which time they can already climb trees.

This picture was taken in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The Linyanti River (later named the Chobe River), forms the natural border between Namibia and Botswana. Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is located on the southern banks of the Linyanti River. Chobe National Park is the western boundary for The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The last stretches of Africa's Great Rift Valley separate the forests of the interior from the rivers and floodplains of the Linyanti and it is along this ridge - and along the Savuti Channel - that the best wildlife can be seen.  The Channel stopped flowing between 1980 and 2008; during this time it was an unusual and productive ribbon of grassland that served as a corridor and feeding ground in the surrounding woodland for a wide variety of herbivores.

In 2008 the Savute Channel once more became a deep, clear waterway harboring hippo and aquatic life with myriad varieties of water birds. Wildlife, from plains game to a plethora of predators, has had to adapt to a new source of water and all the opportunities and menaces it brought with it. For different species the channel has become a place of refuge, an obstacle, and unrivalled food source, a navigational aid, a larder, a playground, and a graveyard. It is impossible to say yet whether the waters will persist or begin to recede in earnest as much of this will depend on  summer rains.

The Linyanti area is renowned for its predators and large concentrations of game, particularly elephant. Dereck and Beverly Joubert made the region famous in their National Geographic films. "Eternal enemies" is a classic, and chronicles in detail the interaction between lion and hyena. National Geographic estimates "Eternal enemies" has been seen by over a billion viewers.

The camp and its lagoon take their name from King Leopold of Sweden who honeymooned here in the mid 1900's.

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