A Safari Where The Wildest Species Were Homo Sapiens

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day on an open vehicle safari. I know there is much debate around these vehicles and of course, I have something to say about that, but that is another topic for another day, as those words are still percolating:-).

One of the highlights of that safari in particular, was a leopard sighting. On the busy tar road between Lower Sabie and Nkulu, a leopard decided to stalk some Impalas on the spur of the moment. It’s hard to put his failure down to ineptitude because the depth of the ravine made the territory awkward. and frankly, he was quite half-hearted in his short attempt. It was exciting to watch and needless to say, I was rooting for the Impalas. Simply because I’m a sissy when it comes to animals suffering. This leopard clearly had a few hunts under his spots and knew when to fold it, so he vanished.

While this little drama was unfolding, another ugly scene played itself out on the surface of the road. The standard traffic jam that accompanies a cat sighting got an upgrade that morning. So did the level of aggression the occupants of those cars exhibited. In fact, the mood was downright hostile. People were hooting and rudely pushing in, in front of others. It was patently clear which species was inferior.

A massive (read ginormous) double-decker overland vehicle that was filled to the gills with foreigners, towered over us, as the obnoxious passengers spewed obscenities out over the bush. It was hard to understand why since they had unhindered 360-degree views. Our guide (Kerry @ Kruger Pride SafarisNature, Leopard, Kruger N) is always so respectful of others and she had moved away to avoid the drama. Suddenly, the leopard popped out from under the road, on OUR side! From zero visibility, to front row seats, without moving an inch! It was spectacular, despite the fresh onslaught of profanity our good fortune unleashed.

There were lessons to be learned from that sighting. The first was what the leopard already knew – there is a time and place for pursuing your goals, and there is wisdom in knowing when to take a break. The human lessons were far bigger. There is nothing to be gained from selfish ambition. Huge value can be found in separating yourself from the frenzy of the pack. That way, you avoid the drama and aggravation, and sometimes, that is where the real blessings lie.

In a dog-eat-dog world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle. However, most of the time, there is no long-term profit in it. Run your own race and reap your own rewards.

The thing that stood out the most for me, was that the ugliness of human selfishness can ruin the most special moments for everyone. We can take a lesson from nature – live and let live. Even the leopard gets that:-).

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