Makwela- The most extraordinary female leopard!
Makwela Transfrontier Safaris has adopted the name of the remarkable female leopard Makwela.
The meaning of the word “Kwela” means to climb on or on top of (Tsonga language – from the South African Shangaan) an object which Makwela as a youngster did numerous times in her young years of exploring her new environments, she continued having fun playing on top of trees, rocks & even game drive vehicles.
Thus the word Ma-kwela gave her a special personal meaning.
Makwela female was born in 1993 in the area called today Sabi-Sand Game Reserve bordering the world renowned world heritage site Kruger National Park South Africa!
Her father’s name was Mbombi a very stocky dominant male leopard in the area.
After she went from area to area to try & establish her own territory she finally set up a large territory within the dominant male’s territory called the Wallingford male also called Wallies.
Although leopards are true cats they don’t live social lives such as lions in a pride but instead they are strictly solitary & extremely territorial which means that the females don’t share territories & thus leopards will continuously scent mark their territory boundaries & use vocalisation to keep their nemesis at bay, male leopards do the same towards each other thus males also keep other males out of their areas.
However female leopard territories are smaller than male territories & a few females will occupy the same territory of a male leopard but they will still pursue a solitary lifestyle, thus seeing a male &female leopard together is an extremely rare sight to witness & will probably mean that they are only together due to the female being on heat which mostly last for about 4-6 days depending on the specific female.
This kind of “get together” has no sweet or caring affection but rather an aggressive time spent purely due to the continuation of the next generation for the species & to secure the domination of the male over the females.
After about 95-100 days the female will give birth on average to 2 or 3 tiny cubs, which most of the time only 1 cub makes it to the age of 6 months & then hopefully to adulthood.
Cubs are born blind & are fully dependant on the mother’s care.
The cubs’ most danger of being killed at a young age are intruding male leopards, hyenas, lions, large baboon males & even African pythons.