Leopards in Caves at Big Cave, Zimbabwe

Leopards in Caves at Big Cave, Zimbabwe

Big Cave Camp lies back, well camouflaged on top of the rocks overlooking its National Park.  It’s a lot like its resident leopards in that way.

The setting is Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, with big skies and big boulders dominating the environment. Guests come to be part of the “biggness” of this wilderness here. They come to be part of it and feel amazingly small next to the natural hugeness here. They also come to see the wildlife here, hopefully including those shy leopards who like those rocks so much too.
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A recent National Geographic article made mention of Big Cave, with regards to its leopards. In that article, author Cheryl Lyn Dybas, looked into leopards and why they have a fondness for caves.

She wrote:
“Leopards often hunt in thick vegetation, then stash their kills in trees—or do they? Evidence from tens of thousands of years ago, and from today, shows that leopards use caves far more often.”

Scientist Darryl de Ruiter of Texas A&M University said, “In contrast to the ‘leopard in the tree’ idea that these cats cache their kills in large branches, they may prefer to use the deep recesses of caves.” “Vultures, hyenas, and lions, which might steal a leopard’s kill, don’t go there, he added. “In a cave, a leopard has it made.”

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Cheryl expands on this by telling of de Ruiter of the University of Witwatersrand and his thoughts that caves offer leopards the ability to store bigger prey than tree limbs could bear. He said, “We found very large animals—elands and zebras, for example—clearly killed by leopards. The prey leopards are capable of successfully transporting has been greatly underestimated.”

Cheryl backed this idea up by sharing Dave Waddy’s insights about the Zimbabwean leopard behaviour he had noticed, as owner of Big Cave Camp. He said,
“Leopards use caves here as shelters to rest in by day,” said Dave Waddy, owner of Big Cave Camp near the ridge, “then the cats emerge at night. We’ve found several such caves, including one we call Big Cave.”  Here be leopards.

1384962448Big Caves guests revel in the excitement of seeing the leopards, when luck is on their side. A former guest wrote about this in a Trip Advisor review.

“…my husband and three daughters stayed at the Big Cave Camp for four nights. The accommodation and lodge was delightful, the food was excellent and the staff were diligent.

On our evening tour we almost encountered a leopard which thrilled the men but terrified our daughters.
The lodge provides an impressive location, great hospitality, engaging historical and ecological tours and a place to be still/quite/relaxed.”

Big Cave and its wildness does possess the ability to thrill. Activities at the camp include mountain bike trails, walks to the unique rock formations, game drives, rhino tracking on foot, bird watching and cultural activities such as visits to the nearby Ndebele village. Yoga Safaris are also on offer for a truly specialised experience.

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Camp News:

Big Cave is excited to announce that 3 new campers’ huts in their Ndebele Village campsite have been opened to guests.  “For those who would like a little more than a tent,” says Dave Waddy. Upgrade on arrival, or make an advance booking via their reservations office (+263-9) 244990, email reservations@bigcavematopos.com

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A recent guest raved about his stay in one of the new huts in his review:

A decent camp site
A fine camp site, where we took the opportunity to upgrade our tent to a hut with 2 single beds… Clean toilets and showers, and a funny little bar with reasonable prices. A great pit, and supplied wood, to build a huge, warm fire. The biggest of the trip.

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The big rocks, big skies and leopards in caves wait for you to seek them out at Big Cave Camp.

Contact Big Cave
Web.        www.bigcave.co.za
Email.      reservations@bigcave.co.za
Tel.           +27219140966 or 082 5798811