Ruaha: Spotted All-Stars, Meet Bandido
By Pietro Luraschi
Quintessential beauty, unforgettable elegance, striking power, heavenly grace and a perfect balance of many qualities: these are the words that come to my mind every time I see a leopard.
Bandido is an old pirate, one ear just a stump, his gums covering the lower incisors, and has a massive body full of scars. He often walks through the camp at night, and he is not afraid of humans: he just keeps a safe distance and does not run away at full speed when we cross his path. Completely at ease when he is up a tree, he does not like to follow roads when he is on the ground, usually moving steadily into thicker areas of undergrowth.
An old boy, definitely in his prime, he is one of the princes of the Mwagusi Valley.
Bandido roams all the area from Mbagi almost to White Rocks, more or less ten kilometres as the crow flies. He is not the only huge male around, as strangely his range overlaps with that of a very shy, blue-eyed male we call Ghost. Last year we saw him with a female between Lorenzo’s and my tent, and keeping just out of view, he mated with her all night, keeping us and half the camp awake!
Sightings of these “Spotted All-Stars” are often the highlight of visitors’ experiences here in Ruaha, with their effortless combination of fierce grace and power, and they certainly are among my favourite animals to photograph.
If you would like to spend some time at Kwihala Camp and have a chance to see these beautiful creatures in person please contact your trusted travel agent orenquire with us.
Pietroworks as a safari guide in southern Tanzania for six months and devotes the other half of the year to private customers he accompanies to different African countries from north to south, but always going through his beloved East Africa. Hispassion for Africa took him for the first time to the continent as a volunteer in the Tarangire Lion Project, doing researchon the lion population in the Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania. For years he has worked as a manager and guide, but then he gradually left management to devote himself exclusively to working as a guide.
We will be updating our blog with news on the other famous and beautiful leopards of Ruaha, to see more please keep an eye on this blog post.