July 15

Silvan Safari Blog – An Introduction to Thandi – A Legendary Leopard


By Nigel Ridge on
July 15, 2021

The leopards at Silvan Safari are like family to us. Although they have a reputation for being elusive, they are a common sight for all those who visit the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

While you can never guarantee a leopard sighting, if you had to leave Silvan without actually seeing a leopard, we would have to seriously question how much gin was in your gin and tonic!

Leopard Thandi standing Sabi Sand
Thandi on the lookout. Image Credit: Rhino Africa

Meet Silvan’s Thandi

One such leopard, well-known in the northern Sabi Sand region, is Thandi. She is a 14-year-old female leopard who has become somewhat of an icon over the past few years. Her old age, the success rate in raising cubs, and distinct physical features make her unique and loved among guests and rangers alike.

Leopards are not always the easiest to tell apart, especially to the untrained eye, but Thandi has strong facial characteristics that set her apart. Her large cartoon-like eyes make her extremely photogenic, and she’s very relaxed with the vehicles, which allows for incredible photo opportunities.

Leopards at Silvan Safari 

Most leopards in the Sabi Sand raise an average of two cubs to adulthood per lifetime. This is due to the high number of opposing predators in the Sabi Sand Reserve. However, against all odds, Thandi is currently raising her third cub, Maribye, who is around 16 months and will therefore be ready to leave his mom in the next few months.

Mom and son leopards at Silvan Safari
Thandi and her son Maribye. Image Credit: Nigel Ridge

Like Mother like Son

Maribye, also known as Maribs for short, is a beautiful leopard himself. Being able to watch mom and son together is something very special. Thandi still patiently fetches him every time she has killed and takes him to the kill to feed. While this won’t happen for much longer, it’s still an incredible sight. Because he is bigger than his mom already, he dominates the kill – only leaving her scraps. There has to be something said about motherly love allowing for this to happen!

A Leopard Legacy

‘Thandi’ means love and is the perfect name for such a beautiful, iconic female. We can’t wait to see what the next chapters hold for these two leopards, with one nearing the end of her life and the other carrying on the legacy of the Queen named Thandi.

Come Visit the Leopards at Silvan Safari

If you want the chance to see Thandi, Maribye, and the rest of the legendary leopards at Silvan Safari, contact us today and let’s start planning your trip today!

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About the author 

Nigel Ridge

My passion and love for wildlife started from a young age. I was fortunate enough to have parents who took me to the bush every chance we got. I then pursued a career in nature conservation. During my practical year, I spent some time as a guide and fell in love with showing people animals for the first time and teaching them about this amazing place I live in. There is nothing better than an early sunrise, late afternoon sunset or staring up at the millions of stars with dead silence around you. Doing this is how I want to spend the rest of my life!

  • Thandi has only successfully raised three cubs? Actually more than that. I remembered one of her cubs was a mom already and in one Safari live three generations were in one sighting. Then thandi has a male leopard z then Talamba, then Maribye.

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