Moremi Game Reserve, Mombo Camp
The area round the Mombo Lodge plays host to a number of notable individuals. One such is Legadema, the female leopard made famous by the 2006 National Geographic feature film Eye of the Leopard. I was very lucky to spot Pula, a daughter of Legadema , during my stay. She had managed to catch an impala and carry it up into a tree. I could watch her devouring it while her young cub climbed around in the tree above. The next morning we returned to the tree in time to see Pula and her little cub climb the tree again to continue feeding. Even the cub was very agile jumping almost vertically up the tree to reach the kill.
The word ‘pula’, which appears on the national coat of arms, is a significant one for the people of Botswana, as it embraces many meanings. In its literal sense it means ‘let there be rain’ – in a country that is mostly semi-arid, rainfall is precious and appreciated as a blessed event. Hence ‘pula’ is also the name given to the local currency, with one Pula consisting of 100 thebe. Pula is also the country’s motto and rallying cry (in this context it means ‘shield’), and is shouted out by crowds at football matches whenever the national team, ‘The Zebras’, scores a goal. Those attending traditional village gatherings (kgotla) or political rallies may respond with cries of ‘pula’ as a way of enthusiastically supporting the speaker.