How far could you spot a leopard from? This is a question the Londolozi trackers ask themselves daily, and some of them just keep raising the bar.

Jerry Hambana has been working at Londolozi since 1984, getting to know the land and its creatures intimately as part of the Habitat team before his superior bush skills saw him becoming a tracker in 1998.

Jerry Hambana

Since then, for almost 20 years, Jerry’s warm and gentle nature has endeared him to people from all over the world, and the surest way to put yourself in a good mood at Londolozi is to spend 5 minutes to chatting to him. He wears a constant smile.

Jerry isn’t exactly sure of his date of birth, since he didn’t get a birth certificate when he was born, but is confident he is somewhere in his late 50’s. At a time when most people’s eyesight is starting to fail slightly, Jerry’s is as sharp as ever, as demonstrated recently when he spotted a leopard at a distance of 820 metres! We were viewing a lioness near the Sand river, and at a time when the rest of us were only viewing the animal that was in front of us, Jerry’s radar was still working, and he was scanning all around for any other signs of life.

I was fortunate enough to be with Jerry at the time, and there literally is no way to accurately convey how incredible his spot was without having been there. Not only was the leopard far away, but the tree it was in was obscured behind bushes, a whole scattering of other trees and a thicket line. When the rest of us on the vehicle tried to confirm it actually was a leopard Jerry had seen, we had to drive about 200m in its direction before we were close enough to be convinced through binoculars! The other Land Rover that then followed us through the bush as we drove in the leopard’s direction were pretty sure were were pulling a prank on them, so long did we have to drive for before we reached the tree the leopard was in.

Jerry was pretty humble about the distance of the spot (measured on Google Earth), laughing it off as of no consequence. I think its safe to say however, that even though the sighting of the leopard was spectacular (the Tutlwa female in a marula tree with a hoisted impala carcass), what had really blown us away was Jerry’s awareness. Even though we had been sitting with a lioness at the time, where all our focus should naturally have been, Jerry was still on high alert, completely in tune with what was happening in the bush.

The level of skill and dedication to one’s craft that Jerry displays on a daily basis is a rare thing these days.

Filed under Tracking

Involved Leopards

Tutlwa 4:3 Female

Tutlwa 4:3 Female

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About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

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10 Comments

on You Won’t Spot a Leopard From Further Than This Man Can…

Gillian Lacey
Guest

We were fortunate to be with Jerry (and Andrea) earlier this year when he spotted the Kunyuma male leopard a ridiculous distance away. He had seen the outline of the leopards legs dangling beneath the branches of a tree. Awesome spot..! Great to read a blog about Jerry – such a nice guy – we so enjoyed our time with him & Andrea

Pat Meadowcroft
Guest

I loved my tracker Bennett! He was masterful in his teacking ability!

Pat Meadowcroft
Guest

Sorry for the typing error. Bennett was masterful in his tracking ability and made every drive memorable!

Wendy Hawkins
Guest

Wow how fantastic was that spot!! Well done Jerry & keep it up so us blog followers can enjoy & dream!! 🙂

tom
Guest

Jerry!!!! Inspiring as always!

Jill Larone
Guest

That’s absolutely amazing Jerry! I will say it again — the Londolozi Trackers are the best in the world!

Rich
Guest

Amazing spot Jerry! Thats incredible vision

Cal Butler
Guest

Absolutely phenomenal!! That’s top class spotting!

Trevor
Guest

One can understand the enormity of wfeat when highly experienced Rangers like Tom and Rich pay tribute. Great spotting Jerry.

MJ Bradley
Guest

Wow! What a great spot! Londolozi is fortunate to have such wonderful people on their staff.
congratulations Jerry! Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.

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