I have been guiding at Londolozi for just under a year, and in the Sabi Sands for over four years in total. With this area being some of the best land in the world in which to view leopards, I have had the privilege of witnessing some incredible sightings over the course of my guiding career. I can confidently say however, that the last few weeks at Londolozi have provided some of, if not the best, sightings of leopards I have ever enjoyed.
Some of this has been down to pure luck, being in the right place at the right time, but the majority of these sightings have come as a result of the skill and hard work displayed by Londolozi’s guiding and tracking team.
It is always difficult to decide on one’s favourite sighting and I find it near impossible to make this decision as each one is different and has its own incredible element to it. Here are some of my favourites from the last few weeks:
After working with tracker Innocent Ngwenya, the Nkoveni female’s cubs were found late one afternoon. It seemed she had left them here and was off hunting. We quickly took one or two photographs and left the area for the safety of the cubs.
In another sighting the Nkoveni female had managed to kill a large male impala and fed on it for a day before it was stolen by hyenas the following morning. We managed get some great photographs as a vulture flew over and one of the cubs ran up a termite mound and then climbed into a false marula.
My next highlight was the Nanga female, who was found early one morning moving with her cub. This cub is now about 7 months old and is extremely playful and very relaxed around the vehicles, despite her earlier apprehensions about the presence of the Land Rovers. We watched as the two leopardsb climbed up and down trees. This is very important for the development of the cubs’ tree climbing skills, which will later enable her to hoist kills for protection from other predators, and escape danger if needs be.
This next sighting of the Ndzanzeni female was also truly special as she had managed to kill a large male impala near the beginning of the rutting season. Her and her cub fed on this kill for about two days, providing exceptional viewing before moving off.
Leopards are my favourite animal and to be able to view these animals the way we are able to is an absolute privilege I hope I never take for granted. With the impala rutting season nearing its peak we expect more spectacular viewing of these cats as they take advantage of the easy hunting opportunities on offer in the from of the distracted impala rams.