I haven’t seen the Anderson male in a long time. Far too long. Hardly anyone on Londolozi has, come to think of it.

The occasional set of tracks that head through the palm thickets of the Manyelethi River or a distant rasping call in the Mahlahla drainage; these and a few more like them have been the only suggestions of his passing, while actual sightings have been incredibly sporadic.
The Anderson male is certainly one of the biggest leopards ever to have trodden the game paths of Londolozi, and he’s certainly the biggest individual I’ve ever seen, but it has been a frustrating few months of trying to track him down.

Anderson 4:4 Male
2008 - present

Unofficially the biggest leopard in the Sabi Sands, the Anderson male is an absolutely enormous individual in north western Londolozi.

Anderson 4:4 Male

7 stories
2 known
1 known

Recent efforts by tracker Freddy Ngobeni narrowed his whereabouts down to a 100m section of drainage line in the eastern sector of north Londolozi, but the thick vegetation in the area prevented him and ranger Talley Smith from actually catching sight of the leopard. Frustratingly, within a few minutes of moving off with their guests to have a sunset drinks break, they heard him calling from the depths of the little stream bed they had suspected him to be hiding in, almost as if he was taunting them.

During the drier times of the drought, the Anderson male was a lot easier to track down. Long grass after the rains, thicker general vegetation and his erratic movements have all combined to make him more elusive than ever these days.

Trying to establish exactly where he likes to move has given the Londolozi trackers headaches, as there seems to be no consistent pattern. The northern section of Londolozi (known as Marthly), has been dominated by single male leopards before (Gowrie Male, Marthly male), but without confirmed sightings of the Anderson male in the four corners of the area we were hesitant to conclude that the Anderson male was doing the same. Then two days ago, things took a slightly unexpected turn on two fronts; the Flat Rock male was discovered in the central parts of Marthly, while the Anderson male was not too far away, seemingly closing in on the Flat Rock male’s scent, only just north of the Sand River. Both males were in areas they had previously not been seen in, which made us reevaluate exactly what is happening in the male population.

The purple area shows where the majority of Anderson male sightings have occurred, with the red being the Flat Rock male’s apparent territory. The purple dot is where the Anderson male was found in the incident related here, and the red dot was the initial position of the Flat Rock male, far from his usual patrol areas..

The way I see it is this: The Anderson male has been roaming over a far wider area than we previously believed, but owing to a lack of sightings, we have been unable to establish the exact extent of his territory.

The Flat Rock male was found outside of his normal territory on a kill, but very close to him was the Nhlanguleni female. They had joined up to mate it seems, and it was possibly her that the Flat Rock male had left his usual haunts to follow. The Anderson male, when found by ranger John Mahoud, was sniffing the breeze carefully only a few hundred metres away, moving rapidly in the direction of the pair. To throw a little extra in the mix, there was a dead hyena not far from where the leopards were, that had been killed that morning by the Tsalala young male lions, and it may have even been this scent that the Anderson male was moving in to investigate. It’s entirely possible that he was completely oblivious to the presence of the the Flat Rock Rock male.

Photographs can’t do justice to the size of this enormous male.

With the larger Inyathini male being found further and further north on a more regular basis, it seems likely that the younger and smaller Flat Rock male is being squeezed between the trio of the Anderson, Piva and Inyathini males. What the outcome of this will be is anyone’s guess.

I for one see scant chance of the Flat Rock male usurping any of the Anderson male’s territory in the north. Despite the Anderson male’s still furtive nature, and despite us being unable to conclusively determine how far his territory extends, I think it likely that he has far more of a stranglehold over the area than we imagine.


Filed under Wildlife

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 ...

More stories by James


on Where is the Anderson Male Leopard?
    Luis Flipe says:

    Anderson Male dominants Northern parts of sabisands from other lodges updates. I think he has a huge territory around.

    Mike Ryan says:

    I can confirm his elusiveness, we have spent days looking for this Leopard and still not seen it. Part of the intrigue of Londolozi is the track even if it has taken 4 years. You always travel in hope to see him and we look forward to December to start again.

    Alex says:

    Great blog as always, James.Anderson probably has the biggest territory of any leopard in the Sabi Sands and that certainly contributes​ to the low number of sightings,a large area to patrol.I believe the Flat Rock male is no match for any of his neighbours, including Nyeleti male to his west and will probably have to stick to a relatively small area until he matures.He got lucky with the death of the 4:4 male,let’s see if his luck holds and the bigger males leave him alone until he gets stronger.

    Darlene Knott says:

    Wow, he is a big animal! Leopards are my favorite! This one appears to be one of, if not THE, largest leopards I have seen in person or in pics.

    Susan Olson says:

    I am concerned about the comment concerning leopards being killed by the male lions. Which leopards were these, do you know?

    Anne Hilbert says:

    We spent time with this magnificent animal on Friday, April 21st on a game drive with Ranger Fin and Tracker Innocent. It was a very special sighting and one I shall never forget!

    Mishal says:

    Hi James nice article I just one question you wrote
    “r. To throw a little extra in the mix, there was a dead hyena not far from where the leopards were killed that morning by the Tsalala young male lions, and it may have even been this scent that the Anderson male was moving in to investigate.”
    Which Leopards are you referring to, which Leopards did the young males kill?
    Thanks in advance

    James Tyrrell says:

    Hi Mishal,
    Apologies, there was meant to be a comma there after “where the leopards were”. No leopards were killed, it was the hyena that was killed by the young Tsalala males.

    Tina Peters says:

    Any sign of Karula?

    Rocco Rossouw says:

    What is meant by the 4.4 Leopard. Size I am sure but measured -how?

    Dot Stermole says:

    We always hope to see Anderson but of coarse have never been that lucky. We’re coming again the first part of August, maybe you’ll have him located by then??? Wishful thinking I realize, but you never know.

    Susan Olson says:

    Rereading this I believe you meant to say the hyena had been killed by the male lions near where the leopards were

    Scott Sebastian says:

    Great story on the Anderson Male Leopard.I was wondering about the Piva Male Leopard.From the blog stories I thought he was a very large leopard.So how does his size compare to the Anderson male leopard.
    Always enjoy your stories and photos.

    MJ Bradley says:

    Thank you for the update (kind of) on Anderson. With winter closing in it may become easier to spot him once again. Good Luck to the young Flat Rock Male.

    Margaret says:

    Do you know what 2 lepards were killed?

    Phil Schultz says:

    Anderson male leopard just made the list for next year’s trip,assuming he hasn’t moved on. And like many others have expressed, read the Londolozi blog daily since the planning stage of my 2016 visit and doubt there is an African concession or lodge that equals the combined efforts of the Londolozi staff that contribute to the concession’s daily blog. Can’t wait to be there again next year

    Lea says:

    Nice blog James, thank you. The Anderson male is truly a magnificent cat and, I am sure, he has many offspring in the area to keep his bloodlines going. Interesting dynamics of the cats.

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