When you speak to the staff of Londolozi, you start to notice a core commonality running through us, despite it being an incredibly diverse team. This basic thread is that we all fell in love with Nature at a young age and were drawn back to work in this environment because of how much it impacted us as children. The Varty family have raised four generations of children out here and countless others have experienced and been changed by this wonderful wilderness playground. Recently, one of Londolozi’s Alumni, ex-Head Ranger Byron Ross, who actually trained me when I arrived in the bush to work as a Ranger, came back to visit with his family. It was amazing to see yet another generation be exposed to Nature’s joys. Below is an excerpt written by Nicholas Ross, a nature and photographic enthusiast, on his experience at Londolozi. At just 11 years old, he may just be our youngest ranger-in-training.

I am a 11 year old boy with a photography bug. Londolozi is a special place for photography and we saw and photographed seven different leopards in three days. However, Londolozi is special too because it is where my father and mother first met. During our time at Londolozi, I felt lucky as I was guided by two rangers who were both ex-Head Rangers of Londolozi, my father, Byron Ross and our host Oliver Sinclair.

My father went tracking with his old tracker Judas Ngomane and they were joined by Andrea Sithole and James Tyrrell. The trackers spotted a female leopard after tracking a long distance but she was a rather skittish leopard.

nkoveni leopard

The Nkoveni female leopard rests in a young Jackalberry Tree. She was one of the seven leopards we saw during our stay.

5
Nkoveni 2:2 Female
2012 - present

A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.

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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
43 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

The amazing opportunity of going to such an excellent wildlife sanctuary blew me away with many memorable sightings. Our two rusty guides figured their way around the reserve and besides all the leopards, I also saw rhinos wading in a muddy pool for the first time and it is a privilege to witness rhinos thriving on Londolozi.

white rhino

A white rhino wallows in a small pan on Londolozi. These animals are very reliant on water, needing to drink every day. They will then wallow in the mud to cool down as well as provide some added protection to their skin.

Other sightings included hyena at a den site, lions eating a buffalo, a pack of wild dogs, herds of elephants, hippos, big crocodiles, giraffes, zebras, fish eagles and many other birds!

water monitor

A water monitor suns itself on a boulder in the Sand River. Being ectothermic, they require the sun’s heat for energy.

dwarf mongoose

A dwarf mongoose peeps out of its hiding place. These animals normally utilise disused termite mounds to rest in at night, emerging in the morning to feed during the day.

landscape, winter

A wintery landscape. A view of the beautiful mornings we had at Londolozi.

tingwe camp

Me and my brother at Tingwe look out. We stopped her one morning to have a cup of hot chocolate under the ancient weeping boer bean tree.

sunset, landscape

A sunset over the Drakensberg mountain range that runs to the west of Londolozi.

wild dogs

The pack of dogs we were lucky enough to see. These are the second rarest predators in Africa and so we were very grateful for our sighting.

The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the small leopard cub that walked past our vehicle though.

Nkoveni leopard cub

One of the Nkoveni leopard’s cubs that came right up to our vehicle. I have been to the bush many times but have never seen a young leopard as relaxed as this before.

We are so inspired by the young talent and passion that we see in today’s younger generation that we actually have a Cub’s Den Programme dedicated to them at Londolozi ensuring that every child’s safari is a fun and fulfilling experience. In the Cub’s Den children learn about Nature’s wonders amongst new-found friends in the most engaging classroom in the world. To learn more about the Cub’s Den adventures and what your young rangers-in-training can expect on safari, visit our website by clicking here.

Filed under Photography Wildlife

Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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About the Author

Amy Attenborough

Media Team

Amy has a rich field-guiding history, having spent time at both Phinda and Ngala Game Reserves. This diversity of past guiding locations brought her an intimate understanding of different biomes across South Africa, and she immediately began making a name for herself as ...

View Amy's profile

4 Comments

on A Kid’s Safari Dream

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Sally S.

That was a wonderful read! Thank you!

Ian Hall

Great article, I bet just writing it down brought many a smile to your face

Leonie De Young

A great read and thoroughly enjoyed hearing from a young future ranger. Train them young and they can spread the word to other kids about the value of wildlife in our lives.

Mary Beth Wheeler

I expect big things from Nicholas! Perhaps he’ll guide me one day…!

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