Every now and again I need to remind myself how lucky I, in fact, am to have a job at a place like Londolozi.
I was thinking recently that, since my last post of the Tamboti Female carrying her cub, I hadn’t really seen much or had many photographic opportunities. Then a few days ago, Amy Attenborough asked if I had content for a blog. I agreed to try, in the back of my mind thinking I couldn’t possibly find content given the supposed sightings drought I had found myself in. Whist others were going through purple patches left and right, I most certainly wasn’t.

However, when I started sorting through photos from the past few months, I was somewhat embarrassed to have thought I couldn’t find enough photographic content, realising what incredible sightings I was privileged enough to have seen. I suppose that’s the only downside to an amazing sighting like a female leopard carrying her cub – you end up evaluating everything else in comparison. And the one thing that I’ve learnt in my years here is that if there’s anything that can ruin your safari, it’s comparison.

One doesn’t have to be seeing something particularly unique or even dramatic for it to be special. Simply being out there should be more than enough. The bush is the bush; some days it delivers, some days the really incredible sightings remain hidden. I’ve found that the true value of a game drive or bush experience is not to be found in what you see, but rather in what you might see. That sense of expectation that around the next corner could be something truly remarkable keeps your eyes roving, keeps you involved, and keeps you on that little endorphin high throughout.

I think the lesson is to appreciate everything for what is – one moment is not necessarily better than the other, but rather special in its own unique way. I’m thankful for that variety, as life might be somewhat boring otherwise…

10
Tamboti 4:3 Female
2007 - present

The Tamboti female inhabits the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.

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Tamboti 4:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
23 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
3 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
Lioness at Sunset

An Ntsevu Lioness at sunset. The use of a flash (with a diffuser to limit the harsh light it emits), allows a little bit of light to hit the lioness’ face whilst still ensuring the sunset is properly exposed.

A Green Pigeon perches precariously amongst the thorns of a Buffalo Thorn tree in order to feed on the berries.

The colour and textures of an elephant tend to make them suitable subjects for a black and white conversion. Here a lone bull feeds slowly towards us with dark clouds providing a beautiful backdrop.

The Nkoveni Female descends from a marula tree in late afternoon light. She had just been feeding on the remains of an impala, with her two cubs resting in the grass below.

After her descent, one of the cubs clambered up the tree, presenting a photo opportunity as it gazed into the setting sun.

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
28 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

Taken in camp with the aid of a flash, this Hawk Moth was using its unusually long proboscis to harvest nectar from a Blue Plumbago in the late evening.

This was the final sighting I had of the late Piva Male. We had found him quite close to camp as he strolled down the road, being hounded the whole way by a few vigilant impala.

7
Piva 3:2 Male
2010 - 2017

Directly descended from the original mother leopard and therefore part of the royal lineage of Londolozi.

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Piva 3:2 Male

Lineage
Mother Leopard
Identification
markings
Timeline
25 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

This is the same sighting as the first photo. With the sun now set, there was no need to use the flash and this allowed the softer pastel colours to come through nicely.

Filed under Wildlife

Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Piva 3:2 Male

Piva 3:2 Male

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Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

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About the Author

David Dampier

Financial Manager

David left the bright lights of Johannesburg and a promising career as a chartered accountant to join the Londolozi Ranging team in 2009. After three years spent as a guide, during which he built up a formidable reputation as one of Londolozi's top ...

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13 Comments

on The One Thing That Could Ruin Your Safari

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Dave Mills

Wait a minute. I’m absolutely certain that nothing — NOTHING — could ruin a safari at Londolozi. For that matter, nothing could ruin anything at Londolozi. From amazing people to accommodations to food to location to GWF to, well, you name it, you’re the best of the best. (Have I gone a bit overboard here? I think not.)

Michael Klauber

David, Great to see a post from you! Beautiful images to receive first thing in the morning here in the US! Thanks!

Ian Hall

The one thing that ruin your safari? It’s right in the article!
A camera malfunction or worse a camera theft. Imagine getting to Londolozi minus camera, when I was there a couple turned up having had all their gear stolen earlier in the trip.
As for purple patches sometimes it’s the purple patch and sometimes it’s a damp patch , but you can only appreciate
the purple patch when you have a damp patch.

Jeff Rodgers

Love the b&w of the elephant. Were you on the ground when you took the picture?

David Dampier

Thanks Jeff – we have a specially adapted photographic car with holes cut out the side. It allows you to lie on the floor of the car with your lens out the side, enabling some great low angles.

Denise Vouri

Well said David. You’re so correct in saying that every trip into the bush yields a unique experience and whilst sometimes you set off in the hopes of seeing one or more of the big five, just by staying open to the wonders of the bush, you will always receive a gift. Your photos are beautiful and I also enjoyed reading your blog on shooting at a lower or different angle. Thank you.

Carol Sturgeon

While seeing all the images here of now tropical storm Harvey bearing down with all the flooding around me, these beautiful uplifting blogs help me keep my sanity and takes me to a beautiful place! Thank you for these amazing pictures, no ruined safari on this blog or ever from what I’ve seen!

Susan Strauss

Fantastic photos and message!

Ginger Brucker

Great post. I have had the joy of experiencing Londolozi twice as part of STAR and the first game drive of each trip was “silent”- no talking, no cameras, etc. and each time I came away from it feeling I had seen, heard and felt with a bit more “sharpness” and a deeper appreciation for “the whole” . This has become one of my most favorite and restorative places.

Amy Attenborough

Ginger, I’d have to agree!! When will you be back again?? All my best, Amy

Ginger Brucker

Ahhh Amy-I wish I could transport myself there today-or live there for a month! The energy at Londolozi is so special -as are you. Hope you are well and thriving. I don’t know if you have been to Costa Rica yet but send me a note if/when ..would love to hear of your adventures. Be Well, Ginger

A B

Amazing post and the pictures are beautiful … hope to see more posts of yours.

Gawie Jordaan

Exceptional photos of the Ntsevu Lioness!

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