“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

Patience certainly paid off for us on this particular morning. Let us tell you how it all played out…

It all started when we hastily left the camp. Somebody had reported a leopard calling somewhere close by. Clearly a leopard was up and about and there was a good chance of finding it. The radio call came through later than expected – “we have located a male leopard”. We rushed at the opportunity. Even though we had not found the leopard ourselves, we had been following his tracks and so the excitement had been building.

Inyathini male, walk by, vehicle, leopard, PT

The Inyathini male walks between us and another Londolozi vehicle between bouts of territorial roars.

9
Inyathini 3:3 Male
2008 - present

Another leopard who originated in the Kruger National Park, he has established a large territory in the south eastern areas of Londolozi.

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Inyathini 3:3 Male

Lineage
Unknown
Identification
markings
Timeline
20 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
0 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

It was the Inyathini male. He was quite far out of his normal range – a consequence of the vacant territory left by the deceased Piva male. As the Inyathini male walked he would periodically stop to sniff for signs of other leopards before letting out a series of deep, rasping calls that advertised his stake of the area. Being in the presence of a large, wild leopard letting out a territorial call is indescribable.

Inyathini male, leopard, vehicle, PT

The Inyathini male looks back over his shoulder. This area was previously occupied and defended by the Piva male. The Inyathini male moved cautiously through this region, presumably with the knowledge that he was out of his normal territory.

The Inyathini male crossed over the boundary of Londolozi, continuously calling as he entered a neighboring reserve. It was not over yet though… We could hear the calls of a female leopard responding. Next came a cacophony of growls. Our expectation was that they would mate. How wrong we were!

Part of the joy of a safari is the anticipation of what might come…

Suddenly, in the distance, we saw a leopard leap into the top of a tree.

Tamboti female, leopard, tree, long distance, PT

A long distance view of the leopard that was chased up a tree by the Inyathini male

We waited patiently for the leopard to come down as we pondered why she wouldn’t mate with the male.

For at least twenty minutes we could not see anything. The alarm calls of birds and squirrels became closer and closer though, so we knew the leopard was coming our way. Eventually, we got sight of the leopard again. The universe seemed to be in our favour as the leopard came right towards us and crossed the road back into Londolozi. We were ecstatic. Our perseverance had paid off. Little did we know, our morning was just beginning…

Tamboti female leopard walking PT

The Tamboti female crossing the road towards us, into Londolozi. This is the same leopard that was pictured in the tree in the previous image

The leopard turned out to be the Tamboti female.  The reason she wouldn’t mate became clear.  She had cubs already. We were sure she would lead us to the cubs and our excitement mounted! There is nothing quite as amazing as viewing leopard cubs!

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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Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard
18 sightings by Members
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Tamboti 4:3 Female

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

We followed her literally for hours. She would walk slowly, sniff the air, and then rest. We hypothesized that she was making sure it was safe to go to where the cubs were stashed. She avoided being detected at all costs.

Tamboti female leopard stalking PT

The leopard sneaks up onto a termite mound to gain a vantage point over the landscape without being seen.

She would stop to sleep periodically, even sleeping for an hour at a time. We wondered if we were on a fool’s errand as we waited, not so patiently at times, for her to awake. Our emotions went from high as we followed to low as she slept. Not even a squirrel continuously calling an alarm from a nearby tree seemed to wake her. Would we ever even get to see the cubs?

Squirrel, tree, sky

A tree squirrel looks down on where the leopard was sleeping. It alarmed loudly at the leopard for over half an hour. Image by guest, Judy Boch

Once again however, our patience paid off. The leopard switched from being fast asleep to on-the-move within a matter of a few minutes.

Judy Bloch tamboti female leopard 2017

She kept using fallen over trees and termite mounds as vantage points to see if the coast was her for clear to continue walking towards where she had left her cubs. Image by Guest, Judy Boch

Our emotions were spinning out of control as we realized where she was leading us – straight to the cubs!

Tamboti females cub staring 2017 Bennet Mathonsi leopard

One of the cubs gazes up towards us inquisitively. Image by Londolozi tracker, Bennet Mathonsi

There they were! One was up in the tree playing with the other sibling watching when their mother arrived. They were ecstatic to see her. So much so that the cub in the tree came tumbling down to greet her.

Leopard cub, tamboti female, tree 2017 Bennet Mathonsi

One of the cubs scrambles down from the top of a tree while staring towards its mother, who had just returned to them. Image by Londolozi tracker, Bennet Mathonsi

It is almost impossible to describe our feelings as we observed the mother and cubs interacting with one another. We literally got goosebumps as we watched the leopards reunite and raw joy bubbled up inside us. We had waited patiently throughout the whole morning, with the hopes of getting even just a glimpse of the cubs, knowing all too well that it may not even happen.

When it all came together, there was nowhere else in the world we’d rather be…

Blog written by Londolozi Guest, Judith Boch and Guide Pete Thorpe

Involved Leopards

Inyathini 3:3 Male

Inyathini 3:3 Male

Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard
Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard

12 Comments

on How Patience Leads You To Four Leopards

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

What an incredible experience Judith. It is so special to see leopard cubs. Sometimes it does pay to be patient in the bush. Lovely images of the cubs.

Ian Hall

Many guests wouldn’t have had the patience . Many guests would have missed the sighting of a lifetime

Denise Vouri

So happy for you to have this experience. Your cub in the tree Photo is priceless. Travels to Africa requires packing a great deal of patience, and fewer articles of clothing!

Wendy Hawkins

Thank you Judith, I could feel the excitement sitting here reading your moment of seeing these gorgeous little cubs! All the pictures are outstanding 🙂

Agnès Henry

what a fantastic sight ! usually with clients, they want to see some other animal and they do not have patience .. So wonderful to have those pictures!!

Darlene Knott

Terrific recounting of a magical day! Thanks for sharing your stories and pics, Judith!

Leonie De Young

What a fantastic experience for you all. Patience does indeed pay off. Nice blog and pics. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy Macnicol

What a really lovely story. Thank you. Beautiful pics also of the cubs etc. Wendy

Callum Evans

An absolutely perfect day!! Can’t believe your luck! This is definetly proof that patience and perseverence really does pay off!

Eulalia Angédu

It must have been an exciting experience Judith.The photos are beautiful.

Gillian Evans

Wow ! how amazing! An incredible and exciting experience and great photos! This is one of the things that makes Londolozi so special – to be able to watch and track animals and stay with them rather than being on a fixed time schedule. And to do it in the company of rangers and trackers who are prepared to go the extra mile (literally) to give guests an experience that will touch the soul and that they will never, ever forget.

Thomas Weder

I think this is only possible in Londolozi! The best Place to see Leopards! Looking forward to be back next year

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