Arriving at Londolozi a little under three years ago, it was a chance for me to explore a part of my country I had yet to experience in my life. Growing up in Cape Town, I had had very little exposure to the bush and had barely been on safari before my Londolozi arrival. As a result, I had no idea what I was getting into. Three years later and my growth and development as a game ranger and subsequent knowledge of the bush has grown exponentially. Initially it was a tough and nerve-wracking process but I soon found my feet and began to love what I was doing. Furthermore, after barely holding a camera before coming to Londolozi, I can safely say that although not a specialist photographic guide, my interest in this particular field has grown into a passion and a love for wildlife and nature photography.

In conjunction with the Londolozi blog team, I have kindly requested to continue writing and contributing to the blog. My passion for writing and story telling have been greatly influenced by my time at Londolozi and by some of the great story tellers that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Despite being immersed in the vast abundance of flora and fauna present at Londolozi and the incredible sightings that I have witnessed throughout my time, there is one aspect that stands out for me. Rather than the animals and their interactions witnessed, it is the impact that I (and the Londolozi team) have had on people’s lives. Creating special and life-long memories with guests that I have only met for a few days by helping immerse them in the wonders of the African bush has been far more rewarding and gratifying an experience than I could ever have imagined, and something I will truly miss.

As a final farewell, I have undertaken to pick my twenty favourite photographs taken at this beautiful place, most of which capture a special moment for me.  I know that I have my personal favourite in this collection, however I would love to hear what yours are in the comments section below.

Having never seen a leopard before arriving at Londolozi, this was my first time seeing leopard cubs. Secreting her cubs away for a few months, this was one of the first times that the Mashaba female guided her young cubs to a kill that she had hoisted in a tree near camp.

Whilst still in the ranger training phase at Londolozi, I was fortunate enough to witness the Mangheni pride waking up from their slumber and move towards a waterhole to have a drink. Although Kevin Power may have put this photo to shame recently with his picture of 13 lions drinking together, it is still probably my favourite photograph taken during my time at Londolozi. What makes this image more special for me was the fact that I had only obtained my camera a few days prior.

The male Cheetah that is sometimes found in the south-western parts of Londolozi is always incredible to view. Here, he obtains a vantage point on a fallen over tree as the sun goes down.

A unique sighting from start to finish as this huge and extremely powerful crocodile makes light work of its catfish kill.

Patience certainly pays off in the bush. We were simply waiting for this European roller to take flight but only managed to capture many blurred photographs of the bird and the sky. To our amazement, this striking bird returned to its same perch and started feeding on the grasshopper it had just caught.

Escaping a persistent Nhlanguleni female attempting to mate with him, the Flat Rock male decided to climb a large Jackelberry tree where he rested in its folds.

A leopard that often proves difficult to photograph due to his secretive nature, a salivating Inyathini male is perfectly framed but a large Mahogany tree, a tree that many rangers dream of seeing a leopard in.

The Island female (still the Tamboti young female at the time) crouches low in an attempt to stalk a herd of impala. Unfortunately, due to the relatively open area in which she was hunting, the impala spotted her and made a hasty retreat.

One of the Manjingilane males walks towards the rising sun as he responds to the distant calls of his brothers. More recently, this powerful coalition has been spending the majority of their time apart, which may soon prove foolhardy as the Birmingham males make their inexorable approach to Londolozi.

This was my first attempt at photographing a back-lit Matimba male. Even entry-level cameras can capture nice images with a few pointers on settings.

A rather comical image of the Mashaba young female as she yawns and at the same time overly extends her tongue. She most certainly is my favourite leopard on Londolozi as I have watched her growing up, her nervous approach at independence and her rise as a territorial leopard.

Following the Ndzanzeni female and her male cub through a very thick area, their direction had always been towards a nearby waterhole. Positioning the vehicle in anticipation for them to drink, it all worked out perfectly.

After the female had finished drinking (same sighting as the above image) she walked along the edge of the water towards a patch of shade as the morning temperature began to rise. A still and clear morning resulted in a beautiful reflection of this beautiful female leopard.

A special and memorable morning spent with the Nkoveni female and her two late cubs as they walked through a clearing allowing a perfect opportunity to photograph this young family. Upon to the unfortunate death of the Piva male, his territory was overtaken by adjacent territorial male, resulting in the death of these two young cubs.

The Nkoveni female (still the Mashaba young female at the time) rests in a Marula tree as she gazes off into the setting sun.

This was the first time I had seen a leopard cub with blue eyes. At the beginning of 2017, the Nkoveni female gave birth to two cubs. A relatively quiet morning on game drive presented us with this incredible opportunity as we bumped into the female unexpectedly as she was going back to the den.

After unfortunately losing one of her cubs, the Tamboti female expresses her affection for her remaining cub early one morning.

A sighting that many rangers dream of! After watching the Tsalala pride climb down from a Jackelberry tree in which they were resting, they slowly walked in the direction of the Sand River. Anticipating that they would cross at the Causeway bridge, we quickly raced across the river to where we were able to capture this rare moment.

The late Tutlwa female looks up as beautiful golden light falls upon her face. I was privileged to view this enigmatic female a number of times before her disappearance in 2017.

Seeing one leopard is special enough but seeing three leopards together walking in perfect unison is a moment I will never forget. Here the late Xidulu female and her male and female cubs walk down the Maxabene riverbed.

 

Filed under Photo Journal Wildlife

About the Author

Callum Gowar

Field Guide

Growing up in Cape Town, the opposite end of South Africa from its main wildlife areas, didn't slow Callum down when embarking on his ranger training at Londolozi at the start of 2015. He had slowly begun moving north-east through the country anyway, ...

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25 Comments

on 20 of My Favourite Londolozi Photographs

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Callum I wish you well in your new venture. Still remember the great times we had with you as our trainee ranger. Wonderful photos and memories.

Ian Hall

Fantastic photos, I hope you have them lodged with a good photographic agency.

Best wishes

Darlene Knott

Your photos are beautiful, such wonderful memories of your time at Londolozi. Since my favorite animal is the leopard, I really enjoyed all those shots! We wish you the best of luck as you transit the ocean to our great country. Where are you relocating to and what will you be doing if I may ask? We are in Eastern Tennessee, but have lived in several areas in the States.

Michael & Terri Klauber

Callum, We will miss your giant smile when we visit Londolozi again! Thank you for always creating such memorable experiences for all our Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club guests! Our favorite of these amazing images (very tough to choose!) is the magical one of Nkoveni! We wish you the best of luck always and hope to see you in the USA soon!

Mary Beth Wheeler

Some really fun shots, Callum! I love the lions drinking, Tamboti and her cub and the sinister-looking Inyathini in the Y of the tree. But I think my favorite is the one of Xidulu & her 2 cubs walking down the riverbed. We enjoyed spending time with the 3 at our last visit and the pic almost foretells their future…Good luck!!

Sally S.

I thank you Callum for sharing londolozi with us all. I wish you the best on your next adventure. You will be missed ranger Gowar! 😭

Lyhn Green

Love your pictures…can’t pick one as all are beautiful. Love the male curled up in the tree. I especially love your message, as Londolozi stands out for me because of the interactions and special “connections” that happen when one is fortunate enough to stay there. Hoping to come back for a third time. Good luck !

Denise Vouri

I’m loving the Mashaba female yawn photo. Her expression is priceless although choosing one is really impossible as your 20 favorite are beautiful. All the best in your new adventure.

Judy Hayden

I will miss your blogs. I live through all of you guys. Good luck and thank you for the beautiful pictures and stories. I so miss the late leopards, but I have pictures to remind me of there awesome beauty.

Judy Hayden

I will miss your stories and beautiful pictures. I have to live through all of you. I dream I am over there. I hope that you have all that you have hoped for in your new endeavors. I miss the late leopards, but luckily I have pictures to remind me of their awesome beauty. be safe and happy.

Wendy Hawkins

Callum, I may have said this before, but I believe these are all the most stunning pictures & wow for a new photographer, you are already a pro!! If I read right, you will still be writing for Londo from your travels, then we have something to look forward to!!! Good luck on your new adventure, but you will miss the bush & the leopards 😉 Go well

Karen Taylor

This is a lovely set of photographs, each one as good as the next. Makes me want to return to Londolozi as soon as possible!!

Terri Mazik

Your pictures are incredible and it’s almost an impossible task to pick a favourite. The striking bird picture stands out among the rest for the clarity you captured in what would have lasted only seconds. My favourite is the Flat Rock male in the Jackelberry tree. I could stare at him forever.

Alessandra Cuccato

Fantastic pictures Callum, a touching and beautiful goodbye.

Dina Petridis

many of them are great pictures ,but for me the most peculiar is the European roller!

Joanne Wadsworth

It’s totally impossible to choose just one favorite from your exquisite group of images! I’m sure your presence will be missed at Londolozi and we all, as the viewer, wish you the very best in your future endeavors. Your writing is superb and your photographic are excellent. Godspeed, Callum and I look forward to future blogs in your new location!

Callum Evans

Definetely an incredible range of photos, with most of them being of leopards!! If I had to pick favourites, I have to go with the Majigilane sunset, the Nkoveni female and her cubs, and the Tutwa female. That one Xidulu cub, on the right, also looks like it’s full, where they coming back from a kill?

Really sad to see you leave Londolozi, but glad that you’ll still be contributing to the blog and looking forward to seeing where the future takes you!

Vin Beni

Good luck with your journey and thanks again to you and Freddie for creating memories for us!
Always welcome in Sarasota–ask Anna, Kate, or Nick!

Cynthia House

Beautiful and moving photographs that show so well your love of Londolozi….best wishes to you in your next life.

Nickolette Karabush

Wonderful pictures, thank you so much! And good luck in your future ventures! I have a question, when for instance the Nkoveni cubs were killed by a rival leopard, do they eat the cubs? I am assuming if they do not, they do get eaten by Hyenas or some other animal?

Kathy Delong

Amazing pictures. It would be hard to pick a favorite one. I hope when I come back I get to see that many lions drinking!

Jennifer Ridgewell

Amazing photos and would be hard pressed to chose a favourite from Leopards relaxed, smiling, walking towards you… very powerful, 13 lions drinking -wow, iconic Lion silhouette, but I think the Nkoveni female at sunset does it for me! Brilliant Callum and thanks for bringing back wonderful memories of Londolozi.

Callum Evans

I just noticed now that the right back paws of all three leopards are in mid-air, in almost the exact same position!! That is the definition of perfect timing!

Janice Riley

I can see why these photographs represent some of your favourites. Great work in an amazing part of the world. I am sure Londolozi will be hard to top but the world is a big place…all the best Callum for the next phase of your life.

Judith Guffey

The Nkoveni female in a marula tree! Excited and happy to read you will still pop up on this blog. You will be missed by many. Tutu/Gogo

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