“As a child I had always wanted to visit Africa and go on Safari. To see firsthand the natural bushveld, get up close and personal with the animals and experience the call of the wild. At the end of 2011 a lifelong dream came true when I had the opportunity of going on safari to Londolozi Game Reserve. Prior to the trip, images of ‘Out of Africa’ danced in my head.”
My objectives were simple, I wanted to see the animals. Lots of them. Emphasis was on the iconic leopards and lions. Armed with a new camera and not really having the time to investigate its attributes, taking pictures became a process of catch as you can. I got lucky. The ‘Big Five’ PLUS, did not disappoint. Mesmerized, excited, my adrenalin pumping, a male leopard simply going about his business, strolled up close and SO personal that I could actually pet his spots.
When our ranger got wind that a pride of lions were close by, resting on the bank of the Sand River, we raced out to see this magnificent pride. Eight lions in all: young brothers and sisters, a lioness without a tail and two young cubs – all simply napping on the river bank as if they did not have a care in the world. I later learned this pride was called the Tsalala Pride, and that the little male cub would be lost in the wild for 5 weeks only to lose his life to a scar nose Majingilane male lion –his father after reuniting with the pride.
When we came upon a pack of wild dogs- 13 in all- with their yapping pups going at a fresh kill, our Ranger told us that this was a very special sighting. They had not seen this pack for over a year.
Heading back to the lodge one evening, we rolled by a scorpion the size of a dollar bill and an angry bull elephant in musth ripping down every tree in his path. There was a sighting of a male leopard dragging his kills- two antelopes- up into a tree. We sat watching him crunch on the open carcass. Two hyenas gathered below waiting for the spoils to drop.
One afternoon, while we ate lunch on the open deck of Tree Lodge, a herd of elephants with their young meandered through the tall grasses below us grazing on the vegetation. An early morning outing produced a group of hippos wallowing in the muddy waters with only eyes exposed. Then there were the zebras playing. The rhinoceroses staring at us- always in pairs. Nyalas, water buffalo, exotic Leadwood Trees, vultures, fish eagles and dramatic sunsets. Africa exposed. Mother Nature at her best.
Written & Photographed by: Marjory Moskowitz (Londolozi Guest)