I’ve just returned to Londolozi after two weeks of leave so, whilst I haven’t been around to capture all the latest happenings, the two week break gave me a chance to go through some of my leopard photography from the previous 6 weeks. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to showcase some of Londolozi’s favourite leopards. It’s only when you spend time going through your photographs that you realise just how amazing the sightings are that we are privileged to take in on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
The Tamboti female is fast becoming one of my favorite leopards at Londolozi. Born to the Sunset bend female in 2007, she also has the distinctly gold colouration that is so prominant in this lineage. We are incredibly lucky to be seeing more and more of this beatiful leopard as she seems to be spending more time on Sparta.
The Tamboti female can be easily identified by the 2 notches in her left ear as well as her 4:3 spot pattern. Here she glances across as something catches her attention in a nearby tree.
This was an amazing sighting during which the Tamboti female perched in a Marula tree while the Maxabene 3:2 young male patrolled the area. He likely came to investigate whether she had a kill in the area as this would provide an easy meal for the young male leopard. Eventually she descended the tree, but from the expression on her face, it is evident that she did so cautiously, as she glanced around to see if he was still in the area.
Despite her caution, the Maxabene young male heard the Tamboti female descend the tree and approached her to investigate. This sent her running for safety, back in the Marula tree. We were perfectly positioned to capture her as she leaped back into the tree. The sound effects were also incredible as she growled and snarled, all the time running for the safety of the Marula tree.
This is one of my favorite leopard shots of all time. I just love the glint in the Mashaba female's eye as she turns around to check the area before crouching down to drink. This is typical behaviour as animals are at their most vulnerable when lowering their head to drink. The background coupled with the striking colouration of the Mashaba female make this picture for me
After checking the area and deciding it is safe, the Mashaba female bends down to drink from a pool in the Mashaba River. What I loved about this sighting was that the Mashaba female was drinking at the river from which she derived her name. When she became independent from her mother, the Vomba female, she was given the name Mashaba female, as she spends a great deal of her time in the area along this river and the road with the same name
The Mashaba female captured walking down the road with the same name en route to the Mashaba River. Have a look at just how big her ears are relative to her head. This is a trait shared by her sister from the Vomba females previous litter, the Tutlwa female. Perhaps this is a genetic feature being passed down by the Vomba female
My favorite part of this image is the afternoon side lighting as it catches the Maxabene 3:2 young male walking puposefully down the road
The Maxabene 3:2 young male poses for another portrait. Again, I think that the glint in the eye and the green background make this photograph
The Marthly male showing all the characteristics of a dominant male leopard as he goes about patrolling his territory. His scarred face and notched right ear tell the story of all the battles he has had to endure to claim the territory he currently holds. This was photographed around Vomba Dam, showing how the Marthly male is extending his territory further south which is, in turn, forcing the Camp Pan male to also move further south
Written and photographed by James Crookes