What a Year 2013 was at Londolozi. New leopard cubs, a newly established lion pride, new rangers, old rangers moving on, and a whole armada of different posts on the blog that covered a wide range of topics. The sheer diversity of what happened on Londolozi is represented in the variety of posts that went up, and in this post we have selected ten of our top scorers, based purely on comments generated. These are not necessarily highlights, as some dealt with sad events, but more a reflection of what grabs you, the followers of the blog. Let us therefore call them the most impactful posts.
So without further ado, here they are:
Without doubt, the most commented on post this year (and on the blog to date) was the one that dealt with the mother cheetah and her injury. Obviously a topic like this is a sensitive one, as no one wants a beautiful cat like this to suffer or die, especially as she had cubs at the time, and the sheer volume of comments we received, all urging us to step in and treat the injury, was testament to the emotional attachment that people feel with nature, particularly the big cats. Thankfully, no intervention on our side was necessary, and the cheetah made a fantastic recovery. She has since moved East into the Kruger Park, but we hope she will be returning someday soon…
The global call to action to end the plague of violence and abuse against women throughout the world was documented in this Valentine’s post which generated the fourth most comments on our blog this year. The tremendous amount of positive feedback we received was testament to just how many people, both men and women, felt so impassioned by the movement.
The old matriarch of the Tsalala pride, an iconic lioness in the Sabi Sands, was discovered lying in state at Marthly Pools, a fitting place for her to pass out of this world since she spent so much time there during her long and well-documented life. Having been viewed on Londolozi since 1998 when she was a small cub, it was only natural that so many people would write in from around the world to share in our sorrow and also to tell wonderful stories of the times they had seen her.
The legacy she left behind continues, as her daughters continue to raise four little cubs together, with another young lioness from one of the 2011 litters completing the pride.
The original tailless female was truly a legend in the lion world.
We bid a sad farewell to one of Londolozi’s beloved sons last year. Solly Mhlongo passed away in May of 2013. A much loved and venerated member of the Londolozi family, Solly touched the lives of many people from all over the world. In his heartfelt tribute to Solly, Boyd said the words that all of us felt. Solly’s presence can still be felt here today, around camp and out in his beloved bushveld. Famba kahle buthi!
Talley Smith posted the first TWIP in June of 2011, and we were thrilled to reach our milestone of 100 TWIP posts in October of 2013. This landmark was celebrated with a humourously satirical documentary by Richard Laburn, who went behind the scenes to discover what really goes on in order to produce the weekly photographs. Professional stuntmen/women/rangers were used in the making of the video, and stunts seen and camera angels achieved should not be tried at home.
This was one that many people could relate to. The Fear of Missing Out can strike at any time, and in a place like Londolozi, where there may be four or five amazing sightings taking place at the same time, it is impossible to see it all. Something I still can’t accept, as no matter what I see, I’ll still always be jealous of someone else’s epic sighting that I missed!
A great post by Mike Sutherland, in which he explored the harsh reality of life in the bush for these beautiful yet enigmatic little animals. Finding leopard cubs can be like finding Hen’s teeth, so well are they concealed by the mother, and so fragile are their lives. 2013 was a blessed year on Londolozi, in which we were able to watch a number of female leopards raising their offspring. Let us hope that 2014 brings us the same amount of luck!
Ranger of the Year
A huge honour for the man himself, and indeed Londolozi, was when Tom Imrie was awarded the Safari Direct/FGASA Ranger of the Year title. In an industry with many hundreds of experienced rangers from all over the country, Tom rose above the competition to take top honours. In the words of the judges, he was simply “Outstanding!”.
Well done, Tom. Your victory was certainly my highlight of the year!
2014 is upon us now. I’m sure it’ll go by as quickly as last year.
Will the Majingilane maintain their stranglehold on the central Sabi Sand?
Will the Mhangeni Pride oust the Sparta Pride?
I have a feeling they’re going to try… Whatever happens, we’ll try to keep you as informed as possible. We of course welcome your views and opinions as to what’s happening out there?
Anyone care to make any bold predictions for this year?
Written by James Tyrrell