My wife and I had been trying to see leopards for eight years! We spent three weeks in Southern Africa in 2007 and visited game reserves in three countries without seeing a single leopard.
We didn’t have any luck in India, either. Over several years, we were able to visit Ranthambore and Nagarhole National Parks and, again, no leopards. These creatures remained as shy and elusive as ever.
So, when we learned about Londolozi and read about its special relationship with leopards, we made it a must-visit destination to celebrate my 45th birthday.
We spent four nights at Pioneer Camp at the start of September and had the most incredible visit.
We also took advantage of Londolozi’s camera equipment rental service. This is a unique offering for a safari lodge. We are avid photographers who have solid camera equipment, a Canon 5D mark 2 body with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM.
The rental service, however, gave us an opportunity to rent a 5D mark 3 body and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, an unbelievably amazing, superlative-quality, professional, magazine-caliber lens at a very reasonable price considering, here in Canada, the lens sells for around $7000!
The equipment was delivered in excellent condition and we would highly recommend using this service to anyone who wants either to avoid carrying heavy gear while traveling or to indulge in some ultra high-grade equipment you’d otherwise not have the opportunity to use. The photos accompanying this post were taken with our rental gear and are among the best we’ve ever captured.
So, armed with our top-of-the-line camera gear, our hopes and expectations to see leopards were met and greatly exceeded. We had five leopard encounters in seven game drives. We spent serious quality time with the Marthly male twice and the Tamboti female once.
We also saw and had amazing encounters with many of the other animals one hopes to see on safari.
Other than the leopards, a particularly memorable experience occurred early one morning when we happened upon a wild dog pack that was returning to the den after the hunt to feed the pups. As we approached in the vehicle, adult dogs were running full speed on both sides as the hungry pups emerged from the den yapping to meet them. It was quite the scene and the contrast between the dogs’ playfulness and affection with each other and their blood-soaked appearances was striking.
With amazing wildlife viewing, beautiful scenery, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, great cuisine and super comfortable accommodations, I look forward to returning to Londolozi again in the near future.
Written and Photographed by Paul Gold.