About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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18 Comments

on A Freebie

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Helene Ramackers
Member
Guest

Wow, James, what a frightening but amazing experience. I was on the edge of my seat reading this! Your respect for nature and her animals shone through – no selfies were taking in your (almost) ‘out of this world’ experience.

Marinda Drake
Member
Guest

Wow! What an adventure. Just happy that you are safe James.

Dr Mike
Member
Guest

Never been to Londolozi but have been to the Mara and to the Serengeti.
Love this blog and can’t wait to eventually visit in person.

Michael & Terri Klauber
Member
Guest

James,
We remembered finding some cubs with you in 2013 on a riverbed. Which ones would those have been? Happy to hear you came a way from this experience unscathed!!

James Tyrrell
Member
Guest

Hi Guys,

It would have been a different litter that we found (As far as I recall those were cubs of the Nanga female).
Sadly the litter in the photo above died a few weeks later in a flash flood.

Looking forward to having you both back this year!!

James

Marla Oppenheim
Member
Guest

Whew, Mike. Very close one! We were at Londolozi this past September and saw Tutlwa mating with both males during our visit. Good to hear there are cubs now, but SO scary to read your close encounter of the deadly kind….I would have fainted and been cat food.
During our first visit to Londozi in September of 2001, we had the infamous Jonathan Braack as our guide with Milton tracking. We were in a dry riverbed late one day, and a female leopard, blind in one eye, came up behind us, on the riverbank, at eye level. stopped and looked at us directly. That was the scariest moment of my life. I just cannot imagine a growling, moving leopard coming at me. glad you are safe and smarter now.

Jill Grady
Member
Guest

Oh my goodness, what a terrifying experience James!! I’m so happy you came out of it okay and got the “freebie” of a lifetime (literally)!! Thank you for sharing your very frightening moment with us and reminding us all about not making assumptions.

barbara sandera
Member
Guest

We will be at Londolozi in 2 months time. I have beautiful pics of tutlwa in a tree at dusk from last year. What a thrill to see her cubs. Will they still be in the den at that age?

James Tyrrell
Member
Guest

Hi Barbara,

They will probably still be at a den at that age, although not necessarily the same one. The mother may well have started taking them to kills by then.
Small cubs have a high mortality rate n the early months, so let’s keep fingers crossed they will still be ok by then!
James

Lori Bergvall
Member
Guest

Stay safe, James. There is so much to learn and your lesson was an important one!

Wendy Hawkins
Member
Guest

Well James, I guess that was a narrow escape & you won’t be doing again, if so, a lot more carefully. I am so glad that she went away from you & not at you. Please be safe out there

Brian C
Member
Guest

It is always interesting to hear about Tutlwa but that was a little scary. Hope to hear more about the cubs in a few months. How are Tutlwa’s other offspring? She had some sub-adult offspring still hanging around in 2014 I had thought. Is the very pretty Nhlanguleni female still territorial around Tutlwa (mom) & Mashaba?

James T
Member
Guest

Hi Brian,

Sadly both of the Tutlwa female’s offspring from last year were killed by the Gowrie male. The Nhlanguleni female however (from the 2011 litter) is alive and well and territorial to the west of the Londolozi camps. South west of her mother and west of the Mashaba female. She is fast approaching the age at which she should start mating…

James

Lauren Smith
Member
Guest

James, what an incredible story. Glad you are okay. You are a riveting, amazing writer – thanks for sharing this on the blog. Can’t wait to come back and visit soon.

Dahnya Cobb-Levison
Member
Guest

Our “mistakes” are often our greatest teachers. Thank you for you willingness to share, James. Londolozi..the paradise of the leopard!

Ros Charles
Member
Guest

hi James,glad you are ok! i do enjoy these posts, thank you. i am puzzling…. have you any idea why she ran away from you not towards you? Was it chance? Had she not seen you? Was she trying to scare you but not attack? i cant imagine how you must have felt…
We were at Londolozi March 2014, do hope we can make another visit soon… Hi to Greg!

James T
Member
Guest

Hi Ros,
To be honest, I’m not sure why she chose to retreat, since in doing so she was essentially abandoning the cubs.
She saw me, knew I was a threat, yet chose to retreat. Maybe leopards view humans as more of a threat than we realise.
I don’t have an answer for you I’m afraid, I’m just incredibly glad that she DID go the other way!

I’ll pass on your regards to Greg.

James

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