Some of the hardest working people at Londolozi are the camp managers. They are entrusted with providing an entertaining and seamless experience for the guests within the lodge environment and, catering for a variety of people’s specific needs and wants.
Furthermore, they are enviously inundated with numerous stories of leopards and lions from both guests and rangers returning from drive, but being based at the camp, experience a limited chance to explore and fully appreciate the immediate environment in which they work.
A staff bumble creates an opportunity where the camp managers themselves are able to leave the lodge and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the bush in the hands of a ranger that may have a day off. It is an opportunity that most camp managers jump to and one that they hugely appreciate, as it affords them the chance to immerse themselves in the bush experience, and witness sightings that guests and rangers constantly tell them about.
On one particular afternoon recently we set out with the intention of viewing the Ntsevu pride and the Matshipiri coalition that had been seen mating close to the Londolozi boundary. With the excited camp managers aboard, most of which had never seen mating lions before, I deemed it a great opportunity to view such a remarkable event. Not wanting to impact the viewing potential of any other guests, we set off straight towards the last place the pride had been left in the morning, and having spotted them lying in the shade of a tree, we approached slowly.
In anticipation of viewing the lions mating, we waited patiently for them to awake from their slumber when we suddenly noticed a large elephant cow slowly approaching the lions, hoping for a drink at a nearby pan.
As the Matshipiri male kept a close eye on the approaching elephant, she suddenly reacted aggressively, charging towards the lions and trumpeting loudly, chasing the pride into a thicket line. Shortly after the perceived threat had been chased away, the rest of the herd approached the pan and proceeded to casually drink and splash themselves with water and mud.
We unfortunately did not witness the lions mating but rather had a phenomenal sighting and observed a brief but exciting interaction between these two iconical animals. Shortly after the lions retreated into the thicket line, other guests joined the sighting only to see the lions hiding amongst the bushes vegetation and long grass. It was a real privilege to be able to be able to share such a great sighting with the camp managers, some of the often-unsung heroes of the Londolozi experience.
Great story, Callum. The final ellie photo makes me smile. I do agree…. the camp managers are multi-talented and perform magic on a daily basis. Counting days until I see them again.