The last time I drove long-time Londolozi guests Chris and Jane Wood, we were incredibly lucky (due to a fantastic spot by tracker Rich Mthabeni) to come across a pangolin which was a first for all of us. So when I heard they were coming back it got me wondering what luck they would bring back this time and whether or not we would have any more “firsts.” We were not disappointed.
The first night of their stay coincided with the first rains of the season and little did we know how much that would contribute to the sighting awaiting us the next morning.
We set out on our morning drive excited to see what effect that rain had had on both the land and the animals the night before but we weren’t quite expecting to discover just how much of an effect it had had on the impala population falling prey to leopard. Every few moments we were amazed at the reports coming through on the radio of another impala kill being found, and so we decided to head to where we had heard the Mashaba young female had made three impala kills during the rains of the previous night.
We were delighted to discover that one of the kills had been hoisted into a dead leadwood, because none of us had ever seen a leopard in one of these magnificent trees. The golden coat and rosettes of the leopard stood out beautifully from the texture of the dead tree and clear background making for an incredible sight and brilliant photogaphic opportunity. But that was not to be the highlight of the sighting at all.
I will let the photos below tell the story of what happened next…
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
It was a morning that reinforced how we are all connected out here as we spoke about the knock-on effect that the rain had played on everything. It was a sighting that won’t ever be forgotten, as the combination of the odd-looking hornbill harassing a young leopard in a majestic dead leadwood is not one that’s likely to happen again anytime soon. Most of all, it was a constant reminder to always expect the unexpected and that even after years spent in the bush I am still in search of more “firsts”!
What “firsts” are you still looking for? We would love to hear from you!
Wow! A fantastic and lucky sighting. Wonderful images. Love the last one of the leopard “draped” over the branch. Would love to see a pangolin, aardvark and caracal for the first time. (Can only hope and dream.)
Wow, what a day! And fabulous photos! What firsts am I still looking for—a pangolin for sure! An aardvark maybe? Even the sightings I have already have are fine with me! I love to watch animals interacting, that is probably my favorite thing.
What fun that experience must have been! Could the leopard have gotten lured up to limbs that would not have supported her weight?
I’d love to come back when the wild dogs are roaming Londolozi! Thanks for this blog about a very gutsy hornbill.
I’m still waiting for a confrontation between two coalitions of male lions…
Two of my favourite animals in one sighting, I love it!! Never heard of such an interaction between these two species before. On the subject of firsts, I still haven’t seen wild dog or cheetah and have no photographs of leopard. Need a bushveld trip to come up soon (haven’t gone in two years!)!
Beautiful text and pictures James.Good work!The systematic series of events are thrilling.