About the Author

Pete Thorpe

Alumni Ranger

Pete was a Field Guide for Londolozi for 4 years, contributing to the blog as a fantastic writer as well as photographer. Right from his very first bush trip at the age of four, Pete was always enthralled by this environment. Having grown ...

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on Leopard Kisses Buffalo: Unbelievable!

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Wow! This is one of those once in a life time sightings. We were fortunate to see the Makhotini male with a buffalo calf kill hoisted in a tree. Lions are oppertunistic, the same can probably be said of leopards. Awesome video Bennet.

Hi Marinda. Wow, that is a very unusual sighting! Yes, you are correct – leopards are very opportunistic and have been known to prey upon 30+ different species. It will be interesting to see whether this young male (the Nweti male) tries his luck with buffalo again in the future.

Pwte, I thought I had seen just about everything at Londoz. Awesome pictures!!

Hi Al! Haha, I think we can both agree by this sighting that no matter how long one has been out here for, there is always something more to see! All the best from us all here.

Unbelievable sighting. quite incredible!!

Rather unexpected to say the least, Rich!

The sighting of a lifetime and definetely some unique photos there!!! That is definetely a once-in-a-blue-moon encounter!!

It is not unusual for adult male leopards to go after buffalo calves, as you mentioned, but the young males always seem to make mistakes and end up getting treed by buffalo (based on sightings I’ve read about). Always fascinating to read about stuff like this, I hope I’ll get to experience something like that someday!

It was definitely unexpected to see the leopard stalking the herd in the long grass… But as you say, they will take a chance every now and then. I hope for your sake you will get to experience this in person, Callum!

Young male leopards always test their limits. I’ve heard of one such leopard in Mala Mala who took down an adult female kudu and a warthog boar (which took him 25 minutes to kill and he lost it to 9 lions)! Thank you Pete, I appreciate the vote of confidence there!

Wow, how exciting and heart thumping of a sighting this was! That was either one brave leopard or one stupid leopard or maybe a combination thereof. ? Wonderful photos and a fantastic video of the sighting. I thought this might be an April Fool’s joke. Delighted to see it was a true story! Thanks for sharing, Pete!

Hi Darlene. Thanks for your comments. All credit goes to the animals for putting on the show! We made sure we didn’t post this on April Fool’s day as it’s unusual enough as it is! Imagine the explaining we would have had to deal with… It’s an absolute pleasure. Have a great week

Master Tracker

Amazing and it wasn’t 1st April and you had the photos. Big herbivores with horns or tusks can be aggressive towards predators and if that happens the predator needs to vacate the situation – quickly

Hi Ian.
And a quick retreat the young leopard made indeed. It’s hard to capture the agility and speed of these beautiful cats! Hopefully the pictures and Bennet’s video give everyone a small snippet of what we were so lucky to observe.

This was unbelievable Pete! I’ve never seen or heard about an encounter like this one. Both the photos and video illustrate the tenacity of both species. Thus sighting was priceless. Sure hope your guests enjoyed the experience and have some souvenir photos.

Hi Denise.
It is very unusual for leopards to hunt buffalo, as they have so many easier and safer options. But nonetheless, here we have it! Have a look at this link to read about a successful hunt on buffalo from a few years ago: http://blog.londolozi.com/2014/03/25/leopard-kills-buffalo/ . I appreciate the comment, thanks!

I doubt this will happen again, but what a wonderful moment to see and capture on video! Curiosity to the maximum.
That nose to nose image should be framed. I’m certain this young leopard learned a life lesson. And I must say he was extremely fortunate to find a taller limb close by! The outcome could have been far different.

Hi Joanne.
I were surprised that the taller, smaller branches of the tree held the weight of the leopard. I was quite nervous it would turn for the worse at one point, but luckily all was well. Best, Peter

Digital Ranger

What an amazing. wonderful siting. Definitely right place, right time.

Hi Vicky.
100% right place at the right time! If we had been there 30 minutes later we would have had no idea of the action that had just unfolded…

Ben and Pete, what a fantastic sighting! And the pics and video are excellent. Absolutely love the nose-to-nose shot. Thank you!

Hi Peggy.
Great to hear from you! Thank you. Yes it was a real treat! Hope you are both well. Regards from both Ben and I.

Pete, The scene you witnessed is amazing! We think it was a cat’s inquisitive nature that brought them together like that!

Hi Michael and Terri.
Yes, agreed – it was most likely the inquisitive nature that brought them to touch together. The leopard was stuck there for some time and at one point tried to lie down with his leg and tail hanging over the branches. The buffalo actually reached up and licked his leg, forcing him to jump up quite quickly! Unfortunately no photos or videos to prove this one though…

Congratulations to both you and Ben on a terrific sighting and story. Plus the video was amazing. Peggy and I both loved it. It made us pitch a few more coins into the Londolozi cookie jar…

Hi John,
We will have to try our best to keep you entertained via the blog so that your cookie jar fills up quickly! Thanks for the comments. All the best from the two of us.


As were we, Susan!

Wow!! Absolutely amazing!

Thanks Nickolette! It really was.

what a once in a lifetime sighting for all that witnessed this.

I think we will all agree with you there, Mauricia! Incredible…

Unbelievable!! I guess young boys will be boys… thank heavens he is safe!

Hi Laura,
Indeed, boys will be boys. There was an element of humour in this sighting! Luckily he got away completely unscathed. Lesson learned maybe?

An absolutely incredible sighting! Who was this foolish young male with tons of hutzpah?!

Hi Mary Beth,
He is known as the Nweti male; son of the Hlaba’nkunzi female in the west and a relative newcomer to Londolozi (I think just over 2 years old.)
Best regards

Oh my goodness! I think he must have been the cub we saw with Hlabunkunzi (sp?) on Singita last April!

Senior Digital Ranger

What a fabulous sighting! Do you happen to know who he is? There are a number of unknown young males in the Sabi Sands lately.

Hi Mj,
He is the Nweti male, son of the Hlaba’nkunzi female from the west. He is most likely still nomadic at this age, hence us having seen very little of him. Definitely a first for me.

Made my day. What a sighting!

Hi Ryan,
I’m glad to hear it! Have a great week.

What an incredible sighting that must have been! Truly the type of thing that most likely no one will witness again! Beautiful photos too! A lot of people say no two days are ever the same at work. But in the life of a Ranger, that expression holds truer than ever.

I don’t think Bennet or I will ever witness that again… As you say, Malavika, the excitement of the unknown is definitely what keeps us out there every day!

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