After a roundtrip in Namibia my husband and I returned to Londolozi for the third time in the hope of seeing more leopards .But what happened during those three days was unimaginable; if someone had told me what would unfold, I’d have told them they were lying.
On the 15th July, a Sunday afternoon, we started our drive with Ranger Nick Kleer and Tracker Advice Ngwenya. I was very happy about this, because two years ago I had the same guide and had an unbelievable sighting of the Tutlwa female leopard.
The Flat Rock male, as it turns out, was the first leopard to venture in front of my camera, as he had been found very close to the Londolozi camps. He was very relaxed and it was great to see him.
A dominant male leopard over the majority of the north. He originally took over the 4:4 Male's territory when he died.
The next morning we were far down in the south-east of the reserve when all of a sudden a group of impalas started sounding the alarm. After searching around for a short while we found the Ndzanzeni female and her male son with the kill, and amazingly the Inyathini male was also in attendance! Three leopards in one spot; father and son together with the mother. Wow!
Another leopard who originated in the Kruger National Park, he has established a large territory in the south eastern areas of Londolozi.
This female is a success story all in herself, being born as a single cub to the Riverbank 3:3 female in early 2012.
To be with them for most of the morning, hearing their communication and calling, and most enjoyably watching the 2-year old male’s behaviour on the brink of independence was fantastic.
A highlight for me, and at that point I didn’t think I could possibly expect more.
On the afternoon drive that day two American guests, Bill and Suzann from Florida, joined our vehicle, and we were lucky enough to see a sleeping lion who was not concerned about us and clearly still dreaming about his next kill.
Fast forward to the next morning and after being called into the area by another ranger hearing impalas alarming, we found two male leopards hanging in a tree – the Anderson and Thamba males. This was the sighting in which the Anderson male’s eye injury was first recorded and which has been documented on the Londolozi Blog over the last month. I have read a lot about the Anderson male and seen many pictures of him, so was shocked to see his face with this serious injury. I hope he will manage it – but I’m sure he will.
Unofficially the biggest leopard in the Sabi Sands, the Anderson male is an absolutely enormous individual in north western Londolozi.
The Thamba looked very uncomfortable in his position; he had to urinate from the tree as the much bigger Anderson male wouldn’t let him down. This was something I’d never saw before.
We left them alone, to head straight to another incredible scene: 20 lions on a kill. Eating, sleeping, all together. Apparently it was two prides that had joined over the same buffalo kill.
Now, I was sure, that was the highlight, not knowing,what was waiting for another surprise in the afternoon.
We were on quite a long drive to the west of the camps and there – oh my Word! – a leopardess with two cubs, one hanging up in the tree, the other relaxing with its mother on the ground.
With the sun setting and night approaching we left them in pace, and I was so overwhelmed by that scene that I shed some tears to myself. To see these beautiful animals, sharing time with them is something that can’t be described.
Once more I thought we’d seen it all, but what can I say? The next morning, our last drive, was the most impressive scene.
The Nkoveni female with her cub. Just walking down the road, relaxed, the cub with all the pleasure in playing with its mother. Not confused or perturbed by the vehicle at all.
Nick and Advice anticipated the scene, and they knew where the leopards might want to go and rest. As luck would have it they were spot on: a big rock in the Sand River. We positioned the vehicle on the bank so that we could watch the leopards for a long time; relaxing, playing together and the cub nursing.
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
I was absolutely blown away by all the amazing scenes we had witnessed over my stay. Surely the stars aligned perfectly during those few days.
Thanks a lot for these very special moments – they are deeply embedded in my heart. 11 Leopards in three amazing days, a never-repeatable, unique stay. Thanks a lot, Londolozi.
Apologies to all other beautiful animals, but I was in leopard fever, and I think Nick must have been as well!