Sam and Mary-Jane Armacost recently spent a week with us at Londolozi. This was their third visit here, and with Sam’s wonderful photography and Mary-Jane’s storytelling they kindly shared their experience with us. We hand over to Mary-Jane:
We seem to keep coming back to Londolozi and I think it’s because it is just such a fabulous place, and the animals and the game viewing are incredible, but more than that it’s the people that work there. Pete and Bennet, our ranger-tracker team, were great, and demonstrated their remarkable knowledge on the bush as well as on animal behaviour. In particular we loved when they predicted a leopard’s next actions due to signs of yawning and licking, and it happened just like clockwork; it was sort of like they were programmed.
The leopard action was incredible this trip. Last trip we managed to see a leopard dragging its kill up a tree which was amazing. We follow the leopards on the blog quite closely. The morning I opened up the blog and the Piva male had been killed, I just got all teary. I called my friend up and she’d already read it too. She answered the phone and new it was me, she said “DID YOU READ ABOUT THE PIVA MALE?”. We love following the leopards on the blog, it’s just like a mini safari. I kept a list of the leopards I saw this trip (the Ndzanzeni young male, the Nhlanguleni female with her two cubs, the Flat Rock male, the Ingrid Dam female’s daughter, the Ximungwe female, the Mashaba female, the Nkoveni female and her cub and the Senegal Bush male). I laughed as I said to Peter that Londolozi needs to choose leopard names which we can pronounce and spell!
This female is a success story all in herself, being born as a single cub to the Riverbank 3:3 female in early 2012.
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
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.
The philosophy and integration into the Londolozi family (that Dave Varty mentions in his talk) resonated through every action in our trip. Our love of African birds has continuously grown and I’m crazy about lilac-breasted rollers, and luckily for us we were able to see one a day. On our last day, at the very end, we had a lilac-breasted roller do a flyby for us to say goodbye.
Needless to say, we’ll be back soon!