One evening not long after returning from our afternoon game drive, Ranger Matt Rochford and I were walking along the camp service road on our way to Founders Camp to join our guests for dinner, when we stumbled upon what looked like leopard scat. We knew it was rather fresh as I had driven on that exact road just ten minutes before and there was no scat at all, so we were looking to see if we could see which way the tracks of the leopard went to get an idea of where it could be.
Just as we made out the direction of the tracks, the lovely Pioneer Camp chef Petunia pulled up right next to us in an ‘Easy-Go’ (what we call the electric golf carts the chefs use to drive between the camps) and she excitedly explained to us that she had just seen a leopard walk right where we were standing just five minutes ago. Being rangers we couldn’t let this opportunity pass us by and so we hopped in with Petunia and off we went to go look for the leopard!
She drove us slowly from Founders Camp entrance and along the back entrance to Pioneer Camp, we shone on either side of the ‘Easy-Go’ track to see if we could spot the leopard. As you can imagine, this is not nearly as effective as the spotlights we use on a game drive, so after a few minutes of searching we eventually had to call it off. Time was not on our side as Petunia had to drop us back at Founders Camp, where we were having dinner that evening, and she had hungry guests waiting for her delicious food back at Pioneer Camp, so our impromptu camp game drive ended. Only at Londolozi would a story like this be all we chatted about over dinner with out guests.
However later that evening the leopard was seen it was the Plaque Rock Female, which is a young leopard that is often seen strolling to the east side of our Camps.
A pretty young playful female found along the river to the east of camp
I have been on many game drives over the past few years and seen some incredible things, but this short drive through camp in an electric Easy-Go with Petunia had to be one of my favourites. It was just the sheer thrill of potentially seeing a leopard on the way to dinner, and in an electric golf-cart! The excitement shown by Petunia also made the search that much more special.
It is moments like these that make living and working here at Londolozi with such incredible people so amazing.