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.
Filed under Camps Leopards Londolozi Camps Wildlife
I always have a particular interest in leopards that I’ve seen as a cub. However, much as I’d love to see Plaque Rock when I come back to Founders, I’d prefer it if she didn’t join me for dinner (especially if I was her dinner!)
What fun, I’m sure Petunia’s food might have got the Plaque Rock females mouth drooling ☺️. We had a similar situation in an reserve in Belize where we went off for an evening drive in our golf cart, expecting nothing other than howler monkeys. Luckily for us we happened upon a Puma. It was not more than a few seconds viewing but certainly made for a lot of dinner talk and the highlight of our stay!
How exciting Tayla, to have the opportunity to try and find a leopard in camp on a golf cart. My dream is to see one just outside my room, face to face, with the glass door between us. That would be such a special moment!!
Beautiful photo of the Plaque Rock female by Kirst.
Tayla that was an experience and a surprise at the same time to see the Plague rock female. How wonderful to see her in her own environment.
I would love to see that leopard, even close to my dinner
hi, I’d love to dine with you all and also the Plaque Rock Female!
Plaque Rock is one of my favorite Londolozi beauties!
Tayla, it’s just amazing to hear about the sightings that happen near or even in the camp. It says so much about the relationship between the wildlife and Londolozi that they must know that they are near humans and feel safe!
Tayla that was a thrilling experience for all three of you. It was like you were being taken on a safari yourselves. A really nice blog and thank you for sharing with us.