Being a family business means that celebrating the nature of mothers and motherhood has been in our DNA for nearly 100 years.
The matriarchs within the Londolozi Family have shaped our culture, how we behave and who we have become for many generations. It was Madie Varty, Dave and John Varty’s mother, who in 1969 had the courage and foresight to believe in her 17 and 18-year-old sons’ vision for what Londolozi could become. Her trust in her sons gave Londolozi its early start.
Many of us can attest to the role of “Mother” whether it be through blood ties or in the form of a great guiding light or influence in another’s life.
This Mother’s Day we sit in reflective celebration of another of Londolozi’s most important mothers, The Original Mother Leopard.
Her story has been well documented over the decades but few know that without her – Londolozi would not be what it is today. She was the first leopard that allowed us into her world. She was an emissary from nature showing that trust could be rebuilt between animals and humans. She had many litters of cubs that grew up modelling their mother’s trust of the Land Rovers. As she raised these cubs the allure of ‘The Leopards of Londolozi‘ was born.
The original viewable leopard of Londolozi, if not Africa. In 1979 this leopard appeared as if by magic, allowing vehicles to view her.
We called her the Mother, not only because of her cubs but also in some magical and symbolic way – she was the mother of Londolozi. She helped make it a successful business. As word got out that there was a place you could go in the wilderness of South Africa to see wild leopards – people began to visit us from all over the world and still to do to this day.
She birthed a kinship between people and wild leopards. A guardian of sentient wild creatures – she made the choice to partner in trust and love with humans.
The Mother Leopard opened the door and when we walked through it, we discovered an interconnected, intelligent wilderness that we formed a part of. In the restoration of Londolozi, allowing land to heal and the animals to return, we believe this beautiful Mother arrived to guide us…
Like all truly great mothers, she helped just with her shared presence in creating a sanctuary that allowed for us all to find sanctuary for ourselves.
Through her acceptance and trust of the people – a new vision was born. A vision that expanded into a gateway, revealing the extent to which we could relate to all living beings.
The Mother Leopard woke us up to the divine power of mother nature and guided Londolozi into a deep connection with all wild animals.
So much of the magic of what happens at Londolozi now comes from that single relationship with the Mother Leopard.
In watching her we learnt that nature always has enough and that we must create a deeper connection with our bodies. We must begin to tune into natural rhythms, to re-connect with our own inner guidance, and be more creative while opening up space for a deeper sense of community and partnership with others.
She taught us through her embodied presence.
Lastly, by watching her life and the generations she has left behind, you understand that each of us creates a lasting legacy based on the way we live our lives not the jobs we do in our life…
We honour this very special “fur” mother who showed us a way of being. Wishing all Mothers in all forms, biological and otherwise, a Happy Happy Mother’s Day! As we read and celebrate today two new leopard dens have been found on Londolozi!
So no doubt the next generation will bring a fresh set of teaching from nature… here once more I notice the great interconnected intelligence of Mother Nature.
Sunset Bend Female was born in August 1992 and provided some unbelievable Leopard viewing at Londolozi until her death in 2010.
The Vomba female was a leopard with an instantly recognisable rich golden coat. She spent much of her life around the Londolozi Camps.
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.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
One of two sisters born to the Nhlanguleni Female, both of whom made it to independence, the first intact litter to do so in 7 years.
A daughter of the Nhlanguleni female, born into a litter of two, both of which survived to independence.
A stunning young female with a very similar spot pattern to her mother, the Nkoveni Female. Litter still completely intact March 2022.
Also young and playful but rather with a spot pattern of 3:2. She is slightly bigger than her sister.
Filed under History Leopards Wilderness teachings Wildlife
How did the sunset female pass away
An extra-special blog! All the photos and the video brought tears to my eyes as I recalled seeing many of these leopard mothers during my visits – and gifted me with memories of my own special Mother. Thank you, Londolozi.
Happy Mother’s day to all mother’s , being it humans or any wild animal, I’m wishing you all Happy Mother’s day. We can only appreciate everything a mother’s has done for her children, in the case of animals to their off spring. Thank you J.V. and Mother Leopard for starting a legacy which will last for ever, now we can see the results of J.V. and Almon’s hard work pay off. I appreciate ever single foto of a leopard and the tiny cubs are so beautiful and precious. Wonderful story Bronwyn and Happy Mother’s day to you to.
What lovely blog on the leopard mothers of Londolozi.
I love lions, however I absolutely admire leopard mothers and all cheetah mothers. They are so brave bringing up their cubs completely on their own without any help from sisters or males.
And the love shown by a leopard (and cheetah) mother towards her cubs is just amazing.
So: happy mothers’ day to all the mothers in the world. especially the ones who are suffering so much at the moment.
A wonderful blog, and always nice to see your name. I had not previously heard of Madie, so thanks for sharing that. When I return to Londolozi, perhaps next year, if you still have that bottle I gave you, perhaps we can share a toast to Madie.
Dear Bronwyn, this blog of yours today brought tears to my eyes. When my mum was still alive I found the Silent Hunter and watched it several times. I have always been fascinated by leopards, I love them they are part of me. You couldn’t describe better the magic of this fantastic creature and the legacy of leopards and Londolozi. I advise all to watch the documentary it’s touching, inspiring, a rare example of humans regaining their balance in and with nature.
Couldn’t think of a nicer way to pay tribute to the Mother Leopard who has brought so much pleasure to your lives firstly and to guests who have followed over the years. The video, narrated by Boyd was just wonderful with some spectacular footage to remind us all of the trust that Mother has passed on between man and beast. I am however curious, as I messaged some time ago about a leopard we saw at Londolozi in 1989 and was told, although the photo was a little grey, that it was more than likely Tugwaan., daughter of the Mother. Therefore the only remaining leopard from Tugwaan’s lineage would be Ndzandzeni. However there is no mention of her or Tugwaan within the family tree? Could you possible fill me in here. Many thanks xxx
Thank you Bronwyn for the special Mothers’ Day blog! I read with interest every word, as I can never hear enough about the Mother Leopard, throughout your tome, and then the video appeared. I clicked and then my eyes filled with tears listening to Boyd relating the stories of today, accompanied by the latest videos by Sean of the beautiful mothers, Mashaba and Nhlanguleni with their latest cubs. Viewing any leopard is a special gift, but a female with new cubs is the best! Leopard moms do not have an easy job of raising cubs to adulthood given their circumstances, but both have been successful in the past and so I am rooting for them now. A very happy Mother’s Day to all of you at Londolozi as well as your followers.
Absolutely wonderful to see. Very privelaged, to have visited Londolozi in the early days. Witnessing the amazing, early viewing, being educated about Ken Tinleys views. Being very involved with the staff,during my visits. Nothing but administration for the work done by all the Londolozi family. Happy to still follow the weekly updates. Unbelievable, that the first ‘ Special Offer’ was R 25, per night. 😁😁. Nothing, but, good memories. Thank You, Londolozi.
What a beautiful tribute to mothers of all species. Gogo is so special but everyone at Londolozi is special. Thank you for this blog. Happy Mothers Day from Hawai’i.
This is a wonderful video for Mothers Day! Just love all of the leopards and their histories and lineages. Please tell me how the Sunset Bend female is related to the Mother Leopard? Is there is a connection?