Londolozi – December 2005

We found a special offer for Londolozi in a newspaper so we booked to visit around my birthday. We first spent two nights, including my birthday, at Hulala Lakeside Lodge and then made our way into the reserve the next day. As we drove into the Sabi Sands, within a 100m or so of the gate, we came across a pride of lions. Another vehicle making its way out also stopped to view them. They commented on our luck when they realised that we were just starting our stay.

Camp: Pioneer

Ranger: Sam

An interesting aspect of Londolozi is that all the camps are right next to each other, and you can walk down the path to each camp. Each camp however has its own amenities – dining area, etc. The staff areas are all at the back of the camps.

11 December – Evening Drive

It was raining lightly as we left camp. We saw hippo and giraffe but then we rushed to see a cheetah that had been called in by Singita. There was a French couple on our vehicle and they were dying to see some of the sightings we flew passed, including some kudu, as this was their first ever safari, but Sam just kept telling them that we had to rush to see something that they didn’t see very often – we would see the other animals later on. We flew past more than a few raptors too. We eventually got to the cheetah and found it lying in the grass. The rain had eased off so he stood up and shook himself dry. He then made himself comfortable and engaged in a bit of a “wash”. We saw a rhino in the distance and it kept walking closer. As it made its way passed us, still some distance off, the cheetah stood up and coincidentally started walking in the same direction. It looked like the cheetah was stalking the rhino! He then moved to the side and lay down next to a fallen tree. We left him there and went off to get a better sighting of the rhino. We also saw zebra as we made our way back in the direction of camp. Our last sighting of the day was 2 lionesses, with very fat bellies. 

We had drinks with the ranger and guests from another vehicle. The ranger was ex-Tshukudu, so we caught up with each other a little. Once it was dark, we all climbed back on our vehicles and started to move off in different directions. We were then called back by the other vehicle that had a leopard in their sights. The leopard was, coincidentally, only a couple of metres from where Terry had made a quick bathroom break!

12 December – Morning Drive

Our first sighting of the day was baboons. We followed this up with hyenas. Then we came across a herd of impala with very small calves. We also saw a waterbuck, a woodland’s kingfisher (the first time in years so we were very pleased to hear the call too) and a nyala ram.

12 December – Night Drive

After seeing some warthog, we made our way across a low water bridge. There were plenty of water thick-knees and a hamerkop. There were hippo too – 2 of the youngsters were sparring. Not far off we saw buffalo with plenty of red-billed oxpeckers on their backs. We then came across a pride of lions with cubs, lying around. They all started yawning and it wasn’t too long before they were up and stretching and then on the move. We moved around to where they would come out of the bush and another vehicle found a leopard close to where we were. The lion pride was in fact now visible and heading straight for the leopard’s location. The leopard did a disappearing act and the lions walked right past. Once they were gone the search was on to find the leopard again. We found it in a tree, but then a second vehicle radioed in that they had it on the ground. It turned out that there were two leopards! They were probably in a territorial dispute and this would explain why they were so close together and how they managed to miss the lions until it was almost too late. After all this excitement, we made our way back to camp.

13 December – Morning Drive

We found some buffalo, a couple of dagga boys. We then saw giraffe, before coming across a huge herd of buffalo. It was one of the largest we have ever seen. There were just buffalo and more buffalo as far as the eye could reach. There were plenty of youngsters and with all the noise it felt a little like being in the midst of a herd of cattle! Towards the edge of the herd we saw an elephant, rhino and some waterbuck. We watched 2 water monitors at a dam where we stopped for morning drinks. As we moved back in the direction of camp, we saw dwarf mongoose, striped cuckoo, zebra with foals, an impala with her calf, a bateleur and a white-backed vulture. We also saw some lionesses and cubs sitting on top of a grassy anthill.

On the way out of camp, driving home, we saw a greater kestrel on a tree. As we watched, it took off in flight.