September 1

From Leopard Dinner Parties to Lion Love Triangles, Belinda Hit the Safari Jackpot!

September 1, 2023

Prepare to be green with envy as we delve into our guest Belinda Beale's extraordinary safari sightings that will make any wildlife enthusiast weak at the knees. Even with our own extensive safari experiences, we must admit that Belinda truly struck gold in the safari jackpot department – and yes, she has jaw-dropping pictures to prove it! Join us as we unveil the astonishing adventures that unfolded before Belinda's lucky eyes.

Two zebras on a grassy plain in the glow of sunrise

Get ready for some unbelievable wildlife encounters, Image Credit: Londolozi

Opulent Lodgings in "The Land Before Time"

Belinda's adventure at Londolozi in Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve was no ordinary safari in South Africa. From the moment she arrived, she sensed something delightfully unconventional was in store for her. After a leisurely late lunch, the guide and tracker graciously allowed her to settle into her room at Londolozi's Varty Camp. And it was like stepping into a whimsical dreamland.

Londolozi Varty Camp hugged by the surrounding trees

Varty Camp is enriched by a down-to-earth nature and a generous spirit, Image Credit: Londolozi

And oh, what a dream it was! The first game drive transported Belinda (and some of her fellow Londolozi guests) to a wildlife utopia. As they ventured onto an open plain, Belinda's eyes widened at the sight that greeted her – elephants grazing like leisurely giants, zebras zipping through the grass, giraffes strutting with their long necks held high, and a parade of wildebeests, impalas, and warthogs too.

“I felt like we had found the hidden valley in "The Land Before Time". Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to have such an abundance and variety of animals together in one area.” – Belinda Beale
Elephants by a water source

Elephant sighting while on a Londolozi game drive, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

But wait, there was more. Belinda's luck knew no bounds as they stumbled upon a mother rhino and her adorable little munchkin indulging in a grassy feast. Their guide, practically bursting with excitement, confessed it had been ages since he last laid eyes on a baby rhino. A rare and moving sighting indeed!

Mother rhino and her calf grazing in the wilderness

Belinda was fortunate to come across a white rhino with her baby feeding in grassland, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Rhino calf in the wild

With rhinos on the brink of extinction, seeing a rhino calf in the wild is a truly special experience, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Leopard Dinner Party for Two

The excitement only intensified as their guide and tracker furthered their safari mission to find a leopard who had a particular penchant for impala suppers. And find they did! A male leopard sat triumphantly on a tree branch, gnawing away at its savoury prize. But brace yourselves – because lurking beneath the leafy banquet was another male leopard, eagerly awaiting a dinner party invitation.

Who would have thought that leopards, known for their solitary nature, could have such social aspirations? Well, in reality, they don't – making this moment even more of a rarity. However, when it comes to sharing a meal, even the smallest of leftovers will suffice for these cunning creatures. After all, why dine alone when you can have a taste of the leopard's version of a dinner party?

"There was another male leopard at the base of the tree, waiting for whatever scraps may have fallen from above. Inevitably, this did happen, and we sat quietly watching a male leopard sitting in the tree and one on the ground feeding on the same impala." – Belinda Beale
Leopard in a tree at dusk

Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is famed for its high population of leopards, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Stars, Stories, and Safari Magic

As twilight cast its enchanting spell, Belinda found herself surrounded by the cosy embrace of the boma back at Varty Camp, where a crackling fire and a constellation of flickering lanterns set the mood. Underneath the starry sky, she shared tales of her wild encounters with fellow guests.

The air buzzed with elation as everyone relished in the magic of the moment. And just when Belinda thought it couldn't get any better, the chef himself swooped in, offering an in-depth tour of the dinner options. It was a feast fit for an adventurous soul, a crescendo to an unforgettable day on safari.

"We had dinner in the boma with a warm, open fire and lanterns everywhere, making the atmosphere feel magical and intimate. It was an amazing experience to be sitting outdoors under the starlit sky, sharing stories with the other guests to compare stories on what we saw that afternoon." – Belinda Beale
guests talking around a bonfire

There's nothing better than sharing safari stories around a bonfire, Image Credit: Londolozi

A Barrage of Buffalo

On another unforgettable day, a massive herd of migrating buffalos made their way through the area, with an estimated 300 to 400 buffalos. As the sun set, the buffalos gathered at a watering hole, providing a sight to behold. Belinda found herself surrounded by these tenacious beasts, their presence both awe-inspiring and humbling. It was a fitting end to yet another incredible day in the wilds of Africa.

"We made our way to the watering hole, and it was as if 'the director' called "action!" Because, exactly on cue, hundreds of buffalo funnelled their way through to drink and a bath in the waterhole. Our vehicle was surrounded by them, and at no stage did the animals or tourists feel threatened." – Belinda Beale
Buffalo at a waterhole in the glowing rays of sunset

Buffalo spend most of the year in herds of anywhere between 50 and 500, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Not-So-Distant Roars of Rivals

With the arrival of a new dawn, the world outside Belinda's window stirred with roars fit for a royal court. Eager to uncover the source of these regal calls, she joined her fellow explorers on the deck, sipping her morning coffee in anticipation. Soon thereafter, their morning game drive led them to the male lion, lying nonchalantly beside the road, his face battered and blood-stained from what seemed a savage brawl.

Lion with injuries to his face

Belinda was excited to find out where the roars were coming from, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

"I was actually the first to see the male lion and yelled for the guide to stop. He was lying right beside the road but had not crossed the dirt track, so the tracker had not noticed any prints. The lion had clearly been in an altercation as he had fresh blood oozing from his mouth and had scratches all over his face." – Belinda Beale

Then, gazing further across the bushveld, they could see a male and female lion engaged in a fierce debate over the lioness's heart. The drama unfolded before their eyes, a wild soap opera with a bush backdrop. Admittingly, the onlookers found it hard to look away as they witnessed a mating ritual that could rival any passionate telenovela.

Lion and lioness

There can only be one king of the bush

Big 5 and Beyond

Having triumphantly checked off the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), Belinda wondered if the safari magic would lose its sparkle. Oh, how wrong she was! Every subsequent drive became an encore of exhilaration. They journeyed through different terrains, crossed waterways teeming with the grinning faces of hippos and crocodiles.

"Our stay at Londolozi exceeded my expectations beyond belief. Being fortunate to see the Big 5 on our first two drives, I wondered how each additional drive could possibly compete." – Belinda Beale
Hippo yawning in water

Kruger's waterways are usually occupied with hippos and crocodiles, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Soon, they stumbled upon a boisterous pride of lions. The family portrait of felines included two proud kings, four fierce lionesses, and a mischievous litter of nine cubs. The cuteness overload was palpable as the cubs tumbled, tussled, and bounded around like pint-sized acrobats. But it wasn't all child's play...

Lion cubs playing

Mischievous lion cubs can be furballs full of energy, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

The Mystery of the Lioness's Sudden Spring

One morning, they came across the pride again, now missing the two males. Suddenly, one of the lionesses sprang! And, with a burst of adrenaline, she darted into the undergrowth, disappearing like a streak of golden lightning. At the same time, the wise matriarch skillfully guarded the mischievous cubs while the other three lionesses faithfully trailed behind the first.

Lioness with two small cubs

Pride dynamics between lions, lionesses and cubs are so fascinating, Image Credit: Belinda Beale

Their safari guide deftly steered their vehicle through the rugged terrain, the guests' hearts pounding with anticipation. The chase was on, a thrilling quest to uncover the enigma that ignited the lioness's sudden movement. Belinda and her safari companions clung to the edge of their seats, determined to keep pace with the drama unfolding.

And then, like a glorious revelation, they stumbled upon the prize – a freshly claimed warthog kill. Not long after that, as if in a choreographed symphony of nature, the elder lioness and the cubs arrived at the feeding site, completing the circle of life in a mesmerising display of survival and instinct.

lionesses and cubs feeding on a kill

A warthog may not be a full meal for a large pride, but it certainly is a great entrée, Image Credit: Michelle Welvering

A Deeper Connection

Each sunrise and sunset in Londolozi painted the sky with breathtaking hues, casting an enchanting allure over the African landscape. Looking back, Belinda cherished the bond she had formed with her guide and tracker, allowing for comfortable communication and a deeper connection to the wilderness. They even shared some meals together, adding a personal touch and creating lasting, meaningful memories.

"Our local guide and tracker had been with Londolozi for decades and were a wealth of information and fascinating stories." – Belinda Beale
Sunset in Africa

There's nothing more mesmerising than an African sunset, Image Credit: Londolozi

Embark on Your Very Own Safari in Africa

We would like to thank Belinda for sharing her astonishing safari experiences with us. Her extraordinary tale is a glimpse into the limitless wonders that await you in Africa. Also, behind the scenes, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Justine Ryan, one of our brilliant Travel Experts, who masterfully curated Belinda's African escapade.

"Thank you for creating memories that I will cherish for years to come." – Belinda Beale

If you're inspired by Belinda's extraordinary journey and wish to embark on your own unforgettable safari experience, our Travel Experts are ready and would love to plan your dream trip. Contact us today to plan your safari adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Big 5, Londolozi, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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