Hilltop Lodge

River Lodge

Wildlife & Safari

Leopards of the Timbavati – Ntombi


Frank de Beer


September 15, 2021

A great lineage was left behind by an exceptional female leopard known as Ntombi. 

Ntombi was a very relaxed individual. But, as do we all, she aged and was forced to the south by younger, stronger competitors. 

Before she moved on, she had two cubs, both males. Both the cubs made it to adulthood which reflects the success of this female leopard as a mother. One of the males is now known by us as Ntima, meaning ‘black’, because of his dark nose. He carved out a piece of territory within his birth area. 

When I started working at Simbavati 3 and half years ago this was generally the leopard we got to see most frequently when out on game drives. Ntima is an absolute legend and definitely as relaxed as his mother. At the age of around five, he was the dominant male in our part of the Timbavati. Over the next few years, he grew both physically and in confidence. Though he has expanded his territory beyond our boundaries in order to continue spreading his genes, we still see him on a regular basis. 

I remember one of many incredible sightings I had with him. We went out on a morning game drive, not knowing what to expect, and that’s the best part of it… The sound of hyena close by attracted our attention and we came across Ntima who had caught a warthog and was busy dragging it to a nearby tree. Before he could hoist it, 3 hyenas stole his hard- earned meal. 

Stoical, Ntima stuck around in the area, hoping to reclaim his prize. His patience paid off as the hyena got startled and left the warthog for only a few seconds. Ntima saw the moment of opportunity, came running in and claimed it back. Three hyena hot on his tail, he made it to the safety of a Marula Tree and could feed in peace. Today, he’s a very experienced leopard and in the prime of his life. Stay tuned for an update on his own lineage.

Leave a Comment