“Our animals basically make wildlife photography fashionable,” says Rodney Nombekana, a safari guide who prides himself on giving visitors a camera roll of reasons to fall in love with Kruger’s wildlife. “By doing so, not only do they appreciate the wildlife but they also get involved in conservation of our natural world.”
“It just so happened that a leopard was sitting on a beautiful rock during the sunset, and I took out my cell phone and I took a picture of this leopard,” Nombekana recalls. “When I got home, I looked at the picture, and I realized that it would be nice if taken from a proper camera.”
So Nombekana bought a starter camera kit. As with the leopard, he found himself drawn to capturing images of big cats — a fascination he says was likely sparked during his childhood in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape.
“The elders of the village always told us about the leopard,” he explains. “It was always a myth that there was this animal that was called a leopard. We actually never really saw it. It’s always been a dream of mine to actually see a leopard in the wild and when I first saw one, it was just unbelievable.”
Look through the gallery above to see how the leopard and other big cats have continued to hold a special meaning for Nombekana.