Cayley worked in Botswana as a camp manager for three years, spending a year at Mombo Camp. In a series of short stories she writes about some of her most memorable moments spent at the Place of Plenty….
When you arrive in Botswana, the locals will tell you of the ‘Place of Plenty’. Deep in the middle of the Okavango Delta sits a nutrient-rich island, protected from the world and untouched by human interference. They say that this is the best game-viewing destination in southern Africa. Beautiful and wild.
Around the campfire during management training, we would talk of the lucky few that might have the chance to call this magical place home. We had heard the stories of the famed maned lioness MmaMoriri, Solo the wild dog who lived amongst jackals, and of course, the movie-star leopard, Legadima.
Welcome to the place of plenty
A while later the opportunity came. I had been working at the beautiful Abu Camp when Jemima, Callum and I were asked if we would like to manage at Mombo. After a teary departure from Abu Camp, my home in the Delta for two years, I climbed onto the plane to take us to Mombo. Flying toward the Mombo airstrip the feeling of sadness was soon swept away. From my seat I counted giraffe, elephant and impala… even before I had landed the adventure had begun.
We hopped off the plane and the wonderful team I was coming to join had organised a slightly longer game drive from the airstrip to the lodge. We had not driven five minutes when the guide announced he had something exciting to show us. As we came round the corner, stretched out on a sausage tree, was the famed lady leopard of Mombo, Legadima. She proceed to yawn and then slowly rose to her feet before descending the tree to drink from a pool of water in the roadside just ahead of us. I felt incredibly moved. She was even more beautiful than I had imagined.
These two photos are the only ones I managed to capture of this spectacular leopard and yet they are all I need to remember my very first and most magical Mombo Memory.
Written and Photographed by Cayley Christos