The area that Londolozi is situated in is an incredibly diverse eco-system, and is also extremely delicate. Every plant and creature – big or small, plays some part to ensure that this system stays balanced. The majority of the visitors who come to this part of the world are keen to see the animals that make up the big 5, which is completely understandable as they are majestic and famous animals in their own right. However, for me, I am mostly fascinated with the animals that go a bit more unnoticed and who, I feel, are the real heroes when it comes to keeping this environment in check.
As one of Londolozi’s camp managers, I have the extraordinary privilege of spending a large amount of my working hours walking along the pathway which interlinks Londolozi’s five camps. You may ask why this would be extraordinary but a slow walk along this beautiful pathway, looking carefully, listening and observing, can reveal some curios creatures. Along with the monkeys, baboons and antelope- which are the most commonly seen animals whilst out exploring the pathway, lives an array of different mammals, reptiles, arachnids, insects and birds.
With my new found interest in photography, I have attempted to capture some shots of just a few of my favourite animals which I have had the opportunity of observing recently. For all of our blog readers who are looking forward to visiting us in the near future, as well as our readers who have visited us before, I encourage you to take notice of the smaller beings that may cross your path; they are a very special part of our world.
This female Crimson Dropwing dragonfly landed on an aloe just long enough for me to take a shot of it. 105mm; f/22; 1/125; ISO 3200
A Speke’s Hinged tortoise ambling along Varty Camp lawn, in no hurry whatsoever 105mm; f/18; 1/250; ISO1600
A male Rainbow skink suns itself on a warm slab of concrete, keeping a beady eye on me 105mm; f/8; 1/250; ISO320
The secretive Purple-Crested Turaco, heard more than seen, hides in the canopy of a bushwillow tree 400mm; f/11; 1/1250; ISO 2500
A Swallowtail butterfly darts amongst the flowers of the large bougainvillea at Varty Camp 400mm; f/8; 1/2500; ISO2500
A large mantis, perfectly camouflaged, creeps stealthily along a twig searching for prey- looking at me as though he has been caught in the act! 105mm; f/22; 1/200; ISO 1000
An extremely rare sighting of a Mozambique spitting cobra hunting and devouring an unsuspecting toad 400mm; f/13; 1/3200; ISO 6400
A brilliant apple green Boomslang sticks it’s head out of a hole. The snake’s large eye missing nothing. 400mm; f/5.6; 1/400; ISO 200
Orange-breasted bushshrikes can often be heard calling in the vegetation, and also seen hopping along the branches of the thickets looking for insects. This one was particularly beautiful. 400mm; f/5.6; 1/2000; ISO 6400
The iridescent colours of a tiny dungbeetle shine in the sunlight as it pushes a rolled-up ball of dung alongside the path 105mm; f/3.8; 1/4000; ISO 1600
One of the several Giant plated lizards that call Tree Camp home, often seen sunning themselves on the large rocks around the camp 105mm; f/5.6; 1/500; ISO 6400
A beautiful (and incredibly quick) Western yellow-bellied sand snake keeps still in the grass, hoping to go unnoticed 105mm; f/8; 1/1000; ISO 1000
One of the extremely agile African Goshawks who can be seen perched high in a Jackalberry tree, watching intensely for any unsuspecting prey. 400mm; f/5.6; 1/40; ISO 100
Bearded Scrub Robins can often be seen hopping from branch to branch. Many of the Scrub Robins found in camp are very relaxed around humans which allows us to get quite close to them. 400mm; f/6.3; 1/3200; ISO 3200
White-browed Robin Chat’s flute-like calls can be heard year round. These birds are often seen in pairs, hopping across open areas or darting through the vegetation searching for insects – catching our attention with their bright ochre plumage 400mm; f/6.3; 1/60; ISO 2500
This large Rock Monitor lizard calls Varty Camp home, and is probably the biggest I have seen of this species. I often see it lumbering through the vegetation, tongue flicking out, tasting the air particles for signs of food. 370mm; f/5.6; 1/160; ISO 1000
A strikingly beautiful Woodland Kingfisher seen at Varty Camp lawn. Their calls signal the start of summer for me and these birds are highly territorial and call the entire day to indicate where their territory lies. 400mm; f/6.3; 1/500; ISO 1600
All photographs taken with a Nikon D750, with either a Nikon 80-400 f/4.0 – 5.6 or a Nikon 105mm Macro lens
Written and photographed by Rob Crankshaw- Londolozi Camp Manager