It is June! Apologies for stating the obvious but I just cannot believe we are at mid-year already. The beanies, scarves and gloves are all being put to good use each morning and the coffee/tea/hot chocolate stops have never been more welcome.

This last week will go down as a particularly memorable one in my guiding career as I finally got to see what some call the ‘holy grail’ of wildlife sightings. Having grown up being fortunate enough to spend a lot of time visiting different game reserves and wildlife areas in Southern Africa I have been able to see most of the animals that I have wanted to. One that has eluded me, however, is the pangolin. That all changed a few days ago. I was tracking a leopard with the eagle-eyed, Rich Mthebeni, in the southern parts of the reserve when all of a sudden he stopped, stared and with a questioning tone muttered, “pangolin?” I immediately looked to see where he was looking, thinking that he was playing a cruel joke on me until this strange looking, mythical type creature came into view, slowly making its way across an open clearing! I left Rich with strict instructions not to let it out of his sight and ran back to the vehicle to fetch Chris and Jane who are long-time Londolozi guests who had also never seen a pangolin. They were waiting patiently for us to find them a leopard but that was soon forgotten as I broke the news to them and we proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon in the presence of this interesting creature.

It was my highlight of another extraordinary week here at Londolozi, please enjoy this Week in Pictures.

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My first ever sighting of a pangolin. ISO 400 f5.6 1/125 Canon 18-55mm @ 55mm

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Pangolins are incredibly rare and elusive animals, which made spending an afternoon with one even more special. ISO 400 f5.6 1/320 Canon 18-55mm @55mm

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I have this man, Rich Mthebeni, to thank for spotting the Pangolin we saw. ISO 400 f4.5 1/500 Canon 18-55mm @30mm

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The darker-maned Matimba male rests in a clearing close to the lodge after a night of patrolling his territory. ISO 250 f5.6 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @170mm

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A combination of late afternoon light and a glassy waterhole made for a spectacular sighting of this rhino bull coming down to drink. ISO 400 f4.5 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @115mm

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A yellow-billed stork feeds along the edge of a waterhole outside camp. Notice the faint pink tinge to its feathers and red facial skin associtaed with the breeding season. ISO 100 f5.6 1/500s Canon 100-400mm @ 400mm

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Two male nyalas size each other, contemplating whether or not it’s worth locking horns. Unlike male impalas, nyalas tend to avoid physical contact when fighting to establish dominance, favouring a display to make themselves appear larger than their rival instead. ISO 800 f5.0 1/640s Canon 100-400mm @ 160mm

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One of the new hyena cubs spotted at a den site on the reserve. In a few weeks time their spots will begin to show as they start to resemble the adults. ISO 400 f5.6 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @ 300mm

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A fork-tailed drongo mobs a brown snake eagle as it tries to chase it from the area. Being small and agile allows it to relentlessly harass any bird of prey without getting caught. ISO 800mm f14 1/400s Canon 100-400mm @ 400mm

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A male cheetah made a surprise appearance one afternoon not too far away from camp. We arrived just after he had managed to take down this impala ram and watched him feed as the sun went down. The kill was stolen from him during the night by the Tamboti Young Female leopard. ISO 400 f5.0 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @ 200mm

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A Bateleur eagle starts to wake up as the sun rises in the beautiful northern parts of the reserve. ISO 160 f5.6 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @ 365mm

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Chattering monkeys and Impala alarm calls alerted us to the presence of the Anderson male leopard as he patrolled his territory north of the river one morning. ISO 400 f5.0 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @ 180mm

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After a supreme tracking effort by Rich Mthebeni that lasted 3.5 hours, he managed to find the Dudley Riverbank Male. It was the first time I had viewed this leopard as he is not often seen. Wounds on the top of his head and paws showed us that he had been been in a few territorial scraps, possibly with the Anderson Male whose territory borders his. ISO 400 f5.6 1/640 Canon 100-400 @ 400mm

About the Author

James Souchon

Field Guide

James started his guiding career at the world-renowned Phinda Game Reserve, spending four years learning about and showing guests the wonder of the incredibly rich biodiversity that the Maputaland area of South Africa has to offer. Having always wanted to guide in the ...

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9 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #235

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Alex
Guest

Great blog,you are seeing Anderson more often lately,is he still pushing south towards the Sand River?

James Souchon

Hi Alex, we have managed to find him on a couple of occasions over the last week but not that close to the Sand River. Hopefully we start seeing more and more of him because he is a very impressive leopard to photograph! Hope you are having a good time in Sri Lanka!

Lynne
Guest

What beautiful photo’s of wonderful wild life ! Thank you !

MJ
Guest

I am not getting the e-mails regarding your blogs anylonger.. I tried re-registering but it said “Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.” I will try again later.. but hope to start getting my notices again soon! Thank you all for these wonderful blogs, I look forward to them appearing in my in-box!

Amy Attenborough

Hi MJ. Thanks for letting us know. You should receive an email allowing you to re-subscribe. Please let me know if you have any more problems. Many thanks, Amy

Michael & Terri Klauber
Guest

James, We are so happy to see you at Londolozi! You may remember our Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club group visited you at Phinda! Great story and shots. Hope you will reach out – we are coming back to Londolozi in 2017 and will hope to see you.

James Souchon

Hi Michael and Terri, I definitely do remember both of you and very glad to hear you are coming back to Londolozi next year. I look forward to catching up again then. It really is a special place!

Jill Larone
Guest

James, great blog and beautiful pictures! It’s so nice to see the Dudley Riverbank Male once again and know that he is still out there…it’s sad to hear that he is injured though. Hopefully, he will recover well. What a great sighting of the Pangolin Rich! They are certainly very unique looking creatures. Thanks for another great week in pictures!

christine frazer skinner
Guest

Beautiful photos of the wild and wonderful.

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