Last week’s post touched on the manner in which the bush has undergone major transformation over the last little while. The recent rains have turned a dry, dust-filled landscape into a vibrant green oasis. We are hopeful for more rain throughout the season, as we continue to appreciate the onset of new grass growth, fresh green leaves, a flowing sand river, as well as rising watering holes and mud wallows. The bush is buzzing with energy, and alive with the choruses of beetles, frogs and migrant birds.

The famous English idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that the meaning, or essence of a subject, can be accurately conveyed within a single still image. I hope that by sharing these images, I am able to instil similar emotions to those felt at the time.

Enjoy This Week in Pictures…

The Piva Male leopard with a fresh impala kill. 1/3200 at f/5.6; ISO 640

7
Piva 3:2 Male
2010 - present

Directly descended from the original mother leopard and therefore part of the royal lineage of Londolozi.

Piva 3:2 Male

Lineage
Mother Leopard
Identification
markings
Timeline
16 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
dsc_6066

The Ndzandzeni female leopard’s cub finds it challenging to find a comfortable position. His tree climbing skills are not quite yet up to scratch. 1/400 at f/6.0; ISO 640

A large white rhino bull chases a Majingilane male lion and two of the Mhangeni cubs (the second one is behind the male) from where they had been resting in the Sand River. 1/1000 at f/5.0; ISO 640

dsc_6217

One of the Mhangeni lionesses climbs atop an amphitheatre of rocks. One can clearly see from the darkened and protruding teats that she is still nursing cubs. Lions allo-suckle (suckle each other’s young) so she will be taking responsibility for nursing not only her own cubs in the pride. 1/3200 at f / 5.0; ISO 400

dsc_6236

A classic case of curiosity in lion cubs almost leading to disaster. 1/1600 at f/5.6; ISO 500

dsc_6259

A male cheetah periodically scans his surrounds whilst resting. Notice the claws clearly visible on his right front paw. These non-retractable claws are a distinguishing feature of cheetahs and help them with acceleration and traction whilst hunting. 1/180 at f/5.6; ISO 1000

dsc_6323

Climbing a fallen over tree to use as a vantage point as well as to scent mark, this male cheetah scans an open area. 1/4000 at f/5.0; ISO 500

dsc_6267

The gorgeous Flat Rock Male stares intently over the Sand River. This male is new to the area and sadly it appears as though he may have killed the latest litter of the Mashaba female leopard. Although far smaller than the Piva male who has also been pushing into the territory, the Flat Rock male seems to be holding his own. 1/250s at f/6.3; ISO 800

dsc_6402

Golden morning light illuminates the deep orange eyes of the Flat Rock Male. His eye colour bears a striking resemblance to that of the now-deceased Gowrie male, but as far as we know they are not related. Having said this, in an open eco-system like the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, gene flow through different areas is entirely possible through individuals of which we don’t know, so maybe there is some link between the two individuals. 1/800 at f/6.3; ISO 800

dsc_6357

The Mashaba Female leopard ascends a large Marula tree to scan the vicinity. She has been seen matin with the Flat Rock male and as such we have been led to believe that she must have lost her latest litter. 1/1000 at f/5.0; ISO 500

9
Mashaba 3:3 Female
2008 - present

The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the camps and vehicles.

Mashaba 3:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
23 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
3 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
dsc_6405

The Mashaba Young Female in dappled afternoon light. 1/250 at f/5.3; ISO 800

Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.

Mashaba 5:3 Young Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
16 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
dsc_6431

A herd of elephants feed atop a grassy crest in the golden glow of the evening. By underexposing this image, one can capture the outline of the subject whilst still capturing the rich colour of the setting sun. 1/800 at f/6.3; ISO 400

dsc_6446

Surrounded and protected by the herd, very young elephant calves are almost invulnerable in this area. Although in other reserves elephants are known to make up over 20% of lion pride’s diets, in the Sabi Sand Reserve there is enough easier prey to catch that lions generally don’t bother even looking at elephants. 1/20 at f/8.0; ISO 500

dsc_6454

Digging for roots in the sunset. Elephants will use their feet to loosen the soil around roots and tug the plant out the ground using their trunks, attempting to get to the rich nutrient store held below the ground. 1/160 at f/6.3; ISO 800

dsc_6466

The Piva male leopard had been hunting with incredible success along a 200m stretch of the Maxabene riverbed, making three impala kills and one duiker kill over a ten day period. 1/250 at f6.0; ISO 800

7
Piva 3:2 Male
2010 - present

Directly descended from the original mother leopard and therefore part of the royal lineage of Londolozi.

Piva 3:2 Male

Lineage
Mother Leopard
Identification
markings
Timeline
16 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
dsc_6602

A Tsalala cub approaches its mother, rubbing heads before flopping down in the grass beside her. This sort of interaction is common in prides and helps to improve social bonds. 1/800 at f/6.3; ISO 500

dsc_6539

The Xidulu female’s cubs wait for the return of their mother. Surprisingly enough, young leopards don’t actually learn how to hunt from their mothers. In fact they teach themselves by practising on small prey such as squirrels and birds, progressing to larger prey as their skill level improves. 1/640 at f/6.3; ISO 1000

dsc_6532

The Tamboti female finishes off the remains of an impala that was killed by the Piva Male. Hyenas are often portrayed in a negative light due to their scavenging habits, when in fact lions and indeed other leopards themselves display this behaviour as well.  1/200 at f/6.3; ISO 800

10
Tamboti 4:3 Female
2007 - present

The Tamboti female inhabits the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.

Tamboti 4:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
12 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
3 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

About the Author

Alistair Smith

Contributor

Alistair is one of the newest faces at Londolozi, beginning his guide training in late June of 2016. Alistair left a corporate career to follow his true passion; the great outdoors. Having already had some experience in the bush, he has fitted into ...

More stories by Alistair

12 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #260
    Alison Smith says:

    Nice blog Al! stunning photo’s!

    Lynn Rattray says:

    Outstanding post!

    Patti Hotz says:

    Fantastic set of pictures! I truly left a piece of my heart in Londolozi.

    Vicky Sanders says:

    As usual some gorgeous photos. The Mashaba Young Female in the tree with that lighting is amazing. On the question of the fatherhood of the Flat Rock Male, are y’all also collecting scat samples for the Panthera leopard DNA project?

    James Tyrrell says:

    Hi Vicky,
    Yes we do contribute scat samples to Panthera.

    Steve Cain says:

    Fond memories of the Tree Camp at Londolozi especially the leopards of course. Vividly recall an after dinner encounter with a lone Cape buffalo one night, on our way home way down at the end of camp. 😳Very glad for our steely- nerved escort. Really hope to get back in 2017.

    Jill Larone says:

    Stunning images Alistair! It’s really nice to see the Tamboti female again. So sad to hear of the loss of the Mashaba female’s cubs. Thanks for a great week of beautiful pictures and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Robin Smith says:

    Well done Alistair! You have learnt such a lot in such a short space of time!

    John Budd says:

    Great pics Alistair (hopefully mine come out as well!) and thanks to you and Euse for a fantastic 4 days in Londolozi. Can you text/email me your email or mobile so that I can let you how Villa 47 went.

    Alistair Smith says:

    Hi John, thank you for your comment and kind words. Euce and I had a wonderful time with you guys! my email is asti@iafrica.com and my personal mobile is +27 82 886 4566. I would love to know how you found the restaurant last night πŸ™‚

    We look forward to your return to Londolozi

    Warm Regards,
    Alistair

    Leah Urbantke says:

    Beautiful pictures, Alastair! We have some amazing ones as well. Thanks again to you and Euce! Did Dipti share with you our adventure with the elephant at Baines Camp? Also, did the bunny run away?

    Alistair Smith says:

    Hi Leah, great to hear from you πŸ™‚ glad you enjoyed the images.

    I met up with Dipti at Founders Camp and she shared your elephant story with me. What an experience! You can now truly say that you’ve experienced Africa at its best! The ‘bunny’ did indeed run away, so happy ending. Hope you’ve enjoyed the rest of your travels and you’re all keeping well.

    Regards,
    Al

Join the conversationLeave a reply below

Your email will be kept private.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

facebook
twitter
google
youtube
pinterest

Sign up for our newsletter

Send this to friend