The first TWIP of 2017 is by rights a collaborative effort, with a number of different rangers contributing a picture or two.
Talk of the town – and by “town”, I mean the staff village – has been the slow encroachment of the Majingilane back eastwards into Londolozi’s western areas. It is doubtful that such an ageing coalition would be making a move to actively engage another group of males, but be that as it may, it has still been wonderful seeing them around their old hunting grounds of Ximpalapala crest.
The joys of summer have been evident in the sheer volume of life that has been bursting forth in the form of termite emergences, frogs calling everywhere, and the occasional cobra glimpsed slithering around at night in search of a meal. In terms of the ease of guiding, summer is a delight, as there is something new around every corner, whether it be big or small.
We’ll be doing a post focusd on some of Londolozi’s smaller inhabitants in the next week or two, but for now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
This impala ram was watching the Flat Rock male leopard walk past, but none of the rest of the herd were actually paying him much attention. It was only after he had been snorting for a good few minutes and upped his cadence that the rest of the impala moved closer to investigate.
We have been relishing all the lion activity around Ximpalapala koppie over the last few weeks, although it’s doubtful that the two side-striped jackals that are attempting to raise their pups there feel the same way.
With all the rain bringing much-needed grass growth to the area, the elephants have inevitably switched the focus of their diets to a more grazing-based approach. Although still keeping it varied, feeding on a variety of food sources, I’m sure they are loving the opportunity to feed on something that through the drought was almost entirely absent from their diets.
Although it looks as though this cheetah was simply enjoying the sunset, it is far more likely that he was scouting for a potential meal.
The PIva male leaps off the Mashaba female after a bout of mating. After losing her last litter (most likely killed by the Flat Rock male), she will be going back into oestrus again, and may give birth to another litter within a few months.
The dark-maned Matimba male moves under moody skies.
Jackal pups, like the young of any predator, get more curious as they get older, and will venture further and further from the safety of their dens to explore. This growing confidence is unfortunately countered by an increased level of risk, and inexperience can often be their downfall.
The softer side of a lion’s paw. The three lobes at the rear edge of the back pad that would indicate a cat track can be clearly seen here.
A close-up like this reveals how truly lethal a lion’s claws are. I have held a claw in my hand before, and can attest to the fact that they are like carbon fibre razors; very strong and very sharp, and when attached to 150kg of lightning fast, powerful muscle, pretty deadly.
This used to be a relatively common photo being captured at the causeway, where the resident crocodiles would wait in the rapids to snatch up fish, but during the drought, a lack of water meant these reptilian giants were absent. Thankfully with the river flowing again they have returned, although I doubt the local fish population feels the same way about it.
Sandros Sihlangu, Joy Mathebula and their guests enjoy time with the Mhangeni pride cubs. Activity in lion cubs is often high just after the passing of a rain squall.
A rather nervous hyena cub peers inquisitively out at the world from the safety of a den’s entrance.
While cubs cower in a den, the adults feed on the remains of a buffalo. As in the post on lions from a few days ago, it is difficult reconciling the innocent likeability of hyena cubs with the idea of the bone-crushing adults they will become.
One of the cubs of the Xidulu female spies some impala in the distance.
The two cubs of the Xidulu female, side by side. Can you guess which one the male is?