Typically people only tend to talk of the weather when making small talk but this week the weather was actually quite a big deal at Londolozi. Despite us being right at the end of the rainy season, we got an unexpected 80mm of rain, which created great joy as we head into the dry, winter months. What also followed was a cold snap where Londolozi guests and staff could really huddle around a boma fire in the evening for the first time in months.

The Tsalala pride have been prolific this week but I’d have to say that my stand out sighting was of the Xidulu female leopard and her two cubs. James Tyrrell and I found her crossing over a road late one afternoon, walking with purpose westwards. We followed her for a short while before she began contact calling. Soon after, her male cub peeked his head out of a thicket before running to be reunited with his mother. After hearing some impala alarming in the distance, we became aware that the female cub had heard her mother calling too and was coming to rejoin the leap from further afield. The Xidulu female then turned and led her two youngsters to an impala ram she had managed to catch just as the sun descended.

Enjoy this Week in Pictures…

xidulu cub, AA

The Xidulu female’s male cub affectionately rubs up against her. Having been left alone for a few days, the cubs showed great excitement at her return. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

impala ram, sunrise, AA

An impala ram turns and scans his surroundings before crossing over the road as the sun rises behind him. These antelope are becoming increasingly noisy as we enter the rutting season where males chase and fight with one another for mating rights to the females. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

 

Mhangeni pride, lion cub, reflection, AA

A reflection of a Mhangeni Pride youngster in a small pan as he watches some vultures landing in the distance. These lions had finished off a kudu and were full bellied and resting when we found them. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

giraffe, AA

Two young giraffe turn to look at us simultaneously as the morning sun lights up their coats. Youngsters of this age tend to move in nursery groups rather than alongside their respective mothers. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

xidulu female leopard and cub, AA

The Xidulu female and her male cub turn and look towards alarming impala in the distance. The antelope were alarming at the young female who was returning to the leap. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

Tsalala breakaway male lion, CA

One of the Tsalala Breakaway Pride young males walks past the vehicle. These lions have been focusing around one particular rocky outcrop on Londolozi, where we believe the tailless lioness is denning. Normally males of this age will be forced out of the pride by their fathers but because there is no male permanently with this pride they have not yet dispersed. Photograph by Callum Gowar

crocodile, SC

There was a perfect shaft a light coming in from in front of this crocodile to illuminate the inside of its yellow mouth, giving the impression of a torch-lit subject. It was too unique to pass up, and the slow shutter speed added to the mystical feel of the scene. Photograph by Sean Cresswell

rhino, SC

Slowly, colours of summer vanish and the wintery aura can be detected here and there. This rhino bull was surrounded by a field of golden grass. Photography by Sean Cresswell

Tsalala breakway pride male, AA

One of the Tsalala Breakaway Pride young males turns to glance at a journey of giraffe that have spotted him in the distance. We actually found the group of three lions by going to check what the giraffe were staring at. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

Tsalala Pride youngsters, CA

Three of the Tsalala Pride youngsters rest together in a huddle. This pride has been focusing their movements around the Londolozi camps recently, meaning we have been seeing a lot of them in the last week. Photograph by Callum Gowar

pearl spotted owlet, CA

An African Scops Owl, photographed with the help of a spotlight. These birds eat mainly insects as well as small rhodents, birds, geckos and frogs. Photograph by Callum Gowar

giraffe black sky, AA

The unusual weather we had this past week gave me the opportunity to photograph this giraffe bull against a blackening sky as a storm approached. Because of the low lighting conditions, there is a blur of the buffalo thorn he was feeding off as he tore off a mouthful of leaves. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

piva male mating mashaba female, SC

Unsheathed claws, grimacing faces and an explosion of rosettes. The Piva male and Mashaba female separate from a short mating bout while Garrett Fitzpatrick, Life Sibuyi and guests look on from a distance. Photograph by Sean Cresswell

hyena cub, SC

A nervous but inquisitive hyena cub emerges ever so slightly before disappearing again as the day heats up. Photograph by Sean Cresswell

nanga and cub, sC

Overcast afternoons meant shadowless scenes, and capturing the Nanga female and her last remaining cub required a wide aperture, steady rest and fairly still subject. An amazing opportunity nonetheless! Photograph by Sean Cresswell

kurrichane buttonquail and chick, AA

Although not the greatest photograph I’ve ever taken, this is one I was very excited to have captured. Here a very shy Kurrichane Buttonquail rushes back to collect its tiny chick. The adults themselves are minute, weighing just 43g so you can imagine how small this chick was in real life. What is also fascinating is that this species of bird is polyandrous, meaning the adult raising the chick here is in fact the male. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

nanga leopard, AA

The Nanga female scans her surroundings from a Leadwood tree while her cub feeds on a bushbuck in the thickets at its base. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

sunrise, AA

Another glorious sunrise over Londolozi. As winter approaches these sunrises tend to get more and more dramatic as they reflect off the dust in the atmosphere. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

About the Author

Amy Attenborough

Media Team

Amy has a rich field-guiding history, having spent time at both Phinda and Ngala Game Reserves. This diversity of past guiding locations brought her an intimate understanding of different biomes across South Africa, and she immediately began making a name for herself as ...

More stories by Amy

12 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #280
    Sean Cresswell says:

    Buttonquail chick! Incredible!!

    Gillian Evans says:

    Amazing crocodile shot Sean ! Thanks for the update Amy and keeping us connected to Londolozi!

    Jenny says:

    Wonderful photos Amy – incredible light and the best Rhino ! Thank you.

    Morgan says:

    Great piece. Who is the father of the the Tailess lioness’s cubs.

    Amy Attenborough says:

    Hi Morgan. We can only assume that the fathers are the Matimba males. They seem to be the only males that have been in the vicinity of the lioness in the last few months. The males have subsequently moved north of Londolozi though so it will be interesting to see how this affects their survival chances. Thanks, Amy

    Chuck Illig says:

    Great photos as always most enjoyable THANKS

    Lea says:

    Nice blog Amy, thank you. Great pics of the animals and the most beautiful sunrise. Awesome.

    King Golden Mane Majingilane says:

    Is the youngest Tasalala female also pregnant or just Tailless ?Is tailless the mother of the 2011 Tasalala female or it it Tailed lioness ?And is the pride at a safe distance from the Mathshapiri males

    Amy Attenborough says:

    No the younger female is not pregnant, it is only tailless that has produced a litter. The mother of the 2011 Tsalala female is the tailed lioness and at the moment the pride is well out of range of the Matshipiri males. The area that she is believed to be denning the cubs is an area that we have never seen the MAtshipiri males in before.

    Morgan says:

    Thanks

    Darlene Knott says:

    Wonderful shots! Enjoyed them all! Thanks for sharing.

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Wow its amazing how quickly the grass has changed colour when only a few months ago, you were drought stricken, then rains fell, everything turned green!! All the pictures are stunning, especially the sunrise, which the bushveld always seems to deliver 🙂 Thank you Amy. Have a great week

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