True to form, we’ve had another amazing week of game viewing on Londolozi in the last seven days. Lions in particular have been prevalent with the arrival of the Styx Pride accompanied by a Birmingham male as well as sightings of the Tsalala, Tsalala Breakaway, Mhangeni, Sparta and Ntsevu prides. Highlights for me also included seeing the Tamboti female leopard’s cubs for the first time, which took us five days of constant searching before finally being rewarded. Credit must go to tracker Freddy Ngobeni whose tenacity and incredible tracking skill eventually paid off. My absolute highlight of the week would have to be the sighting we had of a pack of wild dogs interacting with a family of warthogs though. Dogs don’t normally hunt warthogs as their bellies (the areas dogs normally target) are very low to the ground and therefore hard to attack. Their razor-sharp tusks also provide very good defensive gear. Dogs are highly playful and inquisitive though and so the game of cat and mouse that ensued was highly entertaining while it lasted. A nice reminder as the weekend approaches that there comes a time to drop the work for a bit of play.

Enjoy this Week in Pictures…

tsalala, lion

A young male from the Tsalala Pride rests on collection of rocks on the banks of the Sand River. We call this spot Plaque Rock and it was amazing to come around the corner and see a pride of lions resting in such a picturesque place. f6,3; 1/2500 at ISO 800.

tamboti, leopard cubs

One of the Tamboti female’s cubs gets groomed by its mother. We had followed the female all morning as she attempted to find herself a meal and eventually followed her back to the place where she had been keeping the cubs. f5,6; 1/400 at ISO 500

tamboti, leopard cubs

The cubs suckled from and played with the female before heading to the edge of the drainage line to rest. These cubs are nearing four months old now. f5,6; 1/400 at ISO 500

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.

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14 sightings by Members
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Tamboti 4:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
24 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
3 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
elephant, drinking

An elephant quenches its thirst from a waterhole in the late afternoon. It was part of a herd of about thirty that came to the pan for a drink. f5,6; 1/800 at ISO 320

piva, giraffe, wildebeest, leopard hunting

The Piva male hunkers down, trying to avoid being spotted by this giraffe. Later in the sighting when the giraffe lost interest, the leopard crept forward to stalk the wildebeest, hoping to find an unsuspecting youngster in the group. Although wildebeest are very much on the outer reaches of what a leopard is capable of hunting, big male leopards such as the Piva male have been recorded killing wildebeest before. f5,6; 1/80 at ISO 1600

7
Piva 3:2 Male
2010 - 2017

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

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17 sightings by Members
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Piva 3:2 Male

Lineage
Mother Leopard
Identification
markings
Timeline
25 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
white-bellied sunbird

A white-bellied sunbird feeds from an Aloe chabaudii. It’s long, thin beak allows it to reach far into the flower where it will then drink using its even longer tongue. Most of the aloes in camp have finished flowering and birds, insects and bees are taking advantage of this last production of aloe nectar for the year.

wild dogs

A pack of wild dogs hunt in the northern portion of Londolozi. Normally these open clearings are crawling with impala but the pack were struggling to find prey on this particular morning. f6,3; 1/2000 at ISO 1600

wild dogs, warthogs

This was my favourite sighting of the week. The pack came across a group of warthogs that had just emerged from their burrow after a night’s rest. The warthogs would run from the dogs, then after a while turn and charge back at the threat, who would themselves turn and run in the opposite direction. The dogs eventually lost interest in the game of cat and mouse but the scene was highly entertaining while it lasted. f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 1600

cheetah

A male cheetah looks east towards the rising sun, which cast a gorgeous golden glow over his coat. Using termite mounds and perches like this he was scanning for his next hunting opportunity.  f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 640

nkoveni leopard cub

One of the Nkoveni youngsters rests in a fallen Knobthorn tree. The youngsters spent the entire afternoon stalking and chasing flocks of tiny red-billed queleas to no avail. f6,3; 1/500 at ISO 640

5
Nkoveni 2:2 Female
2012 - present

A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.

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19 sightings by Members
q

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
28 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
crocodiles

A rather unusual scene of three young crocodiles resting together in a pool in the Sand River. f6,3; 1/500 at ISO 800

rhino, mud wallow

A young rhino copies its mother who has just mud bathed in this waterhole. Rolling from side to side, he attempted to coat himself in mud, which serves as an abrasive to help remove ticks and parasites, cool him down and provide his skin with protection from the sun. f5,6; 1/500 at ISO 640

tamboti leopard

The Tamboti female scans her surrounds hoping to spot prey. Suckling two young cubs means her energy requirements are substantial. f5,6; 1/1250 at ISO 500

tsalala, lions, plaque rock

The Tsalala pride rest on a section of rocky outcrop favoured for drink’s stops called Plaque Rock. It was such a welcome surprise to come around the corner and be met by this scene. f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 640

lion foot

One of the Tsalala youngsters rest on Plaque Rock, allowing us this rather unique eye-level view of the underneath of its foot. f6,3; 1/4000 at ISO 800

lioness

A Tsalala lioness gets up to reposition herself amongst the pride. Being such social creatures these animals will often lie very close to one another even when it’s incredibly hot. f6,3; 1/2000 at ISO 800

elephant eye

A close up of an elephant’s eye. The general lazy pace that elephants eat, drink and even blink at makes them such calming animals to be around. f5,6; 1/1000 at ISO 500

Involved Leopards

Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard
Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard
Piva 3:2 Male

Piva 3:2 Male

Spotted this leopard?
You've seen this leopard

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 ...

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23 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #296

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

James Tyrrell

Amazing photos Ames!
My favourite has to be the Piva male hunkering down watching the giraffes and wildebeest in the distance!!

Ian Hall

Wonderful photos, I especially thought the crocs and the leopard cubs were real wall candy. For many visitors once in a lifetime shots

Amy Attenborough

Thanks Ian. The photo of the crocodiles is rather hilarious hey? I had never seen crocodiles acting in what appears to be a rather affectionate way. All my best, Amy

Darlene Knott

Wow, Amy, these are beautiful photos! I love leopards, so the cub photos are particularly gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Amy Attenborough

Thanks Darlene. They’d have to be a firm favourite of mine too. All my best, Amy

Denise Vouri

Beautiful, amazing photos Amy. You have a great eye and I really appreciate your adding the settings you used. The leopard cub photos are priceless- they’re irresistible. Also found the picture of the leopard trying to keep a low profile in the midst of the giraffe DT al brilliant. Wish I was there v

Amy Attenborough

Thanks so much Denise! I don’t know if you’re aware but that photograph was of the Piva male who sadly died a few days after that post was published. Here is a link to the blog if you’d like more information. http://blog.londolozi.com/2017/08/14/farewell-to-the-piva-male/. Best, Amy

Mary Beth Wheeler

So fun to see Tamboti’s cubs! The last time we saw her she was VERY pregnant. So special….

Amy Attenborough

Fingers crossed she has better luck this time Mary Beth! We know that she mated with the Inyatini male so let’s hope the death of the Piva male leopard doesn’t affect the chances of her cubs. Many thanks, Amy

Ken Tobin

WHEN/ WHERE DID YOU SEE THE SPARTAS? HOW FAR INTO LONDOLOZI WERE THE STYX? I HOPE THE TSALALAS AVOID TROUBLE-
HAVE THE TSALALAS GONE THEIR SEPARATE WAYS? YOU GOTTA LOVE THE SOAP OPERA OF LION DYNAMICS….THANKS

Amy Attenborough

Hi Ken. The Spartas were seen very briefly along the Sand river in a portion between us and Mala Mala. They only popped on for a day, following a herd of buffalo. The Styx were also seen on our boundary with one of the Birmingham males for a day in our north eastern corner. And yes, the Tsalala’s have gone their separate ways and since the surprise arrival of the Matshipiri male for a day seem to have been able to steer clear of any males. Thanks for your interest. Cheers, Amy

Jazz Doc

Can someone please tell me what the ratio following the name means, e.g., Piva 3:2 male? Thanks!

Amy Attenborough

Hi Jazz. It refers to a spot pattern on their faces that we use for identification purposes. Specifically the highest line on their cheek, read from left to right if the animal is facing you. Although different individuals may have the same number of spots, the shape, size etc will always differ from animal to animal meaning that it’s a very reliable way of telling them apart. Many thanks, Amy

Chris Cordon

I’ve heard rumors that reports out of Mala mala state that the Piva male is dead, mauled by lions. Is this true?

Amy Attenborough

Hi Chris. Sadly the reports are true. The Piva male was found dead in Mala Mala yesterday. We will be posting a blog soon with all the details. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Many thanks, Amy

Mike Ryan

RIP Piva one of ort top sighting was him mating with the Mashaba female with her daughter Nkoveni watching at the end of the runway. Think you were there Amy? This will make raising her cubs all the more difficult. Was she seen mating with any of the other males ?

Amy Attenborough

Mike, we do know that Mashaba mated with both the Inyatini and Flat Rock males. We’re pretty sure that the Nkoveni female mated with the Flat Rock male but we’re not sure about Inyatini so we’ll have to hope that the Flat Rock male moves into that portion Piva’s territory for the safety of those cubs. Many thanks, Amy

Andrew Milne

firstly I want to say how sorry I am to all the rangers and guests that were lucky enough to see him, about the passing of the Piva male. He was one of my favourite leopards and I love that this photo shows him in such a beautiful light.
I don’t want to admit that he has gone far too soon, but I look forward to reading what I am sure will be a beautiful farewell to him in the next blog.
best wishes and deepest sympathies to you all
Andrew

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Andrew! That was the very last photograph I ever took of him. Crazy to think that it was just a few days ago and that when we left him that morning, we never imagined it would be for the last time. Here is a link to our post on the Piva male in case you missed it. http://blog.londolozi.com/2017/08/14/farewell-to-the-piva-male/. Thanks again, Amy

Andrew Milne

Hi Amy, I read it as soon as I saw it was out on Instagram.
Lovely tribute to an amazing animal!

Amy Attenborough

Ok good! Thanks Andrew 🙂

Eulalia Angédu

Amazing pictures you have there.The tsalala pride just excite me.Thank you for the article and the pictures.You’re very skillful,the elephant eye in close range is a very impressive picture and all the others.When a picture brings out many thoughts and almost valid conclusion i.e. Elephants have a calm nature,then the photographer is approaching a very dangerous awesome level.Good post Amy.

Amy Attenborough

Thanks so much Eulalia!

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