On the brink of the 300th instalment of This Week in Pictures we look back on another magical week here at Londolozi. Searching for leopard cubs has been a recurring theme with a number of females harbouring elusive litters. We had some incredible sightings of the Tamboti female in particular as she led her two cubs to a freshly killed impala. The Nkoveni female continues to raise her second litter as her two six month old cubs continue to get bigger and more confident and we can finally confirm that the Mashaba female has had a litter of three cubs, although at a vulnerable four weeks old they are still bound to the den site and glimpses of them are few and far between. There will be some interesting times ahead as we wait to see which male leopard fills the void left by the Piva Male and how this will affect these various litters. 

With regards to lions, we have had The Mhangeni,  Tsalala and Tsalala Breakaway prides all making regular appearances along the Sand River in front of the lodges due to an abundance of prey coming down to drink daily. However, with winter slowly losing its grip on the bush hunting will get harder as dependance on the river wanes.

Enjoy this Week in Pictures…

The Nkoveni female managed to kill a grey duiker and hoist it into a Marula Tree. After one of her cubs dislodged it and it fell to the ground the other cub then tried to take it back up. Even though it only got half way up it was an impressive attempt for a six month old leopard cub. 1/1250 at f/4,5; ISO 100

Winter time along the Sand River never disappoints. As dry conditions prevail the river provides a constant source of water to quench many an animal’s thirst. 1/200 at f/8,0; ISO 400

A Dwarf Mongoose pokes its head out of the safe refuge of a termite mound. These little mammals regularly change densites to keep ahead of potential predators. 1/1250 at f/4,0; ISO 200

A battle scarred female Hyena carries her newborn cub back into the safety of the den site. With the number of cubs in this clan growing steadily, they have been running out of space in their regular den, and are now making use of more than one. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 200

Not wanting to be left out, the Nkoveni female joins in on some play time with one of her cubs. Being a young female (5 years old as of a few days ago), she still has a lot of youthful exuberance. 1/2000 at f/4,0; ISO 1250

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.

U
Spotted this leopard?
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23 sightings by Members
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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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

A young baboon rests in the boughs of a Jackalberry tree. Big riverine trees like Jackalberries are vital for baboon troops to use as roosting spots in a predator rich area like Londolozi. 1/2000 at f/7,1; ISO 1000

This Spotted Eagle Owl was disturbed from its day time perch by one of the Nkoveni female’s young cubs as it tried to stalk it. Well camouflaged, these birds are rarely sen during the day, and generally only when flushed. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 1600

One of the Nkoveni female’s cubs on the same afternoon it tried, in vain, to catch the Spotted Eagle Owl. Although its tail looks stumpy, it is just the angle of the photo that makes it look cut off. 1/1600 at f/4,0; ISO 1000

The Nkoveni Female in the late afternoon sun, glancing back towards her cubs. The 2 spots on her left cheek, just above her whisker line, are very evident in this photo, and are part of the system for leopard identification we use here at Londolozi.  1/2500 at f/4,0; ISO 1000

A hooded vulture descends after spotting something to scavenge. Hooded vultures are the scouts of the vulture world, often the first to arrive as a carcass, acting as pathfinders for others in the area. 1/1250 at f/8,0; ISO 400

Right before returning to a kill she had made, the Tamboti Female led her two cubs to a nearby waterhole to drink. Unfortunately they were robbed of their impala kill by a hyena very soon after this photograph was taken. 1/125 at f/8,0; 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.

U
Spotted this leopard?
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18 sightings by Members
q

Tamboti 4:3 Female

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

It’s always a test of patience to try and photograph a hippo with it’s mouth wide open. Spending some time at a waterhole in the early morning or late afternoon when they are a bit more active will boost your chances. 1/320 at f/5,0; ISO 100

One of the Majingilane males listens for the distant roar of his brothers after being separated. The three members of this coalition are spending much more time on Londolozi than they have over the past two years, and have been seen mating with the Mhangeni pride (their daughters). Inbreeding over only one generation is not a disaster in lion populations and is not altogether uncommon. In an open ecosystem like this it will invariably not be too long before breeding equilibrium is restored.  1/400 at f/2,8; ISO 2500

A young male from the Tsalala pride as they rest along the Sand River. We waited with them for a couple of hours in the hope they would wade across the channel behind them as evening fell, but they continued to sleep until well after dark. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 250

The two cubs of the Nkoveni Female play with each other in the fading light. With the INyathini male having been seen moving into the deceased Piva male’s old territory, these cubs’ future is in jeopardy. 1/1000 at f/2,8; ISO 2500

Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

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You've seen this leopard

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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13 Comments

on This Week in Pictures #299

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Great pictures James. I have never seen a hyena cub that small. A wonderful sighting.

Ian Hall

Amazing photos, if I had to select some (non-leopard*) photos the hyena and new-born cub and the owl photos would make it onto my wall. I couldn’t pick a winner between those two shots.
* It’s just that you have so many excellent photos of leopards

Angela Pearson-Bramson

Incredible experiences and photos, James!

Denise Vouri

This was brilliant. Makes me want to return to Sabi Sand and I was just there in February. I’ve seen leopards but only teens or adults. I’m longing to see little ones vguess it’s in the timing. Any hints on a good time for cub sightings?

Michael & Terri Klauber

James, Awesome post – love the images of those cubs. So many great sightings. Sure hope the Nkoveni cubs make it – we loved see them in action when were at Londolozi recently!

Mary Beth Wheeler

Absolutely fantastic shots, James! I’m at a loss to choose a favorite, although leopard cubs are always at or near the top – thanks!

D. Phillips

What a beautiful array of animals. Just brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing.

Ivan Glaser

Great pics as usual….but a bit of a typo in the comment under the elephant picture…..”Winter time along the Sand River never fails to disappoint” ….I dont think that is what you meant 🙂

James Tyrrell

Haha thanks Ivan. Definitely not what was meant! Changed as of this minute! Thanks for that.

Rich Laburn

Awesome set of images James, thank you for sharing.wonderful to see the Nkoveni female’s cubs growing up so successfully and providing great viewings.

Irene Nathanson

Beautiful photos James. There are so many favorites. Enough for two blogs really. Seeing the strength of a leopard cub hoisting a kill up a tree is impressive-great capture

Wendy Hawkins

Awesome pictures TWIP always makes my weekend happy 🙂

Lisa Hilger

Great photos! I have so much to learn with my new Nikon camera between now and our arrival!

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