Another week draws to a close in this beautiful place that we call home.

The highlight of the week for me was seeing three adult leopards all in one sighting; unusual as leopards are normally solitary by nature. The Flat Rock Male had been seen mating with the Mashaba Young Female when the Nkoveni Female unexpectedly showed up. She must have heard the sounds of mating and joined the pair, watching them from a distance at first. Eventually she got a bit closer but the Flat Rock Male, having mated with her a few weeks back, was not interested at first. He was however seen mating with this female later on in the morning. The two females showed subtle signs of aggression  but were otherwise fairly tolerant of one another, which was interesting to note. Having both been born to the Mashaba Female (albeit in separate litters) one wonders if this had anything to do with it.

Other notable sightings from the week included the Tamboti female being seen on two different occasions with two different impala lamb kills. The exciting thing about the second kill was that she brought her cub to come and feed. Having not been seen for a few days, rangers were beginning to fear the worst. Luckily though, our fears proved to be unfounded.

It was also great to see the Tsalala Breakaway Pride hunting along the Sand River yesterday after a week-long absence. It is an interesting time for the pride as the Tailless female seems to have joined up with her sister from the Tsalala Pride, while the young female who she used to move around with has been mating with the Birmingham Male lions to the North of Londolozi. Only time will tell if they all join up together again.

Until then enjoy this Week in Pictures…

Whenever you see a giraffe drinking look out for the characteristic head swish just as they finish. These animals have a special network of capillaries at the base of their necks that helps to prevent excessive amounts of blood to rush to their heads when they bend their long necks down to drink. 1/640 at F/5,0; ISO 800

A black-chested snake eagle soars above us in search of prey. Despite its smaller size, this bird of prey is sometimes confused with the Martial Eagle due to fairly similar colouration. The martial eagle has darker underwings and a spotted chest and underbelly though. 1/8000 at f/5,6; ISO 1250

A knob-billed duck perches, allowing us a clear view of the strange protrusion on its beak from whence it gets its name. These birds are intra-African partial migrants, being drawn into this area by the higher quantity of grass seeds, leaves and aquatic insects at this time of the year. 1/3200 at f/8,0; ISO 500

One morning, whilst searching for the Ntsevu pride of lions, we discovered the Tamboti female instead and stayed with her the whole morning as she led us to where she had killed an impala lamb. 1/2500 at f/5,6; ISO 640

After patiently following and waiting with the Tamboti Female, she finally leapt into a small acacia tree to feed on her kill. You can see the impala lamb carcass towards the top left of the photo, stashed in the branches of the tree. 1/2000 at f/6,3; ISO 640

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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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

After recent rains tortoises, like this leopard tortoise, have become a lot more active. During our dry winter months these animals aestivate (enter into a state of torpor) and we do not see them. 1/1000 at f/5,0; ISO 640

The Flat Rock Male was seen mating with the Mashaba Young female on a few occasions this week but no one expected a third leopard to join the pair. Take a look at the next photoraph to find out who it was. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 640

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

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Mashaba 5:3 Young Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
24 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
 
4
Flat Rock 3:2 Male
2013 - present

A leopard who took advantage of the death of the 4:4 male in 2016 to grab territory to the west of the Londolozi camps.

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Flat Rock 3:2 Male

Lineage
Unknown
Identification
markings
Timeline
20 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
0 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

The Nkoveni Female (far left) surprised everyone as she decided to join the mating pair. Apart from some snarling and growling there was not much aggression between the two females. We will be following up this story later on in the week with some footage captured of the trio’s interactions. 1/1000 at f/5,0; ISO 800

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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26 sightings by Members
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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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

A red-billed oxpecker rides on the back of a white rhino. Notice the prominent bumps of the ridge of the rhino’s back. This is one of the distinctive features separating the white and black rhino, as the black rhino has a much more concave dip near the centre of its back. 1.400 at F/5,6; ISO 1250

The Nkoveni Female was seen again this week back in her usual territory to the east of the Londolozi Camps. With the impala lambing season in full swing she is also one of the predators taking advantage of this multitude of young and vulnerable prey. 1/250 at f/5,6; ISO 1250

Impala herds continue to grow in size daily. Soon we should be seeing the first wildebeest and warthog youngsters of the season. 1/800 at 5,6; ISO 1250

The Tsalala Breakaway Pride were seen again after a long absence. We spent the morning following them as they tried to hunt kudu and waterbuck along the Sand River. 1/1000 at f/5,6; ISO 1250

The Tamboti Female has had a successful week of hunting after she managed to catch another impala lamb yesterday. Fears that she had lost her cub were abated when she went off to fetch this remaining youngster and brought it to the carcass to feed. 1/80 at f/5,6; ISO 3200

A pearl spotted owlet looks down at us from its perch in the branches of a Buffalo Thorn tree, overhanging the Maxabene dry riverbed. These birds have false eyes on the back of their heads, a spotted head and a streaked not barred chest that separate it from the fairly similar-looking African barred owlet. 1/320 at f/5,6; 3200

On one particularly hot day this buffalo bull did not venture to0 far from the water, resting in the cool water of the Sand River.  1/400 at f/5,6; ISO 200

Involved Leopards

Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Mashaba 5:3 Young Female

Mashaba 5:3 Young Female

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Flat Rock 3:2 Male

Flat Rock 3:2 Male

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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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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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16 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #310

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Callum Evans

Really great range of photographs, the bush is clearly starting to turn green at a rate of knots!! My utmost favourite photo has to be the giraffe in post-drinking mode, the backlighting is amazing!! Also love the Tsalala pride, the red-billed oxpecker and the Flat Rock male mating with the Mashaba Young Female. To see three adult leopards at the same time is nothing short of a miracle, can’t wait to see the upcoming footage of the trio!!

James Souchon

Thanks a lot Callum. Glad you enjoyed it!

Callum Evans

Pleasure James!!

Dina Petridis

as usual , great pictures especially the giraffe and the owlet!

James Souchon

Thanks Dina. With your new camera and lens I am sure we will see lots more bird photos!

Marinda Drake

Lovely picsvthis week James. Love the buffalo. Interesting information about the white and black rhino.

James Souchon

Thanks Marinda, Hopefully we see you back here soon!

Marinda Drake

Hi James we are visiting Londolozi from the 30th of November. So exited already. Can’t wait. It will be lovely to see everyone again.

Lucie Easley

The pictures are always wonderful and this week I especially like the Buffalo Bull. Love his expression and it’s just an awesome photo.

James Souchon

Hi Lucie, Thanks so much. Old Buffalo bulls often have great texture their horns and such character which makes them great subjects to photograph.

Denise Vouri

James, I find TWIP to be really fascinating, especially the giraffe shaking off the water. I hadn’t noticed that before so thank you for sharing. Leopard pics are always welcome and the backstory of the two females mating with the same makmle is intriguing. Guess the females decided not to fight over him 😊.

I spent a few days in Phinda in 2007, Rock Lodge. It was magical. We saw so many lions quite up close and personal and had a family of impala under my pool deck. Loved watching them in the afternoon.

Also thank you for the camera settings. There very good as a teaching tool.

James Souchon

Hi Denise, I am glad the settings are useful and that you enjoy reading TWIP each week.

Wendy Hawkins

Wow James what a surprise to see the 3 leopards together, just shows that nature can also be “patient & understanding” I just hope all the cubs live to grow big & strong!! Your pictures are stunning & to see green grass again is wonderful! We have had 48mm of rain so far this weekend in Alberton, so a very happy me 🙂 Enjoy your evening drive & Sunday

James Souchon

Hi Wendy, thanks for the comments. It was an incredible sighting. The bush is indeed looking very green and we still hoping for lots more rain to come. Hope you are well.

A B

I love the picture of the giraffe! It’s just too cute aye.

Judy Hayden

Hi James, How many members are in the Tsalala Breakaway Pride? Have you seen anymore efforts of rejoining their main pride? I was so glad to see Tambotis’s cub. I worry for them. When do you all feel it is time to name them? Thank you for the great pictures. I save many of the pictures you all post so I can remember what each leopard and lion pride looks like. I live vicariously through all of you guys and gals.

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