The Birmingham males now seem to be firmly established as the dominant male coalition on Londolozi, despite not really venturing into the northern sectors of the reserve yet. Although other males are seen from time to time around the periphery of their territory, they are essentially going to be settling for the Birmingham males’ scraps.

There is no better way to go to sleep to the sound of these majestic lions calling until the early hours of the morning, which thankfully makes it a lot easier to find them once it is light.
With most days producing multiple lion sightings, we know it is only going to get better as winter settles in.

That being said, enjoy this Week in Pictures..

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One of the Birmingham males stopped only meters away from my vehicle and locked eyes with a female which was approaching him, only moments after he had been mating with one of the other females. f2.8, 1000/s, ISO 320

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In a dominance display male hippos will thrash their heads around in the water with their mouth wide open showing off their massive teeth. They do this as a warning to passers-by or when they feel threatened. Often hippos will show this behaviour to vehicles as we drive over a dam wall. f/5.6, 625/s, ISO 640.

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We had just tracked the Tsalala pride down, and as they lay under a marula tree to rest, we suddenly spotted the Nanga young female up a nearby Jackalberry tree, perfectly illuminated by this shaft of sunlight. No more than 30 minutes later she had descended down the tree and moved off quickly to get away from the lions. f/2.8, 200/s, ISO 320.

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A Verreaux’s eagle owl was perched on a dead tree listening and scanning from the dark to see what it could find to feed on for the night. These owls are the largest species we see here at Londolozi on a fairly regular basis, and their deep calls are often heard early in the morning. f/3.5, 250/s, ISO 1500.

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It’s the time of the year when female crocodiles have either been mated with and have deposited their eggs in the banks of the Sand River or males are still asserting their dominance and trying to mate. Here one of the males approached the female and a very aggresive approach was taken by both these individuals. The male chased the female while trying to bite her when the female trashed around and tried biting the male back. f/2.8, 1500/s, ISO 500.

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A follow-on shot from the previous photo. The female managed to escape the deathly bite of the male and attempted to get to deeper water where she would be able to protect herself more. The male was in hot pursuit of the female. This was a first for me to ever watch these prehistoric animal clash and it was certainly something I won’t forget in a hurry. f/2.8, 1500/s, ISO 500.

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As the already low levels in the Sand River drop further, we should see more and more elephant herds coming down to drink as the River continues to provide water through the dry season. f4, 1/800s, ISO 320

Secretary Bird Gb

Secretary birds are an uncommon species on Londolozi. When nesting they are fairly localized, but the past four years or so have seen what was once the resident pair move off. They seem to be back now though, and with any luck will meet with some breeding success. f3.2, 1/400s, ISO 800

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A Tsalala lioness avoids getting her paws wet and leaps across a channel in the Sand River. Lions will swim when they have to, but in general will try and avoid any kind of immersion in water. f6.3, 1/2000s, ISO 640

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The gory aftermath of a wild dog kill. Although these incredibly efficient predators are often said to be cruel killers, the fact is that their prey is usually dead far quicker than the victims of the big cats. Nature red in tooth and claw. f5.6, 1/640s, ISO 1000

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The male cheetah in a prominent marula tree. He has been seen may times in this same marula over the years, most likely because it is isolated in a sea of grass, therefore making an ideal vantage point, and is nicely slanted to facilitate an easy climb. f5, 1/1250s, ISO 1000

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A water monitor peers over a granite rock in the Sand River. This species subsists on a wide variety of food sources, but is well known for raiding crocodile nest and devouring their eggs. They are regularly to be found basking on the riverine rocks. f5.6, 1/320s, ISO 640

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The Ntsevu females give way to a herd of elephants emerging from a thicket. Three Birmingham males meanwhile pause to investigate where one of the females had urinated, to see if she is in oestrus or not. f4, 1/800s, ISO 800

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Eventually, with the elephants getting too close for comfort, the males were also forced to retreat. f5, 1/400s, ISO 1000

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About the Author

Guy Brunskill

Ranger

Guy grew up in the city of Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. From a very young age he visited the bush each holiday. It was during these early years that his passion and interest was ignited for this incredible environment. After school he acquired a ...

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12 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #335

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Leo Pards

They were in singita for a day or two, wonder if they had any interaction with the Matimba males?

Marinda Drake

Stinning pics Guy. Love the lions walking through the grass. Great images of the water monitor and Nanga young female. Awesome capture of the Tsalala jumping over the river.

Marinda Drake

Awesome that the secretary birds are back. We were fortunate to observe a nest on the s90 close to Balule camp in Kruger. It was fascinating to see the chicks and the adults flying in to feed them.

Mike Ryan

The lion and elephant photos are incredible

Ian Hall

Some absolute crackers , especially the lions with the elephants. Not a common photo and worthy of a substantial enlargement. Really like the wild dog photo. Having seen a wild dog hunt it is over very quickly.

Wendy Macnicol

Lovely pic of the Verraux’s Eagle Owl! Also interesting pic of the Birminghams being moved off by the ellies!
Wendy M

Denise Vouri

Another stunning week in pictures! Clearly the lions and elephants in the grass make a great story, as well as the wild dog and its kill. These almost make me feel like I’m there – thank you.

Darlene Knott

Terrific photos! Thanks for sharing!

Callum Evans

It’s good to see that the new kings are established now

Callum Evans

Incredible photos!! My favourite without a doubt has to be the Birmingham males, and then the lionesses, and the elephants, that scene had a really mood and lighting! Also loved the water monitor, verreaux’s eagle owl and the cheetah. And it’s fantastic to see a secretarybird nesting on Londolozi!

Susan Strauss

Absolutely amazing shots of the Tsalala lioness hopping the water, and lions+elies….WOW!

Nickolette Karabush

Thank you for this wonderful blog! The pictures are stunning! I love getting an update on the Birmingham males, I had a feeling that they would become the dominate lions of Londolozi! Thanks to Bruce and Rob I was able to spend time with them, watching them so closely, was such a privilege and honor:)

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