It’s week 37 out of 52 in 2016 and the bush continues to deliver each and every day. Every game drive, rangers from Tree, Varty, Granite, Founders and Pioneer Camps head off into different parts of Londolozi and no matter whether it’s north, south, west or east that they go, everyone has a different story to tell when they get back about what they encountered.

I love to come up with a game plan for each drive, and what it is is a carefully thought out blueprint of what I am hoping the morning/afternoon will entail. As we drive out of camp each day I will outline this plan to whoever is seated behind me and it will be something along the lines of where we are going to drive that morning/afternoon and what animals we are going to be looking for. The best part of the whole thing is getting back to camp afterwards and seeing just how different that game drive turned out to be. You see as much as I love planning, I also love getting distracted, and the bush has a lot of welcome distractions!

It may be spending half an hour lying on your stomach photographing impala lilys or watching in amusement as two black crakes chase each other along the banks of the river unaware of your presence. It is these “distractions” that make a safari in my opinion and when you open yourself up to distractions in the bush, that’s when things start happening. If we hadn’t stopped to watch the crakes we wouldn’t have heard the bushbuck alarm call that alerted us to the presence of the Tsalala Pride just a little bit upstream from us, and it was only after admiring the Impala Lily that we noticed the mud-caked rhino returning from the waterhole.

Below you will see a few such ‘distractions’.

Enjoy this Week in Pictures…

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By far the most beautiful and striking piece of vegetation out at the moment – The Impala Lily. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 400

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Late afternoons present unique opportunities to capture rhino photos around waterholes. This bull heads off after a long wallow in the mud. 1/800 at f/5,6; ISO 400

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At no more than 2 months old this baby Giraffe stuck very close to its mother as we waited patiently for the perfect photo opportunity. 1/1600 at f/4,5; ISO 100

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The Xidulu Female surveys the Sand River in the south-western reaches of her territory. 1/125 at f/4,5; ISO 200

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The Tsalala Pride have spent the whole of the last week moving up and down in the Sand River providing us with fantastic photo opportunities such as this one. 1/160 at f/4,5; ISO 100

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“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.” – John Donne 1/160 at f/4,5; ISO 100

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It’s not often you get to photograph an African Fish Eagle on the ground at such a close range. 1/500 at f/8; ISO 100

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The Nkoveni Female was seen regularly this last week when she spent a lot of time lying up in this Jackalberry Tree after successfully hunting a bushbuck and taking it up into the same tree. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 400

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The Xidulu female stalks an unsuspecting Bushbuck on the banks of the Sand River. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 400

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Often shy and easily overlooked as they hide in thick riverine vegetation, the black crake’s understated beauty makes an appearance along the Sand River. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 160

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The Mhangeni Breakaway Pride have been moving around the open areas in the south for the last week. On this particular occasion this young male from the pride eyes out a distant buffalo bull. 1/125 at f/4,5; ISO 250

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Spot the leopard! The Nzandzeni Female is in this picture and the challenge is on to see who can spot her. Comment below if you see her. 1/500 at f/4,5; ISO 400

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 Mapuataland area of South Africa has to offer. Having always wanted to guide in the ...

More stories by James

64 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #249
    Sandy says:

    Leopard is in the grass on the left hand side about half way down the photo.

    Perine says:

    I see her 🙂 Just below the centre of the image on the left hand side hidden in the grass.

    Graeme Yates says:

    Great camouflage in the middle of the long grass on the left bank looking across the river

    tsk raghu says:

    Beautiful pictures, thanks. Leopard near the left margin, vertically near the middle?

    Ans Stoub says:

    I believe I see the leopard (on her back) at the visible end of the dry bedding, just between the rim of the phot and the stones below here.

    Ans Stoub says:

    when I read the comments of others and actually enlarged the picture I see that I was wrong and they are right. What a large stones in the river she is sitting opposed to. now you realis that when you see them in perspective with the leopard. Thanks for all the mails every day. I really enjoin them. when I hit the Jackpot in the lottery I will really come to Londolozi.

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Ans! Really hope to see you here one day!

    barbara jones says:

    I think she is in the upper left of the photo. It was very hard to find her. Thanks so much for all you do. Africa has the best animals.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Barbara, she’s a little bit further down from there in the grass. You are absolutely right, Africa has incredible animals!

    Sandy says:

    Leopard is half way down in the grass on the left of the photo

    James Souchon says:

    That’s correct Sandy! Well done!

    Mark Satter says:

    The leopard is on the left in the grass facing right. The large boulder in front kind of points to the leopard’s head.

    James Souchon says:

    Well done Mark!

    Senior Moment says:

    She is about quarter way across and half way up. A wonderful bit of stealth technology.

    James Souchon says:

    Amazing camouflage! Well done Ian.

    Dawson McKeown says:

    In the grass, center left … well hidden.

    James Souchon says:

    Good job Dawson!

    Dipti Pandey says:

    last picture- The Nzandzeni Female is straight ahead past the big and small rocks in the midst of a small thicket of grass?

    James Souchon says:

    I think you’ve got it Dipti! She’s lying in the grass just to the left of the riverbed in the middle of the photo. Well done.

    Andrew says:

    got her! In line with the bottom of the large boulder, to the left! amazing example of how perfectly designed this animal is to go unnoticed!! great post as always!!

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Andrew, they can hide in plain sight!

    Alan Pollard says:

    I think the leopard is in the deep grass on the extreme left of the picture. If so she is a mistress of camouflage.

    James Souchon says:

    That’s correct Alan, well done! she really is!

    Bob says:

    I have a guess on where the female leopard is … no guarantee. Is she laying on the stream bed with her head on the right side facing away about 25-30% down from the top center of the picture?

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Bob, she is just to the left of the riverbed in the grass on the riverbank.

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    For Narnia! says:

    Hi nice pictures, the mangheni male look really good.Is the Talamati male who recently joined the Mangheni pride are still with the pride? thank you hope to see more blogs from you James Souchon.

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks very much! He is a beautiful looking young male lion! He was last seen with the Mhangeni breakaway pride a few days ago and then moved to the east of Londolozi so we are not too sure if he is still with them. Will keep you updated!

    Irene Nathanson says:

    I see her off in the grasses to the left but only after knowing she was camouflaged somewhere. Hats off to the trackers and rangers who spot these illusive creatures for the guests. Especially when we haven’t a clue they are right in front of us

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Irene, nicely done! Its always a great challenge to try and spot a leopard when you know it’s around but hiding.

    bror west says:

    She is lying in the grass to the left of the stones (same level as the stones), face slightly to the right. You can see both ears, her right eye and her nose!

    James Souchon says:

    Well done Bror!

    Steve Torgesen says:

    Her head is showing in the heavy bush cover in the upper right part of the photo

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Steve, she’s managed to trick a lot of people with such excellent camouflage.

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    Richard Jennett says:

    Hi the leopard is in the grass on the left of the photo in line with the rocks. Just the head is showing. Great photo.

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Richard and well spotted!

    Bob Stephens says:

    Wow, she is well hidden in the tall grass on the left about even withe large boulder. Great picture. By the way I cheated and enlarged the photo.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Bob, I think a lot of people did the same thing! Well done.

    Jason Osborn says:

    Believe the Leopard is in the grass on the left hand side. Jason Osborn, Auckland, New Zealand. Good luck with the rugby later today.

    James Souchon says:

    Well done on both the Leopard and the rugby Jason!

    Linda Polley says:

    I think she is in the upper left side of the photo, to the left of the small tree in the grass.

    Linda Polley says:

    Ok, now that I read everyone’s comments, I do clearly see her to the left of the bolder in the grass. Wow, isn’t nature wonderful!! I really enjoy reading the Londolozi blogs and this was fun to look for her.

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Linda, glad you enjoyed it!

    David says:

    The leopard is lying in the grass on the left side of the photo about 1/3 of the way down, with her head facing toward the boulders. This is like where’s Waldo!

    James Souchon says:

    Nicely done David!

    Bruce Finocchio says:

    In the green grass, at the horizontal mid-line of the image on the left side across the gully from the big rocks that are in the center section of the stream bed. You can see her head above the grass looking across the stream bed to the right side of the image. Some parts of her body are also visible just above the tall grass, but not much.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Bruce, Well spotted!

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