What a different, striking week at Londolozi. As you will see from the pictures below, it was not just the usual lion and leopard sightings but also the more scenic misty mornings and winter bird life. Coupled with that was an extraordinary sighting between wild dogs and elephants. The pack gave us a fantastic few sightings before disappearing into western Sabi Sands. Also of note were the males from the Southern pride who continue to survive despite the tough conditions between male lions. With a bit of luck we will continue to see more of these good looking young males. As always, enjoy this week in pictures…
The week started off with a smashing Wild dog sighting. The pack was located all together on the western side of Londolozi, but the adults then left the pups in order to hunt, pausing occasionally in the beautiful morning light. That afternoon, they would have a run-in with a group of angry elephants.
Check out the post of the elephant and wild dog interaction here.
After leaving the pups behind, the Wild dog pack half-heartedly hunted some impala, but seemed more interested in playing during the cold morning.
The alpha pair of the wild dog pack excitedly greet their five pups upon returning from an unsuccessful hunt. Wild dog parents regurgitate food into the mouths of their offspring when they cannot be present at kills, and these pups were lined up, apparently expecting such a meal. Unfortunately the parents' bellies were empty as well.
A crash of three rhino soak up the morning sun. These incredible animals have been fighting an uphill battle as of late; poaching has been on the rise in South Africa. In fact, research suggests that the rate of poaching in the country this year is as high as one per day. At a population of about 20,000 left in the wild, and given that a rhino cow will only produce a single offspring every 4-5 years, that statistic is terrifying.
One of the South Pride males takes a break from hunting warthog. These males seem to be getting bigger by the day!
We were lucky enough to have all four males present, and posing beautifully on a termite mound.
Unfortunately, one of the males had a bad wound on his neck, as well as scratches on his head. We can only imagine that he had had a run-in with another male. Probably not one of the Majingalane Males, but perhaps one of the young Sparta Pride Males who have been seen in the same area lately.
The gateway into Varty and Tree Camps, Camp Dam always provides a striking backdrop, especially on a still winter's morning.
The Short-tail Male is back! After reports of a fight with the Emsagwen Male, Shorty met up with this unfamiliar female who turned out to be the rarely seen Moodies Boundary Female. Hours before this photo was taken, they had killed an impala and hoisted it in a nearby Weeping boer bean tree. However, they were a bit too preoccupied with one another to feed.
Love was definitely in the air at Londolozi this week. Here, one of the Majingalane Males ('The One with the Scar on his Nose') courts a Sparta Pride Lioness. They mated for a couple of days, all the while being followed by 2 other coalition members. This male's dominance seemed clear, however: they never challenged him for the right to mate with her.
A family of Egyptian geese at Taylor's Dam. Nine chicks in total is quite a brood!
Clearly showing signs of nursing, the mother of the four younger Tsalala cubs grooms herself while taking a break from the morning hunt.
The other Tsalala lioness grooms closely enough to us so that we can get a good look at her deadly claws. On this morning, they eventually killed an impala. These lionesses hunt frequently during the day, which as Freddy tells me is skill taught to them by their mother, the famous 'Tailless Female', seen occasionally in the north.
The Vomba Young Female managed to catch a guinea fowl in our midst! This young hunter has been focusing on smaller prey, such as guinea fowl and monitor lizards. My favourite photo from the week... yet I didn't take it! The credit goes to our guest, Connor Simpson. The area was very thick and I didn't have a clear view from where I was sitting, so I handed him my camera and told him to get creative! Thanks Connor for a beautiful shot.
I completely agree on the misty morning. There are few words to describe the ethereal magic of a winter’s mist in the early morning bushveld.