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Each week when I go over my photos to put together this post, I am blown away by the amount of incredible things we see within only seven days here. This week was no exception. Without question, the lions stole the show, with many different prides and coalitions traversing Londolozi. At one stage during the week, Freddy and I thought back and realized that five of our last six game drives had contained sightings of both lion and leopard… in the same sighting! In addition to the predators, the winter light gave us great photographic opportunities for the smaller creatures and landscapes. Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The sun rises over Londolozi. Summer is ending and the clear winter skies are back.
A juvenile oxpecker enjoys the first morning light on the back of a giraffe lying down.
Both the oxpecker and the giraffe seemed to be watching the sun rise!
This week was packed with lion activity. The roaring was almost continual throughout Londolozi, particularly from the Majingalane Coalition.
A Flap-necked chameleon soaks up the sun's first rays. Usually a nighttime sighting, Freddy somehow managed to spot this one hidden in a Buffalo thorn tree during the day.
A Sparta lioness chases her cub playfully on a crisp morning. Clearly part of the youngster's 'training' for the future, the lioness mimicked hunting behaviour.
Soon afterwards, the mother became tired and the bored cub listened to the males roaring in the distance.
A Black crake walks through the reeds in the Sand River. I have been trying to get a decent photograph of these shy birds for a while now!
The Camp Pan rests on a termite mound after a busy morning. When we first saw him, he was in a Marula tree... with a big male lion walking underneath! Luckily the Majingalane lion seemed to care more about finding other lions than Camp Pan that morning, and continued on.
A journey of giraffe runs from an approaching lion. Luckily the lion was not in hunting mode and the giraffe were safe!
The return of the old chiefs! The Mapogo Coalition - or what remains of them - came back to Londolozi this week. They killed a young giraffe and fed on the carcass for about 3 days, sharing with the Sparta Pride as well as the Dudley Riverbank 3:3 Young Male leopard! This was certainly a first for all of us in the sighting, having the 2 big males feeding on one side of us and the leopard crunching away on some bones about 10m away from them. The leopard watched them closely, but they didn't seem to mind sharing! You can spend a lifetime in the bush and it will still surprise you.
The two remaining Mapogo are about 14 and 11 years old, respectively. They are starting to show their age, especially when compared to the Majingalane. They need to be very careful in their territory...
Famed for its ugliness, a Marabou stork looks around for something on which to scavenge.
The Scar-nosed Majingalane searches for his brothers, roaring early in the afternoon. He would eventually find them over night. This was another one of our lion/leopard sightings, as crouched nearby in a thicket was a rather scared Maxabene 3:2 Young Male. Luckily the lion did not see him.
A female kudu stands atop a termite mound. Antelope will use the termite mounds for elevation as well as feed on the nutrient-rich plant material growing from them.
If you don't recognize this leopard, you're not the only one! This unknown male confidently walked onto Londolozi, even securing an impala kill close to our eastern boundary, in Camp Pan's territory. We had the pleasure of viewing him for a few days, but he seems to have ventured further to our east.
Two Little bee-eaters look for some flying insects to catch.
One of the Majingalane males strolls past some alarming impala, who kept a very close eye on him. The Majingalanes spent a lot of time patrolling their territory around Londolozi this week, not really interested in hunting.
A new hyena densite has been found on Londolozi! There are three youngsters hiding in a termite mound who have started to come out while the mother is there. Rest assured there will be many more photographs of these youngsters in the weeks to come!
A Purple roller tries to manouvre its prize: a scorpion. It was a big mouthful, but he eventually swallowed it whole!
Another unfamiliar face at Londolozi. This male is neither a Majingalane nor a Mapogo, he is one of the 'Kruger Males' who are usually associated with the Southern Pride lionesses. We found him in the south of the property this week, with a young lioness from the pride. They had killed a young waterbuck, but he did not want to share it with her. He carried the carcass away, into the shade.
Meanwhile, the Maxabene 3:3 Young Male had smelled the carcass and come to investigate. He got a bit too close before realizing 2 lions were there, and rushed up a nearby tree. He paid very close attention before making his getaway!
The Kruger Male looks up at the leopard, clearly not happy, but not bothered enough to chase after him. Lucky for the Maxabene 3:3 Young Male!
A crocodile tries to catch some sun next to the river, showing us his formidable teeth.
A Sparta lioness uses a fallen Marula to check out her surroundings.
Of course, whatever mom does, the youngsters have to follow suit! This cub seemed to enjoy the view and actually got left behind for a few minutes while her mom and sister moved on.
A Malachite kingfisher perches near the Sand River. There have been three of these special birds seen regularly near our river crossing, seemingly a pair with their youngster born this past summer.
A large group of giraffe stare in the distance. Giraffe do not make loud noises, so as opposed to 'alarming' like other prey when a predator is around, they generally stare in their direction, sometimes moving towards them. Upon closer investigation, we realized they were staring at a mating pair of lions!
This Majingalane Male was mating with the older (pale) Sparta lioness, and roaring loudly.
The Sparta lioness didn't seem to appreciate his advances, giving him a hard swipe and running away.
The winter skies make for incredible sunsets, and each day is different!