Time is up for me as Talley returns to Londolozi tomorrow. Just like last week’s post, I have selected a wider range of images, not just using ones taken exclusively in the previous week of game drives. It has been great fun looking through some older photos, remembering amazing sightings, discussing them again with fellow rangers, and reliving some of the emotions I felt at the time.
Enjoy this week’s photographic post…
Honey Badgers are not often seen at Londolozi. Nocturnal by nature, we were incredibly fortunate to see this one at 9.30 in the morning. Totally unfazed by us, he went on digging for grubs for a good fifteen minutes until he dived under the roots of a fallen marula tree and promptly went to sleep.
This was in the same sighting as last week’s photo of the Ravenscourt female and her two cubs. This photo was from a few minutes beforehand when the rhino first emerged from the bushwillow thicket onto the road. The little cub simply stared at the behemoth as it walked on by…
A dazzle of Zebras walks away after drinking at Serengeti Pan one morning. We were slightly downhill from them luckily, as photos taken at eye-level tend to bring a bit more life to a scene, even if it is one of zebra’s backsides!
A Black Stork searching for food in the murky waters of Lex’s Pan. These birds are relatively scarce at Londolozi, so it was great to be able to get quite close to this one and watch as he searched for his breakfast.
The Sparta cubs at play, also at Serengeti Pan, but on a different day to the Zebra photo. The one snarling is the little female, who tends to get unceremoniously bullied by her two larger male siblings! Lion cubs have a lot of energy, and spend a great deal of time playing, which serves to hone instincts and develop skills and muscles they will need later on in life.
The Camp Pan Male moves the remains of an impala to a more comfortable feeding position in a marula tree. He had actually stolen this kill from the Maxabene female. As Camp Pan is roughly twice her size and weight, she had no choice but relinquish her hard-earned meal to him.
An elephant bull looms large. This photo was taken from ground level on the Londolozi airstrip, and the low angle serves to highlight the elephant’s size. His curiosity satisfied, he turned away after posing nicely for us and went on his way.
The other end of the Elephant scale. This little calf came to investigate us near Tshabalala Pan, having a good sniff before squealing loudly and scuttling back to his mother.
Spring is almost upon us and the smaller inhabitants of the bush are making themselves more and more evident as the Lowveld warms up. Snake tracks are being seen crossing the road, there are a few more insects around, and the frog chorus is getting going in the evenings. This little guy was perched on a door-handle in camp. He looks pretty sleepy!
A Dwarf Mongoose emerges from his log shelter to begin the day’s foraging. These little mammals will use different sleeping sites within their territory each night, using a termite mound one evening and a fallen log the next.
The Nottens female stands on a fallen log to to get a better view of some impala in the distance. She managed to approach to within 30 metres of them, but the area she was hunting in had recently been burnt, and cover was sparse as a result. The impala spotted her and she went hungry that morning.
I don’t know if I’ll be seeing the Mapogo ever again. This legendary coalition of male lions has been reduced to just two surviving members, the one pictured here being affectionately dubbed
“Pretty Boy”. This shot was taken one morning when we tracked him and his brother, Makhulu, to a waterhole in the South of Londolozi not too long ago. They have not been seen on our property since these pics were taken.
The Marthly male leopard patrols the Manyelethi riverbed. This male has taken over control of the Sand River from the Camp Pan male, and his success is evident in the fact that he has sired litters of cubs with at least three different females who live in and around the area.
One of the Majingilane coalition cleans blood off his paw. Two of this fearsome coalition and the Sparta pride were found very close to camp one morning, having killed a female giraffe and her calf. The pride and one male fed on the the larger carcass, while the second Majingilane jealously guarded the calf, keeping it all to himself.
A member of the Majingilane coalition and one of the Breakaway Tsalala lionesses lie near the airstrip whilst a herd of impala looks on nervously from further down the slope. The Majingilanes have mated with all four of these relatively young lionesses, so the next few months could possibly see further cub births on Londolozi…