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If you’ve been on safari with me and Freddy at Londolozi, you may know that my nickname amongst the ranging team is ‘Talleycat’ because of my apparent favour of our feline friends. It is somewhat frowned upon to be considered a guide who only focuses on high profile game like the big cats, so I spend a lot of time trying to shake this reputation! However, this week when I looked back at my photos, there was no denying my colleagues were correct. We enjoyed lots of time spent with lions, leopards, and the cheetah, and I have the photos to prove it! Enjoy the Week in Pictures…
A bushbuck displays a former battle wound – a huge tear in his ear, most likely the result of being pierced by another male’s sharp horn.
Two of the Majingalane Males settle in for the day after a long night of territorial patrols. After last week’s incident when they attacked a young intruder from the south, the four Coalition members have been spending a lot of time this week reaffirming their turf.
A young male and female impala jump in unison across the road, following the rest of the group. You can see here that the female is heavily pregnant. Soon enough, in November, we’ll be seeing lots of impala lambs!
We found the Nottens Female the morning after she’d been seen mating with the Tugwaan Male, walking down the road back to her own territory. She has sustained a wound on the back of her leg – not from the mating but most likely in a territorial dispute with another female recently.
Hungry after mating for a few days without eating, she was focused on finding a meal. She climbed a fallen tree to look for nyala nearby, but disappeared into a thicket soon after.
Two impressive male kudu engage in a face-off while a third male looks on.
A lot of time this week was spent with the cub of the Tsalala Tailless Lioness. The little girl is getting big, and extremely curious!
Sometimes it isn’t the sunset itself but the moments after that deliver the most brilliant skies.
The Marthly Male continues to expand his territory further south.
An African jacana sits on its nest, built on aquatic vegetation. One of the interesting things about this beautiful bird is that the father does the parental care, including the incubation of the eggs!
The next morning we returned to find the nest without the father, but were able to count four eggs. We are looking forward to tracking the progress of the little ones over the next few weeks.
A great spot by Freddy one morning, the male cheetah was sitting atop a small termite mound scanning for prey.
I can’t emphasize enough how lucky we are to have this beautiful animal settled on Londolozi. Quite often, however, guests ask, ‘Isn’t he lonely?’, which is a justified query! Once he becomes fully mature, he will most likely look for females at some stage, and we’re not sure whether that means them coming to him or him leaving us… we hope it’s the former!
Specialized in living on bare rocks, the klipspringer is often a challenge to spot amongst the rocky outcrops of northern Londolozi. We found this very relaxed male resting close to the road on Ximpalapala Koppie.
The Dudley Riverbank cub is getting big! This week her mother killed an impala which they feasted on over a five day period, providing for fantastic sightings of them!
As the remains of the carcass dwindled away, the Dudley Riverbank Female hoisted it into a nearby Acacia tree. Her cub climbed up and down, not feeding on the impala but rather playing with it.
A Giant Eagle owl perches in an Acacia tree skeleton – giving us a lovely view of a bird that usually hides away in thicker trees.
We found the Dark-maned Majingalane on his own one afternoon, irritatedly shaking away flies from the puncture wound we assume he sustained during his fight last week with the younger male from the south.
This week I saw a bird I’ve never seen before (called a ‘lifer’ in birding circles) – an African spoonbill, feeding from Makotini Pan.
Usually leopards hoist their kills into living trees with thick vegetative cover, so when the Camp Pan Male and his son, the Maxabene 3:2 Young Male, were found having a dispute over an impala carcass in this Leadwood tree skeleton, all of the photographers around Londolozi were very excited!
Three kudu cows look at the Tsalala Pride before giving their deep, bark-like alarm call and running off.
Another sighting of the Tsalala cub this week! This youngster is extremely curious and always comes to investigate the vehicles when we approach.
Because her mother is lacking a tail, the little cub seems to be fascinated whenever her sister (the only Tsalala adult WITH a tail) is around. It makes for an excellent playtoy!
Unfortunately, however, her sister doesn’t always appreciate her antics, so she took the hint and opted to chew on a stick instead.
Being the only cub in a pride means she can be spoiled by her mother, but it does have disadvantages as well. There is no one her age to play with! Here, she sits and stares at her other sister (the younger Tailless female), as though begging to play. The lioness clearly had no interest.
As the three Tsalala lioness began to wake up and get moving, they roared loudly. This seemed to frighten the little one, who ran to her mother for assurance.
Another very interesting sighting for the week was watching an interaction between some Egyptian geese. An unfamiliar male came towards a pair with their goslings, but was chased away quickly, and we were about to see why.
He swooped back in and started drowning some of the chicks! I hadn’t witnesses infanticide in geese before, but it seems the intruder male was trying to kill the chicks to gain breeding rights with the female. We aren’t sure if he managed to kill the one he was drowning in this photo, but afterwards he did mate with the female.
One of my highlights for the week was one of our shortest sightings! We came across one of the Ximpalapala youngsters while driving around Marthly, in the north of Londolozi. I had heard about these three 9-month old leopards from other rangers, but hadn’t seen them myself yet. Their mother, the Ximpalapala Female, is unrelaxed with vehicles and therefore rarely seen. However, her 3 cubs seem to be much more relaxed and this one gave us a great view as she perched on a fallen tree just before sunset.