This week, the pictures in my post are a stark contrast to my previous post, which showed a dry, winter backdrop. After all the recent rains, the bush has transformed into a green wonderland, especially the areas in the south of the property which were burned in the dry season and are now sprouting lush, green grass.
In addition to this, we have had overcast weather for the majority of the past week and this has often provided a dramatic backdrop and made the subject ‘pop’ out of the pictures.
The lion viewing has been amazing, with the Tsalala pride bringing down an old buffalo bull in the Sand River opposite Granite Camp, but the rest of Londolozi’s inhabitants haven’t been too far behind.
It’s been a great week and I hope that, through my lens, you will get a feel for what we are so lucky to experience on a daily basis and will feel a part of the Londolozi family. Enjoy.
When I arrived back from leave, the Marthly male was finishing off an impala kill. I was lucky enough to see him feeding on the last of the impala, what a welcome back to Londolozi. With there only being a few scraps left, he was no longer able to secure the kill in the marula tree in which he had hoisted it, so he was regularly scanning his surrounds to ensure that there were no thieving hyenas in the vicinity.
The day after he finished the impala, we found the Marthly male and Maxabene female north of the Sand River. They proceeded to kill a warthog, hoist it in a Jackal berry tree and feed on it for 2 days. This just goes to show how opportunistic leopards are and, even though he had just finished an impala kill, the Marthly male didn’t hesitate to make the most of an opportunity to feed again.
The leaves of the Jackal berry frame the Marthly male beautifully as he checks on the Maxabene female who was lurking around close to the base of the tree hoping to get some scraps of the prize she helped him capture.
The last rays of light catch the Maxabene female as she looks on, waiting for the Marthly male to give her a chance to feed on the warthog. Even though she helped him make the kill, she knew better than to try and feed alongside him, a gentle reminder of just how tough things can be for the predators out here.
The overcast weather provided some wonderful opportunities to get some good texture shots. With all the recent rains, there is water and lush vegetation as far as the eye can see and as such, elephants seem to have dispersed and have become quite difficult to locate. This close up portrait shot was taken while sitting amongst a one of the few breeding herds that we managed to find in the course of the week.
The Tsalala pride killed a male buffalo on the northern bank of the Sand River, opposite Granite Camp. After a bout of feeding, the two sisters (tailed female and the new tailless) went down to a pool to drink. All the while they kept their eyes fixed on the vultures which were ever eager to venture closer to the buffalo.
Again, the soft light allowed for great textures and a reflection of this Tsalala lioness as she looks up after drinking.
It is seldom that I have seen such a great specimen of a waterbuck bull posing so nicely in the open! This animal is one of the flagship species of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and appears on the logo of the reserve.
A little bee eater swoops down from its perch to grab an insect. Often you will see them on a perch, moving their head around trying to spot any insects flying past. They will then swoop from their perch, attempt to catch the insect and return to their perch.
The Majingilane with the hip scar crosses a dam wall. He had just called and received a response from his brother who was a couple of kilometres away. Without hesitation, he started walking in the direction from which the response came.
The male with the hip scar is easily identified by his piercing eyes, an unmistakeable feature. This portrait shows him as he continues to walk purposefully in the direction of Shingalana dam, where one of his brothers was lying and responding to his vocalisations.
A slightly different image showing a rhino calf with side lighting provided by the afternoon sun. I used spot metering on my camera to take the light reading of the part of the rhino’s face that was illuminated, causing the rest of the rhino to appear much darker.
A sub adult looks inquisitively at the game viewer. This is one of the older cubs at the hyena den site in the southern part of Londolozi.
A rare glimpse of a male cheetah. The only clue to his presence was his head which was lifted off the ground, allowing the sun to glisten in his eyes. This young male spends most of his time in the more open grassland areas in the south of Londolozi.
Written and photographed by James Crookes