The rain returned for a day or two, giving the Lowveld a late gift as the dry season bears down upon it. Apart from the rain, the real concern this week was three of the Majingilane mating with the three adult Tsalala lionesses. If the lionesses are thus involved, where is the little cub that was seen in the Manyelethi last week? Time will tell…
Small pans are drying up rapidly, and it won’t be long before the elephants are once again congregating around the more permanent water sources such as the Sand River. My favourite sighting this week was of a lone elephant bull rolling around in the river itself at Finfoot Crossing, then walking through the water towards where we sat on the far bank.
Enjoy this week in pictures…
This lioness was lying on the rocks in front of Granite Camp. The male she was mating with was acting aggressively, not happy with the people moving around on deck. I nearly fractured my elbow when he burst out of the bushes onto the rocks again, and rushing forward to capture a photo, I slipped on a wet plank and took the hit on my elbow while trying to keep my camera safe. By the time I picked myself up, he was gone again! F3.2, 1/1000s, ISO 160
A large white rhino. Mud on its horns and moving through the grasslands, this individual could really be the stereotype of the species. F6.3, 1/320, ISO 1250
Their necks arched and eyes closed as though in ecstasy, these two bull giraffe were in fact fighting for the attention of a female nearby, swinging their necks into each other with sledgehammer-like blows.F2.8, 1/1600, ISO 160
The same giraffe bulls in something akin to a boxer’s clench, gather their breaths before their next bout of headswinging. F4, 1/800s, ISO 320
An elephant bull crosses the Sand River. Sand deposits from the January floods have filled in what last year was a deep hippo pool, and have provided many animals with a new crossing point. 3.5, 1/160s, ISO 640
Waterbuck get their name from their propensity to run into water when threatened. Here they are nowhere near the stuff. F5, 1/200s, ISO 320
A Burchell’s zebra startles at a nearby bird call while some of his dazzle-mates grab a drink nearby. Zebras are nervous animals near water, knowing the possibility of predator lurking in wait, and any approaches to waterholes are made with due caution. F5.6, 1/200s, ISO 160
The Maxabene 3:3 young male. This male has spent the last two years in the South Western reaches of Londolozi, but of late he has been seen more and more near the Maxabene from which his mother got her name. F2.8, 1/250s, ISO 2500
One of the cheetah cubs that recently appeared on Londolozi looks up from the impala kill it’s mother had recently made. F3.2, 1/500s, ISO 160
Tortoises have hard shells that protect them from most predators, but the sheer strength and determination of this hungry Majingilane proved too much for the unlucky leopard tortoise that happened to cross his path. F2.8, 1/200s, ISO 5000
The Sparta cubs jostle for a place to drink at one of the few remaining pans in the area. Most have dried up by now, and the lions, like other animals, will be forced towards the river and larger water bodies to drink. F7.1, 1/400s, ISO 800
Another Shelleys Francolin. I know I posted a similar photo a week or two ago, but as I mentioned, these birds are very shy, and this was the second photo I have ever got of one, so thought I’d include it anyway. F3.2, 1/1600s, ISO 1000
One of the Majingilane males gets a gentle urging from a crash of rhinos to move. There were two lions in this sighting, and both were told by the rhinos in no uncertain terms that their presence was unwelcome. Each time the lions lay down again, the short-sighted rhinos would follow their scent trail and chase them off once more. F13, 1/250s, ISO 400
Rhino calves are scarcely as big as a medium sized warthogs for the first few months of their lives. This one, with barely a hint of a horn, was the smallest I have seen in a long time. F4, 1/320, ISO 640
The densite off Xidulu has once more risen to prominence in recent months. While still relatively inconsistent, we are seeing far more youngsters around the den than during most of last year, and these two were relaxed enough to let us get relatively close. F3.2, 1/1000s, ISO 160
Another Tsalala cub unaccounted for? That is so sad – any theories as to why they are having a hard time keeping their cubs? Or is it just bad luck? I am optimistic this one will turn up!
Great pictures and thank you for the updates – we all look forward to new postings and, especially, this week in pictures!
As always, fabulous blog and pics! Thank you!!!
As my upcoming return in late May looms closer and closer, I am so appreciative of the blog to inform and keep me up to date on the happenings. When I was there last May there were no youngsters of any kind except Hyena, so I’m really looking forward to catching up with all the cat cubs!
Great photos James, that image of the two giraffes with their necks arched is outstanding!! rich
Wow! An amazing selection of photos from just 1 week at Londo’s…….loved the giraffe ones and the Shelley Francolin 🙂
Beautiful pictures this week. I am yet to see a Shelley’s Francolin to top my Broad-Billed Roller…
As always James, stunning photos. Love the babies! I hope your elbow has recovered!!
Thank you for giving us the metadata from your photos.
I appreciate your special shot of Shelley’s Francolin and the way you caught the giraffes makes it not just another giraffe image, but your giraffes!
Counting the days until May 10 when we return.
Wonderful set of pictures this week, as every week! The giraffes craning were amazing, and all the little ones are so sweet. Thank you.
And if you see a third Shelleys Francolin, by all means include the photo. Just another bird to add to our growing list when we return in December.