Mike Sutherland recently joined the Londolozi guiding team. With two years guiding experience already behind him – a year at Kwandwe in the Eastern Cape and another year at Phinda in Kwazulu Natal – it was not long before he was up and running as a fully fledged Londolozi ranger.
New to the Lowveld, Mike has found delight behind every bush in his as yet brief stint at Londolozi, and here he shares some of his first impressions and favorite photographs…
Flap Necked Chameleon – Uncommonly found on the ground unless looking for a mate or to lay eggs. This photograph shows such great contrasts in the colours of the skin as well as the sharpness and the inquisitive eyes.
Yellow Billed Ox Pecker – On the left a juvenile Red Billed Ox Pecker and on the right, a rare Yellow Billed Ox Pecker. A bird i have been searching for since I began my guiding career. A great lifer for me and luckily a photograph to prove it.
Ximpalapala Cub – Definitely a stand out for me. My most memorable sighting on Londolozi to date. Here one of the Ximpalapala Twin sisters peers curiously at our vehicle. I cherish each and every sighting with these Leopards.
Xidulu Den site – Hyenas offer great game viewing, especially at the Xidulu Den site. This picture, personally, represents intrigue and intelligence from a somewhat tainted view of the species.
Vomba Cub – My first real look at Vomba’s young male cub. Now almost 1 year old, offering great viewing and relaxed with vehicles after many months of hard work by the committed ranger team.
Sparta Pride – Positioning is key in a sighting to get the best photographs. this sighting didn’t go as well as planned initially, however when these lions settled metres from our vehicle, it allowed an opportunity to get some creative photographs.
Scarlet Dragonfly – The African Bush is renowned for the Big 5, hunting Lions and Leopards in trees, however, there is nothing more rewarding than paying attention to the smaller details in life.
Scar nose male being reprimanded by on of the 6 young Sparta males. Perhaps setting a standard for the future.
Scar nose Majingilane in Black and White – Pride, Passion, Power. Enough said.
Mashaba Cub – One of the current favourites on Londolozi. This photograph is a favourite of mine. The eyes of this beautiful cat, golden and innocent.
Marthly Male and Tutlwa Female – I was fascinated here, when the Tutlwa female tried to seduce the male whilst on the arm of a Marula tree. Each day holds a new lesson and experience.
Marthly and Tutlwa Mating – Shortly after the previous picture, both Leopards descended the tree and allowed us the rare opportunity to view the intensity of their lifestyles and uncommon interaction together. My first view of Leopards mating.
First Cheetah seen at Londolozi – Being renowned for incredible Leopard viewing, when I began at Londolozi, I did not expect to witness what I did this particular day. Cheetah kill at Weavers nest pan.
Golden Maned Majingilane – The trials and tribulations of the lifestyle of a male Lion coalition intrigues me, and the constant pressures they face from neighboring coalitions for land, territory and prides. This photograph forces me to be ever curios of their fascinating lifestyles.
Captions and Photographs by Mike Sutherland