I have been waiting almost three years to watch lions bring down a buffalo, and this week it finally happened. Two of the Majingilane added their massive firepower to the Sparta Pride, and the 11 lions brought down a buffalo bull right in front of us, very close to the confluence of the Maxabene and Sand Rivers. The buffalo looked like it was a goner, with one of the male lions clamping down on its throat and the rest of the pride gripping at will, but within a few minutes the rest of the herd had come charging back and succeeded in driving the lions off. So it technically doesn’t count as a kill, but my pulse is still racing from the excitement, over two days later.
Watch out for video footage of the battle which will be out on the blog next week, but for now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Reputedly Africa’s fastest eagle, the African Hawk Eagle is a formidable predator. They form monogamous pairs and specialise in hunting game birds like guineafowl and francolins. It was the alarm calls of a guineafowl flock that drew our attention to the area, and we spied this pair on the lookout from high in a dead Knobthorn. f8, 1/640, ISO 320
Like the African Hawk Eagles, Bateleur eagles will also form monogamous pairs, and a number of prominent nest sites throughout Londolozi are well known to the rangers and trackers. This pair has made the Nanga area in the north of the property their home for a number of years now. f5.6, 1/1250, ISO 320
Considered by many to be the most dangerous of the Big 5, the buffalo is not an animal to tangle with. The malevolent stare of this one lying in the Maxabene riverbed left us in no doubt that he was not happy at being disturbed. f2.8, 1/400, ISO 1600
The only photograph I could get of the Sparta Pride/Majingilane/Buffalo herd drama. The light was low, the bush was thick, the dust was billowing and we stood a good chance of being hit by the herd as they rushed in to chase off the lions. Photos of such sightings can really do very little to convey the chaos and excitement involved, because they cannot capture the noise, smells or emotions that were pulsing through you. f2.8, 1/200, ISO 1250
The duckweed covering Madies Dam probably helped considerably in covering this crocodile’s approach to the drinking wildebeest herd. No-one saw the actual take-down of the young wildebeest, but the odd thing was that the croc when we got there was actually trying to take the body OUT of the water… f3.2, 1/2000, ISO 160
A few of the pack of 9 wild dogs, in an attempt to avoid a similar fate to the wildebeest from the previous photo, hesitate before drinking from the algae- and duckweed-covered Vomba Dam. Not finding a clear patch from which they could drink and see the approach of a croc, they moved on to find water elsewhere. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 800
An elephant bull pauses to drink from the Sand River as he makes his way across. f5, 1/1250, ISO 800
A zebra foal nurses from it’s mother. Zebras have a roughly 12 month gestation but no fixed mating season, so zebra foals are seen all year round on Londolozi. f5, 1/640, ISO 32O
The female cub of the Tamboti female leopard totters along a fallen Leadwood branch in the morning light. f5, 1/800, ISO 1000
Two contrasting uses of a waterhole. A hippopotamus uses it as a refuge while a Hamerkop perching on the hippo’s backside uses it as a food source. f4, 1/1000, ISO 160
A gritty, grainy shot of the Marthly male, his torn right ear evident, portrays him as the fighter he is. Having taken over the territory of the notorious Camp Pan male by force, he is a leopard to be reckoned with. This isn’t a particularly good photo, but it came at the end of the longest track-and-find I have been involved in. Taking up both morning and evening game-drives, we tracked this male over a good many kilometers, across the Sand River and on an enormous loop as he patrolled his territory, eventually finding him just after sunset near Ximpalapala Koppie. f2.8, 1/160, ISO 6400
Saliva flies as two wild dogs exchange greetings on a firebreak on Southern Londolozi. f2.8, 1/640, ISO 1250
We keep wondering when the Vomba female is going to get sick of hunting for her male cub. Whenever we find them moving off a kill, it is the young male who seems far fuller, and the old female must surely be getting tired of him taking the lions share of the meat. At almost a year-and-a-half now, it might be sooner rather than later that he becomes fully independent. f4.5, 1/250, ISO 1000
Wildebeest on the march on Tu-Tones Crest. Although not even remotely approaching the wildebeest density of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara ecosystems in East Africa, Londolozi still has it’s fair share. f2.8, 1/125, ISO 1600
Sunrise over Circuit North as some Burchell’s Zebra pause to listen to the distant alarm bark of a kudu. f8, 1/200, ISO 320
Photographed by James Tyrrell
Absolutely breathtaking…the bottom photo of the sunrise…although ALL of the pix are fantastic.
Just counting the days until we return at the end of the year!
My wishful bucket list of sightings keeps growing.
Epic photography JT, very well done.
Forgive me if I repeat myself. Had a bad connection and I’m not sure the first comment was sent.
The excitement of your words as you described the take-down plus the still leaves us with great anticipation for the video next week.
As usual, your weekly photos keep us in touch with Londolozi and we are grateful. While we could comment on every photo, however, it is the croc in the duckweed that brought about smiles and conversation.
Jo Lynne and Fred
Wonderful shots JT!
The last shot of the Zebra and sunset is unbelievably good. Well done JT, really looking forward to seeing the Lion and Buffalo encounter on the blog in a couple of days. rich
Always an amazing blog to read love the images
Great thank you as always 🙂
I have never seen such a beautiful and amazing photo as the last one….thanks so much for sharing.
Hello James! Well all I can say is that you make it incredibly difficult to decide which of your pics is a favourite in the selection, but the Sunrise wins hands down. Well done, it is really a stunner!
Has the Marthy Male lost some more of his ear or has it always been like this? What can I say for the Vomba female – she’s a mother & its not that easy to “kick the kids out of the nest”!!! 🙂
Now I am, like everyone else counting the days to the Lion/Buff kill! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and have a good week of pictures.
Thank you again for a wonderful ending to my week
You definitely make our pictures from this week look ammateur but very cool to see some of the things we saw posted here! Especially the dogs checking for danger in the water. Thanks again for the great experience James, we all had a blast! Let us know if you’re ever back in the states! -Teresa
Always a favorite end to my week!!
Morning James,Well ,well once again you made it extremely difficult to select the best photo.They are all outstanding.Please keep up – we are really enjoying the work you produce.The Week in pictures is the high lite of my week !!!
Brilliant as always!!