The transition to winter is usually a gradual one. Summer arrives with a bang, with the first rains causing a green flush literally within days. The dry season is usually a lot slower to bear down upon us, with things slowly losing their colour, the leaves gradually falling off the trees, and the dust of winter settling onto the tracks and game trails that criss-cross the reserve.
This winter has been different. Two weeks leave saw me returning to a far, far drier Londolozi than I had expected. Temperatures in the mornings have been warranting gloves on game drive, and the greens and vibrant colours I left behind are now the duller chocolate brown hues of the dry season.
And I love it! I love the stillness in the mornings, the long golden afternoons and my breath fogging up in the dawn air.
Winter is here, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A grumpy buffalo bull gives us the evil eye after being disturbed during his afternoon mudbath.
A Nile crocodile enjoys the evening light at Ronnie’s Dam.
The young Tsalala lioness, STILL wary of the Majingilane, crouches low as the Hip-Scar male approaches
Two of the cubs, meanwhile, watch from the sandy Manyelethi riverbed nearby.
A giant legless skink peers out of the sand in the Mhangeni drainage. Although at first glance easily confused with a snake, these animals are in fact lizards.
The Marthly male treated us to a wonderful morning, making his way south over the Sand River near Taylor’s Crossing. Here he leaps over a small pool from the northern bank.
Landing in the sand.
A pause to glance in our direction.
Unfortunately, his crossing of the main channel was obscured by some Matumi trees, but he reappeared below us to cross this smaller channel.
A curious Scops Owl. The smallest owls found in Southern Africa, Scops Owls can often be heard calling to each other with their soft ‘Prrrrrrp”.
One of the Majingilane analyses the urine of a Sparta lioness with the Flehmen Grimace, testing her sexual condition.
A flap-necked chameleon that I had nearly flattened with the Land-Rover. Had it not been for Mike Sihtole’s eagle eyes, this little guy’s camouflage would have fooled me and he may have ended up pancaked, but fortunately I was able to hit the brakes in time!
Hope for the future. Londolozi’s new favourite rhino, this tiny calf, only a few months old, has been hanging around the clearings south-east of camp with her mother.
The four Majingilane in all their glory.
A tough sighting to photograph. The Mashaba female had hoisted the remins of an impala into the boughs of a Tamboti tree, and I was struggling to focus automatically though the leaves. Switching to manual focus, I waited until she moved her eye across this gap, and luckily got the timing of the shot right.
Photographed by James Tyrrell