With pans dry and no seep-lines flowing, we are staring a particularly dry year in the face. Whereas the game would normally still be dispersed at this time, more and more animals are flocking to the river to drink. Hippo bulls are starting to get territorial as waterholes recede early and space gets limited. This is certainly not the Londolozi that I know in early March, and if we have no more major rain this season, life for the animals could certainly be tough over the coming winter.
We had floods in March last year however, so until April is well advanced, anything could happen.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Once one of Londolozi’s most prominent leopards, but now a rare face around these parts, the Camp Pan male has been seen on a few occasions along the banks of the Sand River over the last week. In fact, about 30mins before this post went out, he walked past the Granite Camp Deck. With an atrophied back left leg and age definitely not on his side, how long can he remain in the area already being contested by the Marthly and Gowrie males?
Leopards are notorious for not liking to get their feet wet. Here the Camp Pan male heads for dry sand as ranger Lawrence Weiz snaps a few shots.
Another leopard, but this time the tortoise version. An abnormally long dry spell in the Lowveld at this time of year meant a distinct lack of standing water for tortoises to drink from, so some rain last week saw them flocking out to gorge themselves.
A young chacma baboon rides atop its mother’s back.
A lone buffalo bull crosses the Sand River at sunset.
The Marabou stork is certainly not the most beautiful bird out there, but it is striking nevertheless. The large dewlap that hangs from their neck is used primarily for thermoregulation, but I have no idea why this one was at such a funny angle.
The Mashaba young female wiles away the afternoon hours in the fork of a weeping boer-bean tree.
A photo from the same sighting featured in TWIP from two weeks ago; a sounder of warthogs skirt nervously around a large crocodile.
Not often seen out of the water during daylight hours in the summer, hippos are usually back in their waterholes well before sun-up.
Not even pythons are immune from parasites, as evidenced by this one with a large tick attached just below its eye.
A scrub hare flattens its ears as it hopes to evade detection in the daylight.
A Nile crocodile alongside the Causeway. I used a slightly slower shutter speed in this photo but kept the camera stable, blurring the water slightly yet still keeping the crocodile sharp.
A dazzle of zebra ignore the sunrise behind them, focusing instead on the green grass of Ximpalapala crest.
The Nanga female and an example of how to make lighting conditions work for you. She was heading east into the morning sun but we were struggling to get round ahead of her. In this situation one can simply dial down your exposure to create more of a silhouette effect on the animal and highlight the light around her shining through her fur.
We managed to skirt around her to position for this giraffe walk-by. She is far too small a leopard to be of any threat to an adult giraffe like this , but she was closely watched nonetheless.
Photographed by James Tyrrell
What are your weather predictions? Do you think it will rain during March and April? We’ll see if you’re right!