Despite having had to deal with some of the harsh realities of the bush last week, where some rangers and guests witnessed a remarkable conflict between lions and wild dogs, this recent week has been one of triumph for me. The week began with us being lucky enough to witness the very first footsteps of a tiny, newborn elephant; we learnt that the Marthly male, despite being attacked by the young Tsalala lioness, is alive and well; we continue to watch as the young hyena grow and thrive at their den site; we spotted a rarely seen yellow-billed oxpecker hard at work on a buffalo, and lastly, I fulfilled one of my desires to watch a pride of lions cross the life-sustaining Sand River, into the setting sun.
As is so true of the wild, life is cyclical. Moments of life balance with moments of death and we have to accept them just as they are. And, for me at least, this week was one where life, birth and rejoicing reigned. I hope you enjoy this week in pictures.
The Nanga female scans her surroundings for prey from atop a fallen Marula tree. Despite her relatively small size, her physical feats continue to amaze. 1/640 @f8; ISO 500.
A newborn elephant stumbles alongside its mother on wobbly feet, using her pillar-like legs for support. 1/800 @f8; ISO 1600
A Burchell’s Starling shows off its startlingly beautiful iridescence as its feathers catch the early morning light. 1/800 @f9; ISO 640
The tailless Tsalala lioness crosses the sand river at dusk to join the rest of her pride waiting on the other side. 1/500 @ f7; ISO 640
A dazzle of zebra stand to attention as the Munghen pride wander by. Rather than sprint off and lose sight of their enemy, the zebra would rather stand watch because a predator seen is far less risky than a predator unseen. 1/640 @ f9: ISO 400
Two hyena cubs wait patiently at the den site for the return of their mother. The cubs grow up amongst cousins of varying ages, whose play can turn rambunctious, making them all the more tough and ready for life as they grow up.1/1000 @ f8; ISO 800.
A young impala flees for its life as a pack of wild dogs close in from behind. These antelope don’t even bother alarm calling when they spot a dog, as a breath wasted on this could be their last. 1/1000 at f 9; ISO 1600.
The Mashaba young female sits atop a termite mound like royalty. Guarded by trees and shade, she then has a comfortable lookout spot for any possible food or danger. 1/500 @7,1; ISO 1250.
An elephant bull paints with dust in the gorgeous afternoon glow. 1/500 @f8; ISO 640.
Two male giraffe create symmetry as movement in the grass catches their attention simultaneously. 1/1000 @f9; ISO 500.
The Piva male gazes towards a young impala kill he has hoisted in a tree above the Mashabene dry river bed. 1/400 @f7,1; ISO 1250
A very rare sighting of a yellow-billed oxpecker shouting in excitement at the collection of ticks he has found on this buffalo’s ears. These birds became extinct in South Africa around 1910 but in a great success story, naturally reintroduced themselves back into South Africa from our neighbour, Zimbabwe. 1/500 @f 7,1; ISO 1250
A young lioness from the Tsalala pride chases off two Hooded Vultures looking for some scraps off the buffalo that died naturally in the Sand River this last week. This carcass has been a hive of activity, drawing in many carnivores, including the Tsalala pride, the Marthly male, the Camp Pan male as well as numerous crocodiles and vultures, 1/640 @ f6,3; ISO 2500
Two elephant bulls jostle with each other in the Sand River. The interaction did not seem particularly aggressive and, at times, the elephants appeared to be feeling each other more tenderly than anything, allowing their counterparts tusks to get precariously close to their eyes. 1/640 @f 7,1; ISO 640.
The Nanga female scans over her shoulder against a stark white sky. 1/1000 @f8; ISO 500.
Which photographs did you enjoy the most and what sightings have you had here at Londolozi that have brought you the most joy? We’d love to know.