The last week at Londolozi has been one that has seen a fair amount of change. The biggest of these changes is the arrival of the first rains.
It is incredible how noticeable the change is in such a short period of time. Within days of the rain falling we have noticed new shoots of grass pushing through the previously scorched earth. Trees are starting to push out fresh new leaves creating further shade in the canopies and birds seem to be more active; especially evident in the morning with their beautiful chorus. One can feel that the energy amongst the herbivores has changed from them struggling through the last of the vegetation, to now knowing that the lush green vegetation is on its way.
We hope more of this rain will fall in the next while to fill up the water holes and transform the dusty brown winter grasses into the lush greens of summer.
This is my first of hopefully many more Week in Pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at the images as much as I did capturing them.
A bull elephant makes his way across a crest in search of a herd of females. Bull elephants will cover huge distances in order to find females who are ready to mate; once they have mated they will move on, not staying with the herd. 1/500 at f5.6 ; ISO 640
A tender moment between a mother zebra and her foal. Zebra each have individual stripe patterns differentiating them from one another, very similar to humans’ fingerprints. It is believed the main reason for stripes is an anti-predator defence. 1/1250 at f5.6 ; ISO640
During the dry winter months elephants that need to drink on a daily basis, centre their movements around permanent water sources. Here a matriarch leads her herd whilst sniffing the air in search of water. Elephants have an amazing sense of smell, even being able to sniff out water underground. 1/1250 at f5.6 ; ISO 640
A white backed vulture stares down at us from its perch on a dead leadwood tree. Vultures and larger eagles will make use of dead trees to perch – the benefit is that there are no leaves, thorns and extra branches to hinder their ability to take off or land. 1/800 at f5.6 ; ISO800
The Tamboti female uses a termite mound to gain a height advantage as she carefully watches the movements of a nearby impala herd. On this day we watched her for about two hours as she patiently stalked the impala, unfortunately not being successful in the end. 1/800 at f5.6 ; ISO400
One of the Styx males salivates heavily after chasing the Tsalala pride. New male lions in an area will do this in order to assert their dominance over the prides in the same vicinity. On this particular morning we watched as the two males chased the pride into the Sand River; they were particularly intent on the Tsalala young males. 1/1250 at f5.6 ; ISO400
An African Harrier Hawk aims for a hole in a dead acacia tree, hoping to find something to eat. These hawks have the amazing ability to hover whilst poking their legs into the holes and crevices in search of any smaller bird nests or even squirrels. Their “knees” are able to bend both ways in order to explore these crevices fully. 1/800 at f7.1 ; ISO500
A tree squirrel surveys the scene around its nest in an ancient leadwood tree. Tree squirrels will spend the evening in their nests in holes of trees and emerge in the morning to forage. 1/2000 at f5.6 ; ISO500
The Tamboti young female watches as the Piva male claims her bushbuck that she managed to kill just moments before. Male leopards will steal food from females, and most of the time, they will chase the females off and not allow them to eat. 1/800 at f5.6 ; ISO500
A bull hippo shows his displeasure with a large herd of buffalo as they have a drink from “his” territory. Male hippos are extremely territorial. The last few weeks of winter are especially testing on hippos as the water sources dry up further and space becomes more limited. 1/500 at f 5.6 ; ISO400
With summer on its way some of the migratory birds are starting to return to Londolozi. Here a common sandpiper feeds along the causeway after returning from its summer in Russia. It always fascinates me how these little birds can travel such massive distances in such a short time. 1/1000 at f5.6 ; ISO800
The Mashaba female rests up on a termite mound, scanning the surrounding bush in search of any food. With two extra stomachs to feed, hunting is vitally important for this beautiful leopard. 1/500 at f5.6 ; ISO640
Possibly one of the most intimidating stares in Africa! Whenever these massive animals stare at me it always sends a shiver down my spine. 1/200 at f5.6 ; ISO640
We have been extremely fortunate over the past few days to be able to view a pack of wild dogs with their pups. This particular pack managed to have two litters during the winter breeding season which is quite unusual, as they usually only have one litter a year. The pack has an alpha pair who are responsible for the breeding, with the other dogs helping to raise the pups. This morning the pups were especially playful making for some amazing viewing. 1/1000 at f 5.6 ; ISO500
A pair of Egyptian geese forage for breakfast as the sun rises over the Sand River, starting off another day at Londolozi. 1/2500 at f5.6 ; ISO500
Written and Photographed by Kevin Power, Londolozi Game Ranger