Having just returned from my two week break I was as eager as ever to get back into the bush – to see what was in store for me and what had changed over the two weeks. There were certainly many more birds calling as I drove back into Londolozi, as a few of the migratory birds had returned whilst I was away, and most of the trees were sprouting new life, adding fresh colours to the canopies. After two weeks of no game drives, I was itching to see what the Londolozi bush had in store for me and my guests.
Being on game drive, we always say that success is very much about being in the right place at the right time. With that in mind, the energy in my vehicle must have been right this past week and a half, as I somehow managed to find myself in the right place at that time on a few occasions, sometimes even un-intentionally. My guests and I were certainly not going to complain though. On some occasions I was ready with my camera hoping to record the amazing sightings unfolding in front of us, while other times my guests and I were just left in awe, with my camera still neatly packed away in its case. None-the-less, its been an amazing week and a half for us at Londolozi.
From a new leopard to an old favourite, its been a great week for me as I hope it has been for you.
I hope you enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Cheetah make fantastic models as they are often climbing onto termite mounds and jump onto fallen trees in order to survey their surroundings. In this case though, this male cheetah was taking a breather- watching his back after he just managed to escape the claws of the Makotini male leopard. Predators will have conflict if they come into contact with each other due to the competition for food. Luckily the cheetah managed to get away. 1/1250 at f5,6 ; ISO 320.
A magnificent kudu bull focuses in on the distant alarm calls of an impala. Having such big ears, kudu have exceptional hearing and are constantly on the alert. 1/1250 at f5,6 ; ISO500
A tender moment between members of a hyena clan. Hyenas often get a bad reputation because of their habit of scavenging. What most people don’t realise is that they are extremely intelligent predators with a very complex social system. 1/500 at f5,6 ; ISO1000
One of the Matimba Males. I absolutely love seeing these male lions as they are exactly what a male lion should be – pure muscle and power. This particular male has one of the biggest manes I have ever seen on a male lion…it’s awesome! 1/1600 at f5,6 ; ISO400
A look at the same Matimba male from the back. One can see the dark marks behind his legs. This is caused by urine dripping down the back of the legs when a male is scent marking in order to mark his territory. The Matimba’s have been doing a fair amount of this over the past few weeks in order to try establish their territory- hence the dark lines on this male’s legs. 1/1250 at f5,6 ; ISO400
A very young rhino calf waits patiently as its mother has a drink of water. At this age the young calf won’t be needing too much water, mainly just its mothers nutritious milk. 1/400 at f5,6 ; ISO640
The Makotini male stalks through the long grass after he had just chased a male cheetah. Leopards do “out-power” cheetah, but cheetah are able to out-run leopards. In this case speed was the victor and the cheetah managed to get away. 1/640 at f5,6 ; ISO500
The Makotini male making sure that the cheetah has moved off a good distance. With his territory encompassing a large open grassland area, perfect cheetah territory, a run in between the two is inevitable from time to time. On this morning we were very lucky to be in the right time at the right place. Although I only managed to get my camera out once most of the action was over, it was still an unreal experience for my guests and me. 1/1250 at f5,6 ; ISO400
A bird that doesn’t often sit still for long enough to capture a photo of it – the chinspot batis. This male chinspot batis was fluttering around the vehicle, looking for insects, whilst we were watching a herd of elephants. At one point he perched for long enough to allow us to take a shot. 1/500 at f5,6 ; ISO800
Rhino love to wallow in mud in order to help regulate their temperature. This female seemed to have wallowed in a few different mud wallows giving her an interesting colour variation. Whilst she was having a drink of water, a cattle egret took the opportunity to have a meal by eating the tics off the rhino. Cattle egret will often follow rhino or large herbivores through long grass hoping to catch some of the insects that move out the way of the big animals, or to pluck the tics directly off the animals. 1/800 at f5,6 ; ISO400
The Ntoma female found herself in a tricky situation when a herd of about 300 buffalo decided to suround the tree she had hoisted a steenbok kill into. The buffalo fed around the tree for about 30 minutes before moving off – to the Ntoma females delight. 1/1000 at f6,3 ; ISO400
A closer look at the Ntoma female watching the herd of buffalo below her. This week was the first time I have seen this beautiful leopard. She is rarely seen on Londolozi property as the majority of her territory is further to the west of our boundary. 1/800 at f5,6 ; ISO400
A young giraffe takes advantage of the new growth of leaves many of the trees are pushing out at the moment. This calf couldn’t get enough of the leaves and filled his cheeks completely. Giraffe are generally quite inquisitive, and this calf and it’s mother were quite intrigued by the presence of our vehicle, keeping a close eye on us. 1/1600 at f5,6 ; ISO500
The Piva male on a morning territory patrol. After scent marking on this fallen Marula tree the Piva male stops to keep an eye on a elephant bull feeding nearby. Leopards will make use of bushes and trees to leave their scent on in order to mark their territories. They will have to mark quite regularly during the rainy season as the rain washes their scent away. 1/250 at f5,6 ; ISO800
A breathtaking sunset a few evenings ago was a great way to end another magical day in the African bush at Londolozi. 1/640 at f10 ; ISO250
Written and Photographed by Kevin Power, Londolozi Game Ranger.