It is June! Apologies for stating the obvious but I just cannot believe we are at mid-year already. The beanies, scarves and gloves are all being put to good use each morning and the coffee/tea/hot chocolate stops have never been more welcome.
This last week will go down as a particularly memorable one in my guiding career as I finally got to see what some call the ‘holy grail’ of wildlife sightings. Having grown up being fortunate enough to spend a lot of time visiting different game reserves and wildlife areas in Southern Africa I have been able to see most of the animals that I have wanted to. One that has eluded me, however, is the pangolin. That all changed a few days ago. I was tracking a leopard with the eagle-eyed, Rich Mthebeni, in the southern parts of the reserve when all of a sudden he stopped, stared and with a questioning tone muttered, “pangolin?” I immediately looked to see where he was looking, thinking that he was playing a cruel joke on me until this strange looking, mythical type creature came into view, slowly making its way across an open clearing! I left Rich with strict instructions not to let it out of his sight and ran back to the vehicle to fetch Chris and Jane who are long-time Londolozi guests who had also never seen a pangolin. They were waiting patiently for us to find them a leopard but that was soon forgotten as I broke the news to them and we proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon in the presence of this interesting creature.
It was my highlight of another extraordinary week here at Londolozi, please enjoy this Week in Pictures.
My first ever sighting of a pangolin. ISO 400 f5.6 1/125 Canon 18-55mm @ 55mm
Pangolins are incredibly rare and elusive animals, which made spending an afternoon with one even more special. ISO 400 f5.6 1/320 Canon 18-55mm @55mm
I have this man, Rich Mthebeni, to thank for spotting the Pangolin we saw. ISO 400 f4.5 1/500 Canon 18-55mm @30mm
The darker-maned Matimba male rests in a clearing close to the lodge after a night of patrolling his territory. ISO 250 f5.6 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @170mm
A combination of late afternoon light and a glassy waterhole made for a spectacular sighting of this rhino bull coming down to drink. ISO 400 f4.5 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @115mm
A yellow-billed stork feeds along the edge of a waterhole outside camp. Notice the faint pink tinge to its feathers and red facial skin associtaed with the breeding season. ISO 100 f5.6 1/500s Canon 100-400mm @ 400mm
Two male nyalas size each other, contemplating whether or not it’s worth locking horns. Unlike male impalas, nyalas tend to avoid physical contact when fighting to establish dominance, favouring a display to make themselves appear larger than their rival instead. ISO 800 f5.0 1/640s Canon 100-400mm @ 160mm
One of the new hyena cubs spotted at a den site on the reserve. In a few weeks time their spots will begin to show as they start to resemble the adults. ISO 400 f5.6 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @ 300mm
A fork-tailed drongo mobs a brown snake eagle as it tries to chase it from the area. Being small and agile allows it to relentlessly harass any bird of prey without getting caught. ISO 800mm f14 1/400s Canon 100-400mm @ 400mm
A male cheetah made a surprise appearance one afternoon not too far away from camp. We arrived just after he had managed to take down this impala ram and watched him feed as the sun went down. The kill was stolen from him during the night by the Tamboti Young Female leopard. ISO 400 f5.0 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @ 200mm
A Bateleur eagle starts to wake up as the sun rises in the beautiful northern parts of the reserve. ISO 160 f5.6 1/500 Canon 100-400mm @ 365mm
Chattering monkeys and Impala alarm calls alerted us to the presence of the Anderson male leopard as he patrolled his territory north of the river one morning. ISO 400 f5.0 1/320 Canon 100-400mm @ 180mm
After a supreme tracking effort by Rich Mthebeni that lasted 3.5 hours, he managed to find the Dudley Riverbank Male. It was the first time I had viewed this leopard as he is not often seen. Wounds on the top of his head and paws showed us that he had been been in a few territorial scraps, possibly with the Anderson Male whose territory borders his. ISO 400 f5.6 1/640 Canon 100-400 @ 400mm