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This last winter at Londolozi has been an incredible one. Looking back at the past three months I am astounded by what we have been privy to. From the soft light, early morning mist, cool temperatures and hot water bottles, heightened predator activity and the sparseness that we have come to expect of winter to the moments that we could never have anticipated. There have been births, deaths, fights, interactions, moments of startling beauty and even appearances from those animals we seldom see. As such I have created a highlights package from the last few months that are most representative of the season. Being fairly sentimental I thought it important to appreciate the special collection of moments we have all experienced and captured before we look forward to the coming rains and the associated explosion of life, that spring and summer are likely to bring.
Enjoy this trip down memory lane.
A Time For Predators:
Dust billows after an aggressive interaction between a Matimba male and a Mhangeni lioness, this time over food. The lions had killed a small buffalo calf early in the morning, and the male had hogged the carcass for himself. As this lioness approached, the male began investigating her mating potential, and she took the opportunity to try and feed, but as soon as the male saw this he reacted violently. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A Matshipiri male chases the breakaway portion of the Mhangeni Pride that has recently split off from the main part of the pride. The dynamics of the Mhangeni Pride have been incredibly interesting this winter with the pride birthing new cubs, a portion splitting off and continued interactions with both the Matimba and Matshipiri coalitions. It will be interesting to see how things develop for them in the coming months. Follow the link for the full story of the sighting photographed above. Photograph by Alistair Smith
An incredible sighting of the interaction between a clan of hyenas and about 100 vultures as they fight for the feeding rights to a hippo carcass. Video captured by Amy Attenborough
As prey species begin to weaken in the winter months due to poorer grazing and browsing potential, so it becomes easier for predators to hunt. Here, a cheetah attempts to bring down a mature impala ram, which resulted in an epic battle, the cheetah eventually coming out the victor. Photograph by Don Heyneke
This winter also saw the collision of the Piva and Inyathini male leopards as both dominant males attempted to extend their relative territories. Captured by Londolozi Guests, Clark and Jessica Wilkes
A Time For Dust:
A journey of giraffes flee into the afternoon sun. We were following some leopard tracks with our cameras in hand and came across this group unexpectedly in the gold of the afternoon, giving them a fright and causing them to run off about 60 metres or so. Photograph by James Tyrrell
There is a distinctive beauty in the sparseness of winter. Early morning backlighting from the sun rising and dust that was kicked up by another impala running past helped to make this striking image. Photograph by Don Heyneke
An unforgettable view of ranger Nick Sims driving his vehicle downstream in the dry Manyalethi riverbed with a setting sun behind him. Photograph by Sean Cresswell
A Time For Beautiful Light:
The sun sets over the southern reaches of Londolozi, reflecting in this drying pan of water. The dust in the atmosphere associated with winter helps to create these dramatic sunsets. Photograph by Trevor McCall-Peat
As many of the trees lose their leaves in winter, it becomes easier to photograph many of the animal and bird species. There is also a distinctive richness and yet softness to the light. Here Don Heyneke manages to use light and shapes to create a beautiful photograph. Photograph by Don Heyneke
A Time To Appreciate The Night Sky:
Without the cloud cover associated with the summer months, winter is the best time for night time photography. Here Trevor McCall-Peat captures the milky way reflected in a water hole outside Varty Camp. Photograph by Trevor McCall-Peat
A very full moon, with all of its visible surface reflecting sunlight back, is a great source of white light without being as harsh as the midday white light from the Sun. Photograph by Trevor McCall-Peat.
A Time For Cubs:
The Nhlanguleni female leopard has been raising her first litter of cubs this winter. She spends a large portion of her time in inaccessible parts of the Sand River but due to the intense sparseness of the foliage this winter, we have been seeing more of her than usual. One of her cubs was viewed about a week ago but we are unsure if the other is still alive. Photograph by Alice Brewer
This winter has also seen the growth of the Tsalala Pride. With five new cubs from two different litters, the pride is now numbering seven. The tailless lioness and four older subadults are still split off from this portion of the pride and tend to spend more of their time east of Londolozi’s boundaries. We await to see if the tailless female and subadult female rejoin the main portion of the pride once the young males become independent. Photograph by Don Heyneke
The youngest members of the Tsalala pride playing with and being groomed by their mother. Video captured by Amy Attenborough.
A Mhangeni lioness carries one of her cubs across a portion of the Sand River. This pride has also birthed 12 new youngsters into the pride and we are unsure if they have been fathered by the Matimba or Majingilane coalition, although the Majingilanes are the most likely. Recently the original pride, new youngsters and the breakaway portion joined for a day, temporarily creating a pride of 22! Photography by Amy Attenborough.
A Time For Mist and Beautiful Light:
The Sand River captured at dawn. As the sun rose, the mist lifted off the water, enhancing one of my favourite vistas on Londolozi. Photograph by Amy Attenborough
Dave Strachan and his guests watch a Matimba male lion and a Mhangeni lioness as the early morning mist lifts. The soft light of winter is one of its most beautiful attributes. Photograph by Don Heyneke
A Time For The Often Unseen:
An elephant shrew! It was the first time ranger Callum Gowar had ever seen one and the first time tracker Freddy Ngobeni, had seen one in 37 years! The current sparseness of the bush is one of the main contributing factors to why this little shrew was spotted. Photograph by Callum Gowar
The open foliage associated with the drought has allowed for some wonderfully unobstructed views of some of the smaller creatures of the bush, like this lesser bushbaby. Photograph by Don Heyneke
An African scops owl perches on a branch just long enough for Trevor McCall-Peat to capture this photograph. Although we see these owls year round, the thinner scrub does make them easier to spot in winter. Photograph by Trevor McCall-Peat
A rare and special sighting of the elusive pangolin. Video captured by Sean D’araujo
A common duiker comes down to a waterhole for a drink. These antelope are relatively shy and prefer being in amongst cover. Being dependent on water though and without small seasonal pans to drink from, they are forced to visit these more open, prominent spots. Photograph by Amy Attenborough
An uncommon sight: two reedbuck out in the open. There were actually three in this sighting, but the third was a bit more shy. Usually restricting themselves to area of longer grass, as their name suggests, this pair has actually been spending some time near a pan in the south-west of the reserve, and sightings have been a bit more consistent than usual. Photograph by James Tyrrell
The Kunyuma male leopard glances our way before dashing across the road. This is a new leopard to Londolozi and on the morning we saw him he was chasing the Nanga female leopard. Since the disappearance of the Gowrie male, new males have been moving into the area possibly checking to see if the territory is open for the taking. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A Time of Unexpected Colour:
A close up of the gorgeous flowers on an Impala Lily. Every year we look forward to their blooms but this year in particular they have livened the sparse bushveld up significantly. Photograph by Rich Laburn
A scarlet-chested sunbird perches momentarily on an aloe. With a bit of patience you can get really close to the sunbirds that inundate the aloes at this time of the year, allowing for some pretty spectacular photographic opportunities. Photograph by Tony Goldman
A Time for Love:
The ostrich pair that have been very much in the spotlight recently, without actually being in the spotlight, if you get my meaning. The male (pictured right), although relaxing visibly in the presence of the vehicles, is nevertheless slightly more timid than the female, which is understandable as she’s had three years to become habituated. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A Time of Harshness:
The drought claims its victims. The carcass of this poor elephant calf was discovered in a muddy waterhole in the north of the property. It seems unlikely that its mother and herd would have been unable to extract it from the mud, as it was quite close to the edge, and a larger elephant would have had no trouble wading in. A far more likely scenario is that it simply succumbed to exhaustion brought on by poor nutrition in these difficult times. A poignant reminder of the circle of life and death in the African bush. Photograph by James Tyrrell
One of the last images captured of the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 male leopard. This male was sadly killed a couple months ago by the Tsalala Pride. Of the Mother Leopard bloodline, this male was an important part of the Londolozi legacy and led an incredibly interesting life. For the full story follow the link. Photograph by Amy Attenborough
Grant Rodewijk, Londolozi trainee ranger, looks up at the kill made and hoisted by the Robson’s 4:4 male leopard in the Londolozi staff village. This photograph helps to put into perspective just how close the leopard had been to the staff housing. Being a shy animal, the Robson’s 4:4 male had slunk away at daybreak, knowing full well that as soon as the sun was up there would be a buzz of activity in camp that he apparently wanted to avoid. This sort of behaviour becomes more common in winter as bushbuck and nyala flock to the greener vegetation of camp and the predators follow suit. Photograph by Alice Brewer
A Time for Independence:
One of the last images captured of the Mashaba female leopard and her cub, the Mashaba youngster, before they split. At just 15 months old, it seems this youngster has been forced to go independent. Her mother was seen with a full impala ram carcass recently and despite feeding on it for four days, she never once made an effort to bring her youngster to the kill. It will be interesting to see how this young leopard fares over the next few months as she finds her feet so to speak. Photograph by Tony Goldman
A Time For Play:
At Londolozi, no matter the season, there is always time for play. Here Varty Camp Manager Will Ford rests in a tree waiting for the arrival of his guests. When a visiting family wanted to see a leopard in a tree but hadn’t yet found one, Will decided to go one up on their request and place a lion in a tree instead… Photograph by James Tyrrell
A wide angle look at a stunning setup for a sundowner drink with new and old friends. Despite the cooler temperatures, fires, jackets and a glass of red wine keep them a cosy affair. Photograph by Sean Cresswell
Amy worked at Londolozi from 2014 to 2017, guiding full time before moving into the media department, where her photographic and story-telling skills shone through. Her deep love of all things wild and her spiritual connection to Africa set her writing and guiding ...