Reconciliation: defined as the restoration of friendly relations.
Today, 16 December, is The Day of Reconciliation in South Africa. There are two significant events in South Africa’s history that led to this day being recognised. One, being early on in 1838, when the battle of the Blood River took place between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus. The other being the day South Africa became a democracy in 1994.
I feel the word reconciliation is tied into what we stand for at Londolozi and how we operate on a daily basis. It is most certainly apparent in all the human relationships; but it’s also noticeable on an animal to human relationship level.
We are incredibly privileged on a daily basis to be able to go out into the wilderness and view these animals in their natural habitat; going about their daily routines completely unperturbed by our presence. This would have been nearly impossible 90 years ago when the area that Londolozi lies was an area where hunting was practised. But with the hunting having stopped 40 plus years ago, the reconciliation process between animals and humans prevailed. Today, when a leopard is willing to trust you enough to allow you to view her and her cubs at a comfortable distance, or when an elephant matriarch feels comfortable that you won’t harm her herd, it is truly one of the most magical experiences and one ultimately achieved through a process of reconciliation.
So Happy Reconciliation Day from the Londolozi Family. Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Tamboti female stands alert after noticing a herd of impala in the distance whilst on a territorial patrol. It is important for the predatory animals to remain alert of prey species even if they are not actively hunting so that they can move through the bush without being alarmed at. f4 @ 1/1000 ; ISO 640.
Two juvenile white fronted bee-eaters wait for a meal from their parents. These birds eat a variety of flying insects such as honeybees, beetles, flies, dragonflies, moths and butterflies. f8 @ 1/250 ; ISO640.
One of the Mhangeni youngsters rests after having fed on a large waterbuck. Having a kill in the Sand River is ideal for the pride as it means that they do not have to go very far for something to drink. f6.3 @ 1/800 ; ISO 1000.
The Kashane male leopard pauses his descent from a marula tree to make sure that the pack of wild dogs that chased him up there are gone. These sorts of conflicts between predators are typically over competition for food. f8 @ 1/800 ; ISO640.
A yellow-throated Longclaw runs amongst a burst of freshly sprouted grass. This birds feeds on a variety of insects, including millipedes which are prolific at the moment. f4 @ 1/1000 ; ISO500.
An elephant drinks from the water flowing in the Sand River. As rains fall to the west of us in the catchment of the Drakensberg Mountains, we hope to see the water levels continue to rise. f8 @ 1/2000 ; ISO640.
A male black-bellied bustard stands a top a termite mound. It is from here that he will do his distinctive and rather entertaining call. This involves giving a drawling, frog-like quark, after which he pulls his head back into his shoulders, his bill goes horizontal and then he extends his neck and gives an abrupt, explosive popping sound, like a cork being pulled from a champagne bottle. f5.6 @ 1/2000 ; ISO640.
A crocodile basks in the early morning light. It’s not often that you manage to get this close to a crocodile without it heading for the safety of the water. To get this rather different eye-level angle, we utilised a small depression below the bank it was basking on. f2.8 @ 1/400 ; ISO1000.
The Piva male descends a tree carefully after feeding off the impala kill that he had hoisted earlier in the day. Leopards in the area will usually hoist their food in order to protect it from being stolen by lions and hyenas. f8 @ 1/500 ; ISO800.
A Pied Kingfisher perches on a bent piece of reed as he watches for his next meal. These birds have the ability to calculate for the refraction of water in order to be able to grab fish successfully. f2.8 @ 1/1600 ; ISO640.
The Inyathini male leopard notices something in the distance, by his reaction it was more than likely potential food. The eyesight of leopards fascinates me, as even through my binoculars I could not see what he was looking at. f4 @ 1/640 ;ISO500.
A group of giraffe browse on the top of a hill crest. There is a plethora of giraffes on Londolozi at the moment, taking advantage of the new shoots sprouting off a a variety of tree species. f7.1 @ 1/800 ; ISO1000.
The Tamboti female moves across her territory, scent marking constantly to make sure that other leopards are aware of her presence. Predators do this in order to clarify the borders of their territory and therefore minimise their chances of physical conflict with a competitor. f4 @ 1/2500 ; ISO1250.
A hippo returns to the Sand River after a night spent feeding. These animals feed at night due to the sensitivity of their skin to the sun. f6.3 @ 1/320 ; ISO1000.
As mentioned above, having a kill in the sand river is ideal for lions, as it means not having to travel far for water. Here one of the Mhangeni youngsters takes a drink after feeding off their waterbuck kill. f4 @ 1/1000 ; ISO800.