Written and Photographed by Dave Strachan:
Not many people debut and retire on the same day.
I, however, enter my last two week stint at Londolozi before heading off on a six month travel of the Americas. So this shall be my first and last contribution to the Londolozi blog. It is a great opportunity to briefly shed light on, and give thanks to, the invaluable life experience of being immersed in the glory of nature.
My biggest thank you would be to the tracker I have been so privileged to call my partner, Judas Jehovah Ngomane. A man that has come from serious hardships as a child soldier in Mozambique, a man that is self made, a man that is hugely experienced and yet still has the humility to welcome a rookie like me in, and impart his infinite wealth of knowledge to. A man whose smile and laugh are the most contagious I’ve ever come across and a man whose wisdom is held in such high esteem by the local community. Nkensile ngopfu (thank you) Baba(father) Ngomane!
The community that is Londolozi is something I will miss hugely. I have met and made some of my closest friends here, and to be able to live and work with friends that become family has made the experience indescribably more enjoyable.
To watch the sun rise and set each day and listen to the bush come alive as day breaks are moments I’ll cherish forever. To sit with large herds of elephants and be completely mesmerized by the beauty of a leopard. To feel the power of a male lion’s roar and the tranquility of a flowing river. From listening to hippos snort and the call of an oriole, these memories are engrained in me forever.
A huge thank you to all involved in my time here.
Enjoy my first and last Week in Pictures…
An intimidating stare from one of the Matimba males. We have recently seen the return of one of this coalition, fathers of the Tsalala pride’s cubs. Hopefully it can bring some stability to the pride as they’ve been quite nomadic of late, trying to avoid various coalitions of other males that could threaten to the cubs survival.
This hippo is not shy of opening his mouth and displaying his enormous teeth for all to see. It is a show of dominance and there is no doubt of that, as he has this entire waterhole to himself.
The stereotypical hunting technique of the Pied Kingfisher, hovering above a water source and then diving with impeccable accuracy.
A female impala and lamb groom themselves at sunset. Although so numerous, theres no denying the astoundingly gorgeous coats of the impala, as they are meticulously cleaned everyday. Their lower incisors sit loose in the sockets and act as a comb to remove any parasites or dirt.
These musketeers come down for a late morning drink after foraging around on the ground for any tasty morsels. As the heat sets in, baboons will often enjoy a midday snooze.
This elephant bull feeds through a field of foxgloves. We looked on as he slowly meandered across the crest, seemingly in a trance and totally oblivious to our presence.
The Inyathini male looks on, whilst perfectly poised for one of my favourite images of him. He is currently covering huge distances in the southern parts of the reserve and is seemingly expanding his territory each day.
A fierce growl at a hyena from the Ndzanzeni female. The hyena walked right in front of our car allowing us to be in perfect position for this image.
A front-on from this Zebra. With its distinctive black and white stripes it can always make for interesting editing.
This Southern White Faced Owl surveys the area for something to eat. They feed on a wide variety of prey, anything ranging from moths to small rodents.
A rare sight seeing a leopard in a dead Leadwood tree and one that I was fortunate enough to experience!
One of the Nkoveni female’s cubs peers around the edge of this Brown Ivory tree on its way down from the canopy. Leopards are incredible climbers from even an early age.
The magnificent African sunset. It is always a privilege watching the sun go down being surrounded by a pristine landscape.
There he is! The main man. A smile that radiates happiness. What an honour to have had Judas Ngomane as the tracker I’ve worked with for over two years!
This an apt image for my departure from Londolozi. One of the Tsalala cubs peers from the Exit sign!
Written and Photographed by Dave Strachan.