The Week In Pictures has become somewhat of a reflection for us. It is no longer sufficient to simply send out a summation of the previous week in image format. We all (as authors and contributors) feel the need to share learnings and thoughts with you. Maybe that is a reflection of how we all evolve in this magical place, and how it changes us week by week. Sharing a collection of pictures is not as simple as scanning through and picking the best ones. It’s about choosing pieces of ourselves as mini-reflections of who we all were in each moment that was captured.
This week, Rob Crankshaw and I decided to put together a collection of our images as a team. We have been lucky to have had the opportunity to have some of my family to visit, and share in the wild landscapes, animal interaction and general beauty that is our back yard.
In sharing this place with people close to us, we got to take stock of what most people assume is the standard. We had our breath taken away by vivid winter sunsets. We got to see lions so camouflaged in the winter grass that it was impossible not to sink deeply into their way of stalking. We sat quietly with flourishing plains game, bathed in golden light, while we learned about the intricacies of their behaviour – things that just happen, with or without us being there. We experienced the feeling of the temperature changing on our skin as the sun sank below the Drakensberg mountains, and warm sunshine changed to crisp, cool evening air. Our hearts raced along with the others on our vehicle as we tracked and found a pair of mating leopard (one of which we have waited to see for over two years), and we lazily enjoyed the phenomenon of the Safari Sundowner each evening – paying homage to the day, and all that came before us in the bush… a celebration… raising a glass in toast to the bush.
The week was also about getting to know people better – both those we have worked around for several years, and some whom we had just met, and were experiencing not only Londolozi, but the beauty of safari for the first time.
It was restorative and full of all the wonders of the bush. Wonders that never get old. We hope that these photos show the tiny reflections of each of us from the past week.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
This shot of three Little Bee-eaters all perched in a row is something I have wanted for a while. We sat for ages as they gracefully flitted around us, coming back to the same perch over and over. We were lucky to also have the sun behind us, and a soft green background that created perfect bokeh. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 320 f/5.6 1/500
A striking White Fronted Bee-eater, one of the Bee-eater species that we are lucky to be able to view all year round owing to the fact that they do not migrate. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO320 f/5.6 1/200
Often underrated, this handsome male impala was one of many coming to the end of their seasonal territorial challenges known as rutting. The winter sunshine caught all the bright spots on him, casting him in beautiful light. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 320 f/5.6 1/200
The intricacies of a web of wrinkles. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 1000 f/5.6 1/400
Plains Zebra allo-grooming. Along with many other species, these zebra perform a type of mutual grooming that is believed to strengthen bonds, and maintain their hierarchy within the herd. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 800 f/5.6 1/1600
The same herd in a flash of black and white as they moved off. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 1000 f/5.6 1/640
I always find it difficult to do the live version justice in image format. The Winter sunsets provide beautiful moments for introspection. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 1000 f/5.0 1/3200
Londolozi Tracker Mike Sithole is someone who we have worked with for over 2 years, but got the opportunity to get to know a little better this week. Mike’s eagle-eyes and tangible passion for what he does was great to witness. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 1000 f/4.8 1/4000
A low-angle shot of the Tailless female lioness from the Tsalala Breakaway pride. It has been a long time since we have had the opportunity to view this legend of a lioness. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 800 f/5.6 1/800
A yawn often precedes the beginning of hunting activity. Soon after this shot, the Tsalala Breakaway sub-adult female and the Tsalala Tailless female began to move towards a small herd of impala. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 2000 f/7.1 1/1600
In winter, we truly get to appreciate the camouflage of these lions against the grasses. It was fascinating to watch these two females stalk as the light dropped. Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 640 f/5.6 1/320
While we didn’t get to see the cubs clearly, Londolozi Ranger John Mohaud spotted one of the cubs looking down at their mother from Ximpalapala koppie. Can you spot the cub? Photograph by Amanda Ritchie ISO 640 f/5.6 1/400
The Anderson Male, arguably the largest leopard seen on the reserve. We have waited 2 and a half years to see this incredible leopard, and were delighted to have watched him mate with the Nhlanguleni female. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 1000 f/ 8 1/1000
Brilliant winter colours of the Nhlanguleni female leopard scent marking during the mating process. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 1600 f/ 6.3 1/800
Born to the Tutlwa female in early-mid 2011, the Nhlanguleni female spent her formative months (and years) in and around the Sand River.
A simple portrait of the Nhlanguleni female leopard. She was incredibly persistent (and successful) in her mating attempts. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 1600 f/ 6.3 1/800
The Anderson male leopard is somewhat known for his interesting eyes and intense stare. Following several successful acts of mating, he gave us one last stare before he moved off. Photography by Amanda Ritchie ISO 1250 f/5.6 1/320
Unofficially the biggest leopard in the Sabi Sands, the Anderson male is an absolutely enormous individual in north western Londolozi.
We unexpectedly stumbled upon the Nanga female leopard and her cub whilst on our way to enjoy a sundowner. Her elevated position on a bank provided an eye-level shot, which translated well into black and white. Photography by Rob Crankshaw ISO 2500 f/ 5.6 1/400
The Nanga female was born to the Nyelethi 4:4 female in 2009 as part of a litter of three.
As we moved round to get a better view of the Nanga female, we spotted her female cub feeding on a kill, tucked away in the long grass. With it being almost dark, it never ceases to amaze me how capable the modern day cameras and lenses are of capturing something almost invisible to the naked eye. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 2500 f/5.6 1/400
One of the many things we enjoy about the winter months is the abundance of flowering aloes and the corresponding abundance of sunbirds that feed on the flowers. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 4000 f/ 10 1/2000
One of the few buffalo bulls that we spent time with this week. We are seeing more and more of them around the riverbed area, and this old male was positioned perfectly for a side-lit portrait. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 800 f/7.1 1/2000
We never take for granted the opportunities we have at Londolozi to enjoy every aspect of nature on our doorstep. We have a small birdbath tucked into the bush in front of our house, which provides endless photographic opportunities- this Blue Waxbill being one of them. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 2500 f/5.6 1/1000
A female Spectacled Weaver looking up into a self-made shower. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 1250 f/6.3 1/800
One of the most beautiful birds to see in the bush, this Purple Crested Turaco queues for its turn to drink and bath. Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 1250 f/5.6 1/320
The daily routine of stopping for a drink at sunset on safari gives us the opportunity for reflection, and a chance to pay homage to all that we have seen that day in the bush. HDRI Photograph by Rob Crankshaw ISO 2000 f/16 1/3200
Written by Amanda Ritchie
Photographed by Rob Crankshaw & Amanda Ritchie