This week has revolved largely around the movements of the Ntsevu pride, who continue to make the east-west traverse of Londolozi every 48 hours or so. Their territorial expansion into the south-west mainly comes as a result of one of the females denning her small cubs there, in an effort to escape the encroachment of the Avoca males, who may kill the cubs if they find them, as they are not the fathers.
Only one brief sighting has been had of the cubs, but this morning we were convinced we were going to hit the jackpot, as fresh tracks of two lionesses were heading into the drainage line which we knew the lioness had been using as a den. It was not to be unfortunately, as the tracks continued out and over the hill, where we found five of the pride, one of them with extremely fresh suckle marks, indicating we were just too late; she had left the den probably in the last 30 minutes or so.
I’m sure it won’t be long before someone has a proper sighting of them out in the open, but until then, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The pack of wild dogs that are denning to the north-west of Londolozi make regular forays onto the clearings north of the Sand River to hunt, and this particular morning was no exception, as five of them were found with bloodied faces, having taken down an impala ewe. Having fed, they trotted back towards the den, most likely to regurgitate some food for the pups.
One of the pack pauses to look back towards where the rest were following behind.
A white-bellied sunbird decides which flower to probe for nectar on one of the numerous aloes that are blossoming around the Londolozi camps.
Four of the Ntsevu pride were found hunting buffalo the evening before this picture was taken, but were unsuccessful, and the next morning their tracks led us to where the four of them were moving hungrily through some large clearings. After slaking their thirst at this waterhole, they moved into the shade to sleep for the day.
All four of the group drink together.
Africa’s fastest eagle, the African Hawk eagle. This individual had caught a scrub hare (whose paw is still visible on the branch next to the eagle’s left talon) and was sharing it with its partner when we happened along. These eagles, like most others, are monogamous and form pairs for life
Ranger/tracker Andrea Sithole glances back from where he was tracking the Tatowa female with her small cubs.
A rare shot of the Inyathini male out in the open as he crosses a sodic site. This male has been expanding his territory of late, and from this morning to the next walked a huge loop, clashing with the Piva male in the evening then being found mating with a new leopard on Londolozi, the Lookout female, the next morning.
A magpie/long-tailed shrike takes off under dark skies.
The ubiquitous spotted hyena. The population of these scavengers seems to have expanded over the last year, and they are encountered almost every day.
Two young elephant bulls engage in some play-fighting in a local waterhole while an African Jacana flies by. This type of behaviour is usually only encountered in summer when the water temperatures are much higher. Photograph by Andrea Sithole
A giraffe bull atop an embankment, silhouetted in the afternoon glare.
Not only sunbirds are encountered in the gardens around Londolozi; these bronze mannikins have been flocking in in droves to feed on the abundant seeds to be found amongst the grasses in particular.
A white rhino calf looks up before scratching its nose on this fallen leadwood log.
Four members of the Ntsevu pride go on the hunt at dusk. They made an attempt on some zebra on this evening but were unsuccessful.
One of the Majingilane crosses the Sand River in the daylight, something I have been waiting almost seven years to see. It is unusual to see only one of these males so far from their core territory to our west, as they generally only venture onto Londolozi as a full group of three.
Thanks for the comments Eulalia!