The icy bite in the morning air is gradually being replaced by more manageable, warmer temperatures, indicative of the slow arrival of spring. Albeit rather inconsistent, these warmer temperatures are a welcome reprieve from chilly mornings requiring gloves, beanies and scarves. Nonetheless, it has been yet another magnificent week at Londolozi with the bush providing numerous amazing and fascinating interactions.
The Tsalala breakaway pride and the Ntsevu pride have been found regularly this past week with the Tsalala pride spending an extended period of time in adjacent properties north of our northern boundary. The Nkoveni female leopard continues to thrive and provide for her growing cubs in an ever expanding territory. The Mashaba female leopard is suspected to be secreting away tiny cubs (too young to view) somewhere in or around the Sand river. Fascinating interactions between the Piva male, the Flat Rock male and the Inyathini male leopards continue as they all seem intent on expanding their territories, an attempt to perpetuate their genes with the resident female. The presence of male lions has been sporadic in the last week to say the least. The still night skies are filled with roars as male lions try to establish territory and dominate in the surrounding areas. The Avoca males and the Majingilane coalition seem to be becoming more observant and somewhat subdued by the advancing Birmingham males.
And with that enjoy this Week in Pictures…
After spending most of the day in the Sand River, the Tsalala breakaway pride moved onto the northern bank, briefly settled for a rest before continuing through a thick drainage line.
Being mainly nocturnal birds, it is often difficult to photograph the bronze-winged Courser during the day. However, a great opportunity presented itself a few days ago where the birds were extremely relaxed and in a open clearing.
The Tamboti female leopard comes down from a large Jackalberry tree and makes her way slowly back to her young cubs secreted away in a dense drainage line. Learning from previous cub mortality, she seems to be growing in experience and in the art of motherhood.
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
Massive flocks of red-billed Queleas have been thriving off the seeding grass as their title of the most abundant bird in the world continues to provide a marvel and spectacle to observe.
A zebra mare satisfyingly rids herself of the irritation of ticks and fleas by rolling around in the sand. The process of dust-bathing is adopted by many animals as a means to remove parasites nestled in their skin, feathers or hair.
The Tamboti female approaches our vehicle, glancing into a nearby dead knob-thorn tree where a pair of Egyptian geese had just perched.
A visit to the hyena den site is quite the experience. Their inherently inquisitive nature and playful manner provide for much entertainment and incredible hyena viewing opportunities.
Following four of the Ntsevu lionesses late into the afternoon, one lioness pauses for a moment to observe a herd of impala in the distance.
The Tailless lioness yawns from atop a termite mound ideally positioned in the middle of a clearing just north of our airstrip.
Moving onto the airstrip itself, the Tsalala breakaway pride stare at a large herd of buffalo in the hopes of identifying a young, sick or old target to hunt. A calculated decision was made not to advance towards the buffalo due to their sheer numbers and lack of surrounding cover.
A cub of the Nkoveni female leopard peers into the camera as the head of a hoisted impala dangles down alongside her. Many hyena were seen circling the carcass hoping for any impala scraps to fall down.
A cub of the Tailless female stares inquisitively at a passing flock of guinea fowl.
Perfect afternoon light allowed for the opportunity to capture the beautiful colours and powerful bill of a yellow-billed hornbill.
As the Nkoveni female looks back in the direction of her trailing cub, the other cub wraps its tail around her mothers neck in a display of affection and social bonding.
A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.