True to form, we’ve had another amazing week of game viewing on Londolozi in the last seven days. Lions in particular have been prevalent with the arrival of the Styx Pride accompanied by a Birmingham male as well as sightings of the Tsalala, Tsalala Breakaway, Mhangeni, Sparta and Ntsevu prides. Highlights for me also included seeing the Tamboti female leopard’s cubs for the first time, which took us five days of constant searching before finally being rewarded. Credit must go to tracker Freddy Ngobeni whose tenacity and incredible tracking skill eventually paid off. My absolute highlight of the week would have to be the sighting we had of a pack of wild dogs interacting with a family of warthogs though. Dogs don’t normally hunt warthogs as their bellies (the areas dogs normally target) are very low to the ground and therefore hard to attack. Their razor-sharp tusks also provide very good defensive gear. Dogs are highly playful and inquisitive though and so the game of cat and mouse that ensued was highly entertaining while it lasted. A nice reminder as the weekend approaches that there comes a time to drop the work for a bit of play.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A young male from the Tsalala Pride rests on collection of rocks on the banks of the Sand River. We call this spot Plaque Rock and it was amazing to come around the corner and see a pride of lions resting in such a picturesque place. f6,3; 1/2500 at ISO 800.
One of the Tamboti female’s cubs gets groomed by its mother. We had followed the female all morning as she attempted to find herself a meal and eventually followed her back to the place where she had been keeping the cubs. f5,6; 1/400 at ISO 500
The cubs suckled from and played with the female before heading to the edge of the drainage line to rest. These cubs are nearing four months old now. f5,6; 1/400 at ISO 500
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
An elephant quenches its thirst from a waterhole in the late afternoon. It was part of a herd of about thirty that came to the pan for a drink. f5,6; 1/800 at ISO 320
The Piva male hunkers down, trying to avoid being spotted by this giraffe. Later in the sighting when the giraffe lost interest, the leopard crept forward to stalk the wildebeest, hoping to find an unsuspecting youngster in the group. Although wildebeest are very much on the outer reaches of what a leopard is capable of hunting, big male leopards such as the Piva male have been recorded killing wildebeest before. f5,6; 1/80 at ISO 1600
Directly descended from the original mother leopard and therefore part of the royal lineage of Londolozi.
A white-bellied sunbird feeds from an Aloe chabaudii. It’s long, thin beak allows it to reach far into the flower where it will then drink using its even longer tongue. Most of the aloes in camp have finished flowering and birds, insects and bees are taking advantage of this last production of aloe nectar for the year.
A pack of wild dogs hunt in the northern portion of Londolozi. Normally these open clearings are crawling with impala but the pack were struggling to find prey on this particular morning. f6,3; 1/2000 at ISO 1600
This was my favourite sighting of the week. The pack came across a group of warthogs that had just emerged from their burrow after a night’s rest. The warthogs would run from the dogs, then after a while turn and charge back at the threat, who would themselves turn and run in the opposite direction. The dogs eventually lost interest in the game of cat and mouse but the scene was highly entertaining while it lasted. f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 1600
A male cheetah looks east towards the rising sun, which cast a gorgeous golden glow over his coat. Using termite mounds and perches like this he was scanning for his next hunting opportunity. f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 640
One of the Nkoveni youngsters rests in a fallen Knobthorn tree. The youngsters spent the entire afternoon stalking and chasing flocks of tiny red-billed queleas to no avail. f6,3; 1/500 at ISO 640
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.
A rather unusual scene of three young crocodiles resting together in a pool in the Sand River. f6,3; 1/500 at ISO 800
A young rhino copies its mother who has just mud bathed in this waterhole. Rolling from side to side, he attempted to coat himself in mud, which serves as an abrasive to help remove ticks and parasites, cool him down and provide his skin with protection from the sun. f5,6; 1/500 at ISO 640
The Tamboti female scans her surrounds hoping to spot prey. Suckling two young cubs means her energy requirements are substantial. f5,6; 1/1250 at ISO 500
The Tsalala pride rest on a section of rocky outcrop favoured for drink’s stops called Plaque Rock. It was such a welcome surprise to come around the corner and be met by this scene. f6,3; 1/1250 at ISO 640
One of the Tsalala youngsters rest on Plaque Rock, allowing us this rather unique eye-level view of the underneath of its foot. f6,3; 1/4000 at ISO 800
A Tsalala lioness gets up to reposition herself amongst the pride. Being such social creatures these animals will often lie very close to one another even when it’s incredibly hot. f6,3; 1/2000 at ISO 800
A close up of an elephant’s eye. The general lazy pace that elephants eat, drink and even blink at makes them such calming animals to be around. f5,6; 1/1000 at ISO 500