” In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks. ” – John Muir
This week has been one of some serious ups and downs. It started off with the sad news of the Piva male leopard’s passing and ended off with an incredible sighting of the Tamboti female leopard introducing her cubs to meat for the first time. As a leopard in his prime, the news of the Piva male’s death has shocked many but we can find solace in seeing these youngsters (who possibly even carry his genes) growing and maturing on Londolozi. It was also fantastic to see the Tailless lioness and her two cubs recently. They have been spending a lot of time around the Sand River and to see the cubs out and playing in the sand is definitely one of this week’s highlights for me.
We wait with bated breath to see what transpires with the Piva male’s now vacant territory. Who will move in to take it over and how will it affect the leopard dynamics on Londolozi going forward? I for one am fascinated to see what happens next.
With that, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
An incredible sunset from a much-loved spot on the Sand River called Plaque Rock. Guests happily sipped on some G&T’s while we soaked in this scene.
A Majingilane male listens to some distant lion calls. In the last few weeks, this group of males has pushed the Avoca coalition and one Matshipiri male back west again.
The eye of a Mhangeni pride cub captured as it approached our vehicle. This youngster used our vehicle for shade briefly before moving on to catch up with the rest of his pride.
A giant kingfisher with it recent catch from the water below. This particular individual is a male, easily distinguished from the female by its rufous chest.
The Tamboti female watches as hyenas sniff around the base of the trees below, in the hopes of finding a free meal.
One of the Tamboti female’s cubs watches as her mother chases off those same hyenas. The cubs are still relatively clumsy with the carcasses and are still developing their climbing skills, meaning that the risk of losing the kill is that much higher.
A territorial dispute between rival male hippos. Their large tusks can do huge damage and you can actually see some scarring on the back of the hippo photographed here, possibly from an earlier fight.
One of the Tailless female’s cubs scratches itself before settling down to rest. We soon lost view of these lions as they headed further into the river responding to an nyala’s distress calls. We later found them with the kill, which they may well have stolen from another predator.
A journey of giraffes race across the Sand River at Old Elephant Crossing, a favourite crossing point due to its sloping banks and easy access. f4, ISO 320, 1/2000s. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A white rhino bull enjoys a cool wallow in a pan while a giraffe stands nervously nearby. Giraffe are notoriously skittish when approaching waterholes, as their bent-over drinking position leaves them very vulnerable. f2.8, ISO 160, 1/3200s. Photograph by James Tyrrell
An impala ewe stands alert while the rest of her herd feeds around her. Most of the females over the age of two will be pregnant right now, due to drop their lambs when the rains arrive in early November. f5, ISO 320, 1/1600s. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A pack of wild dogs trots off towards the setting sun. Enigmatic carnivores, we have been lucky to enjoy great wild dog viewing over the last few months, with one of the local packs denning very close to Londolozi, making regular hunting forays onto the reserve. f2.8, ISO 640, 1/6400. Photograph by James Tyrrell
The pack in the previous photo was running very close to the Maxabene riverbed, and fortuitously, at a spot where the road dips through the riverbed, they stopped to rest on the far side, allowing us to park in the depression and capture some low-angle photographs. f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/160s. Photograph by James Tyrrell