About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on Photo Feature: Tsalala Cubs of 2011

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Wonderful memories James. I’ve got a few photos of the Tsalala pride of 2011 as well. I do hope the pride survive. It is a costly lesson shooting in jpeg. Making mistakes is sometimes the only way I learn what not to do.

Always wonderful to look back and reflect on old images. Yours are both unique and lovely. I also appreciated the sharing of your own photographic journey of do’s and do nots. You know, I think James is very valuable to Londolozi.

Thanks Joanne, very kind of you to say 🙂

Wonderful photos James! Any word on the three males of the Tsalala breakaway pride? From what I recall they had moved off on their own a while ago.

Dipti I believe only two have been seen together, I think on Sabi Sabi and Mala Mala if my memory serves me correctly.
Not sure of their current status unfortunately…

Digital Ranger

Thanks for the Memories. ♥

Your reflections and accompanying photos are a tribute to this amazing pride. Additionally, you always pass along some useful information whether it concerns flora or fauna or photography tips. It is so true about jpg vs raw – had I only realized the difference I would have taken a different camera on my trip in 2007 and my previous years’ photos were all shot with film. Last year I did shoot in raw and it made a definitive difference- now, just to get the best exposure for the varying backgrounds and lighting!! Next trip……

Thank you for sharing these photos! A trip down memory lane. We first met the Tsalala pride (and Sparta pride) in 2011 and they continue to have a special place in our hearts. We are hopeful they can pull through this rough time. We must have a thousand photos of them by now, always good to look back through old times.

Very cool! Its helpful to know the history before I first came to Londolozi in 2016.

Master Tracker

One of the things about shooting on slide, is it teaches you to be more selective. I miss that

Hi Ian,
I agree. Every photograph was a decision carefully weighed up. If you botched it, it cost money!!

Really great archive!! I’ve always shot in JPEG and I have to admit that they can look over-edited with certain photos. Recently I tried shooting in RAW for the first time and I have to say it was a very different experience on Lightroom. I will definetely use it a lot more, but I just need the opportunity to practice.

James, What an fantastic story and thanks for you honesty on your early images. We have quite a few of what I would call “rookie” jpg images for our earlier experiences at Londolozi too. From our learning at Londolozi we are RAW all the way. I know we saw some of the cubs together and you have reminded us that we need to spend some time looking back!

We were wondering if there is a “identification system” with lioness (discounting the obvious Tailless females) similar to leopards? We are remembering that the Majingilane males were always identified by their specific markings….

Hi Michael and Terri,

Great question – and a frustrating one at the best of times. We have been working on a lion ID kit for some time, but there is such turnover that it requires constant reworking. To be honest, our main focus has always been on our leopard ID kit and we probably haven’t been as diligent with our lion record keeping as we could have been, tending to ID lions simply by their prides than as individuals. Lions also have spot patterns like leopards, but they are slightly harder to make out. Features like torn ears, blotches on noses, and colouration usually help us tell them apart, but in a small pride (eg Tsalala) it’s never usually a problem. Given that the Ntsevu pride are now 6 strong, and the Mhangeni pride are splitting and we will be seeing a lot more young lions about the place, it might be time to revamp our individual Lion identifying. Watch this space…

Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you for the wonderful photos and story of the Tsalala’s of 2011. While you may not have been the photographer you are today, they are still photos most of us would be proud of. I hope the Tsalala pride can somehow find a way to make it back from the brink.. It is sad to see such a legacy fade away.. I know they leave a rich ongoing legacy but they are no longer known as the Tsalala’s. Thank you James..


Don’t worry, they are still very much known as the Tsalalas. It just remains to be seen whether they’ll come back from the brink or not. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

What a beautiful collection. So precious. I thank you.

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