Elephants have taken centre-stage this last week as we have witnessed hundreds of them moving all over the reserve. With the dry, dusty grip of winter yet to take its hold on us I am sure they are taking advantage of all the water and nutrient-rich vegetation that is found in abundance at the moment.
Lion dynamics continue to enthral us, and as we bid farewell to the Scar-nosed Majingilane male and reflect on the incredible reign that this coalition had, we can’t help but wonder what is in store for the Birmingham Males and what their future holds compared to the dominance that came before them.
A few days back also saw the return of the three Tsalala Males who were seen in the company of some of the Mhangeni sub-adults AND a Birmingham male, who were all feeding on a impala that had been stolen from a male cheetah. When questioned as to what had happened during that sighting, Don Heyneke’s only remark was, “I have no idea what just went down!”
With regards to leopards the main talking point this last week was about where the Nkoveni female was denning. She was seen crossing the airstrip one night this week and with sightings of her having been few and far between of late we noticed that she was still lactating which hopefully means she still has cubs. There is a lot on the line as everyone in the guiding team is convinced that they are going to be the one that finds them. We will keep you posted!
But for now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Even with its very distinctive call that is heard frequently as you drive through the grasslands of Londolozi the Shelley’s Francolin is one of the shyer members of the Francolin family. f/5,6 at 1/5000; ISO 1000
A buffalo bull makes good use of one of the many mud wallows that can be found all over the reserve. Recent rains have left most of these wallows with water in them which quickly becomes mud, and in addition to buffalo we watch with great amusement as warthogs, rhino and elephant, to name a few, splash around in them trying to get cool and as a way to get rid of ticks and other parasites. f/5,0 at 1/320; ISO 100
The Ingrid Dam female killed an impala and provided some amazing sightings as her and her 11 month old female cub took a few days to finish it off. Here you can see the last remains of the kill as the Ingrid Dam female herself stares at a nearby Hyena that was waiting in hope to scavenge some of the kill. f/4,5 at 1/3200; ISO 3200
This week a huge amount of elephants were making their way across the whole of Londolozi. Each day herds – some of which numbered close to 100 – were seen feeding mostly on the lush green grass that blankets most of the reserve at the moment. Here a large bull makes his way towards us across an open clearing close to the Sand River. f/4,6 at 1/6400; ISO 100
A female Kudu is silhouetted against an evening sky as she browses on some vegetation growing out of a termite mound. Termite mounds serve a dual purpose for prey species like this Kudu as they provide not just nutrient-rich vegetation to feed on but also a useful vantage point to scan the area for any potential threats. f/4,5 at 1/1000; ISO 320
The Birmingham Males are becoming more and more established as the dominant male lions of the area as we have enjoyed regular sightings of them this week. Two of them have been seen mating with some of the Ntsevu lionesses a few times. We are hoping that they can establish themselves enough to provide a stable environment for the Ntsevu lionesses to raise some cubs in. f/5,0 at 1/1600; ISO 2000
A trip across the causeway that crosses the Sand River in the east of Londolozi often provides some incredible opportunities to get a unique perspective on the Nile Crocodiles that call the river home. The menacing beauty of the eye is what drew me to getting this close-up shot. f/5,6 at 1/200; ISO 1250
It’s always very interesting to watch the worlds tallest land mammal bend down to drink. This happened to be my guest’s first ever sighting of a giraffe which definitely was a memorable one. f/4,5 at 1/1000; ISO 500
A Secretary Bird has taken up residence in Fluffy’s Clearing over the last week and has been seen on top of the same Woolly Caper-Bush Tree each morning. Time will tell if there is a nest there which we are all hoping for. f/14 at 1/400; ISO 1000
The Tamboti Female reacts to the sound of mating lions close by. With her territory falling mostly in the same area that the Birmingham Males and the Ntsevu lionesses have been in she has done an incredible job at providing for her 1 year old female cub. f/4,5 at 1/320; ISO 1600
We could not believe our luck when we came across this Giant Eagle Owl that allowed us to park right next to it without flying away. It gave us a great opportunity to see its beautifully distinct pink eyelids from so close. f/5,0 at 1/125; ISO 2500
The Flat Rock Male, seen here crossing the Londolozi Airstrip early one morning, has matured into a strong dominant male leopard over the central parts of the reserve. After recent mating bouts with the Mashaba female and the Ximungwe female we are hoping that come winter time both of these females will have cubs. f/5,0 at 1/2000; ISO 800
At first glance we thought we were looking at a double-headed squirrel! Thank goodness sanity prevailed and upon closer inspection we realized it was two of them enjoying the morning sun. f/5,0 at 1/2500; ISO 800