It’s hot out here at the moment.
As we enter into spring, temperatures are averaging in the mid 30s Celcius (mid 90s Fahrenheit). These conditions are being warmly welcomed by us having just come out of a pretty chilly winter. However, besides a few drops of rain last week, it is still desperately dry at Londolozi. No need to panic though; this is what happens every year, yet we always seem to comment on it nonetheless.
The sunrise viewed from the northern bank of the Sand River, at a point called Old Elephant Crossing. This slope in the bank has and is still used by elephants as an access point in and out of the river.
As guides, we have to plan game drives accordingly, depending on what we are looking for. Fortunately for us, the Londolozi camps are all situated along the banks of the Sand River. Being a perennial river, the flow of water all year draws a huge diversity of life to the area. On most spring afternoons, there is no need to walk much further than the camp deck to see herds of elephants walking across the boulders in search of water or lush foliage. It’s not only elephants that frequent the river though… Take a look at the series of images below to get an idea of what you may expect to see while on safari along the banks of the Sand River at Londolozi.
An elephant flings its trunk around as it sprays water out. The water in the river is some of the cleanest around, and is surrounded by lush vegetation, hence why so many elephants are drawn to the area on a daily basis. In this instance, this elephant sucked up and sprayed out its first trunk full, possibly to clear out the trunk before drinking.
The Nkoveni female (her name literally means “In the River” in Shangaan) and her female cub have been seen frequenting the banks of the Sand River to the east of the lodges. With all the drainage lines that enter the Sand River in this area, there are plenty of safe hiding places for the mother to leave her cub when she goes off hunting.
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.
Its not too often that one sees a journey of giraffes in a river. Here we experienced a wonderful sighting of a group of them that wandered right up the middle of the River, stopping to drink the fresh flowing water. The backdrop of the rocky outcrop made for a great landscape photo opportunity. Behind us was a herd of elephants and to our side was a spotted hyena wallowing in a muddy pool.
The Tsalala Lioness has been seen taking advantage of the hunting opportunities presented as herbivores seek water and fresh foliage in the Sand River. Here if one looks closely you will notice the pink tinge in the fur on her paws from an impala kill that she has stashed just below the boulder out of view. This was directly opposite Granite Camp, however just out of view from the camp itself!
A pair of African Fish eagles are currently nesting on Londolozi, opposite Pioneer Camp on the northern banks of the Sand River. After watching the giraffes, elephants and hyenas in the river a few days ago, we were treated to wonderful views of the breeding pair circling along the river and throwing their heads back as they let out the typical African call associated with this majestic species.
With a recent group of guests staying at Granite Camp, we realised that we had seen four of the big five along with many different birds, crocodile, hippo, and giraffe within two game drives simply by driving along the banks of the beautiful Sand River. It really does serve as the lifeblood of Londolozi…