A week of plenty. New lion cub discoveries as well as unbelievable leopard sightings that continue to keep us all enthralled.
With multiple migratory bird species returning we have often set out on game drive with birding as the plan, yet lo and behold, as one focuses on the small and beautiful feathered creature, our eyes become tuned into the details of the bush and soon the rosettes and whiskers appear.
Lions and leopards continue to be found in and out of the Sand River. Although dry, it has an array of feeding potential with its high water table, nutrients and attendant greenery. Predators are in turn attracted to this drawcard for herbivores. As you read this the rains are beginning to fall. They aren’t the true rains of summer, yet thunderstorms and lightning continue to taunt us as to what’s to come. Soon the green Sand River oasis and the mottled brown landscape will blend in to one another and luminescent greens will be throughout.
Enjoy the Week in Pictures…
The sheer power and strength of a leopard as it hurtles its way to the top of a tree is something to behold. The Mashaba female; the quintessential tree climber.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
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Not often does one get that to an African fish eagle before it takes off, yet this one stood motionless as we edged closer. A full crop tells of recent fishing success.
A new discovery. The number of lion cubs on Londolozi and its surrounds has been steadily growing, and although the viewing hasn’t been particularly consistent, with the females leading the cubs onto and off the reserve, and into and out of den-sites in the Sand River, it’s wonderful to have so many tiny lions around after so long without.
Stretching and yawning is something humans often associate with fatigue, yet for a leopard it’s stretching of muscles and a sign of getting active. The Makomsava female stretches and yawns before descending a granite boulder in the Manyelethi River.
A young giraffe, ossicones covered with hair, absorbs the morning sunlight. Around a year old, this giraffe is yet to experience the advantage it has over other browsers, being able to feed at a level higher than them.
A windy evening carries scent for miles. What could this male lion be smelling that we couldn’t? Was it females or was it the scent of a kill it could possibly feed on?
After scanning the surrounds from the top of this marula tree the Ndzanzeni female descended and headed directly to a drainage. With sparse bush cover over most of her territory, the denser vegetation along drainage lines and riverbeds would provide the best platform from which to launch an ambush hunt.
This female is a success story all in herself, being born as a single cub to the Riverbank 3:3 female in early 2012.
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A young elephant calf, still unaware of the capabilities of its trunk, steps over a small branch that its mother could easily crumple, and that it would probably make a quick meal of in later life.
The Ingrid Dam young female, high up in a Jackalberry tree, stares towards a herd of impala, focusing on the young or old and calculating what her best move might be to successfully stalk and catch her next meal.
A flash of white caught our attention as a bird flew past us and landed in a tree. On closer inspection it was a young Little Sparrowhawk that had caught its prey. We took ages trying to identify what its victim was but we’re still not 100% sure. A Laughing Dove maybe? What do you think?
A natural frame. A tiny elephant calf, only weeks old, follows its mother. Proof that beauty lies behind the old and wrinkled.
I would never have thought this would happen. After a dream sighting a week prior, the Ndzanzeni young male leopard was found yet again on the same dead Leadwood tree in this waterhole. What is it that attracts him to this particular Leadwood, and why is he so consistently to be found at this same pan?
Even though we are fast approaching summer, there are still mornings that require winter wear. This tree squirrel, huddled in a ball, was also feeling the cold, and was taking full advantage of the sun’s warming rays.
Intimidation. A lioness from the Ntsevu pride stares back at us as we try and work out what her intentions might be. With many of these lionesses bearing suckle marks, will she lead us to a new den site and tiny cubs?
Five new additions to the Ntsevu pride. What will their fate be over the next few weeks, months, years?
Great set Alex 8 weeks to go
Absolutely unbelievable range of images!! That little sparrowhawk is something special indeed, and his catch looks like it might actually be an emerald-spotted wood-dove.
The photo of the Ndzanzeni Young Male has to be my favourite, although the Ntsevu Lioness portrait is pretty special too and so are the elephant calves!
Also, did you take those photos of the lion cubs on safari with Johan Van Zyl from Wild Eye? Remember seeing a lot of lion cubs on his IG stories!
WOW! What a ‘week in pictures’! Absolutely stunning photos! Thanks for sharing.
Loving your TWIP! So many cubs….. leaving California today for your beautiful country. See you in three weeks ???????
What a wonderful WIP again Alex! Fantastic pictures all round, but your capture of Mashaba going up the tree is spectacular ??
Some absolute crackers , the Ingrid Dam shot, the elephant between it’s mother’s legs and the Ntsevu female are super shots, reminding you all the time that the need to capture the eye contact is as relevant to wildlife photography as it is to human.
What beautiful pictures- a big cat lover’s delight. Thank you for inviting us in to your world
Wow Alex! Up close and personal – that’s you!
This week’s collection of images were all so intriguing and diverse that I am hard pressed to have a favorite. Your camera skill is exceptional. Couple that with opportunity, finds us feeling like we were in the Land Rover with you. Things couldn’t get much better! Thanks, Alex. Oh . . . hoping the Tsalala female is still faring well alone?
Stunning images, Alex! The stare of the lioness, the stretch of the leopard, the cuddly cubs are my favorites! Wonderful TWIP!
You’ve excelled yourself, Alex! So many wonderful photos, it’s impossible for me to pick a favourite.
No better picture than the lion cubs for me!
Love the one of the baby elie framed by her mom’s legs.
You have excelled yet again Alex. I don’t think they prey of the Little Sparrowhawk is a dove, it seems like something bigger?? I hope I’m wrong.
Stunning pics Alex. Love the little sparrow hawk and the first one if the Mashaba female.