“Wilderness is for me salvation…You are not human if you aren’t changed by the wilderness.”
– Ian Player
With the rains behind us and the grasses becoming dry, you can feel the cooler mornings and evenings approaching. Trees are slowly becoming bare and the sound of Impala rams rutting has replaced the woodland kingfishers calling. Winter is almost here and game viewing – as per usual – has been spectacular.
Elephant herds in particular are becoming more and more common as they flock to the permanent water sources across the reserve, and their noisy trumpeting can be heard most evenings from the Sand River below the camps. We expect their influx to continue over the coming months.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A large elephant bull takes advantage of the coolness of the morning to feed in the open plains.
The Ximungwe female has been providing some spectacular viewing of late, hunting more than ever through having to provide for her cubs. Early one afternoon she caught this scrub hair and took it back to her cubs. Female leopards will often take smaller kills like this to their cubs instead of fetching the cubs to the kill. The effort of a single trip with a small kill is probably less than one trip there and another one back.
A female Saddle-billed stork with a brood patch on her chest. Males and females both have this patch and will use this to transfer body heat to their eggs during incubation.
A wild dog takes some time to cool off and hydrate after hunting a herd of impala. Both wild dogs and hyenas will regularly lie in shallow waterholes to cool down.
Golden afternoon light and distant dark skies provide a beautiful setting to view one of the five Mangheni females and the older cub.
An image I have wanted to capture for a long time. The morning light catches flying sand perfectly as an elephant bull enjoys some sand bathing.
A leopard cub experiments and plays whilst the mother rests in the shade.
The female banded legged nephilia, commonly known as the Golden orb-web spider. She sits head down in the middle of her web, while the male sits on the outskirts to avoid getting eaten by her.
An overcast gloomy morning made for the perfect close-up, black and white image of the Inyathini male stopping for a drink, while on territorial patrol.
A pair of Bateleur eagles. Here a male (right) and female (left) are perched side by side. The sexes can be differentiated by the feather colouration in the wings; the pale band on the female’s primaries is distinctive.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time watching this elephant. We watched the herd treat him no differently even though he is so different. We can learn so much from observing animal behaviour, even something as important as acceptance. Ranger Pete Thorpe talks more about leucistic elephants in his blog.
After a long morning of tracking, we finally found the Ximungwe female and her two cubs resting up in the dry river bed. Seeing all three leopards together made the hard work well worth it.
A Little bee-eater perched on dead twig. This is one of the 27 bee-eater species in Africa, the 10 that have been recorded in Southern Africa, the 5 that have been recorded at Londolozi, and one of only two that are found here year round, the other one being the white-fronted.
A bonding moment between a mother giraffe and her calf. As the calf suckles the mother takes the time to groom her young.
A Birmingham male lion puts his head up and looks towards the vehicle while the sun rises behind him.
These are two of the youngest litter of the Mhangeni pride. They were well hidden in this photograph as their mother was just about to leave them to go on the hunt.
A Ntsevu cub rests on a branch avoiding his siblings and cousins below. With a fifth female seemingly heavily pregnant, new additions to the pride are imminent…
Leopards are almost synonymous with marula trees in this neck of the woods. The Nhlanguleni female climbs them just as much as any, when she ventures away from the Sand River which flows through the core of her territory.