We continue with our Memory Lane series, looking back 5 years ago this month to see which animals were around and what was happening.
I pawned this one a little bit as when going through the archives I accidentally took photos from 2013 instead of 2014, so this is actually six years ago, but it’s the same theme and some of the animals who were around in 2013 were around a year later anyway, so I’m pressing ahead with it…
The Camp Pan male and a scrub hare kill. I remember this sighting well as we happened to be sitting with the Sparta Pride at the time. Suddenly impalas started alarming behind us on the far end of a large clearing, and we were pretty sure they weren’t alarming at the lions. Driving quickly in their direction we spotted the leopard walking in the open, the small and very dead scrub hare clamped firmly in his jaws. The lions never even saw him.
The Sand River has changed quite a lot since this photo was taken. Large floods in 2012, 2013 and 2014 swept the river bed clear of Phragmites reeds, and we were left with open sandy stretches. Since then, the reeds have thickened and after a number of dry years the water is no longer flowing as strongly at the same time of year,
Who can forget the female cheetah and her cubs who arrived on Londolozi in 2013. They were a wonderful success story, as both cubs made it to independence. Here the two play boisterously on a chilly winter’s morning.
One of the resident wild dog packs trots along the remnants of the Selati Railway line, which can still be clearly seen running through the southern sections of Londolozi. The big railway bridge that spans the Sabi River at Skukuza Restcamp in the Kruger National Park was part of this railway line.
2013 was the year in which the Nanga female leopard birthed her first litter, and we enjoyed wonderful viewing of these small cubs at a den near the Manyelethi River for a good six weeks. Sadly neither survived. Excitingly, the female is suspected of being pregnant at the moment.
The Majingilane were in their prime during 2013. I don’t actually remember where this photo was taken, but from the full belly of the Scar-nose male, we can assume he had fed well the night before.
The Tamboti female and her first litter. I think this cub grew up to be the Island female, although this may have been when there were still two cubs in the litter, and this could have been the other one. There was an altercation between the Tamboti and Nottens females over an impala kill in this morning, although we never found out which one of them actually made the kill in the first place.
The first cub of the legendary 3:4 female, the Nottens female grew to be the oldest recorded leopard on Londolozi (18yrs)
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
Shortly after the photo above was taken, the Tamboti female climbed the Saffron tree the kill was in (the Tamboti female regularly hoisted in Saffron trees, so although this is certainly not enough evidence to go on, my money is on her being the one who made the kill) and fed, all the while watching out for the Nottens female’s return.
Hyenas are a constant on Londolozi; although their population has had highs and lows over the past few years, their eerie calls can be heard pretty much every night. One can spend time at their dens for hours, entertained by the antics of cubs like this one.
Two buffalo bulls engage in combat. Thickened bosses (where their horns join on top of their heads) act as protection when they slam heads against each other in a bid for mating rights to the females. With upwards of 700kg behind each bull, they need all the protection they can get.
Hard to work out what this is at first… A large crocodile had caught a wildebeest calf and drowned it. The duckweed covering this waterhole almost certainly aided the crocodile in remaining undetected, sneaking up on the wildebeest herd as they drank until it was close enough to lunge out at one.
Speaking of crocodiles, this wild dog pack was on the look out for them as they approached a similarly duckweed-covered waterhole as the one in the photo above. The pack refused to drink here, trotting on until they reached a much shallower and safer pan. One can see the blood on their heads from a recent impala kill.
The female cheetah had killed an impala on the day after she received the serious injury to her back leg (see below), and she and her cubs were resting in the shade when this curious warthog came to investigate. At first it was chased off by one of the cubs…
The warthog was a large boar however, and eventually chased the cheetahs off their kill. It then proceeded to eat the stomach contents of the impala.
This serious gash on the back of the mother cheetah’s leg had us all very worried. Fortunately she made a complete recovery.