As the heat and wind continue to rise it allows for some of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. Dust-filled skies trap short wavelengths of light; as the sun nears the horizon it showcases a spectacle of deep reds and oranges as the particles of dust are illuminated – a perfect time for back-lighting and silhouettes.
The last week has provided endless excitement around every corner. Leopard viewing continues to dominate the highlights of the large carnivores. Lions have been on and off, frequenting the Sand River and the lifeline it provides at this dry time of the year. Dynamics of these large cats continue to be shuffled around. Waterholes are a popular choice for many animals in the early hours of afternoon game drive and late morning. Migratory birds continue to arrive, and it’s only a matter of time before the first true rains are here and an abundance of wildlife explodes as many herbivores begin birthing.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A large herd of buffalo heads to the nearest waterhole to quench their thirst before nightfall. These dust-filled sunsets are soon to end as summer approaches and the land is drenched in a blanket of greenery following rains.
A Birmingham male marches on, following the Ntsevu pride and their cubs ahead. It has been a difficult time for incredible lion sightings over the last few weeks as they have been frequenting the Sand River and the animals it attracts. I’m not one to blame them.
A photo portraying patterns and textures. The Tortoise pan male ventures across a dry, mud-filled pan. There was a small pool of water that remained in this waterhole which quenched his thirst during intervals of feeding on an impala stashed in a tree nearby.
The entertainment and cuteness of young hyenas never fades. We have been lucky to have a number of hyena dens on Londolozi and be they active, they provide endless excitement both morning and evening.
The question that goes through all our minds is how many will survive? This was a first for me – twenty three ostrich chicks at a waterhole. It seemed as if it was their first experience of water. Their confusion is almost evident.
A young female leopard utilizing the vantage point of a Marula tree. This was the first sighting I have had of the Saseka female; a young leopard born early last year and only recently independent. She was born – and spends most of her time – north of our northern border. Will she choose Londolozi as part of her new territory or will she venture off as she matures?
There have been a few hot days over the last month and a great place to look for animals in the early hours of afternoon game drive has been waterholes. There is high anticipation upon approaching each waterhole during this time as one never knows what might be enjoying the cooling waters.
The Inyathini male scanning the surrounds from the height of a termite mound. Notice the saliva on his bottom jaw. The frequent salivation is possibly due to the presence of another male leopard in his territory. The excessive salivation can be caused by a few things but for this reason it was possibly due to him constantly flehmen grimacing as he rolls the scent of the intruder over an organ on his palate, sending messages to the brain.
Another leopard who originated in the Kruger National Park, he has established a large territory in the south eastern areas of Londolozi.
A bird of prey that has a fascinating feeding method. African harrier hawks have specialized joints in the legs that allow them to hang under weavers’ nests and pull out chicks, or in this case put their talons into a crevice for the same purpose.
Textures of an old buffalo bull in black and white.
Venturing further into the northern parts of Londolozi, the Hukumuri male is laying claim to a large area once frequented by the Anderson male. Still bearing scars from the encounters, how far will he push and what will the future hold?
The inquisitive nature of a hyena.
Cheetah are hard to come by on Londolozi but we have been fortunate to have a young male and female frequenting large parts of the area over the last week. The two are almost certainly siblings. When will they split off and will the young male lay claim to this area?
Two red-billed oxpeckers atop a giraffe, feeding away.
A morning’s search for the Styx pride in the northern parts of Londolozi led us to this young individual contact calling from multiple termite mounds. During the night the pride must have separated while hunting.This young lioness continued calling for nearly two days before disappearing. We can only hope she joined up with the rest of the pride.
The Hukumuri male atop a termite mound. Although he seems to be asleep and resting, he is fully awake and ready in case any threat or prey passes by.
There are times when a perfectly clear sunset might be blocked and interrupted. Not a bad alternative.
A young Bateleur remained perched as we drove by. It was the perfect opportunity to capture a photograph. More often than not, birds of prey will take to the air when one approaches. This wasn’t the case here.
A young rhino calf lifts its head with curiosity while feeding. It is amazing how us humans are attracted to the young and cute of all shapes and sizes.