With the Sand River barely trickling and temperatures still rising, we patiently wait for the returns of the rains to wet the scorched earth. In the heat there has been a lot of predator activity around the waterholes and along the course of the Sand River where animals seek water and shade, but one thing these dry conditions certainly do is provide incredible sunsets and sunrises to start and finish off a day.
The last week has seen some unbelievable game viewing once again.
The Ntsevu pride have been the hot topic of the week as they killed a buffalo in the river, which also saw the four youngest cubs joining the feeding activity.
Leopard viewing continues to provide some excitement across the entire reserve as some females are looking to mate again, which is always an exciting prospective because that means we could have a few new cubs in the following months. This week I have thoroughly enjoyed bird photography around the waterholes as they start to dry up creating more opportunity for the birds to catch fish. The migratory birds continue to arrive as we wait for the distinctive call of Woodland Kingfisher and cuckoos.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A male white rhino rests up in a clear sandy area, attended by the obligatory red-billed oxpeckers…
It’s not very often we get to see the Tatowa female and her cub as they spend a lot of time in a rather dense area of Londolozi but when we do see them it is always so special. The cub is growing daily, and after this photo was taken she walked to a duiker kill her mother had made.
The Tatowa female was one of a litter of three females born in early 2012 to the Ximpalapala female of the north.
One of the Birmingham males leads the way as he tries to keep up with the pace of the rest of the pride in the heat of the day.
It was a rather unfortunate day for this tilapia, but a successful morning for this giant kingfisher. As the days get hotter the waterholes get lower, making fishing all the more easy for these birds and other piscivores.
With the ground still being so dry and winds still gusting, it lifts the dust, creating the most incredible colours to end off the day. This giraffe strolled across our airstrip at just the right time.
We came across this African rock python basking in the sun trying to warm itself up in the early hours of the morning. Still being early, the snake was still lethargic allowing us to view it from a distance without it slithering off.
With the beautiful golden light beaming down on this male cheetah, he swivelled his head around where the light perfectly caught his eyes.
The black and white stripes of a zebra never fail to mesmerize me.
This was the first time for me to see the Makomsava female mating; in this case it was the Flat Rock male. The interaction between these two was very aggressive. We had positioned at the bottom of a bank in the hope they would mate at the top and it worked out perfectly.
A leopard who took advantage of the death of the 4:4 male in 2016 to grab territory to the west of the Londolozi camps.
A young elephant came trumpeting and thrashing its head around in the hope of showing its pretence of dominance to our vehicle. It’s always so amusing watching them trying to be big and scary, and then running off in the other direction to the protection of their mother.
We watched this troop of 30-odd baboons very cautiously walk up the the edge of this waterhole to quench their thirst in the heat of the morning.
A bird very often heard but very seldom seen, the Grey-headed Bush-shrike. It has a nickname “the ghost bird” because of its distinctive mournful call. We were fortunate enough to capture a photo of this one as it dropped onto a branch where we had stopped for morning coffee.
The hyena den in the northern parts of Londolozi has been of serious value in the last few weeks as the cubs are always there. Here three young ones greet some of the older hyenas as they returned to the den.
Two of the four newest additions to the Nstevu pride were sitting on the outskirts waiting for an opportunity to get some food where the rest of the pride was feeding on the remains of the buffalo they had killed the day before. One of them glanced back as another vehicle approached.
Two of the male ostriches were watching over the chicks; one of them had settled down, allowing the chicks to nestle in next to him where they would spend the evening.
The Senegal bush male has been spending more and more time on Londolozi; he could add a very different dynamic the the male population. Here he scans the surrounding area from the top of a termite mound.
There is no better way to finish off the day than with a sunset like this and a refreshing drink as the sun fades behind the Drakensberg mountain range.