From short pants, sunglasses, hats and light shirts, craving a dip in the pool, to thick jackets, long pants, ponchos and begging for the warmth of a fire, is what this week’s temperatures have been like. It’s the time of the year where we see change in front of our eyes. Much-needed rain slowly falls and the bush changes daily. Around every corner we find impala lambs running after their mothers. Brightly coloured birds continue to call from dense bush to the tree tops above. It becomes a time of plenty and so too have been the sightings we are lucky to witness.
This last week’s highlights lie with the leopards and their movements, as territories continue to shift and they target the easy meals the impala lambs in particular provide. Where lions have been scarce in the last month, we have had have four different prides moving around Londolozi the last few days. This is the joy of an open system – you never know what lies around the next corner.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Many who have visited before will recognize this scene – Plaque Rock. After the recent rains it has regained its traditional pool of water.
Three African Wild dog pups trot towards a waterhole. There have been a few very hot days recently, and the waterholes have been a point place of focus for many creatures.
Textures and details of a white rhino bull as it rests well into the late morning. With nutritious grass continuing to grow, rhinos don’t need to spend day and night feeding to reach the same sustenance. Instead they can rest up, mud bathe and conserve energy when it is hot.
The Senegal bush male is one that has been pushing further into Londolozi and has already had a few run-ins with other resident males. Will we see him more often? How will he develop further territory on Londolozi and what will the reaction of other males?
A zebra mid-gallop on top of the now grass-filled Ximpalapala crest.
A monochrome of an elephant cow highlighting the textures of her trunk. Here a breeding herd had gathered in the shade of a large Jackalberry tree on a blisteringly hot morning.
The Flat Rock male leopard taking a rest on a hot evening. Side light always adds mystery to an image and is a great way of playing with photography.
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.
First light is already breaking through around 04:30am and before one knows it, the heat of the day is upon us. These early hours are great for all birds to call and advertise their presence, much like this Helmeted Guineafowl atop a dead tree.
We thought the Tortoise pan male leopard had moved on from Londolozi as he was found multiple miles in the Western Sector of the reserve recently, yet a month or so passed by and he made a return. He is now at the age of establishing territory himself.
Born in 2016, this male spent his early years in the south-east of Londolozi, but began moving further afield in late 2019.
A giraffe strolls across the grassy crests of the north in search of new summer leaves to feed on.
Well camouflaged. A large nile crocodile, covered in duckweed, sunbathes on the bank of a waterhole.
With all the scent marking in attempt at expanding territory the Senegal bush male replenishes liquids that are lost during such process. Is this a waterhole he will soon become very familiar with?
It’s been hot and animals of all shapes and sizes have resorted to resting during the heat of the day. A male kudu chews on plant material regurgitated back into the mouth. This act of rumination is believed to put many antelope into a restful state, allowing them to get by without deep sleep.
We thought we wouldn’t be heading out on drive on this particular morning as a thunderstorm rolled in minutes before we were going to depart. Instead we sat it out until the sun broke through the clouds and lucky we did, as we soon after discovered the Piccadilly female along the banks of the Sand River. She ascended this Marula tree to rest up in the dappled light. She stretched and yawned a good forty minutes later before descending and moving on.
This female is most often encountered near the Sand River to the east of the Londolozi camps.
They are now everywhere. Wherever there is fresh dung, one will find dung beetles flying in from all directions to begin rolling their balls. Here a female attaches herself to a fist-sized dung ball as the male rolls it away. They will then bury the ball, the eggs will hatch, larvae will feed on the dung, grow and pupate before emerging as one of these beetles a year later.
One of the Nhlanguleni’s female cubs atop a granite boulder. This female is now completely independent. It is only a matter of time before she sets up territory of her own.
When driving through the grasslands one might hear the peculiar yet very distinctive “quark” and popping call of a Black bellied bustard. Here a male calls from the top of a small mound.