This week saw four consecutive days of solid rain, which is something we have not had in years. The rain was gentle which allowed the earth to soak up the water and in turn has allowed the bush to completely transform and flourish with new life and an abundance of greenery everywhere.
With the rains have come millions of termites which all the frogs, birds and so many other animals have been eating, I even saw a squirrel trying to catch some but the most overwhelming feeling is seeing the number of impala lambs running around and taking their first steps of life.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
We had sat with the tortoise Pan male for well over an hour before he spied some impala moving in a nearby thicket. With a newborn lamb amongst the impalas, the end result was almost inevitable…
With the Sand River now flowing with full force once again it is a water point animals can rely on. We had watched the Mhangeni pride hunting through the wild date palm thickets near the river, but unfortunately unsuccessful they came down one by one to the waters edge to quench their thirst.
The Ximungwe female had been resting up, very full-bellied, in this Marla tree watching the hyenas feeding on the skin and remains of her impala kill on the ground. She finally started contact calling for her cub who then appeared from a thicket roughly 100m away.
We stopped to look at a Tawny Eagle which was perched on a dead tree staring straight down at the ground. On closer inspection we saw the afterbirth where a female had given birth to a lamb. Tawny eagles – being largely scavengers – will not hesitate to take advantage of a free meal like this.
The Tsalala lioness, like many other predators, has been taking advantage of the glut of impala lambs around; easy pickings although unsubstantial. Here her cub grooms herself after feeding on a lamb that had been brought to her by the adult lioness.
Hyenas always seem to appear out of thin air whenever a leopard makes a kill, to try and steal their hard work. This individual had just robbed the Ximungwe female, who has been seen almost every day this week.
We had not seen this Nhlanguleni young female for a few days until she was seen stealing the remains of an impala the Makomsava female had killed the day before. It’a a dream to see leopards lying on beautiful bounders like this. She had been moving around the rocky outcrop sniffing until she rested up on this boulder in front of us.
Something slightly different but for some reason I rather enjoy this photograph of two very iconic animals utilizing the Sand River and the abundance of fresh vegetation to feed on as the water started to flow once more.
The apex predator of the sky; a Martial eagle, the largest eagle that we see in this area. It was resting in a dead Knobthorn tree scanning the open grasslands of the reserve. If you look closely it appears to have something wrong with one of the talons on its right foot; I wonder what effect this would have on hunting or has it been able to adapt and overcome this injury?
As we were departing Granite camp for afternoon drive we spotted a very large Rock Monitor laying up on the lower branch of a tree. Being cold-blooded reptiles they are not as active in the cooler, wetter weather which allowed us to get a much closer look at this odd looking creature.
We were watching a herd of elephants in the northern parts of Londolozi near the Leadwood forest when all of a sudden behind us we heard the squealing sound of something in distress; just behind us the Hosana male had caught a duiker and within seconds had been treed by two hyenas.
If you look closely you can see the remains of a frog this African wild cat had just finished eating. This was one day after we had experienced our first good rain when all the frogs had erupted with calls late into the evening. This frog was not too lucky as instead of calling a mate, it had allowed this African Wild Cat to pinpoint its location.
In the low light, a last few golden rays of light struck this male lion’s face as he lifted his head to see what remained of the wildebeest the rest of the Mhangeni pride were feeding on a few meters away.
Like mother, like son. After playing in the wet conditions for over an hour something caught the attention of the Ximungwe female and her cub.
This must be the largest set of horns I have ever seen on a buffalo Bull. Although not fully grown he is an impressive specimen and hopefully his genes will be spread to future generations so we can see more bulls with horns like this.