This week we properly introduce someone whose photography suggests that he has been at it for far longer than just the year he has had a camera. Mrisho Lugenge joined the guiding team a couple of years ago from Tanzania, where he was a guide in the Ruaha National Park.
About 12 months ago Mrisho picked up a camera for the first time, and the results more than speak for themselves. Expect to see a lot more from Mrisho over the coming months.
For now, Enjoy his debut Week in Pictures…
The Birmingham males are now down to two. Until recently it seemed as though they had no challengers, but only a few days ago two of the younger Avoca males from the north were seen near the Sand River. With the rain we’ve had over the past few days, the Birmingham duo will most likely be scent-marking extensively over the next week, making sure their territorial boundary is well demarcated.
The Giant Kingfisher, the largest species we find here. Their long, sharp beaks are excellent tools with which to spear fish which is their main source of food, although despite their names, a number of kingfisher species are in fact insectivorous.
The Mashaba female, Londolozi’s current senior leopard. She lost a litter of three a few months ago, so will likely be reproducing again soon. At 11 years old, she should still have a good number of years left in her, as well as hopefully some cubs she can raise.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
A male saddle-billed stork, identifiable by the yellow wattle at the base of his bill. With summer bringing on termite emergences, these storks – which are usually found near water – have been encountered up on the open crests as they take advantage of the abundance of food.
The Ximungwe young male heads in the right direction…
The Nhlanguleni sisters are still spending time in the area, despite suspicions of their mother birthing another litter. They were actually seen in the same sighting recently, with two kills hoisted in neighbouring trees – an impala ewe and a lamb, which were almost certainly a mother and offspring.
Summer is the time of the smaller inhabitants to emerge from their winter dormancy, one of them being the Giant Land Snail, which is one of the earth’s largest terrestrial gastropods.
Vultures don’t only indicate to us where they may be a kill, but to other predators as well. Lions, leopards and hyenas are all known to investigate vultures dropping out of the sky as a potential sign of a free meal. They therefore often cast their eyes upwards…
The Ximungwe female thinks she would be more comfortable on the branch her son is on, so leaps the gap…
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
…seems she was right.
Wild dogs regularly take the opportunity to splash around in small pans on hot days in order to cool off. They will avoid larger waterbodies though, being very aware of the danger of crocodiles.
The Nkoveni young female has been seen wandering further and further afield, with the majority of the local territories spoken for by large adult females. She may establish herself nearby (we suspect she’s already in the process of doing so), but her long term prospects will most likely be decided by what her mother does.
With the grass of summer rising ever higher, leopards are forced onto the higher ground in order to scan their surroundings, as their view. Termite mounds in particular make great vantage points, and we tend to see leopards in marula trees far more at this time of year, as the marulas are in leaf, providing shade and cover to the leopards.
The Makomsava female in a marula tree. With no thorns, large horizontal branches and ample foliage during the summer, maybe 4 out of 5 times we see a leopard in a tree, it will be up in a marula.