This week included days on which we struggled to find leopards in the long grass, however some phenomenal tracking efforts still delivered many fantastic sightings.
The Inyathini male continues to traverse what is left of his territory, despite pressure from the Mawelawela and Senegal bush males – all with seemingly significant territorial overlap. A brief sighting occurred in which the Ximungwe female was fighting with the Plaque Rock female over territory east of the Londolozi Camps.
On the lion front, sightings of three different prides were had: the Ntsevu, Mhangeni and Nkuhuma Prides. An abundance of general game has made being out in the bush amongst the greenery and flourish of foxglove flowers an absolute pleasure.
If you haven’t seen it already, take a look at the recent campaign: “There is a place“, that was released this week.
We are truly proud of the work that has been done towards making our impact on the land as negligible as possible. After all, if it wasn’t for the wilderness around us, none of this would exist. If the leopards of Londolozi were not roaming free through the savannah that surrounds us, we would not have the diversity of guests from far and wide coming to stay here at our home. We are all inter-connected, even in the most subtle ways.
To try our best to connect you to the wilderness, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The golden hour… A Zebra is a great subject for photographing into the sun, as its mane and its chin hairs glow beautifully in the light.
The Inyathini male leopard drinks in front of two vehicles and a hippo. We had lost view of him heading into some thick bush but based on his movements, decided to wait up ahead at this waterhole. We were lucky he came straight for a drink, as with the abundance of water around at the moment, these larger waterholes are not utilised as much as in the drier months.
Another leopard who originated in the Kruger National Park, he has established a large territory in the south eastern areas of Londolozi.
A Cape buffalo lies down to cool off in a waterhole during the heat of the afternoon. Here he flicks his head sideways to try and rid his face of a red-billed oxpecker that was persistently pecking around his eye.
A Southern carmine bee-eater flies low over water, having just swept down for a bath. There were about 20 of these birds in one tree, each taking a turn to fly along the same path and dive into the water to cool off and to clean. It’s not long now until the carmines migrate back north into Africa for our winter.
The ancient eye of a Nile crocodile.
Hundreds and hundreds of barn (European) swallows have been accumulating together. They are in a phase of hyperphagia, meaning excessive eating. They are all preparing fat reserves for the migration that they take over a period of about a month, back to Europe. They travel in large groups by day, sometimes travelling more than 300km in 24 hours.
A brown snake eagle perched atop a dead tree. The bright yellow eyes, upright stance and rounded head are characteristic. These raptors will also typically stand right on the top of a tree like this in search of their reptilian prey.
The Senegal Bush male. With the grass towering overhead for him, he would stop every few metres to try to see what was in his path. One such moment brought his head and eyes into the light out of the shadows of the long grass. He had been following the Mashaba female around, as they were seen mating for two to three days.
Initially seen as a young male in 2016, this leopard only properly established territory on Londolozi in mid-2019
A young giraffe stands close to its mother’s side. Still wary of vehicles, the calf kept looking back towards us between attempts to nurse. In time this young giraffe will hopefully learn that the vehicles pose no threat and begin to ignore us more and more, just like the adults do.
A mature elephant bull ambling through a clearing, surrounded by dead trees. This elephant has probably walked through the area countless times over his many years and in turn, the dead trees have probably had generations and generations of elephants passing by. This image is a panoramic of five images stitched together to capture the entirety of the scene.
This young male cheetah managed to catch an impala lamb one morning in the central parts of Londolozi. With no real cover from above, the chances of vultures spotting the kill were good. This kept the cheetah on high alert, looking out periodically for any potential danger approaching him. Cheetah are incredibly nervous while feeding and will always shy away from confrontation with other predators to avoid being injured.
A Birmingham male lion, followed by his brother. The fullness of their manes is very impressive, especially when seen walking in unity with one another. Having these two magnificent males walking together late one afternoon through the bright green grass was a spectacle to remember.
A green-backed heron eases its way down a fallen log in the Sand River. These small herons will wait for ages in the flowing water for small fish to come by, which they will quickly snap up for a meal.
Always big smiles and laughs with guide and tracker duo, Dean De La Rey and Raymond Mabilane.
A lion cub from the Nkuhuma pride peers over the grass towards its siblings. This pride is spending more and more time in the northern parts of Londolozi. It’s exciting for us to have a change in dynamics as lions that we have not seen much begin to shift their range.