Another combined TWIP today, from the rangers still here and taking to the field.
Many people have asked if we have noticed a change in the wildlife since we had to close our doors for the Lockdown.
The answer is no.
It was incredible before, and it is just as incredible now. The main difference between pre-lockdown and lockdown itself is the freedom of access our camera crews have to the sightings. Guests always have priority here, so it’s slightly harder for the on-site film crew to get into the high profile sightings if guests vehicles are there (we cap it at three Land Rovers per sighting). Now that it’s just the rangers on site, Londolozi has become our photographic playground, and we are able to pick and choose where we want to go. Wild Dogs? No problem. Leopard in a tree? Choose your angle. Lions waiting to roar? All we have to do is wait with them. No pressure.
In fact our main difficulty is choosing what to go to. We try and dispatch one vehicle to each high profile sighting to capture whatever magic might play out, but occasionally if there’s something extra special happening, we congregate.
Look out for our wild dog video being released on Facebook in the next 24 hours. It was a particularly epic sighting…
For now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The golden breath of a Birmingham male shows the approach of winter as he searches for a female from the Ntsevu pride.
A favoured stance by Zebras; they can each conserve energy by resting their heads on each other’s backs while also keeping watch in all directions for any threat.
Hippo’s will often open their mouths wide to show off their impressive tusks in order to intimidate potential rivals.
The Nhlanguleni female stands on the banks of the Sand River. We sat with bated breath waiting to see if she would leap over the channel, but she unexpectedly turned and went back the way she had come.
The alarm call of a squirrel will often lead us to the predator that it has spotted, but being that small they have a lot of predators so if you are expecting to always find a leopard on the other side you may be disappointed.
A few weeks ago I was able to capture a photo of the Xinzele female leopard lying on a termite mound silhouetted against the dawn sky, which made this photo quite special when we found the same leopard on the same termite mound except she was silhouetted agains the evening sky this time around.
A wide angle lens helps emphasise the size of this elephant. The number of these pachyderms on Londolozi at the moment is higher than we’ve seen in many many months.
The sounds of rutting impala nearby spurred the Makomsava female to stalk off this termite mound in order to try and get herself into a position where she could try and hunt one of them.
It’s not always visually appealing to see animals on the tarmac of the airstrip but it does provide some unique photo opportunities.
An elephant bull grazes under a large marula tree as the sun dips towards the horizon. A stitched panoramic of three images captured the whole scene.
A Bateleur eagle takes flight. A narrow black band on the trailing edge of the underside of its wings indicates that this is a female. The male has broadband. I couldn’t help myself….
Three bull elephants gather amongst some pools of water at a beautiful point along the Manyelethi River.
Two wild dogs from the local pack of thirteen eye out an approaching hyena. Look out for our Instagram Story (which will also be available on Facebook) on this sighting in the next 24 hours; it was incredible…
An elephant bull walks out of the Sand River having just waded through its flowing waters.
Three lionesses from the Mungheni Pride emerge from some granite boulders on the edge of Ximpalapala Koppie. One lioness paused and stared up into an iconic large-leaved rock fig tree.
Such an exposed leopard is relatively uncommon. Take into consideration that this is on the main access road into Londolozi, and the Ximungwe female is sitting in plain sight. Guests arriving by road transfer would have enjoyed their first view of a leopard before they even reached the camps.