This our 16th TWIP without any guests at the lodge, so we’re sad we don’t get to share the amazing wildlife with you all in person, but will do our best to keep you connected to it digitally.
Leopards have been the main talk this week again, with some utterly fascinating behaviour by the Senegal Bush male in particular (blog coming soon), the Finfoot female killing a bushbuck and hoisting it in front of incredulous staff right in the middle of the staff village, and at least two other leopards moving theough the camp during the hours of darkness.
The Ntsevu pride were performing their typical watch-buffalo-from-a-distance act near the Sand River, and it’s starting to seem that they need conditions to be absolutely perfect before they try anything against the intimidating bovines.
The coldest temperature on record at Londolozi since we started recording was a frigid -1 Celcius, on Thursday this week, and the rangers all returned from drive a little shell-shocked that morning, with almost frost-nipped noses!
But winter cold makes for beautiful photographic conditions, so enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Flat Rock male leopard tests the frigid water of the Sand River with his front paw. He tried to find the narrowest possible point at which to cross the flowing water, but not without hesitation at first. We expected him to leap across, all waiting with cameras ready, but once he was in, he slowly waded through instead.
A Yellow-billed Hornbill takes flight against the setting sun. Even though you cannot see the colour of the beak the size of it tells you that is the yellow-billed and not the Red-billed Hornbill.
A herd of buffalo step right into the waterhole from which they are drinking. Due to this habit of walking into the water, unfortunately for the members of the herd that arrive last, the water becomes turbid and muddy.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should never shoot into the sun. Sometimes it can produce golden results.
A Cardinal woodpecker searches for food on a dead tree. What’s interesting about this photo is that you can actually see the tip of the tongue of the woodpecker poking out from the lower mandible. This tip has a number of backward facing barbs on it to help pull out insects from the crevices in the tree.
Some of the Bee-eaters migrate north away from us to warmer climates during our dry winter but luckily for us the beautiful White-fronted Bee-eater is not one of them and stays here all year round.
A lone zebra listens intently before moving into the thickets in front of him. Usually a stallion like this would be in a harem of females and their offspring but there were no other zebras in sight.
We were driving the dry Maxabene riverbed when we disturbed this sleeping rhino around one of the bends. He promptly jumped up and ran off and as the dust billowed around him
The Senegal Bush male keeps a close eye on us as he had a Nyala ewe stashed in the tree above him. Once quite a skittish leopard around vehicles, it is fantastic to note how he is now relaxed enough to rest comfortably in our presence.
With the assistance of a squirrel alarming in a nearby tree, we found the Mashaba female atop a termite mound. We had a good idea as to where she was denning and she was no more than 100m away from what we thought was her den. So with that in mind we sat waiting until she got up and moved into this thicker area which created a beautiful natural frame.
A journey of giraffe were walking over the crest just after sunset. During winter the colours are exaggerated due to the amount of the dust particles in the air, which the sunlight refracts off.
The Finfoot female had just been drinking in the Sand River in a part of the reserve she was named after – Finfoot Crossing – which is the river crossing closest to camp. She settled up on a bank which was at eye level. A young hyena approached from the distance which caused her to drop her head and slink off shortly after this was taken.
A lappet-faced vulture was perched on this dead branch in the early hours of the day, waiting for the temperature to rise so it could glide along the thermals scanning the ground for any food.
A herd of elephants made their way towards a waterhole we had stopped at. The herd was approximately 30 strong and they all filtered their way through all drinking in batches. The afternoon light mixed with the unsettled dusk caused for a beautiful scene.
We watched the Nkuhuma pride for some time as they were weaving their way through the Manyelethi river in the northern parts of Londolozi. They settled up on the bank, yet a few of them were still very alert and a vulture flying overhead caught the attention of this female. We are now starting to view this pride more frequently in the northern part of the reserve.