October 1st will mark the day that South Africa starts opening up its borders for the first time since March. It is also the day Londolozi will welcome back its first local guests.
Although it is unclear yet exactly which countries South Africa will be welcoming back first (it will probably be a bit of a staggered process until the border is completely open), the reality is you can start counting down the days until the photos you see here each Friday can become what you see in real life.
For 6 months we have only been able to broadcast what we have seen in our isolated bubble, but we will soon be able to immerse guests back into this incredible landscape, and if you join us on safari, it could be you enjoying front row seats to the action.
Enjoy this second-last Week in Pictures from Lockdown…
Birmingham, Othawa, Avoca… Male lions whose territories encompass sections of Londolozi. Birmingham south-east and central, Avoca in the north and Othawa to the west. Whichever individual or coalition it may be, there can surely be no more iconic African photo than a male lion on high ground, staring out over the plains…
A particular journey of giraffes has been frequenting the clearings just outside the Londolozi camps for the last couple of months. With about six young calves amongst them, they are a welcome sight every time we come and go on game drive.
A tiny chick of a three-banded plover, relying heavily on its camouflage to avoid detection. If it hadn’t been seen scuttling along the water’s edge about one minute earlier, we never would have found it.
The Tracker Academy and their emblem, the spotted hyena, the greatest tracker of them all.
A penetrating stare from an Ntsevu lioness. The pride had split up and this individual was right at the trailing end. She paused to stare into the Sand River up ahead, in the direction the rest of the pride had moved.
Several herds of buffalo have moved through Londolozi in the last few weeks. Having had a splash of rain recently, the fresh green grass shoots that can be seen in this image are being well received by the grazers.
A giraffe calf stares at a young hyena. Although a predator – and therefore worth keeping an eye on – such a small hyena poses absolutely no threat to even a very young giraffe.
As their name suggests, waterbuck are never too far from the substance. These are all females; the males can be distinguished by their magnificent spreading horns.
These zebras came down to drink only a few minutes after the waterbuck above. Zebras are usually skittish when drinking; any animal keeping its head down for long enough is vulnerable. We therefore never expected the whole group to keep their heads down for any length of time, but this was exactly what happened, luckily with the last of the good light…
The Xinzele female has been seen more and more of late. Her apparently expanding territory may have something to do with the Makomsava female confining her movements to a smaller area around her den, which leaves the outer reaches of her territory vulnerable to encroachment.
Tree squirrels are some of Londolozi’s greatest alarmists. It’s worth stopping to look at what might have frightened them if you hear them sounding off, but often they are simply chattering at each other, as was the case with these two.
A hippo bull trundles back into the water. We were on foot tracking a leopard when we came round the corner and surprised him. Although startled and feeling the need to retreat to his water sanctuary, he still managed to display his impressive teeth as a warning to us not to come any closer.
Reputedly Africa’s fastest eagle – the African Hawk Eagle. When taking this photo I was convinced it had some sort of prey item under its left foot and couldn’t work out what it was. When looking at this photo on the computer however, I realised it was nothing more than the droppings of another bird creating an optical illusion.
Impalas take fright.
The Londolozi airstrip allows one fantastic opportunities to get low to photograph animals with an uncluttered background, and the sheer number of giraffes we have been seeing in the area means that they have often been the subject matter of late.
This was right outside the Londolozi offices. An African Goshawk had just flown in with this rodent clutched in its talons, but when a couple of staff arrived to admire the bird, it felt threatened so flew off to finish its meal in peace.
The Plaque Rock female is being seen regularly along our eastern fringe south of the Sand River. Together with the Ximungwe female (effectively her aunt) she has taken over her mother the Nkoveni female’s old territory.
A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.