The rain came in full force last night with a good 20mm soaking the reserve. This is nowhere near what we can get in one downpour, but it certainly gives us a nice run-in to the wet season. Ironically it was the first day we welcomed guests, but we are so thrilled to be operational again, spirits couldn’t be dampened. A huge thunderstorm at midnight kept everyone awake, and the bush is greening almost before our very eyes.
You will certainly start seeing a changing backdrop to our photos in the coming weeks, with the dull browns and open vistas being replaced by verdant hillsides and much thicker bush. Smaller things are going to start emerging and the birthing season for impalas, wildebeest and warthogs is rapidly approaching.
For now though the landscape is still open and we don’t have to worry too much about so much vegetation blocking our photos.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
One of the Avoca males in north-central Londolozi. Will this coalition ultimately prove to be the undoing of the Tsalala female? They are pushing further and further into her territory, and we are seeing her less and less…
The big buffalo herds generally confine their movements to the South-west of Londolozi, but a large group of them was seen drinking from the Sand River in front of the Londolozi camps earlier this week.
A hyena gazes forlornly up to where the Plaque Rock female had stashed a kill in the boughs of a Saffron tree.
The local guineafowl flocks can be seen at dawn and dusk every day at their favourite watering spots. A few flocks choose the Causeway to drink from, and the large riparian trees in the area offer relatively safe roosting spots.
A young elephant calf lags behind after its herd had crossed the Manyelethi Riverbed.
Although the rainy season is here with a vengeance, we have still had a couple of clear days this week. A young waterbuck soaks up the sun in one of the only dry periods it will have for a while.
There are few things more exhilarating than spending time at a waterhole that is truly buzzing. As well as the species pictured here, this waterhole had zebra, warthogs and wildebeest all coming in to drink as well. An impala is truly dwarfed by two giraffes as it bends to the water’s edge.
Sunbirds are intricate nest builders, using spiderweb to weave grass together, before attempting to camouflage the nest with an assortment of things like seeds and leaves. Female sunbirds are a lot harder to identify than the males of the species, and this one was only poking her face and beak out of the hole, but we think she is a Marico Sunbird. We’ll go back and wait for the male to come along to confirm.
The perils of the Sand River. Trying to position the vehicle in the best spot to film elephants mud-bathing can lead to the tractor being radioed. Note to self: keep the revs up!
A southern white-faced owl looks like it is glaring at the camera. In actual fact, this expression is probably more to cover its highly visible orange eyes, reducing the unwanted attention they may draw to it. But the glare certainly looks intimidating, so I guess it serves a double purpose.
The Piccadilly female was seen only about 50m from the den of the Makomsava female. We have recorded cases of female infanticide before, although it is rare, so our hearts were in our mouths for a while. Fortunately the bigger Piccadilly female moved off and both cubs are safe.
Elephants are fussy drinkers, usually disdaining long-standing, stagnant water in favour of cleaner sources. The flowing Sand River is generally their preferred option if they are near enough, but now that the rains are upon us they are going to have far more options to choose from.
One of the big stories this week is the Ostrich chicks that have been seen on a few occasions in the south-west of the reserve. There are 18 all told, and on the cold day pictured here many of them were sheltering under the wings of their father (adult male ostriches are black while females are dull brown).
I’m cheating here as this was actually from last week, but I overlooked it in the archives. One of the Makomsava cubs peers out from its former den. Those of you who follow our weekly Virtual Safaris might have seen the episode in which a hyena went right up into this small cave, but fortunately was unable to grab the cubs.
A large elephant bull moves out of the last of the sun as the day draws to a close. We will be bidding farewell to the golden hues of winter in the coming months, with lush green already starting to sprout all over the place.
The Makomsava cubs at their new den. It’s slightly trickier to access, and you have to be lucky to get a good view of them, but obviously the first priority for us (and them of course) is the den’s integrity as a safe spot for the cubs to hide. So far, so good.