Having been out of the ranging team for around year now, making a move into the finance department, my time spent in the bush isn’t as frequent as it used to be.
However, I still love getting out on drive as much as I can , and of course, trying to document the incredible sightings we are always so privileged to have here at Londolozi.
These past two weeks I’ve been out on drive a lot more than usual, which I’m certainly not complaining about. I’m absolutely loving the burst of colour in the bush after all the amazing rain we have had, and of course, the retuning migratory birds are creating a beautiful chorus in the mornings and evenings. The animals have been out in full force the last week, particularly the predators. The leopards all seem to be taking advantage of some of the windy evenings we’ve had, with us finding them on kills the following mornings. Lions have also been moving around, more than likely having to scent mark more frequently with the return of the rain and it washing away their scent. As mentioned in last weeks TWIP by Pete Thorpe, the Ntsevu lionesses have treated us, and many of our guests, to incredible sightings of their new cubs, I unfortunately have not had the privilege to see them yet, but I will no doubt be out looking for them in the next few days.
The general game as per usual has been abundant, with all of the grazers loving the new shoots of grass that are emerging from the soil, with the browsers taking full advantage of the new leaves sprouting from the trees.
All in all it has been a remarkable week here at Londolozi. I have tried to narrow down a few of the many pictures I’ve been able to gather over the past week.
I hope you enjoy This Week in Pictures…
A lone Giraffe bull makes his way across the open areas of the reserve. This male was on quite a mission, potentially trailing a herd where there may have been a female in oestrus. Male giraffe have no active role in the rearing of their young, they will simply find a female who is in oestrus, mate, and then move on.
The largest of the eagles we get at Londolozi. The Martial eagle. You can always sense that these birds know they are the biggest in the area, they certainly carry an heir of confidence with them.
The Tsalala female and her youngster. I had written cub and erased it to rewrite youngster, as she’s certainly not a cub anymore. Having viewed the Tsalala pride for about 6 years now, the success of the current Tsalala female and her youngster has brought about a serious sense of joy within me. At one stage we were all very worried about the future of the pride, but the mother has done an incredible job at raising this young female, let’s hope the future is bright for the two of them.
Just as we were leaving camp a few afternoons ago, we noticed two fish eagles interacting. The action was over extremely quickly – but I managed to take a very quick shot before they flew out of sight. It’s certainly not the best photograph, but from what I managed to capture, you can see it is an adult and a juvenile. The interaction was extremely aggressive, the most aggressive I’ve ever seen, so we assumed it may have been a youngster getting chased out of a territory by an adult.
A large elephant bull pauses in the Sand River to quench his thirst. These massive animals need to drink a large amount of water each day, males of this size will probably consume more than 100L a day.
The Three Rivers female watches a herd of impala from the cover of a fallen over Marula. It had been raining most of the morning, soaking this fallen over Marula tree, creating a beautiful contrast between the leopard and the tree.
A Crowned Lapwing keeps a very close eye on me whilst I move around the area where their nest is located. The commitment to protecting their nest is admirable. With their nests built on the ground and very exposed, they are often seen throwing themselves in front of animals as large as elephants to ward them away from their nests.
A pack of wld dogs reacts to a disturbance in a watering hole they were moving past. We couldn’t quite see what had made the disturbance in the water, either a crocodile or a fish, but the dogs were onto it in a flash and even let out a few barks to make sure whatever it was, knew that they were there.
A Ntsevu lioness moves with purpose. This pride is always a privilege to see on the move. This particular afternoon they were in search of some food, walking and stopping to listen and smell. We left them before they managed to find anything, but I’m sure they were successful during the darkness of the night.
A Wahlberg’s eagle takes some time out to preen its feathers. This was quite late in the afternoon; the eagle had more than likely had a busy day feeding and most likely building its nest. Preening is a very important part of a bird’s daily ritual as it keeps its feathers in tact and healthy, essential for the bird’s survival.
The Maxims male jumps away from the thrashing claws of the Nkoveni female as they separate from mating. We were very fortunate to find the pair of leopard together one afternoon. We had originally set out to try and find the Nkoveni female, and were successful after a lengthy tracking session.To our surprise, she had been doing some tracking of her own – we found her mating with the Maxims male. Hopefully in the next few months we will see her with a new litter of cubs…
A hyena pokes its head out of the long grass after hearing some impala alarm calling in the distance. Hyena have incredible hearing. They will often respond to herbivores’ alarm calls, knowing that there may be a predator in the area, particularly leopards, and therefore the chance of stealing food.
The Makomsava female and one of her cubs. We had followed the Makomsava female back to her den where she settled on a rock where she was keeping her cubs. We waited patiently for about 30 minutes and eventually we were rewarded with a phenomenal sighting of her and her two cubs.
This particular sunset a few days ago was somewhat indescribable. The colours were extremely intense. We paused for a moment to watch the sun set and were lucky enough to have a few subjects in the foreground to make the scene even more spectacular.