This week was mainly about the north, which we can access again after some temporary repairs to the flood-damaged Causeway over the Sand River.
The Nanga female was found with a hoisted impala kill, although we were slightly concerned to see she was not putting any weight on her back left leg. We don’t know what happened to her, but the resilience this leopard has shown before when hurt means we aren’t too worried for now.
The Nkuhuma pride was found on a wildebeest kill in the Manyelethi River, reinforcing our theories that they are going to be pushing further and further to the south.
We’re not completely done with the rains yet, although having already well surpassed our numbers of last year, we can be more than content with the level of the water table, which will probably facilitate nutritious grazing for the herbivores well into the winter months.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Although injured, the Nanga female was still well able to manoeuvre her impala kill around the marula tree she had hoisted it into, although it was a young ewe, so significantly lighter than an adult would have been.
It was an awkward tree to get comfortable in, and at this point she was simply sitting staring at a hyena that had come sniffing round.
Two waterbuck bulls tussle it out. These were both young waterbuck and it wasn’t a proper fight for dominance, but it was still interesting to see the effectiveness of the ribbing of their horns; the concentric rings lock into each other and prevent the horns slipping, so a proper fight is less an attempt to stab each other and more a test of strength, in which the bulls set their position and simply push to gain the upper hand.
Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are among our more beautiful migrant species, but the summer is already coming to an end as many of the birds we only see at this time of year are already starting to head back north for the winter.
A young Ntsevu male stands up out of the long grass. This pride continues to remain split, which means that although we aren’t seeing such an impressive single group of lions anymore, there is far more chance of finding one or another small unit of them somewhere on the reserve.
Female red-billed hornbills will often moult their tail feathers and some of their primary flight feathers while they are locked in their nest cavity. The male feeds the female through a slit and she can regrow her feathers. However, if something happens to the male before the female has regrown her feathers, she is forced to break out out to forage for herself once more. This might be what happened to this female, although maybe her tail feathers were pulled out by a would-be predator and she managed a lucky escape.
The heat of summer often drives elephants into the cool comfort of water; sometimes to splash around in the shallows but sometimes to get right in deep like this young bull.
The Londolozi trainee rangers approach a sighting of the Ntsevu pride. Guiding a safari is about far more than just understanding animal behaviour; driving techniques, vehicle positioning and presentation skills are fundamentals in creating an experience through which guests can connect to the wilderness with ease.
One of the Birmingham males tests the urine of an Ntsevu female, seeing if she is ready to mate or not. Since no copulation was forthcoming, we suspect she wasn’t quite in oestrus.
A helmeted guineafowl provides a splash of colour on an otherwise gloomy overcast day.
Up close and personal with an African giant. The trainee rangers again, appreciating that saying nothing is often far the better course in a sighting; just letting it unfold around you is the real magic.
We weren’t 100% sure how this zebra sustained the injury to its rump. Lions can inflict such wounds but in the absence of other damage, we suspect in this case it could have been something else. Either way, it seemed relatively superficial and wasn’t causing the zebra any undue worry.
A young Ntsevu lion stretches as dusk falls.
I’m cheating as this photo was actually from a couple of weeks ago. The hippo bull that has taken up residence in a small pan in the central parts of the reserve will regularly put on a display as evening settles, establishing his dominance before heading out to feed for the night.
One of the Avoca males drinks deeply from the Manyelethi river after gorging himself on wildebeest meat. This sighting is literally just over the hill from the Londolozi camps… Will the Nkuhuma pride and Avoca males be crossing south over the Sand River soon? The males have done so on a couple of occasions, and the pride is edging closer…