The highlight of the week must have been the Ntsevu pride taking down an adult wildebeest a stone’s throw from the Londolozi camps. It was almost completely devoured within 10 minutes before one of the Birmingham males came charging out of the darkness to steal what remained.
A young male cheetah hung around for a couple of days but has disappeared once more; with the grass still waist high on a human it is very difficult to spot a cat that would stand just higher than one’s knees. He’ll turn up again though.
Elephants continue to wow guests, trackers and rangers alike, with an abundance of tiny calves; more than we have seen for many a season.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Ntsevu pride devour a wildebeest kill, not 30 metres from the edge of the Londolozi camps. Staff sitting on their verandahs after dinner herd the impact and the growling, so rushed to grab a vehicle and make their way to the scene.
The sub-adult males of the pride are now practically the same size as their mothers, so even big kills like wildebeest are devoured in minutes.
A juvenile Martial eagle feeds on the remains of a monitor lizard. Young martial eagles will stay within the vicinity of their nest for up to eight months, being fed mainly by their female parent.
Completely caked in mud, this elephant bull assumed what at first glance could be an intimidating posture, however, he was rather using the breeze blowing in from behind to cool himself down. Elephants thermoregulate by pumping a large majority of their blood through the dense network of blood vessels in their ears (approximately 12 litres a minute). As the elephant then flaps its ears the wind passing over the surface removes excess body heat and cooler blood is returned to the body. So in this instance he was not required to flap his ears and rather just let the wind do the work for him.
As quickly as it rises when torrential rain falls, so too does the Sand River drop after a week or two without substantial rainfall. Sandbanks are already showing, with their attendant basking crocodiles, and although the river is still flowing steadily, it is likely that we have seen the last of our big rains, meaning the level will continue to drop from here on out.
Two white rhino bulls (look carefully) doze in the cool morning. Sandy riverbeds like this make a comfortable resting place for these behemoths, as there is a bit of cushioning for their enormous bulk, as opposed to higher ground where the surface can be more like concrete.
Much closer to where we were parked to view the rhinos, a wood sandpiper was wading in a small pool. All the colours of the rainbow were showing in the reflection and surrounds.
Tracker Richard Mthabine gets a close up view of elephant feeding behaviour. Sightings like this show just how relaxed elephants can be if you just sit still and allow them the space to move around the vehicle where they want to.
The African Hoopoe gets its name from its distinctive “Hoop-hoop” call. The long, slender decurved beak is testament to its feeding style of probing into cracks and crevices for grubs.
Ranger Robbie Ball discusses the finer details of cheetah behaviour with his guest.
A tiny elephant calf is sheltered by its mother and another member of the herd. Young ones like this are still vulnerable at this stage of their lives, so stick close to the adults; it is only after a few months that they will dare to be one of the outermost members of the group.
The Nkoveni female used to be seen on a regular basis. Now with her shifting her territory further east to accommodate her daughter the Plaque Rock female, she is not see often at all. Currently raising at least two cubs near to the Londolozi boundary, we hope to see her a lot more frequently, with maybe even a sighting of her cubs in the coming weeks…
Caking themselves in cool mud is done by elephants in an attempt to cool themselves down, however when one is seen spraying dry dust onto itself this is mostly in an attempt to rid themselves of flies and other pesky insects. The fine layer of dust does protect against the sun but is less effective than mud.
Young and inquisitive as young lions are, this young male from the Ntsevu pride could not resist the temptation of chasing a herd of impala that were well aware of his presence. In broad daylight the clumsy male didn’t really have a chance, but this didn’t dissuade him. Moments like this are vital for a young lion’s skill development.