This week we have had an amazing spectacle of large herds of elephants and leopard sightings that photographically have been up there with the best. The dry season has seen the remnants of the last rains dry up to a collage of cracked mud. Meaning the only truly reliable source of fresh water is the Sand River. Drawing animals in from all over to quench their thirsts, elephants in particular.
Although we were spoilt for choice this week, our picks were dominated by a few of the regulars, and with this, the Ximungwe Female and her cub’s presence features quite heavily alongside a number of great elephant photos. Others such as the Picadilly Female and her cub, a Mhangeni Lioness, a Serrated Hinged Terrapin, and a stunning image of an African Green Pigeon help showcase the remnants of the golden winter light.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures.
Managing to find the Ximungwe Female not too far from where we left her in the morning, this time with her cub in tow. The two treated us to a marvelous scene by climbing up this dead leadwood tree, using it as a vantage point from which to scan the surroundings.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
Such an incredible contrast between the dark muddy banks of this water hole and the lime green of this African Green Pigeon’s back. Let’s not ignore the stunning reflection too.
Walking into the water to quench her thirst, the moody skies behind her. There is something special about the combination of elephants and water.
A large rhino bull perfectly lit up by the late afternoon golden light.
Just before descending the dead leadwood, the Ximungwe Female yawned. A lot of rangers wish to see a leopard draped over the branches of a dead leadwood tree. There is something special about the leopard’s rosettes against the textures of the leadwood with a plain white background.
It was only after pulling this photo up on my laptop screen that I noticed the fork-tailed drongo flying behind this large elephant bull. The two species are often found together, and exhibit what is known as a commensalistic relationship, whereby the drongo benefits from the elephant by catching insects that are kicked up from the grass through which it walks, and the elephant remains unaffected.
A fantastic view of the Piccadilly Female and her cub perched upon a large granite boulder. Gaining a nice vantage point from here, they were probably also using it to warm up on a cold winter’s morning. As we move forward we expect to see less of the two together, making this affectionate moment between mother and daughter that much more special.
This female is most often encountered near the Sand River to the east of the Londolozi camps.
Relatively shy when out of the water the Serrated Hinged Terrapin has a mechanism in which it is able to tuck its, head and forelimbs inside the shell while closing a “trap-door” in the front. The Plastron/ lower part of the shell has a hinge with which it is then able to fold up the front part to hide away from danger. The rear is protected by a musk gland that releases a foul-smelling substance.
We have recently been lucky enough to enjoy fantastic viewing of the Mhangeni Pride, who seem to be spending more time on the Eastern part of their territory, potentially due to the lack of the Othawa Male’s presence. In this case, a herd of elephants moved through the area in which they were resting in the early afternoon, fast-tracking their movements for the evening.
A young male tagging along the tail-end of a decent size herd stops to have his drink of water a bit further away from the rest.
The Ximungwe Female found the perfect spot to rest on these boulders in order to catch the very last few afternoon sunrays.
Although not even half a foot deep, watching this tiny elephant cross the river was entertaining as it runs through the water to catch up to its mother, who slowly ambled through in front.
The Ximungwe Female takes a moment to rest after a busy morning entertaining her cub.
This was the sight that greeted us as we rounded a corner, shortly after sunrise on Tuesday morning.
There can’t be many things cuter than a baby rhino! This calf, probably around a month or two of age, was trotting in front of its mother through the long grass which made taking a photo of it pretty difficult, the grass was literally taller than the little rhino.
The Ximungwe Female and her cub have kept us quite entertained over the last few days. On this particular morning, we watched them wrestle and play with each other for well over an hour until eventually, I think the mother had had enough and climbed onto this fallen dead leadwood.
Two White-backed Vultures descending onto a carcass to feed.