This week the predominant theme seems to be leopards and birds. With it being very leopard-heavy we have had some incredible sightings nonetheless. The Nkoveni Female and her two cubs were eventually found after a long few days of tracking and attempting to find the trio. Being rewarded with an amazing time as they played.
The Flat Rock Male was found in the central parts of Marthly, with an impala kill. Spending some time with him there was a high likelihood that he would do down to a nearby waterhole for a drink, He Did! The Nkuwa Female was seen for the first time in a while. The Picadilly Female’s youngster was also seen by himself.
The Avoca Males have been relatively consistent in appearing on Londolozi following evenings of continuous roaring. I know we have said and will probably say it time and time again, the lion dynamics are going through a very interesting time, and a shift in power is imminent.
On the birding front, nothing out of the ordinary but just a few well-lit snaps of Yellow-billed Oxpeckers and a bird party of Little Bee-eaters, White-crested Helmetshrikes, and Chinspot Batis.
Although the entire herd of probably 500 individuals moved through the south of the reserve there was one individual who has the most spectacular set of horns and boss that made it in.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Nkoveni Female has been successful in raising her two cubs to this point, nearing the age of eight months old now. It is not yet plain sailing from here, the challenges are still enormous, as these cubs grow their adventurous spirit and everything becomes a game.
A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
A nearby tree is the local jungle gym for the cubs to entertain themselves for the morning, while their mother tries to rest in the shade. Up and down the tree continuously for hours, this particular shot the cubs was launching out of the tree aimed at its sibling.
Glancing up at its sibling tearing off into the tree again wondering if it should join the game or rather rest for now. This sighting was a spectacle for a number of guests at Londolozi.
Worn out, it is now time to rest, with the mother right beside this cub.
The large herd of buffalo, now nearing about 500 individuals has passed through the southern grasslands, feeding as they go, they have been covering some serious distances in very short amounts of time. One of the Bulls in amongst the herd, although not the biggest-bodied buffalo, certainly had horns and a large boss, the centre part of the horns, to make up for it.
A Yellow-billed Oxpecker perches neatly on a buffalo’s back. We generally only see this species of oxpecker around buffalo or the larger herbivores.
The Picadilly Female and her cub have laid claim to the north-eastern parts, directly across the Sand River from the camps. Here the youngster was found without its mother along the Manyelethi River. Settled in the shade, you can notice a gash on its back left leg. Nothing life-threatening to the resilient nature of leopards, one can only wonder how this gash came about. Most likely from chasing after some form of prey and tumbling into a log or rock.
This female is most often encountered near the Sand River to the east of the Londolozi camps.
We stumbled across a small bird party, which essentially means exactly what you think, however, the birds are there to have a good time in pursuit of a food source. Surrounding a termite mound which sported a large flowering Knobthorn tree, we were not sure exactly what insect these birds were feeding on and they appeared too small for us to see without getting too close. The following three images were all at the same time. Firstly this White-crested Helmetshrike.
Also joining the party the Chinspot Batis rather uses the higher branches in pursuit of tasty insect treats.
The Little Bee-eaters opted for the lower branches or twigs and sticks on the ground as the prime positions in order to pursue the insects.
Who knows what’s in store for us over the next few weeks or months? Are these younger males starting to move in? Being seen more regularly on Londolozi, sometimes in the presence of the Nkuhuma Pride in the north and other times with a couple of the Ntsevu Pride Females in the south.
The Nkuwa Female, now having established herself in the western parts of the reserve, has proven rather elusive through the thicker vegetated areas. Now three and half years old we would be expecting her to either be seen mating or if we miss that hopefully, we are able to find her pregnant or having given birth very soon.
One of two sisters born to the Nhlanguleni female, both of whom made it to independence, the first intact litter to do so in 7 years.
A young crocodile crawls its way out of the shaded pool of water along the Manyelethi River to take advantage of the last bit of heat for the day before nightfall.
Not too much remained of the impala carcass as we arrived, we knew that at some point the Flat Rock Male would need to descend the tree and most likely head down to a nearby pool for a drink.
A leopard who took advantage of the death of the 4:4 male in 2016 to grab territory to the west of the Londolozi camps.
Shortly after catching his breath and grooming the remnants of the impala from his paws and cheeks, he looked up moments before strolling down to the waterhole.
The unobstructed view of him drinking was spectacular.