This week we have enjoyed some slightly cooler weather with there being a lot of rain around. This has been pleasant for everyone here as well as all the wildlife. Waterholes have been topped up and puddles and mud wallows decorate the bushveld. This makes life a lot easier for the wildlife as they do not need to travel huge distances in order to find a drink.
The raptors have still been around and about and on display, along with a family of Southern Ground Hornbills who as they probe through the growing grass with their long curved beak are finding an abundance of small prey to feed on. Including the numerous frogs and toads that are out and about.
What has been an amazing game viewing week, it has certainly been dominated by incredible leopard sightings with the Ximungwe Female and her cub being found a few times and providing the most spectacular sightings as they play in a few marula trees together.
The Nhlanguleni Female was also seen resting up in a magical marula tree, in what was a rather nostalgic sighting. In fact, it was in this exact tree with this very female, that I took my first photo of a leopard.
The Ntsevu Sub-adults are now spending a lot more time on their own and appear that they may have in fact broken away from their mothers, for the time being, forming their own breakaway pride.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A very interesting perspective of a leopard as the entire frame is filled with leopards. The background is the rosettes of the Ximungwe Female’s cub as he stands beyond her grooming her back.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
The mother cheetah scans the surroundings shortly after having been chased by the Nkoveni Female. Her cub went running in one direction and she in the other.
Grooming each other is a great way to bond, showing affection towards each other, as well as the added benefit of being cleaned.
With the fading light of the sunset against a thick bed of clouds to the west as a backdrop, a Tawny Eagle leaps into flight from its perch atop a dead tree.
The Nhlanguleni Female gazes down from a comfortable branch in the canopy of a marula tree, escaping the heat of what rapidly became a very warm day.
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
While within the branches she continuously scanned around for any prey.
Now roaming the reaches of southern Londolozi as their own Breakaway Pride, the Ntsevu Sub-adults are looking impressive. It is going to be very interesting as to what happens to these young males as the lion dynamics ebb and flow.
It is incredible to see how quickly the Ximungwe Young Male is growing. Here he looks as though he is the same size as his mother.
With the abundance of water around the frogs and toads are thriving. True to all toads, this Eastern Olive Toad lacks teeth, has glandular skin and parotid glands that secrete a milky alkaloid substance, known as bufotoxins in order to deter predation.
The distinctive marking in the iris of the XImungwe Young Male is an easy way to identify him now that he is beginning to be left alone by his mother for longer periods of time. What initially started out as an accidental blur in the shot from the door of the vehicle getting in the way, actually ended up looking quite nice. So I used the brown wooden top of the door for the lighter vignette effect on the right and the metal bar on the left as a darker vignette effect on the left.
A stunning portrait of a large elephant bull, showcasing the details and texture of the trunk and ears.
Resting in the branches of this marula tree, just moments before they began playing and the cub chasing the mother around.
The Ximungwe Female descends a Marula tree while her cub is wedged in the fork of the tree. Still very playful the cub tries to grab her.
A hooded vulture swoops down as it spots a pack of wild dogs below. Often vultures will follow wild dogs as they are very successful hunters and thus have a high opportunity to scavenge some scraps if they follow a pack. Unfortunately, for this vulture, the pack of wild dogs were just resting in the shade with no kill.
Glancing up at eh next marula tree, trying to decide whether it was worth claiming it.
A gentle bonding moment between mother hyena and her cub at a hyena den. The Colouration just starting to change on this cute two-month-old cub.
Two of the five Southern Ground Hornbills in this family, scanned around for a while before joining the rest of the family feeding in the grass below.