And just like that, we’re into the last month of 2022. Summer is in full swing, bringing with it dramatic afternoon skies, lush green vegetation, vibrant wild flowers and plenty of young animals. There can be a stigma attached to summertime safaris that suggests you’ll see less and be plagued with insects, heat and rain. I tend to disagree though. This time of year is humming with activity and new life to the point where you can even feel the energy of it all as you drive out of camp.
The sightings this past week have been nothing short of spectacular and I found myself spoilt for choice when deciding where to take my game drives. Arguably one of the largest herds of buffalo I have seen on Londolozi passed through the open areas a few days ago while another visit from the Birmingham Coalition on a stormy afternoon filled the earlier parts of the week. Then with the flush of new impala lambs and warthog piglets, the leopards have been capitalising on the easy prey with no less than seven different leopards being found with fresh kills since last week. The highlight for me though was seeing three leopards that I haven’t been able to find for quite some time; the Flat Rock Male was seen patrolling along our northern regions, the Thamba Male was found again with a hoisted impala, and the Xinzele Female, along with her female cub, also made a long-awaited appearance.
Enjoy this week in pictures…
Let us know your favourite image in the comments below.
Clash of the titans! Two buffalo bulls throw their weight around in the open areas of western Londolozi. The sheer force with which they collide with one another is incredible. These two were bringing up the rear of a herd of what we estimated to be well over a thousand buffalo.
The exquisite Purple Crested Turaco catches the sunlight on its crest. Photographing these beautiful birds is not an easy task as they tend to hide themselves in the tops of the denser trees. This one had just finished drinking from a small puddle which allowed us a fantastic view as it jumped up onto a low, open branch.
A mother elephant and her newborn calf. Ageing elephants can sometimes be a challenge but there was no doubt that this calf was just a couple of days old, at the most. Still a bit unsteady on its feet, the calf often propped itself up against the mother as they slowly moved over the open crest.
The Ximungwe Female yawns from the cover of the long grass. She had an interesting interaction with the Ntomi Male this week where she in fact led him back to a kill despite the two seemingly having been separated for the last two months or so now. They proceeded to catch another two warthog piglets and an impala lamb in the same area.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
An early afternoon thunderstorm this last week left behind the most incredible light as it passed. We happened to find ourselves with the Birmingham Male under this golden sky accompanied by a glowing rainbow. I wonder what the future holds for this stalwart male lion?
Compared to years gone by, the Flat Rock Male has been seen a lot less recently. It seems that he has shifted his entire territory north of the Sand River and continues to expand in that direction, beyond Londolozi’s borders. The pressures of the Senegal Bush Male from the south will no doubt be a factor in this move.
A dominant male leopard over the majority of the north. He originally took over the 4:4 Male's territory when he died.
A Vervet Monkey gets comfortable on a horizontal branch at the entrance to Varty Camp. While the monkeys in camp can cause a bit of trouble from time to time, they sure are fascinating to watch for a while as they dart between the trees and forage on the ground below.
A journey to the west gave us the opportunity to see the Thamba Male again. The last time I saw this leopard was towards the end of 2019 and since then, he has grown into a strong and dominant male.
From this image, it is quite evident where the ‘saddle’ part of the Saddle Billed Stork comes from. I have always enjoyed seeing these birds and as we start to dip deeper into the rainy season, they seem to be appearing more and more often.
We spent a phenomenal morning with the Xinzele Female and her young female cub recently. It was only the third time I have seen this cub and it was great to see how relaxed she has become around us and the vehicles in the last month or so.
A small female often found in NW Marthly. Similar spot pattern to her mother the Ingrid Dam Female.
The facial markings of the Bearded Scrub Robin are quite beautiful and I’ve tried, over the last couple of weeks to get this exact photo; a square-on portrait. We have a pair that are nesting on our veranda in the staff village and I have now spent quite a few hours watching and photographing them as they move to and from the nest.
An impressive buffalo bull, one that has featured in previous TWIP’s in fact, made an appearance again this past week. He is quite unmistakable purely for his size and holds quite an intimidating gaze when he wants to.
A large elephant bull marches his way down to the Sand River. Although it had clouded over by this time, it had been an incredibly hot day and he had likely travelled quite a distance to get to the river for a drink and wallow.
The Xinzele Female scans her surroundings from a termite mound. The young cub was busy investigating where her mother had just scent marked on the low-hanging branches of an African Wattle.
The Three Rivers female poses perfectly for a drink, leaving a crisp reflection in the water below. She was accompanied by the young male that she is raising at the moment and, while we didn’t know it at this point, they were leading us back to a tree where they had two impala lambs stashed away.
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.