Having just passed the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere, the days are only going to get shorter as we begin our journey towards the end of summer to welcome winter. This week’s weather has given us a taste of everything, the warmth, the wind, the coolness, and a bit of rain. All of this has caused the animals to present themselves in many different stunning sightings.
With the rain around and the moisture in the air the clouds have made for spectacular sunsets or helped in casting amazing light on to many subjects. The rain upstream has caused the Sand River levels to begin to rise. The dung beetles are hard at work and the bird life is teeming.
The Xinkhova Female has spent the last few days near the airstrip, the Three Rivers Female is seen quite far south in the reserve and the Ximungwe Female stalks a herd of impala.
On the Lion front, the Ndzhenga Males are hanging around and spending a fair amount fo time with the Ntsevu Females, of which at least two are believed to have given birth again. Hopefully, we can find these dens too.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Xinkhova Female uses a termite mound to get an extra height advantage as she scans for prey. The beautiful colours of the setting sun behind her had formed a perfect halo around her head.
A stunning young female with a very similar spot pattern to her mother, the Nkoveni Female. Litter still completely intact March 2022.
A large male waterbuck stands tall and rigid displaying his dominance to a nearby herd.
This time of year, being a hot summer, it is always a good idea to drive past the waterholes with there being a high chance of finding a herd of elephants drinking.
The Ximungwe Female stealthily climbs onto a fallen knobthorn tree trunk, ears flattened, gaze fixated on a herd of impalas in the distance.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
The view from atop Ximpalapala Koppie is truly spectacular and one of the best sunset spots on the reserve.
The purple and blue hues of the last bit of light after sunset makes for a stunning backdrop to this elephant bull as he roams the grasslands incessantly feeding.
The Flat Rock Male descends a termite mound with his gaze fixated on a herd of impalas in the distance.
Martial Eagles are magnificent birds, but when they take flight and spread their enormous 2.4m wingspan you get a real sense of their size.
One of the Ndzhenga Males watches a Ntsevu Lioness as she strolled away into the distance. Shortly after this he got up and followed her.
A beautifully contrasting sunset was on display a few days ago. Not a bad view to see out the day with an ice-cold gin and tonic in hand!
Three wild dogs (that are part of a pack of eight) pause to catch their breath after hunting in the Sand River.
The Three Rivers Female is expanding her territory further south, we are wondering if this is in response to pressure from the Nkoveni Female and Xinkhova Female, or if it is because there is no real pressure from the south that there is free territory up for grabs.
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.
With the warmth and abundance of moisture and insect life at the moment we seem to be seeing a number of chameleons of late. This could be males in search of females to mate with or pregnant females looking for an ideal spot to lay their eggs under ground.
This Ndzhenga Male settles down in the shade of a small tree to rest after moving around fair amount during the morning.
A herd of elephants wander through the Sand River. Water levels are unusually low in the river for this time of year. We look forward to more rain in the coming weeks.
Just before stopping for a drink at the end of the afternoon, we saw this mother and baby vervet monkey catching the last of the light before heading up the tree to rest for the evening.
The Xinkhova Female strategically sits on top of a termite mound to scan the impala herd to figure out the best route to ambush them.
A tense herd of impalas stand to attention as the Xinkhova Female emerges from the thick vegetation near the vehicle.
A sure sign that summer is well underway is the presence of the Woodland Kingfishers and their distinct call.
Who doesn’t love spending time with young elephants? Always so inquisitive and boisterous, raising its nose at us before charging off to the safety of its mother.
Late on an overcast afternoon, a dazzle of zebras ambles across the airstrip.