It’s been an action-packed week with sightings of a myriad of different species in equally varied scenarios. The water table is still as high as it can be, the seep lines are flowing, and the plethora of shallow pans dotting the reserve make for plenty of opportunities to catch an animal quenching its thirst.
Elephants abound throughout the reserve, relishing the abundance of water and forage, with curious and playful calves dotting the herds. The Leopards of Londolozi are taking advantage of the healthy populations of prey species, the impala fattened on grass, with the species’ males becoming distracted as the rut slowly kicks in. A highlight has to be the Plaque Rock Female, as she treated us to an incredible show of her prowess, taking down an impala ewe in the middle of the afternoon.
The wild dogs have moved through, leaving the usual trail of destruction in their wake – angered giraffes, shocked zebra, and not a few impala carcasses. There’s some very exciting news there too: the alpha pair of wild dogs have been mating, as has the beta female, which means that in only two and a half months, there will be pups about! Where will they den though? With the incredible sightings of the 2021 pups, we can only hope that it’s here!
Let me know which is your favourite image in the comments below.
Enjoy This Week In Pictures…
A curious youngster touches their face distractedly while peering at our vehicle.
The Long-tailed Paradise Whydahs have been showing off their breeding plumage, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture this clean silhouette.
The huge pupils of the Three Rivers Female in the lowering dusk light captured our attention.
These wild dogs had an impala ram cornered in a waterhole and were collectively losing their minds with frustration trying to chase it out. Here, one member sprints around the waterhole, leaping over a small rivulet as the impala made a break for the water’s edge.
Only this pack member, I assume the alpha, was willing to brave the water, trying to panic the stoic impala, which had found safety in the deepest part of the small pool. Here, he shakes off his coat after another failed attempt at scaring his prey into bolting.
One of the highlights of one of our guests’ stay was having this massive herd of elephants amble down the road and flow around our car, all animals incredibly relaxed.
The Senegal Bush Male looking as fierce as always and sporting a few new battle scars.
A flock of White-fronted Bee-eaters gathers on a fallen macula that had dropped into the Sand River during the recent rains.
A musth bull walks through a clearing to investigate a nearby female.
The Plaque Rock Female gains the height advantage of a handy termite mound to scan a nearby herd of impala for potential prey.
She became more focused as the herd moved in her direction. Soon after this, she slunk off the mound and began her stalk. We doubted her chances as the odds seemed stacked against her; she was hunting into the sun, the herd was huge (more eyes), muddled with wildebeest and zebra (even more eyes), and it was mid-afternoon. But she seemed to fancy her chances and went for it!
Soon after we lost sight of her, a massive commotion through the herd let us know that she had gone for it! We couldn’t believe our eyes as we rounded the corner and were greeted by this spectacular scene.
A shy leopard tortoise refused to cooperate and emerge from his shell, but still made for an interesting snap nonetheless.
A Grey Heron perches atop a deadwood as the sun begins to rise.
The Three Rivers Female pauses in her drinking to glance up as a branch snaps nearby.
A huge giraffe bull strides down the road past our vehicle.
A young elephant grazes serenely against the backdrop of a stunning African sunset.
A lilac-breasted roller fluffed up against the morning chill.
This female treated us to a stunning scene as she paused to drink from a waterhole while she and her pride made their way north towards the river.
Seeing a silhouette like this from afar is always an exciting moment.
The Ntomi Male, now less often seen, continues to thrive as he deals with independence. The characteristic dot in his eye is clearly visible here.
An intent stare comes from this male as he pauses to watch a giraffe mother and calf down the road.
This mother giraffe was having none of it, as this pack of eight decided to investigate her calf. We could feel the thump of our hooves from all the way down the road! The pack quickly lost interest after this moment and bolted into the thicket to the left.
Soft backlighting shows off the whiskers of this stallion.
I loved the reflection of this hyena as it crossed a small stream in the otherwise dry Manyalethi riverbed.
Thanks for reading, Ian. It was a very festive Easter over here, hoping you had a great time too!