During the course of this past week out in the field, we have been enjoying the true highlights of autumn weather and all the beauty that comes with being on safari at this time of year. Heading out in the mornings, the crisp fresh air wakes you up as we head out with enough time to watch the sun rise above the horizon from atop the crest, providing us with beautiful prolonged sunrises and golden backdrops.
On the leopard front, the curious and inquisitive Three Rivers Young Male has been seen more frequently on his own. The Ntomi Male continues to roam around fairly close to camp. Excitingly, the Xinzele Female and her cub were found in the Northern part of the reserve feeding on an impala kill.
The Talamati Pride continue to spend time traversing the central parts of our reserve, while the Ndzhenga Coalition have been seen along our eastern boundary. The Ntsevu Breakaways were found full-bellied after killing a buffalo. The Tsalala Lioness has also been vocalizing in the Manyeleti River as we suspect she begins her quest for advertising her presence and trying to find a mate.
We were also blessed with an afternoon of spotting the mother cheetah with her two cubs! In addition, the large pack of wild dogs from the south have made a few appearances in the southwestern parts of our reserve, which has stirred much excitement amongst the team. Fingers crossed they continue to move further north and can be seen traversing Londolozi more frequently!
Over and above the array and diversity of predators, there has been an array of wonderful breeding herds of elephants seen across the reserve as well as relaxed general game.
Let me know your favourites in the comments section below.
Enjoy This Week In Pictures…
A relaxed young elephant bull entertained us first thing in the morning as he raised his trunk to smell his surroundings and investigate our presence.
As the sun sets in the background, we watched as the Three Rivers Young Male gazed in the direction of a herd of impalas walking towards an open clearing.
One of two cubs to survive, the sister lost at five months. Still dependent on his mother, but is growing into an impressive young male.
Part curiosity, part mischievousness led the Three Rivers Young Male to crawl down the termite mound in an attempt to get closer to a herd of impala.
Not long after leaving camp, we came across a hippo ambling back towards his water hole while being backlit by a perfect autumn sunrise and beautiful orange light.
After spotting fresh tracks of the Tsalala Lioness as we crossed the Manyeleti River, tracker Equalizer Ndlovu radioed me not three minutes after following the tracks on foot to say he had spotted her further upstream in the riverbed. We sat with her for a while as she let off a few loud calls. Could she be coming into oestrus and looking to find a mate?
We are still seeing the Ntomi Male roaming around his mother’s territory. Here we watch as he investigated a branch that his mother may have previously scent marked. He got on his two back legs to grow tall and milled about under this branch before continuing into the thickets.
A single cub of the Ximungwe Female's second litter. Initially rather skittish but is very relaxed now. Birth mark in his left eye.
An intimate moment between a mother waterbuck and her calf as they rested on the side of a water hole.
The Xinzele Female begins to feed on an Impala she managed to catch and hoist in a marula tree. Strangely she started with the tail!
A small female often found in NW Marthly. Similar spot pattern to her mother the Ingrid Dam Female.
With the Xinzele Female having caught an impala earlier in the day, she went to collect her daughter, the Xinzele Young Female. We returned to the scene later on that day to find her and her cub up in the tree feeding and playing.
Born into a litter of two, male cub did not survive. Sightings of have been few and far between, although becoming more regular.
It’s always a treat to witness animals on the Londolozi airstrip. A perfect airstrip crossing for Ross Cheshire and his guests.
A young male cheetah climbed on a fallen marula tree to scan for any prey.
After a close-sounding roar caught the attention of myself, Robbie Ball and Barry Bath already in the area, the three of us managed to find one of the Ndzhenga Males on the move, which allowed for an exciting time as he walked past our vehicles.
A male wild dog briefly pauses in the glorious morning light before trotting off to rejoin the pack.
Chasing after one another as they fight over the last bits of an impala carcass. Almost a comical sighting as they ran back and forth.
Full-bellied, the Tsalala Lioness gazed up the bank of the riverbed. She could probably hear something in the distance in that direction that was too far for us to hear.
We struck luck with a rare sighting of the mother cheetah and her two cubs which are believed to be around 14 months old. We watched them climb atop a termite mound and later attempt and fail to hunt a herd of impala.
For a few days in a row, we came across the Talamati Young Male who had seemingly separated from the rest of the pride. After a morning following him, while he was contact calling he then settled in the long grass.
One of the Ntsevu Breakaway Males stares back intently as he pauses his feed on a young male buffalo kill.
We passed a large male giraffe who seemed to be in a trance as he ruminated on a mouthful of food. Giving us an opportunity to observe his bottom teeth.
One of the Talamati Lionesses patiently scanned her surroundings before deciding which direction the pride should head towards as the light began to fade
We came across this female Giant Kingfisher after she had just caught a small tilapia fish at the causeway. It is incredible to think that she gracefully flipped this large meal around to be head-first and swallowed it whole.
After a week-long search for elephants swimming and splashing in the water, on our last afternoon game drive, we came across a large breeding herd that proceeded to exceed all expectations and fully submerge themselves in a water hole surrounded by hippos.