And here we are. 599 weeks in pictures down the line. I can recall following the Londolozi’s TWIP series back in 2014 which would have been somewhere around TWIP #120. I was a student at Stellenbosch University and idolised the photographers and the images they produced each week. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to get to know most of these guides, be mentored by them and even contribute to a few TWIP’s myself. What an incredible journey in an incredible place!
In summary, this week has seen a spectacular variety of subjects, from sunsets over the river, monkeys, elephants, and mongooses to birdlife all showing off the beauty at this time of year. On the predator front, we saw the young male cheetah and got a great portrait of him. The Nhlanguleni Female walks through a clearing with a large herd of wildebeest, I get my first glimpse of the Ndzanzeni Female’s cub, the Senegal Bush Male on a full patrol, and the Xinzele Young Female on the edge of a waterhole near to where they had just had a carcass stolen from them by a few hyena. On the lion front, we have a decent view of a few of the Ntsevu Cubs.
Let me know your favourites in the comments section below.
Enjoy This Week In Pictures…
The Nhlanguleni Female brazenly walks by a rather large group of Wildebeest. Moments before this, she had just made half an attempt at chasing an impala and was making a hasty retreat to the nearest thicket.
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.
One of the more charismatic creatures of bushveld. A Vervet Monkey rests in the dense canopy of trees that line the dry Maxabene riverbed. The soft light caught the colour of it’s eyes rather nicely.
A slightly older photo of the (sadly) short-lived cub of the Ndzanzeni female. We were very fortunate one afternoon to get a fantastic view of this little leopard before it was lost to a few members of the Ntsevu pride a couple of days later. A harsh reminder of the reality of how precious life can be in the competitive conditions of the wilderness. How lucky were we were to see this!
This female is a success story all in herself, being born as a single cub to the Riverbank 3:3 female in early 2012.
A Nile Crocodile sits motionless in the strong current of the Sand River. By slowing down the camera’s shutter speed, the water turns into more of a motion blur which creates an interesting effect on the photo.
An older female buffalo makes use of her long tongue to clean her muzzle after having a drink in a small wallow. We’ve had consistent sightings of two large herds of buffalo in the deep south and western parts of the reserve. All of them are still in immaculate condition with an abundance of food still around after the heavy rains of the late summer.
A trio of giraffes affectionately wrap their necks together in a playful wrestle. I created a black-and-white version of this image which I really like too. You can find it on our Fine Arts Website.
Between game drives, late one morning, the Senegal Bush Male was found crossing the airstrip by one of the members of the habitat team. We had spent the better part of that morning searching for leopard but without any luck so we set off that afternoon to see if he was still around. A squirrel’s alarm call and fresh tracks of him caused us to loop up past a waterhole and this was the sight we were greeted with. Great success!
Initially seen as a young male in 2016, this leopard only properly established territory on Londolozi in mid-2019
A Giant Kingfisher, silhouetted by the twilight sky. He’d in fact managed to catch a rather large fish and was busy gobbling it down just a few seconds before this photo – I just didn’t get my camera up in time to capture him with his meal but the setting alone was one to remember.
Sometimes, the further you are from the subject, the deeper the story is that can be conveyed. Here, a large elephant bull negotiates his way up the northern bank of the Sand River after venturing down for a drink.
A sunset scene on the banks of the Sand River. Where else would you rather be?
Our new trainee rangers recently completed their big birding week and ended up with over 170 species in seven days. Not too bad for this time of year. I joined them on one of their birding drives in which we spotted this Gabar Goshawk who very kindly posed for us on the branch of a dead leadwood tree for us to admire.
The Xinzele Female and her cub have been a fairly regular find in the northern parts of the reserve over the past few weeks. They were recently found on the move together and we suspected that the mother was leading her cub back to a kill that she’d made. Our theory proved to be correct, however, the kill (an impala ram) had been stolen by a hyena before they could get back to it. Here, the year-old female cub contemplates the loss on the banks of a small wallow.
Born into a litter of two, male cub did not survive. Sightings of have been few and far between, although becoming more regular.
A look into the eyes of a giant.
This young male cheetah has been exploring all corners of the reserve for the last couple of weeks. It’s great value having one of the lesser-seen predators of the region being found so often.
A little dwarf mongoose is overcome by its curiosity and pokes its head out of the safety of a termite mound to investigate us in the vehicle.
Bee-eaters are a beautiful family of birds. Full of bright colours and often rather entertaining to watch as they catch small insects on the fly. Whilst waiting for the young male cheetah (above) to stalk a herd of impala, a small group of Little Bee-eaters kept us entertained. I love how the colours of the bird match the hues of the leaves around it.
An unforgettable afternoon spent with two of the Ntsevu pride’s newest additions. While their mother slept in the long grass; these two were as restless as ever and fumbled their way up this fallen branch.
An incredibly cute pose from one of the Ntsevu cubs. Have a look at how spotty her coat is at this age; particularly on the forehead.