Over the last week, the predator viewing around the reserve has been nothing short of spectacular. After receiving our first dose of rainfall this summer, we are grateful to have been able to view and photograph the full spectrum of apex predators out in the open before things thicken up.
On the lion front, we have had four different coalitions of male lions make an appearance over the past week. I use the term coalition fairly loosely here, it is only really the Ndzhenga Males and Plain’s Camp Males that truly have territories and encompass a pride of females. The others that make up the four are the Ntsevu Males who are covering large distances at the moment and are still growing in confidence and stature before making a wholehearted attempt to lay down their claim of territory. And the Skorro Breakaway Male who has made a valiant effort at claiming a territory in the western portion of Londolozi. However, he has yet to truly declare this as his own. It is in this area that the Tsalala Female resides; will they mate and extend the longest-lasting dynasty on Londolozi at the moment? Time will tell – she too features this week.
On the leopard front, one morning we were pleasantly surprised by the Three Rivers Female drinking from a waterhole in the heart of her territory. Later that afternoon we were even more surprised to find her sizable son, the Three Rivers Young Male, mating with the Ximungwe Female. The Xinzele Young Female was also found atop a termite mound patiently awaiting the return of her mother, the question remains – how much longer until she becomes fully independent?
Lower down on the predator hierarchy so to speak are wild dogs and cheetahs. The Othawa Pack of wild dogs has presented us with stunning viewing of both adults and pups, we can only hope that the newest members of the pack make it into adulthood. We had a remarkable sighting of a nomadic male cheetah, elegantly climbing on termite mounds and fallen trees to look for food.
Having no obstructions, the airstrip always provides a unique perspective from which to photograph animals. We were lucky enough to see both the Nhlanguleni Female and a female giraffe crossing the tarmac (not at the same time…).
As iconic as sunsets are in the African Bushveld, a full moon rising also captures the essence of an African safari. We watched the moon rise from the eastern horizon with a dead knobthorn in the foreground.
Let us know your favourites in the comments section below.
Enjoy this week in pictures!
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 two cubs to survive, the sister lost at five months. Still dependent on his mother, but is growing into an impressive young male.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
Born into a litter of two, male cub did not survive. Sightings of have been few and far between, although becoming more regular.
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.