This week’s TWIP is all about variety. As is usually the case, we were fortunate to enjoy some fantastic sightings of the much sought-after predators, including a cheetah and wild dogs! The Ntsevu Pride and their cubs were fairly scarce but what little view we got of them was certainly made up for by the Ntsevu Males who continued to entertain us with their brave hunting exploits and long marches from one corner of the reserve to another.
No less than four different leopards are featured in this post alone and several others were sighted by the other guides over the same days. The Ngungwe Female provided us with one of the first stable sightings of her on a kill in a while which, for a shy leopard like her, doesn’t come around all that often. A highlight for me was also allowing a lone hyena mother to take us on a journey, over several kilometres through tough terrain, as she carried a large part of what I presume to be an impala carcass back to her densite for her cubs to feed on.
The warm winter hues are slowly starting to fade and are being replaced by the dramatic skies and rains of summer. The golden theme, which featured a great deal in my previous TWIP still filters through on this one, bathing some interesting subjects in the perfect glow one last time.
We slowed things down at some points to enjoy a large dazzle of zebra drinking at one of my favourite watering holes at Londolozi; Weaver’s Nest Pan, spent some time admiring a business of dwarf mongoose and settled in at the Causeway watching a pair of Hamerkops attempt to catch their dinner.
Here’s to another amazing week in this incredible place!
Let us know which is your favourite in the comments sections below.
Enjoy this week in pictures…
Welcome to Varty Camp. The morning light was striking the Varty camp entrance beautifully one recent morning. I snapped this photo just before setting off for our morning game drive.
Late afternoon light covered this dazzle of zebra as they approached a watering hole to drink.
The Xinzele Young Female, who now should be on the brink of independence, rests in the bough of a massive Jackelberry tree in the northern reaches of Londolozi. With rather low female leopard densities in this part of the reserve, we hope she will set up a territory with ease in the next couple of years.
Born into a litter of two, male cub did not survive. Sightings of have been few and far between, although becoming more regular.
A Water Monitor lizard basking in the last light of the day.
A wholesome moment between two of the Ntsevu Males. As a group, this breakaway coalition seems to be growing in stature and confidence every time we encounter them.
Two Ntsevu Lionesses emerge from a dense Combretum thicket. We followed them for 20 minutes through some of the thickest vegetation on the reserve (as can be seen behind them). We were relieved when they eventually emerged into an open clearing and walked right by our vehicle.
Elephants hold a strong affinity for water and one can see their genuine excitement as they approach the water’s edge. We saw this herd approaching from quite a distance off and guessed they might be en route to a small pan system to have a drink. Our theory was correct.
Catch of the day. Hammerkops are specialist fish and frog hunters. They can often be found in shallow, flowing water waiting for the perfect opportunity to grab a meal.
This was a rather incredible morning. We happened across this hyena in the early morning who was carrying a large portion of an antelope carcass (my guess would be that it was impala). She marched several kilometres across the reserve, presumably taking the food back to her cubs. We followed her for over an hour, with great anticipation, expecting to find a new hyena den site but unfortunately lost sight of her in an inaccessible, densely vegetated gulley.
A young elephant calf approaches the water’s edge for a much-needed drink.
After going through an incredible run of cheetah sightings a few weeks ago, these rare cats have gone quiet once again. We did however have a great sighting of this young male resting on top of a termite mound in the late afternoon. How beautiful are his eyes?
The following morning the young male cheetah was found again. Ranger Kirst Joscelyne and her guests enjoy the fantastic view.
The Senegal Bush Male still appears to be expanding his territory and was seen in the far northern parts of Londolozi; an area that I would never have expected to encounter him. His presence was alerted to us by the alarm call of a Kudu who had seen him resting on this mound at dusk.
Initially seen as a young male in 2016, this leopard only properly established territory on Londolozi in mid-2019
After starting out as a rather shy leopard, who didn’t often allow us to follow her for any length of time, the Ngungwe Female has started to be seen more frequently in the last few weeks. She stashed this impala away in a small jackelberry tree and fed on it for two days, allowing us the first consistent view of her since gaining her independence from her mother, the Piccadilly Female.
The Ngungwe Female, silhouetted in the same jackelberry tree, at sunset.
Young inquisitive beautiful female, bordering on independence as of November 2021
The Othawa Pack of wild dogs, along with their brood of pups, have been darting across Londolozi a fair amount in the last month or so. Consistent wild dog viewing cannot be taken for granted and we have enjoyed having them around. Here, one of the pack members uses a small rocky outcrop as a vantage point during a hunting foray.
A silhouetted giraffe at sunset. Quintessential Africa.
Dwarf mongoose can keep you entertained for ages. Here, one member of this particular business of mongoose, peeps out from its safety burrow. As we approach in the vehicle, they tend to scurry away for safety but as soon as we sit in silence for a short while, their curiosity takes over and they get back to foraging.
The Three Rivers Young Male has one last look at the zebra calf he has managed to hoist into a tamboti tree. An amazing feat of strength and balance to pull such a heavy meal into the tree.
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.