It’s been another incredible week out in the Londolozi wilderness, with many different sightings of the predators. In classic Londolozi fashion, the big cats feature most, with a decent amount of variety in between.
11 different leopards were seen, 6 of which are pictured below. Including a young male that we probably only see a few times a year. The increasingly regular presence of the Nkuwa Female and her two cubs across Western Sparta pose an exciting prospect for the leopard viewing throughout this area, at least for the foreseeable future.
Lions still appear to be everywhere across the reserve, making the morning game drives particularly entertaining with lots of lion activity unfolding during these cooler hours. A few of my favorite lion sightings from the week are included below – however in reality I probably could have filled this entire TWIP with only photos of lions!
I always know its been a good week when I’ve struggled to find the perfect balance between simply being totally present in a moment, and capturing the beauty of each through my lens.
Below are a few snippets from another magical week in the bush. Let me know which ones you like most!
Enjoy this week in pictures…
I just absolutely love watching the sun sink over the Drakensberg mountain range. A fitting end to a perfect afternoon exploring the vast expanse of the south western reaches of the reserve.
An adult Martial Eagle takes flight from the top of a large Marula tree, where the pair of them have been nesting for many years. This is likely to be the male – females are slightly larger, generally with more spots on their underside.
We had stopped for a sundowner on Ximpalapala Crest, while this Wildebeest bull grazed nearby. He often looked up at us, in between nibbling on juicy clumps of white button sedge.
Patience rewarded us with an incredible sighting of this African Fish Eagle. He successfully swooped down and caught a Tilapia from a shallow pool along the Sand River. These birds have unbelievable eyesight, being able to spot fish from a distance beneath the water’s surface.
We all had our binoculars glued to our eyes, simply admiring the coat of a leopard as he lay in the shade. That ultimately became the inspiration for me to try and capture the same image with my camera.
A male cheetah briefly rests on the fallen over trunk of a Marula tree. He was watching a distant herd of wildebeest as they wandered through the grasslands.
One afternoon we were greeted with a beautiful scene of over 50 zebra and a large journey of giraffe all together. I found this to be an interesting composition as a young female giraffe walked behind a dazzle of zebra.
The Tsalala lioness – the princess of the Sand River. Here she rests on the warm granite rocks. She continues to thrive and is in great condition.
The Talamati Young Male is a seriously impressive beast. This particular morning we came across him as he walked for miles through the grasslands of Londolozi in search of his brother. They were reunited later that morning after what we assume was an altercation with the Ntsevu breakaway pride.
The oldest and biggest of the four Ntsevu breakaway males. He too, is becoming a seriously impressive lion. Only time will tell where these males eventually start to stake their claim.
A pair of Bateleur Eagles perch atop a dead leadwood tree, warming themselves up in the early morning sunlight.
The Ntomi Male Leopard wanders through a forest of Red Bushwillows during sunset. He casually glances up at a nearby tree squirrel who reacted to his presence with a series of distress calls.
We spent almost the entire last hour of daylight with a large herd of elephant. We sat and quietly watched them as they slowly drifted through the open grasslands, and then off into the twilight.
The Xinzele Female curls up and rests on a large termite mound.
One of the Nkuwa Female’s cubs calls for her after effortlessly scaling a large Leadwood tree – the result of a hyena getting too close. It is wonderful to see how well these cubs are doing. This is the 2:2 young male.
The beautiful Xinkhova Female rests in the boughs of a large Jackalberry tree. She has been providing some incredible leopard viewing in South East Londolozi lately, and is one of the most supremely relaxed leopards on the reserve.
The Xinzele Female finds a comfortable grassy termite mound, where she rested for a while. Lifting her head every so often to survey her surroundings.
The Nkuwa Female leopard, keeping an eye on a hyena wandering around in the distance – most likely following her scent in the hopes that she has a kill nearby.
The not so often seen Xitsalala Male leopard. It was a very brief sighting of him as we just managed to spot him slinking through the dense vegetation of the Sand River. He’s a young male and not yet territorial. Often these nomadic males will occupy small strips of vacant territory, trying to keep a low profile. Hence they are seen very infrequently.
A hippo bull gives a brief threat display, making it clear to all nearby that he’s the gatekeeper of Shingilana Dam.
The Ntomi Male glances upward at his impala kill, as his appetite starts to stir. The Sun had just risen, creating beautiful light across his face.
Trying their best to keep warm, some of the cubs from the Ntsevu pride huddle together in a tight little bundle. Unusual for this time of year, but it was a rather chilly and windy day. How many cubs can you see?
If any of these photographs have caught your interest, make sure to explore the Fine Art website, where you can acquire these images and a wide array of other captivating options.