About Rich Laburn
Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.
Latest Posts by Rich Laburn
November began with the moving story of an elephant herd in the southern African bush– they lifted a wire snare with their trunks, caught around a young elephant’s foot. Their actions help to alleviate the tight pull of the snare, as seen below.
The action continued when two hippo bulls fought one another in a battle for territory – a sequence that is a reminder of the brutal force that these creatures are capable of.
Lastly, and more recently, we watched in awe as a nyala gave birth in the confines of Varty Camp, a glimpse into the intimate exchange between a mother and baby.
A brave leap. Lucien Beaumont
Two hippo bulls take each other on in a fight of epic proportions. Territorial males will allow other males in their waterholes as long as they show signs of subservience and typically a bit of yawning, flicking of dung and honking is enough to decide who the boss is before any conflict is actually needed. However, in this case, the two opponents were apparently evenly matched and both were vying for territoriality. Amy Attenborough
The effective power of black and white. Bruno Bervoets
The cleaning process was incredibly special to witness. Amy Attenborough
Under a starry Londolozi sky. Steve Gordon
Even the youngest elephants were seen helping. This one was desperately sprinting down the road trying to keep up and pull branches off the wire as it bounced down the road. Amy Attenborough
Ears alert as the Scar Nose male hears the distant call of a rival male. Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat
Intentions. Bruno Bervoets
The Experiment. Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat
A loving moment during feeding. Phil Judd
Photographed by: Lucien Beaumont, Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat, Phil Judd, Bruno Bervoets, Steve Gordon and Amy Attenborough.
When one envisions the perfect African Safari, images of the Big Five tickle the imagination, and for a good reason! The uncanny power of lions and leopards and their fascinating lives, leave us in awe. But behind the scenes a much larger force plays an invaluable role. They might not be as beautiful, majestic or nearly as large as these animals, but their role in the well being of a healthy ecosystem outweighs the Big Five ten fold.
White backed Vultures
Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat
“Hawk-eyed” is a byword for excellent vision and observation. “Vulture-eyed” gives new meaning to the word. These phenomenal birds are able to spot a three centimeter object at over a kilometre away.
Vultures, like hyenas have been made out to be ‘evil’ for all the wrong reasons. Both feed on carrion or animals on the verge of dying – thereby classifying them as scavengers.
They are perfectly adapted to perform these tasks with their exceptional eyesight (second to none), strong bills and ability to utilize thermals (a vortex of warm rising air) to soar high above the ground without expending too much energy in search of food. One of their most important tasks is to control the spread of anthrax. They are able to feed on infected meat, which their extremely corrosive digestive system breaks down. They are able to consume 20% of their bodyweight in one sitting thereby minimising the spread of this deadly disease.
The dung beetles are out in swarms and make for very exciting sightings in the summer months. Generally you will see a dung ball being rolled by the male, with the female clinging to the side.
Dung beetles (coprophages, which means feces eaters – although some do feed on mushrooms and rotting vegetation), are principle members of the clean-up crew of the bushveld, able to carry off and scatter a pile of dung in an amazingly short time.
Dung beetles play a remarkable role in the ecological balance of Londolozi. By burying dung (in which they also lay their eggs) they effectively aerate, fertilize and enhance the structure of soils. They also indirectly protect other animals by removing balls of dung which, if left, could provide habitat for various pests, such as flies. Their work results in a healthy environment.
The hyena has traditionally been feared and loathed as the embodiment of evil. Let’s try and change the perception of this astonishing animal. Thanks to its acute eyesight, excellent sense of smell, and also a social way of life, hyenas are one of the most skilful and dangerous predators. They are however more revered for their ability to utilize every last scrap or bone of a carcass.
Their jaws and teeth are capable of crunching the densest bone, which they are able to digest (only a handful of other animals are capable of doing this) Thereby taking advantage of proteins and calcium that other animals simply can’t eat.
By having these wonderful olfactory capabilities, hyenas just like the rest of the clean up crew creates a safer, cleaner bush environment for us to enjoy.
Contributed by Werner Breedt
Summer is always a great time in the African bush. Full of new borns, the migrant birds are back and the contrasting colours of the natural vegetation is always a beautiful sight.
After a night of unsuccessful hunting a hungry lioness of the Tsalala pride watches as vultures circle overhead.
The Tamboti female catches her breath after being chased by a herd of elephants during the afternoon heat.
A closeup of the striking painted reed frog.
The Piva young male asserting his dominance.
This white-crowned lapwing was seen wading through the waters of the Sand River.
I used this image to experiment with post-processing and while this image was taken in the day, I managed to create the effect of a night scene.
Often confused with a yawn this male hippo is actually showing his dominance.
This young female cheetah amused us with her playful nature and her general excitement for life.
I got some good macro shots of this little fella – the painted reed frog.
The Goliath heron patiently awaiting an easy meal in the Sand River.
The Nanga young male shows up beautifully in this backlight.
There’s no better way to start your day than with a beautiful sunrise.
Written and Photographed by: Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat
As the rains become more regular, we slowly start to accept the fact that we might not end every drive bone dry but that has not in any way put a dampener on the anticipation of what is to be experienced out at this time of year. With just about every outing into the South African bush, summer migrant bird species are being seen for the first time in months as well as other new arrivals like the flood of impala lambs appearing throughout the property.
This is not only a great boost for the impala numbers but offers numerous opportunities to see the predators at work. Exciting viewing is an understatement with many possible hunting opportunities presenting themselves.
The Mashaba female desperately flirts with the Marthly male. Despite all her attempts he was not at all interested in mating and snarled and hissed at her to show her his displeasure. Amy Attenborough
The Mashaba female attempts to sneak up on a herd of unsuspecting impala. The female impala have just begun to drop their lambs, making them the easiest prey at the moment. Amy Attenborough
A hippo bull rests while a red-billed oxpecker shouts noisily from his back. These oxpeckers will often use the hippos as platforms from which they can drink. Amy Attenborough
A young hyena curiously explores a dry mud wallow close tho their den site. Simon Smit
The Marthly male leopard on a termite mound that he regularly visits in hope of preying on the warthogs that call this mound home. Simon Smit
Professional, friend and teacher Foster. Simon Smit
An event that I will never get tired of seeing, a herd crossing the Sand River. Simon Smit
Photographing close ups of elephants is something I thoroughly enjoy. Simon Smit
An incredibly beautiful leopard in the heart of her breathtaking territory, the Tutlwa female with Ximpalapala koppie as a back drop. Simon Smit
A slightly different angle on the gorgeous lilac breasted roller. The vibrancy of its plumage and the light in its eyes are what make the image for me. Amy Attenborough
The Tutlwa Female drinks from the Sand River. High prey density, thick cover, ideal den sites and permanent water make this the most sought after territory for both male and female leopards. Amy Attenborough
An African Jacana sprints across the algae stained water of Camp Pan. They have incredibly long toes and large feet, which enable them to run on vegetation and give them the nickname of ‘the Jesus bird’ or ‘lily trotter’. Amy Attenborough
Two of the young lionesses from the Tsalala Pride cuddle each other during an afternoon sleep. Both these lionesses will stay with their mothers as they get older and are in fact the future of this pride. Amy Attenborough
A wild dog grabs a recently caught Impala by its muzzle. Despite appearances, wild dog kills are in fact rather ‘humane’. The pack tears at the stomach of the impala and it dies from shock and blood loss and because the pack eats so quickly, the process is much faster than the suffocation technique used by the big cats.
A water monitor moves about in the early morning sun. They are certainly not fussy eaters but some of its favoured food items include birds’ eggs, frogs, young chicks, small mammals and carrion. Amy Attenborough
Wild dogs epitomise play and movement. They seem to have endless energy and time spent with them is always fun.
Hanging on but wising up, the Majingilane coalition is spending more time together as a unit. Simon Smit
Written by Simon Smit
Photographed by: Simon Smit and Amy Attenborough
Three years ago, I found myself staring at a huge male lion in southern Africa, my face less than a metre away from his… and I wasn’t in a circus but lying in jeep; my camera barely jutting out from the customized photography gap in the side of the vehicle. What a spectacular sight to have one of the Majingilane brothers walk past my face…since then, I have had many magical moments in the bush thanks to great rangers and trackers.
Some travellers wait their whole lives to see this but we were privileged to spend precious moments with a family of wild dogs!
To keep in tempo, we observed at dusk, a leopard, chasing impalas and taking with her the last rays of sunshine as she disappeared alongside a hill… We were fortunate to see a few leopards during our stay as seen below.
The zebras and the giraffes were waiting for us and showing off their reflections in the lake. An African fish eagle, invited us to a spot of fishing. We gazed at the elephants and the rhinos, sipping Amarula infused hot chocolate (it is in fact forbidden to consume hot chocolate without Amarula in South Africa!)
To finish in style, we came across an amazing scene: two leopards mating while a third finished his lunch in a nearby tree. Meanwhile, a bold hyena, completely unimpressed by the goings-on, neared the leopards to claim her part of the feast (in fact the entire spread, seeing as she then proceeded to attack each leopard in turn to steal their meal!)
Written and Photographed by: Bruno Bervoets
Water can be an incredible medium to shoot wildlife photographs because of its importance to animals in the African bush or anywhere in nature really. Water sustains but also the character it can add to what you are about to capture.
There are one or two things to consider that could possibly enhance your image when you come across a wildlife subject around water.
A perfectly symmetrical reflection of one of the young Tsalala lions. Captured as soon as it started drinking to try and avoid the water surface being disturbed by the lion lapping it up.
An undisturbed body of water is a powerful tool and something that can add huge value to an image. Keep this in mind and be careful when composing shots with the option of a reflection – try not to cut this off.
Landscapes can be equally appealing.
The patterns and textures created by droplets and splashes can be captured in many different ways. A high shutter speed is necessary to freeze the droplets as gravity takes hold and they begin to fall. If there is a great deal of movement with a subject crossing or playing in water, it can easily become a touch blurred and lose effect unless that is the intent. A very slow shutter speed, especially under overcast conditions can be effective.
Freezing droplets in bright light is very effective.
A moment like this is best captured using a high shutter speed, to freeze the playful gesture of this elephant just enjoying the water.
Tough low light conditions forced me to experiment a little. The water almost has a firework effect to it as it moves along while the shutter stays open a fraction.
A similar effect in the same sighting.
As the rains continue to fall small puddles will become more and more prevalent in the bush. These provide easy access to water for animals wanting to quench their thirst and amazing opportunities for us to capture them drinking.
The marthly male quenching his thirst. Make sure to level the water in your photo. Eyes in photography try and aim to have eye contact and your subject’s tongue out in a drinking shot.
Written and photographed by Simon Smit
Anna writes in her quest to find the National Dish of Australia on her food tour through the country: “Not to say that I hadn’t eaten an incredible amount of seriously delicious and mouth-watering food, I was still looking for a national dish from the Land Down Under – a dish that was synonymous with the country, a dish that anyone worldwide would know was affiliated with Australia – so, I headed off to Perth after Melbourne and Sydney…”
Perth is a vibrant city home to the beautiful Kings Park – an estuary of green grass, indigenous trees and plants and exotic birdlife – an idyllic place to have a picnic.
I was fortunate to have a brilliant tour guide, in the form of my brother Paul! Together with his family we headed off to the Swan River Valley where an entire food haven awaited. For any foodie or wine fundi, take a day in Perth to amble through the city’s amazing estates.
I discovered an immense liking for Sauvignon Blanc Semillon whilst in Perth, so we started at Houghton Wines – Houghton Winery has been proudly producing award-winning Western Australian wines for over 175 years.
After tasting their selection we then headed off to The Nougat Company, The HoneyBee, Whistler Chocolate and The Cheese Barrell, stopping for a delicious Iced Coffee at Yahava.
Houghton Wines – delicious Sauvignon Blanc
Any chocolate you could imagine…
Left: A few tasters – why not? Right: Nougat making – a very popular sweet in Australia!
Left: Honey Tasting in the Swan Valley – an amazing experience. Right: Anna’s happy place – a chocolate factory!
Meredith Chevre, Tarago Jensen Red & Tarago Shadows of Blue from Victoria and a fabulous Healy’s Pyengana Cheddar from Pyengana, Tasmania.
One of my favourite things to eat is a good cheese, and I wasn’t disappointed at the Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley. We had two different platters with a “Flight of Australian Wines” – the cheese was distinctly different in flavour to any South African Cheese I’d ever tasted.
As many of you will know, I’m a pushover for a good supermarket or food market. A brand new Coles had opened in Joondalup and as the main sponsor of Masterchef Food items, I had to go check it out.
Right: Delicious specials
Left: Preparing for a feast! Right: Lamb and Ricotta tortellini
Left: Fried Three cheese gnocchi with an Arrabbiata dip Right: Prawn linguine – delicious with a touch of chilli
Left: The Fish Plank. Right: Pickles, green chillies, caperberries and olives
Left: Fantastic bread baskets – $1 is donated to the homeless. Right: Beetroot Cured Salmon
Australian Lamb chops grilled under a brick with a pickled mint, tarragon and red onion salad and lemon dressing
Still on my venture for the ultimate Australian dish, and after an exhausting two hours in Coles, up and down every aisle checking out the many different varieties of food, it was time to head off to try the Grill’d burger – a burger joint that serves up “healthy burgers”.
Grill’d has a simple mission – to make burgers good. They use 100% grass fed lean beef and lamb that is free from all added antibiotics and hormones – just like their chicken. After having the lamb burger with beetroot relish (a rather common Australian combination it seems!) I did not disagree – it was delicious.
The delicious lamb burger
Outside the new Coles in Joondalup – Anna’s favourite place
Asparagus on ice
Scouting For Australia’s National Dish
My next stop was at Jamie Oliver’s Italian in the city centre of Perth. What a treat to get a booking and a bigger treat to dine with my brother who is also a great foodie. As I am not a great decision maker when it comes to delicious food, we ordered a selection of dishes. I’d heard about the Lamb Tortellini and the Seafood Pasta – this did not disappoint.
One of the great things about Perth is how many beautiful places you can visit all within 30 minutes to an hour’s drive.
On my last Saturday, we headed to the town of Fremantle – an amazing town steeped in culture. A quick train ride from the city and we started to stroll down the streets – I was on a mission to find the Organic market – only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I did…
Mmmmm Strawberry dipped in chocolate
Fruits, vegetables and pricy biltong Down Under!
Reflections of the Trip
As I flew back from Australia after an incredible Food Safari, I sat and thought again – what is Australia’s National Dish? Had I found it? Is there one? I mentioned that I had spoken to many Aussie locals about this, they also weren’t quite sure. These were a few suggestions…
Lamingtons, Lamb, Beetroot, Coleslaw, Pies, Tim Tams, Rocky Road?
In conclusion I came up with the notion that there is NO actual national dish of Australia!
Australia has the most incredible collection of fusion foods – you can enjoy Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian or Mexican basically all on one street.
In my opinion, I would say that the only “food” synonymous with Australia is the Tim Tam and even this humble chocolate biscuit has been hyped up by celebrity chefs such as Adrian Zumba – Red Velvet, Turkish Delight and Orange are some of the new flavours.
Written and Photographed by: Anna Ridgewell
I’m in foodie heaven in Sydney Australia. After I wandered around the city checking out the trends, the bakery’s, the markets and the many Macaroon shops, I stopped in at Baroque Pantry for a Black Truffle Cheeseburger which was delicious. Sipping on some good Australian wine I later watched the flurry of activity from my spot at the Opera Bar situated below the Sydney Opera house.
Then, one of my dreams came true! I was fortunate to be taken to Matt Moran’s Chiswick Restaurant and it just so happened he was there! (Thank you Helen and Harry!) As well as meeting him, we dined on incredible food ending with Fresh Mint Tea from the gardens surrounding the restaurant.
With a grin the size of a Cheshire cat! Matt Moran and Anna!
Kingfish Sashimi, Sesame, Yuzu and Coriander – due to my sesame allergy it was served on the side!
Seared scallops, celeriac, fresh Western Australia truffle
Roast pork belly, toasted barley, shallot dressing
Crispy fired quail, lime, shallot, ginger – also known as KFQ! Highly delicious.
Whole roasted rainbow trout, garden herbs, baby leeks.
65 Ocean Street
Woollahra, NSW 2025
88 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Contributed by Anna Ridgewell