If you don’t know about the colors of Africa, take a look…..
The Vomba Young Female pauses in her search for monitor lizards on the banks of the Sand River. As this young leopard continues her endeavors to improve her hunting, she seems to have found many of these reptiles along the river. Shortly after this photo was taken, she managed to nab one; however, her father, the Camp Pan Male, was close by and quickly stole it from her.
An impala carcass lingers in a tree. Usually, if a leopard abandons its kill, the vultures and tawny eagles are quick to descend and polish it off.
Two young elephant bulls tussle, full of themselves on a cold winter’s morning. Eventually, one of the females in the herd got so annoyed by the shenanigans that she chased both away, despite being much smaller than either of them.
This week we have had visits from several unknown leopards. This young male posed obligingly for us while hunting for monitor lizards.
The view from Winnis’ Clearing on a winter’s evening. A few days ago on the evening of the Winter Solstice, the sun set completely to the right of the escarpment’s ridge. As we wait for the Winter to conclude, we will watch as it sets further left each evening.
At only a few months old, the Wild Dog pups we have been viewing seem to have endless energy. There are seven youngsters in total, and the adults have been diligent about moving the den site often. This can make tracking them difficult, but will be vital for their survival, and our sightings of them are that much more special.
Confident and cocky, a young male leopard walks past a sunbathing raft of hippos.
An impala leaps aside Taylor’s Dam, while the rest of a herd and a Woolly-necked Stork look on.
The Marthly Male, clearly recognizable by his ‘mane’ as well as his torn right ear, patrols his territory south of the Sand River. In this sighting, he was being followed by the Vomba female, but seemed indifferent to her affections. Having watched the Camp Pan male and Dudley 5:5 Male fight over territory and mating privileges with her, perhaps he is cottoning on to her strategy…
After feeding on a giraffe carcass, the biggest of the three Mapogo males, who used to be the dominant coalition at Londolozi, came for a drink in the late afternoon light. Despite looking older than before, these three males are still in a strong condition.
A herd of buffalo rests during the heat of the day. With Winter firmly upon us, the grass is steadily drying out making it harder for the buffalo to supplement their nutritional needs on a daily basis.
An unknown female leopard and the Emsagwen Male growl at each other. The two were seen mating, which in leopard normally involves much hostility, but this female was particularly aggressive in her persistent efforts.
A family of Egyptian Geese have an evening feed at Shingalana Dam.
The alpha male of the Wild Dog pack shows off his prize: a duiker head. He seemed less interested in feeding on it than taunting the rest of the pack. It has been suggested that Wild Dogs use the head of their prey as a ‘trophy’ to play with once a kill has been made.
The unknown young male knew investigates unfamiliar grounds. We are hoping to see more of this stunningly beautiful leopard.
Our week started with dinner under a striking lunar eclipse. Although the African sky is breathtaking enough already, it was still a treat to witness this rare event.
A Brown-headed parrot pauses in the search for Torchwood fruits. This thorny tree bears its pecan-shaped fruits in winter, attracting many fruit-eating birds, vervet monkeys and elephants.
The Camp Pan Male watches from a termite mound for any signs of prey. We have been locating this male slightly further south of his usual territory ever since his fight with the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male. In this sighting, he came across the scent mark of another leopard and quietly investigated for a while, seemingly with a heightened concern for any intruders.
The Camp Pan Male, despite his battle wounds, is still magnificent as he walks into the morning light.
The Causeway, our gateway to the Northern side of the Sand River, at dawn.
A female cheetah watches nervously as vultures start to land, surrounding her and her impala kill. They would eventually chase her off, but luckily not before she had had a decent meal.
A White-backed vulture descends in pursuit of the cheetah’s prize.
The Sand River below, a Green-backed heron stands in wait for the winter sun to warm up before his day of fishing.
A young hyena cleans its mother, who had returned to nurse her cubs after a night of successful scavenging. We have been treated to wonderful sightings of these relaxed and curious youngsters at a den site which appears to be housing at least 10 cubs.
A Southern Pride Male poses sleepily in a red bushwillow thicket. Unable to cope with the aggressive dominance of the Majingilane Coalition, these young males have a long road ahead of them before they will be able to claim territory of their own.
A klipspringer catches the remains of the afternoon light. This diminutive antelope is a rare and elegant sight commonly found amongst the rocky boulders and dense surrounds.
The Ravenscourt Female and her cub turn in stride. The previous night, after her kill was stolen by hyenas, she had dispersed the cubs in the chaos. We were fortunate enough to find her the next morning as she collected both youngsters from their respective hiding spots.
The Ravenscourt Female and cub listen out for hyenas as they search for the second cub. They were right to do so: soon after this photo was taken, a young hyena ran out and tried to snatch the cub. Instinctually, the cub fled up a nearby tree, while the mother stood her ground and hissed until the hyena backed down.
The Ravenscourt cub dutifully runs to its mother after being called from its hideaway.
This Yellow-billed oxpecker, rare to the area, seemed as curious as his host about the disruption to their evening routine!
Two buffalo bulls have a disagreement at the waterhole.
The Majingilane males had caused havoc. After killing one of the Southern Pride young males they had run north and scattered the Tsalala lionesses and the four older cubs who were with them. The two lionesses and two cubs regrouped, however the remaining two were nowhere to be found.
We had not seen the Tsalala lions in a few days and were all but convinced that the death of the 2 missing cubs was inevitable.
So when we found tracks of the females on their hunt, we excitedly followed, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lionesses and see how they were faring.
When the tracks started to go back towards the Manyeleti River, clearly without success in hunting, we were a little disappointed but decided to check one final area.
One of the missing Tsalala Pride cubs by Talley Smith
On the eastern bank of the Manyeleti River, as we neared the ridge, little ears started to appear on the horizon… it wasn’t the females, but the older cubs! And all four together, coming to investigate the morning excitement.
The Tsalala Pride Cubs by Talley Smith
Thrilled at the reappearance of the lost two little ones, we had a brief look to make sure they were all healthy. We know they still face many further challenges, but for now we are relieved to know that they are alive and reunited with their mother and two siblings.
All four of the Tsalala Pride cubs together again by Talley Smith
We are still waiting for our first proper glimpse of the brand new cubs from the other Tsalala lioness. We have heard them vocalising in the thick wild date, riverine bushveld, however it is for them to decide when they are ready for us to see them.
The last week in pictures at Londolozi Game Reserve including a video of the spectacular Lunar Eclipse…
The Camp Pan Male watches a herd of impala, late afternoon at Londolozi. Still holding territory despite his conflict with the Dudley 5:5 Male, it is going to be important for this leopard to continue to hunt, kill and feed frequently.
The young lioness from the new Breakaway Sparta Pride stares into the winter sunset on the lookout for the Majingilane Coalition. Although she mated with a member of the coalition, there is still no certainty amongst this female and her ally.
A misty winters morning breaks at Londolozi.
A Bateluer waits warms himself in the cold of the Winters morning.
A herd of buffalo wallowing in the last remains of the summer mud.
Despite losing a battle to the Camp Pan male, the Dudley 5:5 Leopard sought revenge by stealing a kill back from him. The territorial pressure he is exerting on male leopards around him will only intensify as he grows bigger.
Egyptian Goose Ruffling Feathers
A herd of elephants drinks in the Sand River. With the many of the natural pans and water sources drying up, elephant herds are frequently seen by the river during the winter months.
A member of the Majingilane Coalition licks his paw after feeding on a kill which he stole from the Sparta Pride. Covered with hundreds of tiny barbs, a lions tongue will quickly tear open the meat they are feeding on and serves as a versatile tool for grooming.
The Majingilane Coalition is silhouetted in the early morning sunlight. Having chased and killed a member of the Southern Pride, their territorial dominance over much of Londolozi is only growing.
A member of the Majingilane coalition stops drinking to observe nearby commotion. Close to the Southern Pride, the coalition were to eventually find them and kill one of the younger members that evening.
The Maxabeni Female rests in a Marula tree close to her hoisted impala kill. Just having been chased by a clan of hyenas, her deft climbing skills allowed here to avoid losing her prey.
The Ravenscourt Female’s cub watches her mom stalk an impala. At only a few months of age, this cub and its sibling have been providing amazing game viewing for all who are afforded the opportunity to watch them.
The Ravenscourt Female stops to look back at her cubs. Agitated as to the nearby presence of hyenas, this female is on the constant lookout for both herself and her offspring.
The two Tsalala lionesses stand on top of a termite mound to look for their missing cubs. Shortly after finding and killing one of the Southern Pride young males, the Majingilane coalition moved north and chased these two lioness and their four cubs off a zebra kill. Two of the cubs were seen with the lionesses a few days later, whilst the remaining two have yet to be found…
A herd of Waterbuck run through the low flowing Sand River. Despite the threat of crocodiles, these antelope still frequent the river.
Renee Blodgett is the founder and editor of We Blog the World, which was created in 2008. Renee has lived in ten countries and traveled to nearly 80, giving her a unique understanding and appreciation of international cultures. She is ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes and referenced in two renowned books on how social media is changing how we live our lives.
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