Londolozi Part 2

08th June 2015
Part 2 of my Private Photo Safari with Alex and Oxsana that I hosted for Van Bommel Safaris.

That afternoon we decided to go back to the Mashaba young female and her kill in the tree to see what had happened during the day, when we got there the young Leopard was sleeping in the shade and the remains of the Impala kill still in the tree.

We got ourselves into a good position and took some portrait images of the Leopard and practiced our fill flash technique with some good results, I also tried some wireless flash to add light from a different direction and I was quite happy with the results.

For the remainder of the afternoon we watched the leopard as she gradually woke up as the sun started to set, we positioned ourselves so that when the Leopard decided to climb the tree we would be in a good place to photograph her as she climbed upwards, we got set up and took some test images using fill flash, then unexpectedly a Hyena strolled onto the scene and in a flash the Young Mashaba female jumped up and ran to the tree and shot up it in a instant, fortunately I had prepared my camera settings and I managed to get one image of her before the disappeared up into the leaves and branches.

We decided to leave the Leopard up in the tree and slowly made our way home, along the way we found a Fiery necked Nightjar sitting on the road waiting to catch insects, we used this opportunity to practice our low light photography and we lay down on the ground next to the vehicle using the beanbags for support and got some great low angle images of the Nightjar in the spotlight. We then returned back to the lodge.

The following morning we decided to head up to the north of Londolozi and search for the Tsalala pride of Lions, it was a good plan and after about 15 minutes we found tracks of the pride, after tracking them for about 5 minutes we found them watching a lone impala in the distance.

For the next 90 minutes we followed the Tsalala pride as they walked through the bush sometimes playing with each other but mostly scouring the bush for a potential meal, at one point a young male Lion climbed a pushed over tree to scan the surrounding area, going up was easier than coming down and it was quite comical watching the young Lion sorting out his footing but eventually he down safely.

The Lions had been moving for some time and they were starting to stop for short periods listening and resting, one young Lion used a Termite mound as a vantage point before the pride continued on their Northward trip.

Eventually the Lions got to the Northern most boundary of Londolozi where they found a nice patch of shade and they lay down to sleep, we also decided at this point it was time to stretch our legs and we went for a quick coffee break.
The rest of the morning was uneventful and we returned back to the lodge for breakfast and a session of Lightroom in the creative hub.

That afternoon we went in search of Leopards, we scoured the area but were unable to find any tracks or sign of any Leopards, we did bump into a couple of Male Nyala that were squaring off against each other and it was interesting watching them as they circled each other displaying with the hair on the backs raised.

Later on that evening after our drinks stop we found the Mashaba young Female leopard, she was walking down a small drainage system and she spotted a scrub Hare that the briefly chased but missed, the Leopard continued onto a clearing where we got a few Images of her, the Young Leopard was searching for a meal and she spotted a herd of Impala in the distance and she started to stalk them, we watched from a distance until we could not see her anymore, the Impalas gave the alarm and the stalk was over, she had been spotted and the Leopard walked off with the Impalas angrily shouting the alarm behind her.

By now it was quite late and we headed back to camp for another wonderful Boma dinner.
The following morning was my last drive with Alex and Oxsana and we again tried to find a Leopard, it was not long before the four four Male leopard was found and we went to have a look at him, this beautiful young Male is a relative new comer to Londolozi and he stuck to the thickets most of the time which made the photography very difficult, we did a few images of him but we finally decided to leave him and try and find a camera friendly Leopard.

About 20 minutes later some of the other rangers had found the Tamboti female Leopard, she had made a kill and we went to have a look, the Leopard had chosen a good spot to hide her kill and we only managed to get a very short glimpse of her as she groomed herself after feeding, the Leopard then found a nice thick bush to sleep behind, her tummy full and her kill stashed safely in a tree.

On our way back to camp we photographed a herd of Impala at the edge of a dam nervously wanting to have a drink as well as a African Darter perched on a dead branch in the water, after a great time at Londolozi it was time to say goodbye to Alex and Oxsana and for me to make my way home.

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