A Spectacular African Day: From Cheetah Kills & Mating Hyenas to Confused Dung Beetles

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A very visual meander on a game reserve, all captured on film, some in photos, some not recorded at all, but all of it very special. This has honestly been one of the most intense and diverse weeks I have had in the bush in terms of the sightings. From new leopard cubs to cheetah kills, mating hyenas and some confused dung beetles. Enjoy nature in the southern African bush.

A flap-necked chameleon glances back through a beady eye. The eyes of these animals can swivel independently, maximising their field of vision to watch for both predators and prey.

A flap-necked chameleon glances back through a beady eye. The eyes of these animals can swivel independently, maximizing their field of vision to watch for both predators and prey. f6.3, 1/640, ISO 2500

The Sparta Pride had taken down a wildebeest during the evening, and Byron Serrao with Judas Ngomane found them on the banks of the Maxabene River, completely gorged, yet still picking the bones clean. The vivid red on the ribs is testament to how fresh the kill is, as the meat browns fairly quickly in the dry conditions.

The Sparta Pride had taken down a wildebeest during the evening, and Byron Serrao with Judas Ngomane found them on the banks of the Maxabene River, completely gorged, yet still picking the bones clean. The vivid red on the ribs is testament to how fresh the kill is, as the meat browns fairly quickly in the dry conditions. f2.8, 1/800, ISO 640

Swiftly becoming favourites of mine, the mother cheetah and cubs were hunting some impala on this morning, but after a couple of unsuccesful chases, the mother led the two youngsters into the shade for a rest, to hopefully try again in the evening.

Swiftly becoming favourites of mine, the mother cheetah and cubs were hunting some impala on this morning, but after a couple of unsuccesful chases, the mother led the two youngsters into the shade for a rest, to hopefully try again in the evening. f5, 1/1000, ISO 320

A wild dog ducks under the noses of some curious giraffes. Far too small to be a threat to them, the wild dog  and his pack were soon to head back up to the crest where the rest of their pack had taken down an impala yearling.

A wild dog ducks under the noses of some curious giraffes. Far too small to be a threat to them, the wild dog and his pack were soon to head back up to the crest where the rest of their pack had taken down an impala yearling. f2.8, 1/200, ISO 3200

His head and neck still covered in blood, one of the pack that has been around for a solid 8 days cools off in a pan near Fluffies Clearing.

His head and neck still covered in blood, one of the pack that has been around for a solid 8 days cools off in a pan near Fluffies Clearing. f2.8, 1/250, ISO 5000

A very large dung beetle rests casually on Mike Sithole's hand. We were surprised to see this beetle on the road, as they tend to go dormant in Winter, only emerging with the first rains of next summer.

A very large dung beetle rests casually on Mike Sithole’s hand. We were surprised to see this beetle on the road, as they tend to go dormant in Winter, only emerging with the first rains of next summer. f14, 1/320, ISO 2500

A female Egyptian goose leads her goslings through the duckweed and Stolonifera weeds on Shingalana Dam.

A female Egyptian goose leads her goslings through the duckweed and Ludwigia weeds on Shingalana Dam. f6.3, 1/640, ISO 640

Unfortunately for these hippos, the gentle breeze on this day had made all the duckweed accumulate on their side of the waterhole

Unfortunately for these hippos, the gentle breeze on this day had made all the duckweed accumulate on their side of the waterhole. f8, 1/640, ISO 320

A large male warthog eyes us out with an impala ewe in the background. This male was watching over a sounder of 11, the most warthogs I have seen in one place.

A large male warthog eyes us out with an impala ewe in the background. This male was watching over a sounder of 11, the most warthogs I have seen in one place. f8, 1/500, ISO 250

Hooded vultures clustered around the spot where one of the Tsalala breakaway lionesses and her two young cubs were feeding on an impala kill. We suspect that she had stolen it from the Notten's female, who was also found at the scene and who hung around for awhile, hoping to reclaim some of her lost prize.

Hooded vultures clustered around the spot where one of the Tsalala breakaway lionesses and her two young cubs were feeding on an impala kill. We suspect that she had stolen it from the Notten’s female leopard, who was also found at the scene and who hung around for awhile, hoping to reclaim some of her lost prize. f11, 1/500, ISO 500

The paw of one of the Sparta Pride sub-adults. They were so bloated with wildebeest meat on this morning that I have seldom seen more uncomfortable looking lions!

The paw of one of the Sparta Pride sub-adults. They were so bloated with wildebeest meat on this morning that I have seldom seen more uncomfortable looking lions! f4.5, 1/500, ISO 320

This white rhino cow was wallowing in Circuit Pan while her calf trotted around the edge, squeaking at everything in sight, including us.

This white rhino cow was wallowing in Circuit Pan while her calf trotted around the edge, squeaking at everything in sight, including us. f5.6, 1/800, ISO 800

Stopping for coffee is one of the best parts of a chilly Autumn morning drive. A biscuit had fallen from the coffee stand, and these Burchell's glossy starlings lost no time in descending to pick up the crumbs. It was a great opportunity to get low to the ground for a fresh angle.

Stopping for coffee is one of the best parts of a chilly Autumn morning drive. A biscuit had fallen from the coffee stand, and these Burchell’s glossy starlings lost no time in descending to pick up the crumbs. It was a great opportunity to get low to the ground for a fresh angle. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 320

Amongst the chaos of a large herd of buffalo, this cow still found time for a beauty wallow. Humans have been using mud-baths as treatments for thousands of years, particularly in areas where hot spring waters combine with volcanic ash. The benefits of mud baths are said to be many and varied, and the treatment can cost thousands of dollars in high-end spas around the world. This buffalo cow was quite content to use the mud to cool off and help rid her of some parasites. Best of all, she got it for free.

Amongst the chaos of a large herd of buffalo, this cow still found time for a beauty wallow. Humans have been using mud-baths as treatments for thousands of years, particularly in areas where hot spring waters combine with volcanic ash. The benefits of mud baths are said to be many and varied, and the treatment can cost thousands of dollars in high-end spas around the world. This buffalo cow was quite content to use the mud to cool off and help rid her of some parasites. Best of all, she got it for free. f2.8, 1/80, ISO 2000

A territorial wildebeest bull warily watches the Mashaba female leopard and her cub as they cross a clearing near camp.

A territorial wildebeest bull warily watches the Mashaba female leopard and her cub as they cross a clearing near camp. f11, 1/540, ISO 640

Photographed by James Tyrrell

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.
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