Leopard Diaries 1st - 8th March 2010
Autumn has arrived and the bush has started to change into its' winter coat, with leaves and grass all starting to change color. Game viewing this week has been relatively good with a number of leopard sightings and a cheetah being found. Lions have been somewhat scarce with only a single sighting of the Mapogo male lions being seen early on in the week.
The weather has been typical of this time of the year with mornings starting out cool but warming up towards midday. We have had a small amount of rain, mainly in the form of late afternoon thundershowers with just over 5 mm falling through the week. The bush however is still very dry and the major waterholes are going to be heavily utilized during the coming dry season.
Mbilo, the young
leopard female has been seen in her regular haunts around Big Dam. Early on a morning drive she was found feeding on a recently killed impala which was hoisted into a Jackalberry tree. We watched as she fed on the young impala eating everything including the bones which are easily digested by the leopard. During this sighting we noticed another leopard around the dam, this turned out to be Nyeleti who is being seen more regularly in her previous range as her cubs are now old enough to move longer distances with their mother.
Salayexe was seen on the fire-break with her two sub-adult cubs, the two cubs are now a year old and have been named, the young male is known as Rhulani and the young female as Nsele. The three appeared to have eaten recently and appeared healthy and in good condition. The cubs were very playful and we watched as they chased each other up and down trees which made for a very memorable sighting.
The Mapogo males were seen late one afternoon as they stalked a herd of buffalo, the two males had spent the day resting in a thicket but were up and alert as a herd of buffalo came into view. We could hardly see the lions as they crouched in the long grass waiting for the buffalo to move closer. The two lions had positioned themselves so that the buffalo would walk straight into them and this appeared to be a sure setup for a successful hunt. The buffalo, still unaware that they were being hunted moved towards a nearby waterhole. The lions focused their attention on a buffalo cow that had strayed from the main body of the herd and moved closer to get within striking distance. Unfortunately the lions were spotted and the herd moved away heading into some very thick vegetation and we lost the herd as it moved quickly away from the threat posed by the lions.
Elephant numbers have decreased considerably this week as the marula fruiting season has ended. Small herds have been seen once or twice this week with a few big bulls being found around the main waterholes.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
Buffalo numbers have been good on the property this week. A large herd numbering nearly five hundred animals was seen on a few occasions as they grazed through the area moving to the waterholes in the late evenings.
The crashes of rhinoceros have been seen on two occasions this week; the southern crash has been utilizing the area around the Manyeleti and Marakene confluence. The single male rhino was seen at Serengeti pan as he enjoyed a late afternoon mud wallow.
The four male cheetah were seen on the eastern boundary of our traversing resting under an acacia tree after feeding on an impala kill that the males had made earlier in the day. The cheetah were watching the approach of a black backed jackal, that had come to see if there was any scraps that were left after the cheetah had eaten their fill.
The Simbambili Guiding Team