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10 May to 17 May 2009

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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10 May to 17 May 2009

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10 May to 17 May 2009 

 

We have changed over to our winter time schedule with the early morning drives departing just before sunrise at 06h00 and the afternoon drives departing at 15h30 to allow for the earlier sunset. The mornings have been cold with average temperatures of between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius, while the afternoon drives have been comfortable with lovely blue skies and temperatures averaging 29 degrees Celsius. We have seen an increasing amount of general game as the animals starts to concentrate around the remaining water sources in the area. There have been an abundance of giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, nyala, kudu and waterbuck.

 

A new hyena den has been found with at least 4 pups being seen. The clan of hyena has been very active in the area surrounding Simbambili Lodge and we hear them calling every night. These often misunderstood predators have to be one of the most successful in our area and we were witness to this on one drive this week as we watched the local clan, compete with the Nxuhuma pride, over the remains of a buffalo kill.

 

Simbambili means "the place of two lions", and this week we have definitely been the place of two lion prides!!!! Both the Nxuhuma Pride and the Styx Pride have been seen on our traversing area. The Styx Pride has not moved back to their core area out of fear that their cubs may be killed as two of the Mapogo Male lions have taken over their territory. Following the pride at sunset one afternoon we watched in amazement as a lioness and then her two cubs climbed into and lazed in the branches of large Marula tree. This behavior is definitely seen more regularly in leopard and was an absolute treat for the guides and our guests.

 

The Nxuhuma Pride has been our star attraction over the last week and half. The sighting of the week happened just after dark on Thursday night. Sitting in camp we heard a buffalo give a distress call out near the waterhole and on following up Matt and Doctor found the entire pride in the process of killing an adult buffalo cow!! One of the more experienced lionesses had the buffalo by the muzzle and was covering its mouth and nose so suffocating it in the process. The pride settled down to feed and we were hoping that they would be present for the next day or two with such a big meal. This was not too be the case because 10 hungry lions made short work of the kill and left the remains which were mostly skin and bone to the hyena clan the next morning!

 

Leopards have been relatively difficult to find this week and this could be attributed to the increased lion presence in the area. We have however seen the females Kurula, Salayexe and Safari during the week. Salayexe was seen on an impala kill which she had stashed in the high branches of a Buffalo Thorn tree. She finished the meat and then moved off in a westerly direction back to her den site. We are all eagerly waiting for the first glimpse of her new cubs!! Lazarus and Lucky were lucky enough to watch a large male leopard finish off the remains of a scrub hare that he had killed. This is was an unidentified male in the eastern part of our traversing area although he appeared well fed and relaxed with the vehicle presence. Speaking to the rangers from our neighbouring property we were able to find out that 2 days earlier this male leopard had been seen feeding on an aardvark!!

 

 

Rhino have been seen in small crashes of between 3 and 7 individuals. 2 large herds of buffalo have been moving through the area and one herd was seen in the vicinity of Simbambili Dam for 2 days. The main calving time for buffalo is at its peak in the beginning of winter and the number of chocolate brown calves has increased daily. Elephant have been few and far between with a few bulls being seen as they move to and from the bigger water sources.

 

Regards

 

The Simbambili Team...

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