Leopard Diaries 14th - 20th December 2009
The game viewing this week has been fantastic, we have been lucky to have had a number of fantastic predator sightings. Lion, leopard and wild dogs have all been seen over the course of the week.
A large number of elephant and buffalo have also been on the property. White Rhinoceros have been seen daily and this has made game drives really rewarding.
The weather has been great with some very hot and humid days being experienced. We have had two rain showers this week with a total of 50 millimetres of rain falling. Dinner on Sunday evening was beautifully highlighted by a large electrical storm lighting up the night sky. Leopard Nyeleti
three cubs were seen for two days this week, as they played and rested in the Manyeleti riverine. The three cubs are growing up well and appear to be healthy and all three are relaxed in the presence of the vehicles. The trio entertained us for well over an hour one morning as they stalked and chased each other up and down the river bed.
The sighting of a new female leopard in the area had us all hoping to get a glimpse of this new visitor. The leopard female appears to be an older female and is utilising the area around Rhino Pan
. She was found in the area over a three day period and was seen on a young impala kill. Salayexe
and her two cubs were found early one morning on an impala kill. This was quickly stolen by a hyena that ran in and appropriated the carcass. The full grown impala ram carcass was too large to hoist into a tree and the leopards had to wait until later in the day to reclaim the remains of the carcass from an hyena. Mbilo
and the old female Safari
had an altercation near our southern boundary. The younger of the two leopard females, Mbilo,
had managed to bring down an impala ewe and to hoist the carcass into the branches of a large marula tree. The commotion caused by the kill had attracted the attention of Safari
who approached and chased the young leopard away from the kill. The pair spent the following two days in the area although it appears that there was never an actual physical confrontation between the two cats. Lion
The highlight of this week's game viewing has been the number of lion sightings that we have enjoyed with two different prides being found in our traversing area.
The Windmill Pride,
were found early on in the week with a freshly killed buffalo. The pride numbering eight lions fed off the carcass before being chased off by two large male lions that move into the area from the Manyeleti reserve.
These males fed on the buffalo carcass for the following three days, chasing the young males of the Windmill Pride
who are rapidly approaching independence from the pride. ¬†The pride however seems to have regrouped and their tracks were seen heading east into the Kruger National Park.
The Styx Pride
made an unexpected return to our property when they were found feeding on a wildebeest kill one morning. The pride is made up of seven individual lions, three lionesses, three sub adult lionesses and a young male lion. They have spent the week moving around the northern section of our traversing.
The Tsalala Pride
also made a brief appearance one morning being found feeding on the remains of a wildebeest kill that they had made on one of the airstrips. They moved south and out of our property later that day. The eight cubs are all still well and are growing almost daily as their mothers provide them with a constant source of meat. The wildebeest have all calved recently and this has added to the bonus that summertime brings for most predators. Elephant
Large numbers of elephant were present this week with all of the larger herds utilising the mud wallows to cool off during the hot weather that has been experienced. The sight of a large herd of elephants enjoying a mud bath is one of the highlights of any safari. The excitement that ripples through the herd as they move toward water and the relief it will bring from the heat is almost palpable. The young elephant as with children cannot resist a good play session in the mud and often have to be dragged away from the water by their mothers as they gather the herd together to move off and feed. Buffalo and Rhinoceros
Buffalo have been seen daily this week with the resident bulls once again being found easing away the days submerged in a cool mud wallow or waterhole, often with only their eyes and nostrils protruding out of the water!!
White rhinoceros have been found most afternoons as they move to the waterholes or temporary pans to wallow or slake their thirst. Once again the tracks of a black rhinoceros were found on the property and it is only a matter of time before we get a glimpse of this rare pachyderm. Wild Dog
A Pack of six dogs was spotted moving over one of the airstrips in the area, it appeared that they were hunting and it was not long before the excited yips of feeding dogs were heard.
We approached to find the pack feeding on an impala lamb. The dogs soon finished the small kill and moved away, they entered an area with very dense bush and we could not follow any further.
We hope that you have a safe and festive Christmas
The Simbambili Guiding Team