Leopard Diaries 22nd - 28th November 2010
What a week of game viewing we have had, with the return of elephants and lions as well as some fantastic leopard interactions!
The weather has been great with a substantial amount of rain falling late in the week, causing the river in front of the lodge to flow briefly. The beauty of an African thunderstorm is still something that we all enjoy.
The return of additional summer migrant birds has made for great bird watching with Lesser Grey Shrikes
and European Rollers
arriving back through the course of the week. We have also noticed that the Wahlberg's Eagles
all have young in the nests we have observed. Leopard
We came across two different leopard in one location on an afternoon drive, these two leopard turned out to be Salayexe
and Nyeleti's Female Cub
, the younger leopard had been chased up into the top most branches of a nearby tree after a skirmish with the territorial leopard female. Salayexe
had taken up a position at the base of the tree and would growl at any movement from the young leopard above her. Nsele
was found on a morning drive with a young impala ram kill which she had stashed into the branches of a large Sheperd's Tree
. This young female leopard has proved to be a good hunter and is easily moving towards the solitary adult life of these elusive spotted cats. The surprise of the day was when we found her brother Rhulani
in the vicinity of the kill and owing to his bigger size he managed to chase the smaller leopard female from her prize.
The highlight of our leopard viewing this week has been the regular sighting of Shadow
and her two young cubs. The leopard family has been seen on most days this week and all three appear to be healthy and the female leopard is providing a regular supply of meat for the growing cubs. The recent impala "baby boom" is providing the family with small but regular meals.
It was with some excitement that we found and followed two sets of fresh lion tracks early on Wednesday morning. The tracks appeared to be those of two young male lions and it did not take us long to locate the two Nxuhuma
male lions as they moved through the riverline close to the lodge. The pair of young males had been chasing a group of buffalo bulls and it appeared that they had still not caught one of their intended prey. The lion pair are not completely relaxed in the presence of the game drive vehicles and we approached with caution. The pair moved off and as we sat with a herd of elephant in the same area the lion pair ran through the herd in pursuit of a young buffalo bull, the buffalo ran off and the lions sensing the unease of the elephants moved away into some thicker bush.
These two males were relocated on the following day in the same vicinity but had still not fed and we watched as they attempted to stalk into a herd of zebra but with no success.
The five Tsalala
pride lionesses were also seen this week. They were spotted as they attempted to hunt a zebra herd on our southern boundary but the attempt was unsuccessful and the lions decided to rest and wait for nightfall to increase their chances of making a kill under the cover of darkness. The pride was again found on Sunday as they huddled together waiting out the rain that had fallen all morning Elephant
A large herd of elephants spent the best part of two days moving through the property; the herd numbered approximately twenty and provided us with some good viewing. We have also had a few large bulls moving into the area and it looks like the elephant are finally returning to the northern Sabi-Sands. Buffalo & Rhinoceros
Buffalo numbers have been relatively low with a few of the resident bulls providing us with the majority of the sightings this week. The herds have been drawn further south into the reserve onto the recently burnt areas which have a nutritious flush of new grass due to the rains.
Rhinoceros sightings have been great with a number of rhinoceros being seen on most drives this week.
The Simbambili Guiding & Tracking Team