This week we have once again been treated to some wonderful game viewing and it was the big cats who stole the show. Leopards have been seen on every drive this week with Salayexe and her two cubs being seen on two different kills. The Styx Pride arrived back into our traverse area early on in the week and have provided us with some great sightings. The large number of elephants has also been fantastic with herds being seen daily.
The weather has been particularly good, with some very warm days promising a very hot summer. We received an unexpected thunder storm on Friday evening. The bush was revived by this downpour and as reported last week the change of the seasons is upon us. Some early summer migrants have returned and there are a number of Swallows busy constructing nests in the lodge surrounds. Matt and Doc also saw the first francolin chicks of the new breeding season this week.
This week we have seen a number of leopards, including a return visitor to our traversing area.
Mvula a young male leopard, who left the area last year, has returned. He is turning into a very impressive male leopard and has been seen in the Nkoro section of our traversing on a number of occasions. He was also seen mating with a female earlier in the month.
Salayexe and her cubs are still doing very well and the female leopardess is providing plenty of meat for the growing cubs. We located her early one morning moving with the cubs, they appeared to be moving with a purpose and it was not long before they led us to a bushbuck kill hoisted into the branches of a large Jackalberry Tree. The young male cub in his exuberance managed to dislodge the carcass from the branches and it fell to the ground. It was fed upon by all three of the leopards.
The next sighting of Salayexe proved how tenacious this young mother is. Guides found the leopard after being alerted to her presence by the alarm calls of a troop of vervet monkeys. It was only on closer inspection that it was discovered that she had in fact made a kill. A large impala ram was hidden in the grass next to the leopard. The noise of the kill and the alarm calls of the monkeys had unfortunately alerted not only us but also the attention of a number of spotted hyenas, who wasted no time in running in to appropriate the leopards kill.
The leopard made a brave attempt to get the kill into the branches of a nearby tree, it was just too heavy though and the carcass and leopard fell to the floor in an undignified heap. The hyena which had, by this time, arrived and was waiting at the base of the tree then moved in and grabbed the kill. Salayexe grabbed the opposite end and a brief tug-of-war took place. The hyena being bigger won and the leopardess was left with a very small piece of the kill which she took into the branches of a nearby tree. The hyena fed on a large portion of the carcass and moved off carrying the neck and head of the impala. Salayexe then followed them utilising the scent trail left by the carcass as it was dragged away to locate and eventually win back the remainder of the carcass from the lone hyena who had stolen it. This she put into a dense milkberry tree where she and the cubs fed off the remains for the next two days.
The Styx Pride has provided us with the bulk of our lion viewing this week as they have been in the concession since Tuesday. The pride is still made doing well and the five sub-adult cubs are doing well. They have made only one kill this week which was a young wildebeest.They were seen chasing a herd of buffalo late one night through one of our open areas and have been following the herd for the last few days. We have not however found any evidence so far that they have managed to bring down one of these large bovids.
Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino
There have also been regular sightings of a herd of approximately one hundred and fifty buffalo as they have moved from water source to water source through the concession. Elephant numbers are still high with the largest of the herds once again numbering upward of sixty animals. Rhinoceros have been seen almost daily with the two dominant bulls, Short Horns and the Londolozi Bull being seen in the company of a number of different cows and calves throughout the week. The three wild dogs in the eastern part of our traversing have also been seen this week. They were found late one afternoon feeding on an impala they had caught.
The Simbambili Guiding Team...