Leopard Diaries 25th January - 31st January
The lowveld has experienced some very hot and humid days this week with a number of rain showers. February is one of the months when we receive a large portion of our rainfall and as we have already received just short of four hundred millimetres of rain thus far, it looks as if we are going to have a good rainfall year. The rainfall should carry us through a major portion of the dry season with all of the temporary pans and permanent waterholes holding good volumes of water. Game viewing has been good although the lush vegetation and tall grass has made finding game a little more difficult. We have started to have more regular sightings of the female leopard Nyeleti and her three cubs, Nyeleti is once again utilising a greater portion of her northern range.
Salayexe and her cubs were seen on one rainy morning as they finished an impala carcass that had been killed the previous evening. The cubs are now approaching their first birthday and Salayexe is starting to leave them on their own for extended periods. She is also starting to show more signs of aggression to the cubs and we are certain that this is the start of the separation when the cubs will be left to their own independence by their mother. Nyeleti has three younger cubs that are still very reliant on their mother for all of their meals and the female leopard has been a more than capable provider. The three cubs, two of which are male and one a female are all healthy and appear to be flourishing. They were seen on three occasions this week one of which was definitely the highlight of the weeks sightings. Nyeleti had managed to kill a bushbuck and had brought the three cubs back to the kill to feed. The leopards were unfortunately not going to get a good meal as two spotted hyena arrived. They managed to steal the kill from the leopards, but not before a show of real aggression from the female leopard!
The Styx pride were spotted on two occasions this week, both sightings were of them resting full bellied and content on the airstrip of one of the camps in the eastern half of our traversing. The pride appears to be settling down and the sub adult lions seem to be taking a bigger part in the hunts which is contributing to a more successful pride.
Elephant have been found on every drive this week, with large herds moving back into the area to take advantage of the bumper marula fruiting season. The herds have spent considerable time moving from fruiting tree to fruiting tree, feeding on the delicious seasonal bounty that these fruits provide. The largest of the herds seen this week numbered well over fifty animals and the numbers of small calves' present shows that elephant numbers within the Kruger Park system are still on the rise. There have been a number of large bulls seen either singly or in small groups following the breeding herds.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
Buffalo have been very easy to locate this week with three herds being seen on the property as well as the resident bulls who are seen daily utilising the waterhole in front of the lodge as a relaxing mud wallow. Rhinoceros on the other hand have been rather difficult to locate and we have had only a single sighting of Shorthorn, the dominant male in the north-western area of our property. He was found on a cool morning enjoying a good wallow and scratching session at a waterhole.
Regards The Simbambili Guiding Team