Leopard Diaries 25th - 31st October 2010
The week has been one that has promised us our first rains, the skies have darkened and thunder and lightning have given us some fantastic shows but as yet we have not received the much anticipated first thundershower.
The weather has been good with some very hot weather being experienced at the beginning of the week with the mercury rising well into the forty degree celcius region. This changed with a frontal system that moved in on Tuesday and finally gave us a welcome break from the heat.
The game viewing has been simply outstanding with some fantastic interactions being seen between the large cats and wild dog making two different appearances this week.
Unfortunately this week is saddened by the news that we have lost one of our popular leopards. Mbilo, the young leopard female from the Arathusa Big Dam area is thought to have been killed by lions. While out tracking, Mumps found the remains of a leopard which had been killed, the remains were in the area that we had last seen Mbilo and we have not seen the young female leopard ever since which we have taken as a sure sign that she has been killed.
On a more positive note we have a new set of leopard cubs, Shadow one of our territorial leopard females has given birth to two healthy cubs and has them hidden in a thick riverine area and as of now we have not been able to get any sighting of the newest additions.
Leopard viewing this week has been very good with leopard sightings on every drive this week, including a number of sightings of Rhulani and his sister Nsele. We had a fantastic sighting of Tyson who had stashed a female impala kill high in the branches of a Leadwood tree and spent the entire day resting and feeding on the kill.
young female cub also made a number of appearances this week. The most notable was a confrontation with two of the Tsalala
lionesses. The two lionesses appeared to have stolen a kill from the young leopard and had kept her trapped up in a large tree for most of the morning. When the lions moved off to a nearby pan to quench their thirst the young leopard saw her chance and beat a hasty retreat out of the tree and away from the threat of the larger cats.
One of the lionesses on hearing the leopard come out of the tree rushed up to investigate the commotion and even though she was very full jumped into the tree to investigate where the young leopard had gone to?
Lion viewing this week has been good with two of the Tsalala lionesses being present on the property for the majority of the week. They were found resting in the Manyeleti riverbed after some good tracking early one morning. They then were seen on an impala kill later that afternoon before they moved off to drink at a nearby waterhole and there they remained for a three day period.
Late on in the week, three of the Majingilane males were found in the east of our traversing area and have been seen in the company of two of the Nxuhuma lionesses, reports are that one of the males is actually mating with one of the lionesses.
A Large number of elephant have been moving through the area this week with a number of them stopping by to drink and bathe at the waterhole in front of the lodge. The elephants have provided some great entertainment for our guests, as they move through the lodge and allow some fantastic viewing from the comfort of the lounge or the room decks.
Rhinoceros & Buffalo
Buffalo numbers have once again swelled this week with two different herds moving through the property, both herds number in the region of approximately one hundred animals and have been seen utilising the last remaining water points.
A very interesting sighting of two rhino bulls involved in a territorial dispute was enjoyed by guests from the viewing deck of the lodge. The two bulls had squared up and were having a very serious encounter horning and trying to get the better of each other. With the sunset and dust and noise this made for a spectacular way to end another fantastic day in the wilds of South Africa.
These rare predators have provided two magic sightings this week, with the first sighting being of the pack of eight dogs which appear to have lost two pups from this years' litter. The remainder of the pack however are all healthy and we were enthralled as we watched them have a fantastic interaction with a number of spotted hyenas over the remains of an impala that they had killed.
The second sighting of the week was of a pack of five dogs that were not too relaxed with the game viewing vehicles but did finally settle and allowed us a good sighting.
The Simbambili Guiding and Tracking Team