Leopard Diaries 5th - 11th October 2009
We have enjoyed yet another wonderful week of game viewing here at Simbambili with the return of the largest cat, the lion, back into our area. Wild dogs have also made an appearance and this has been the highlight of the week's sightings. The weather has been good, with some very hot days experienced mid week, the mercury hitting the forty degree celcius mark! We have still not received any of the rainfall which heralds the real start of summer. There have been some wonderful predator sightings this week, with leopard being seen every day, wild dogs interacting with lions and a new spotted- hyena den being found very close to Simbambili Lodge. There are no new hyena pups at the den yet, the matriarch of the clan is heavily pregnant and we expect her to give birth shortly.
We have been seeing a new young male leopard over the course of the week. He appears to be approximately three years of age and was first seen around the Simbambili Dam area. Although he appeared rather shy at first we have managed to get closer to him and have been rewarded with a fantastic sighting of him on an impala kill late in the week. He remained on the kill for three days and had some confrontations with a few hyenas that had been attracted by the smell of the carcass. He moved off the carcass but his tracks w
ere found this morning and it is hoped that he will be located again by this afternoon.
Salayexe has provided us with another week of good leopard viewing and was seen on a large impala kill in the middle of the week. The two cubs are still growing and are providing guests and guides alike with hours of entertainment. Shadow, a young leopardess who occupies the territory in the area east of the Simbambili traversing is being seen more regularly and is becoming much more accustomed to the presence of the land rovers. We were lucky enough to spend an entire morning with her as she stalked a duiker. We were alerted to her presence by the alarm calling of a troop of vervet monkeys. These small primates had spotted her as she rested in a tree surveying the area around her.
Mbilo was seen early one morning resting in the branches of a large marula tree, this young leopardess is being seen regularly in the southern part of our traversing and always provides us with memorable sightings. On this occasion she attempted to hunt impala and duiker while we watched but both attempts were unsuccessful.Lion
The return of lion to the property was a relief after an absence of two weeks. The Styx pride was attracted to an elephant carcass early on in the week and stayed in the area for three days, feeding on the large carcass. The pride then moved off of
our traversing but returned later in the week. These were however not the only lions on the property. The Windmill pride who are not seen as regularly as some of the other prides managed to bring down a large buffalo bull in the eastern half of our traversing area where they stayed for the following four days. The three sub-adult males in this pride are approaching maturity and are going to be a formidable coalition.
The Sandy Patch lioness and her remaining cub have also been found this week and although thin seem to be doing well. The sighting of the week had to be of both¬† he lioness and cub feeding on a recently killed duiker. The lioness being very aggressive and the cub having to compete for every mouthful of meat, as they were completing the kill a large pack of wild dogs moved into the area and the interaction between the dogs and the lions was fascinating to watch. The dogs barking and growling at the big cats clearly nervous of her presence, the lioness on the other hand completely ignoring the dogs as she finished the kill. Elephant
The number of elephant on the property has dropped considerably this week with very few of these big grey animals being seen. We have had one herd move through the property and we had a wonderful sighting of the calves within the herd who chased not only each other but the game drive vehicles as well!!
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
The bigger herbivores have been difficult to find and we have been lucky to have four buffalo bulls frequenting the area around the lodge waterhole. No herds have been through the area in the week. Rhinoceros have been scarce with a few sightings of a small crash of four animals being seen late in the week and the crash of six being found on Saturday.
The Simbambili Guiding Team