7 to 13 December
As we approach the middle of summer the bush is looking radiant as the trees have all come out in full leaf and the grasses have started to seed. The fruiting season has also started with a number of Sour-plums starting to bear their tart but very tasty fruit.
Predator viewing this week has been very good with leopard being seen on every drive and Al and Mumps were lucky enough to watch as Thandi, stalked and killed a young impala and dragged it into the braches of a Marula tree. A single male cheetah was also seen this week as well as a brief sighting of wild dogs.
The wildebeest calving season has begun and we have started to see the fawn coloured calves running with their mothers.
The leopard viewing has been superb this week, with as many as five different leopards being found during a single game drive. Salayexe and her two cubs are still providing the bulk of our sightings as they move through the central areas of our traversing. The cubs are becoming more independent and have been seen exploring further on their own.
The old female leopard Safari , was seen on a young impala kill for a three day period as she remained in the vicinity and finished the kill that she had stashed in the branches of a Marula tree in a leisurely fashion. This old one-eyed female who is in her seventeenth year is still a very capable hunter. The wounds that she seems to have received from an encounter with a warthog appear to be healing well.
The young female Mbilo has made the area in the vicinity of Big Dam her own and has been found in the area over the past week often resting up in trees as she surveys her surroundings for any likely prey.
The Tsalala pride made a welcome return to our property during the week. The entire pride of eleven were found early one morning feeding on a recently killed wildebeest cow. The eight cubs are all in good condition and have grown considerably since we last viewed them. The pride remained in the area for the entire day resting in the shade of a thicket after they had finished the meal.
The two Mapogo male lions moved through the area during the middle of the week and were found resting in the eastern half of our traversing. These two males have been moving through the property more frequently, scent marking and roaring. This could be due to the fact that their scent marks are not lasting as long because of the frequent rainfall in summer.
The Sandy Patch lioness has still not fed this week and at the last sighting we had of her and her cub, the pair appeared rather thin and in need of a good meal. The lioness is struggling to hunt successfully due to the constant presence of her young son. The young lion in all his enthusiasm often gives away the presence of the lions to any possible prey as he bumbles along behind his mother.
A number of breeding herds have been seen this week, feeding on the fresh growth of greenery that has appeared with our summer rains. Elephant appear to be grazing the very nutritious grasses around the termite mounds.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
A large herd of approximately six hundred buffalo was found during the week. Seeing the African buffalo in such large numbers is always a memorable sighting and even more so if they are in an open clearing where one can get a true sense of the size of the herd. The number of buffalo bulls in the area is still high and the resident camp bulls have been seen wallowing in the mud pans around the lodge.
Rhinoceros viewing is still good with a crash of six being seen regularly. The rhino are all utilising the fresher grass growth in the open areas and have also been seen as they utilise the temporary pans that have been created by the heavy rain, wallowing in the thick mud to protect their hides from biting insects and the African sun.
The sighting of a male cheetah was a highlight as we don't see these sleek cats that often. The cheetah was found early during a morning game drive as it fed on an impala. The cheetah then moved off and then headed in an easterly direction towards the Kruger National Park.
A single wild dog was seen as she moved along our southern boundary. The dog stopped and called often probably as a result of having lost the rest of the pack during a hunt. The remains of a kill possibly made by the pack were found in the area around Big Dam, this was quickly finished off by a number of vultures.
The Simbambili Guiding Team