23 to 30 November
The bush has truly come alive after the previous week's rainfall. The sound of the woodland kingfishers and a number of the cuckoo species being heard everywhere. The chorus of frog calls is almost deafening at night.
After the very wet weather that we experienced last week, the sunshine has been very welcome, giving everything a chance to dry out. We did however experience a huge thunderstorm on Friday night which caused the Manyeleti River, in front of camp, to flow for the third time this year!
All of the temporary pans as well as the permanent waterholes have filled up nicely. The game viewing has been exceptional with large numbers of buffalo and rhino being seen. The "baby boom" has also started with all of the impala herds boasting large nurseries of lambs.
The leopards have all benefited from the abundance of impala lambs and a number of sightings this week were of them feeding on this summer bonanza. Salayexe and her two cubs have been seen regularly, the female leopard providing a number of meals for the cubs. We have seen them feeding on a warthog and also a number of impala kills.
The young female from the Big Dam area, Mbilo, managed to bring down a fully mature impala ram which in itself was a huge testament to the strength of these cats. Early on a morning drive we watched as she managed to drag the kill under some bushes to hide it from the prying eyes of vultures and then feed on a small portion of the carcass. We returned later in the day to find out if she had been able to hold on to the kill and were very surprised to find, Nyeleti another female leopard in the vicinity of the kill. The larger leopard female had displaced her daughter from the kill and returned with her three new cubs and fed off the carcass for the following two days.
We have seen a new leopard on our property for the first time this week, a new adult male has been seen in the One-Eye Pan area. He is not completely relaxed with the vehicles but we have been fortunate to view him on two occasions this week. He appears to have been in a fight and is sporting a number of wounds.
This week has seen the return of the Nxuhuma pride, which was seen feeding on the remains of a young buffalo that they had killed early one morning. The pride has four sub-adult males that have grown considerably since their last visit to our property. They stayed within our traversing area for the entire day before moving away to the east.
The Tsalala pride was seen on four occasions this week, looking well fed and in good health. They appear to be favouring the area on our southern boundary. There has been some fresh grass growth on a recently burned area which is attracting a number of herds of zebra and wildebeest which in turn has attracted the lions to the area. The eight cubs are growing steadily and the pride is going from strength to strength. It will be interesting to see if they are going to attempt to catch buffalo in the future as the cubs appetites grow. Their favoured prey item seems to be kudu which they bring down regularly, the kudu is large antelope, but to feed eleven growing lions a larger food source will be needed.
Elephant numbers have been constant on the property over the week, with a number of herds feeding on the lush new growth. With the trees all in leaf and the bush starting to become quite dense it is amazing to watch as a six ton elephant virtually disappears as it moves into the tree cover.
It has been interesting to note that the elephant have been pushing over a lot of trees and this could be due to the softer, wetter ground. This has kept us busy with a lot of housekeeping, clearing the fallen trees from the roads!!
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
There has been a substantial increase in the numbers of both of these animals on the property this week. The number of buffalo in the area has been particularly noticeable, with small herds ranging from ten to forty being encountered daily. The resident buffalo bulls have been seen enjoying the mud wallows that have been created by the rain.
White rhinoceros have been seen daily this week, with as many as twelve different individual rhino being seen on a single drive. The new grass growth and abundance of drinking water has made it far easier to view these large pachyderms.
That's all for this week
The Simbambili Guiding Team