Leopard Diaries 3rd-9th January 2011
Well, what a week it has been!! We have been treated to some exceptional game viewing this week with most game drives being dominated by some superb big cat sightings.
We have had the welcome return of the cheetah pair who were present here last year during the summer. The lion viewing has also been very good with lions being seen on almost every drive this week. Leopard viewing has been a little slower, due to the lion presence but we have seen a fair number of the spotted cats through the week.
The weather has been damp and we have had a few wet game drives this week. The bush has responded to the rain and is looking lush and greener than ever. Leopard
Due to the increased lion presence on the property this week, we have found the leopard viewing to be a little more challenging than usual. This does not mean that we have not seen the spotted cats, but have had to look hard to locate them.
We found the dominant male, Tyson
resting in a large Jackalberry
tree on one damp afternoon drive. He appeared to have fed recently and had moved in from our southern neighbouring property during the course of the morning. He spent the following two days in the area and we found him again the next morning moving west and scent marking along one of the main roads.
We have also had good sightings of two of our lesser seen leopards. The Tavangumi
female was found resting on our southern boundary. This old female leopard is the oldest leopard in the area but still looks to be in very good condition. The second leopard is a new unnamed female leopard that has been seen moving around the northern section of the reserve, she appears to be a young recently independent leopard. We found her on an impala kill which she had safely stashed in the branches of a Leadwood
Other leopards seen during the week included the Rhino Pan
The week started off with the Styx
pride being found after a good bit of tracking. The pride's tracks were found coming into the property following a herd of buffalo and it did not take long before we had located three of the lionesses feeding on a sub adult buffalo carcass. The young male of the Styx
pride was seen the previous day moving in the area around one of our airstrips, he appears to have recovered full from his encounter with the four Majingilane
males. We found him the following day in the company of the rest of the pride.Â The four lions then spent the following four days resting with very, distended bellies on the airstrip, hardly moving more than thirty metres during this time!!
The five Tsalala
lionesses were seen in the northern half of our tarversing and all appear to be in fine health. They moved into the area late in the evening and headed to the northern airstrip, where they were able to bring down a zebra foal during the evening. Elephant
The elephant viewing has been difficult, with the cool weather these large pachyderms have been sticking to the thickets and have not shown themselves very well this week. Buffalo & Rhinoceros
The buffalo viewing this week has been very good, with a number of small groups of bulls being seen throughout the property. We have also had a small herd of perhaps eighty animals moving through the eastern part of our area during the week. We were fortunate to watch an interaction between the Styx
pride and the buffalo herd. The herd returned to the sight of the buffalo kill and proceeded to chase the lions from the carcass of the sub adult buffalo that the lions had killed earlier. The lions showed little regard for the enraged buffalo and moved away a short distance before returning to continue their meal.
The rhinoceros sightings have dropped off this week and we have had to actively go and look for these grey behemoths. The open grassy clearings have been favoured as the nutritious grasses continue to sprout after the new rainfall. Cheetah
It is a very welcome return of cheetah to the area this week.
We have once again started to find the two female cheetah who enthralled us during the summer period last year.
The young cheetah cub has grown into a sub adult and should be nearing the time of independence.
The two cats were found on a morning drive as they headed north towards the open areas around the southern airstrip. They spent the following two days in the area before moving off due to the presence of the Styx
The Simbambili Guiding & Tracking Team