16 February to 22 February 2009

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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16 February to 22 February 2009

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16 February to 22 February 2009


Summer is truly at its peak here at Simbambili, we have recorded an average daytime temperature through the week of 36 degrees Celsius, with some very hot afternoons. The bush is unbelievably lush and with the prospect of further rainfall next week, the natural pans and waterholes will be filled well into the dry season.


Our guests have  been treated to some spectacular game viewing this week with numerous leopard sightings, three of the Mapogo male lions moving into our traverse area and large herds of elephant present on the property.

The Mapogo male lions moved onto the property on Tuesday morning and were found resting in a Silver Terminalia thicket. Later that evening we watched as they moved further west, scent marking along the road. They continued on their territorial patrol and moved out of the area in the early hours of the morning.


The leopardess Ntima, was found early one morning after an early rain shower moving along Seepline road, patrolling and scent marking her territorial boundaries. What excited the guides however is that she appeared to be lactating and on closer inspection there were definite signs that she is suckling 2 cubs! These cubs could only have been born a few days earlier as she was seen last week still carrying cubs. The guides cannot wait to see these new arrivals to the already flourishing leopard population here at Simbambili. 


Elephants have been seen in large numbers with a number of different herds being present. We were treated to a fantastic sighting of a very young elephant calf as it moved with its mother and her herd through the Manyeleti River. We estimated the calf to be approximately 2 weeks old!

The sighting of the week however was something rather special! We woke to a mist shrouded reserve and departed on game drive and before long had managed to find some fresh male leopard tracks. We continued on the tracks and they moved into an Safari Open Area, as we approached the area, a call came over radio, saying that the alarm calls of impala and vervet monkeys could be heard nearby. As we approached another guide who had heard the alarm calls, called to let us know he had found Mafufunyane, the large leopard tom. We watched as he scent marked on some nearby trees. It was then that a second leopard was spotted in the same area. This leopardess turned out to be Safari, the old female leopard. We followed her through the bush and as we watched her move through a large Bushwillow thicket we spotted a third leopard!! This turned out to be Tyson, another large territorial male leopard. 2 male leopards and a leopardess in the same sighting, trying to find one leopard is challenge enough, here we had found three of these exquisite cats within metres of each other!!


We deduced that Safari was coming into oestrus after losing a litter of cubs recently and had attracted the attention of both resident male leopards who appear to have been involved in a fight. Tyson was sporting a wound on the back of his neck. We stayed with the leopards for most of the morning, Tyson moved away heading back to his territory in the western part of the reserve. Safari climbed up into the branches of a large Marula tree and spent the rest of the morning hissing and growling at Mafufunyane who lay patiently underneath the tree before he too moved away after having all of his advances met with aggression from Safari.





The Simbambili Team



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