20 to 27 December

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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20 to 27 December

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Leopard Diaries 20th-27th December

20dec1The Christmas week delivered some really good game viewing. The lion prides have provided some fabulous viewing and the leopard viewing has got back to its outstanding best after a quiet period at the beginning of the week.

The weather has been good with some cooler overcast conditions near the end of the week. We received a little over 10mm of rain this week and the bush is looking very lush. The animals have all regained condition after the taxing dry season and all of the game is looking sleek and healthy. 

There has also been some fantastic birding to be had with some rare sightings including, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Dwarf Bittern, Pennant-Winged Nightjar and a large flock of Abdim's storks being seen.


Fresh leopard tracks always cause a ripple of excitement and this week when we picked up tracks early one morning as we were leaving the lodge it was no different. We had been struggling to find our usually ever present leopards and it was with excitement that we started to follow the tracks that had moved right up the lodge driveway. It was not long before we found Salayexe and her two cubs as they moved through a river-line close to the lodge. The family of leopards looked well fed and spent the majority of the morning resting in the shady riverine thickets.20dec2

Tyson and Shadow were seen later on the same morning after they had killed a warthog piglet. The larger male making the actual kill and therefore being able to dominate the female and feed on a larger share of the small meal that was on offer. The pair of leopards was left to their meal as the day heated up. That afternoon Salayexe had moved into the area and chased Shadow the younger leopard female out of her territory.

Salayexe and the cubs provided us with another great sighting on Saturday. The leopards were seen resting near the carcass of a large impala ram that they had been feeding on since the early hours of the morning. The sun had started to heat up the carcass and it did not take long for the hyenas to follow their noses and find the kill. The leopard female attempted to make a stand against them but in the end had to relinquish her meal.
The three leopards stayed in the area and fortunately found a few scraps that the hyenas had overlooked. They fed on what they could find before retiring to the cooler riverine area to rest up for the day.


This week lion viewing has been some of the best for some time. The Tsalala pride has been utilising the southern section of our traversing area for the last four days resting in the area around one of the airstrips. The availability of prey seems to be attracting them to the area more regularly, with large numbers of zebra, impala and wildebeest being found in the open areas around the airstrip.

20dec4 20dec5 20dec6

The Styx pride also made an appearance earlier in the week and spent three days in the area. We were lucky enough to witness them attempting to hunt impala and waterbuck one evening. The younger lionesses of the pride running for over a hundred meters as she chased a herd of waterbuck. The attempt although unsuccessful was great entertainment and it was good to see the sub adult lions taking an active part in the hunt.


Elephant herds have been seen on a daily basis, the lush grasses being eaten with relish by the large pachyderms. There have also been a number of larger bulls on the property during the week.

Buffalo & Rhinoceros
A number of herds of buffalo have been seen throughout the area, the largest of which numbered in excess of a hundred and fifty animals.

There have also been a number of young calves in the herds and the births seem to be continuing with new calves being seen almost daily.

Regards, The Simbambili Guiding Team


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