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20th - 27th June 2010

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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20th - 27th June 2010

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20th to 27th June 2010

The last week's game viewing has been extremely exciting. On one drive we were driving in a southerly direction towards the large dam where we often view hippo when we saw a big dust cloud in the sky. It was a large herd of buffalo that were running to the water. The dust created a cloud effect in the sky with a beautiful sunset on the horizon. What a fantastic start to the evening. We waited by the dam while the buffalo approached. The herd was so large that it covered the southern side of the dam, we estimated that there were around 800 individual animals. We stopped on the northern side of the dam for a couple of pictures, the  reflection of the setting sun in the water together with the milling buffalo was just beautiful.

In winter time we occasionally struggle to find elephants in our area, but this year because we have had a lot of rain the vegetation is plentiful. The significant underground water as a result of the extensive rain also means the nutritional quality of various plant species is high. This attracts big volumes of different grazers and browsers onto our traversing area including elephants; giraffe; zebra; kudu and waterbuck. One day this week whilst on safari we proceeded to an area known as Rhino Pan, as historically in this area we normally find a lot of rhino. This time we found a big herd of elephants. Elephants like mud bathing a lot and this herd was having a wonderful mud bath. After five minutes they had changed the water in the pan into a mud pool. We enjoyed watching as they wallowed for about 20 minutes.

During the week the Tsalala lion pride was sighted on a wildebeest kill with the one remaining male. The male ate most of the kill, while the sub adults fought over the remaining bits of the kill. Three lionesses had to simply stand back and watch as the cubs and the male ate the wildebeest. The following morning the pride were seen on an impala kill. During the chase they trapped a medium size baboon in a tree and while the male was finishing of the remaining parts of the carcass, the cubs went and waited under the tree which the baboon was in. The  baboon jumped down and tried to make an escape from the lions but before he could touch the ground he was in the mouth of one of the cubs and in five minutes there was no baboon left.

We had an amazing sighting of  the territorial male leopard, Tyson, the female, Salayexe and her two cubs on an impala kill close to the lodge. Conventional wisdom is that male leopards are solitary and don't tolerate other leopards when there is food. Tyson kept the whole carcass for himself, and Salayexe kept a safe distance. His cubs kept on trying to get something to eat from him but he would have none of it and dragged the carcass into thick bush where we could not follow. Salayexe and the two cubs left him then and moved off.

Until next time
The Simbambili Team
Laz.

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