28 December 2008

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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28 December 2008

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The last week has been a wet one with the sky clearing during the day and the rain coming down every time we go out into the bush on our evening safari!

There has been a lot of lion activity on the property which has provided our guests with some incredible viewing. The Mapogo male lions have been in and around Simbambili for the last three days and have given us some spectacular viewing, roaring right next to the vehicle and chasing hyena when they're too close or causing trouble.

Leopard sightings have been good although a lot of the sightings have been of supine leopards lying in the bush and not really moving around too much because of the abundance of baby impala which are easy prey for these big cats. The territorial male leopard Tyson was seen in the Manyaleti River on an impala kill and close by was a sighting of one of the Mapogo male lions. Tyson ended up being chased off his kill and down the riverbed by this big lion. We managed to locate him again later in the afternoon and again he was resting in the river, plenty more opportunities for impala without having to contend with the lions!

While that was going on we had found tracks for the female leopard Nyaleti near Big Dam and as we were following up on foot we bumped into the Styx Pride (3 lionesses) and went back to fetch the vehicle. As we drove in to view the lions on the other side of the dam Nyaleti popped out heading straight towards where we were sitting watching the lions! The lions saw her first and started stalking her but leopards are cleverer than you think and she managed to make a speedy but successful getaway up into the nearest tree. She stayed up there for a while till it was safe and then came down the tree and ran away from where the lions had been. Nyaleti then climbed up into a nearby marula where she rested for the morning.

The female leopard Salayexe has been around but not for long at a time and the last time she was seen was heading into the drainage line by first windmill!

The old female Safari was found on Tundaluca and must be hanging around that area because of her newborn cub. She had also taken advantage of all the baby impala that are running around and had one neatly stashed in a tree which she lay under cleaning herself.

Nyaleti was found again this morning up in a tree with another impala. Her cub was up there with her and while they were feeding one or two hyena were scratching around for any scraps that may have fallen down.

On the whole the game viewing has been interesting because at times it feels like all the big game has vanished and just as soon as that starts happening you come round a corner and have an incredible sighting of elephant, lion, leopard or whatever decides to bump into you! There is no end to the wet weather at this stage but the animals and all of us have been enjoying it, a completely different perspective on the bush albeit a wet one! Till next week...


Regards The Simbambili Team




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