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28 September to 4 October 2009

Leopard Diaries

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28 September to 4 October 2009

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28 September to 4 October 2009 Leopard Diaries 28th September - 4th October

28 September to 4 October 2009 sept1The seasons are definitely changing here in the Sabi Sands, withmost of trees having new leaf growth and many carrying a heavy load of bright blossoms. The Cassia and Wisteria trees carrying beautiful lavender and yellow flowers and the Scotia are covered in their scarlet blooms. It is a wonderful to drive along the ridges and look down on the colourful tapestry after the dry and dull colours of winter!

Game viewing has been good; however we have not seen any sign of lion this week. Although a prized sighting for many on safari, their absence has allowed other predators to move into the area and we have been lucky enough to have both cheetah and wild dog sightings this week!! The leopard have been fantastic and Salayexe has been seen on two different kills, providing meat for here growing cubs!!


Leopardsept2

Salayexe and her two cubs are still doing exceptionally well, the cubs seem to be growing bigger daily and the young male cub is almost twice as big as his sister already. This does create a bit of competition at kills as he tends to take a larger share and twice this week we watched as his mother had to aggressively chase him off the remainders of the carcass that she had yet to feed on.

sept4Leopard sightings are always a wonderful experience, although often made better by the location of the sighting. This week both of Salayexe's kills, were in such picturesque surroundings that they have to rate as some of my favourite sightings of her. The first kill was an impala ewe that she had placed in the branches of a huge fallen Jackalberry tree. The sight of three leopards draped over the trunk of this large tree was one that will be remembered for a long time.

The second kill, a very young bushbuck lamb was hoisted into a very large and knurled Leadwood tree on the banks of the Manyeleti River. The kill was placed in the higher branches and was being fed on by the female cub when we arrived. The male cub inquisitively came over to investigate our vehicle before climbing the tree to join his mother and sister.

28 September to 4 October 2009 Mafufunyan has also been seen, havinsept3g hoisted a warthog kill into the branches of a large Milkberry tree he proceeded to feed off the kill for the next three days. He was joined at the kill by Safari, but he was very possessive and the smaller leopardess moved out of the area almost immediately. Safari is being pressurised from the east by Thandi and this younger leopardess has been seen making longer forays into the older female's territory. She was seen on a duiker kill on the last day of the week and was chased off the kill by Safari the following morning!

28 September to 4 October 2009 Buffalo & Rhino
sept5 28 September to 4 October 2009 Exciting news is that tracks of a black rhino were found to have moved through the area late one night. The tracks were followed by the rangers and trackers but unfortunately the animal had moved out of our concession area. We are all waiting for our first sighting of this species of rhino here at Simbambili. White rhino have been seen regularly and the larger crashes are numbering up to six or seven individual animals.

We have had a number of buffalo herds through the concession this week. With the absence of lion in the area the buffalo seem to favour the concession as it is relatively free of predators. The largest herd is estimated at being approximately one hundred and fifty animals. While the other two herd's number in the region of seventy animals.

Elephantsept6

28 September to 4 October 2009 The number of elephant in the concession has dropped considerably. The main reason for this is that at this time of the year most of the elephant move northwards out of our reserve. The Mopani trees further north of us all start to grow new leaves and this nutritious food source is favoured food source for elephant. This is the wonder of our open system between the Kruger National Park and the private reserves that allows the free and seasonal movement of game species.

We still have two herds present and they have been seen daily, there are a number of large bulls moving through the area and these big pachyderms are always a pleasure to watch.


Special Sightings

sept7Wild dogs have returned to Simbambili!! We were lucky enough to see three dogs early one morning before setting off for the morning game drive. The trio of dogs moved through the riverbed east of camp and then drank at the waterhole.

Once we had set out we followed the tracks of the dogs but received a radio call that the pack had been found on an impala kill. We moved into the area and found another pack of dogs finishing off the remains of a large impala ram. The pack consisted of four adult males, all of which we have not seen before. They moved off towards a seasonal pan were they drank and played in the early morning coolness.


28 September to 4 October 2009 We have also had three sightings of cheetah this week, with an adult male cheetah being seen in the eastern part of our traversing. He moved through the area and killed a bushbuck late one morning.

Regards

The Simbambili Guiding Team.

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