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Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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14th - 20th June 2010

By Liam Rainier
14th - 20th June 2010

The mornings were extremely cold these last few days. After our early morning coffee we departed on game drive at about 6 o'clock every morning. The first hour was very cold but as the drive progressed and the sun rises, it all changed and then became much more bearable. During the early part of the drive a lot of the animals stay hidden and only start their day when the sun presents itself.  Even the hippos do not want to move until the sun is up.

We have had incredibly interesting experiences with the territorial male leopards in the area over the years. Some time ago, Mafufunyane , got into a fight with an older leopard about 800m away from the lodge and killed him, and recently Tyson the current dominant male in our area found a unknown male that comes from the Manyeleti that often wonders in and out of his territory and unfortunately Tyson and the Manyeleti male fought so hard that the Manyeleti male was killed. After killing the unknown leopard, Tyson left the body behind which was found later on that day by the hyenas. All that we came across later on was the head and some bones. This goes to show that Leopards  sometimes fight even to the death if they are found in another leopard’s territory.  

The resident female leopard Salayexe and her two cubs were sighted at Simbambili Open Area heading in a westerly direction. Most of the time when they are all together it is because she has made a kill and wants to share it with her two cubs or she is moving them from one hiding place to another as if they stay in one spot too long the scent will draw unnecessary attention to the cubs. Rhulani the young male leopard is magnificent, he is really Rhulani which means relaxed leopard. His sister Nsele’s name means the aggressive one, and she is very skittish. Rhulani is a fantastic hunter.  

Kinky Tail one of the Mapogo male lions has been killed by four other lions from the Kruger Park. Mr T, his brother has been calling, trying to find another nomadic male lion to join him and protect his area but unfortunately no lion has called back. The prescence of these 4 new males could once again shake up the lion pride dynamics in our area and we anticipate some trials and tribulations for the future of the Tsalala pride made up of three lionesses and eight cubs.

Kind Regards

The Simbambili Guiding and Tracking Team

Leopard Diaries 31st May-6th June 2010

By Liam Rainier
june1 Leopard Diaries 31st May-6th June 2010

The bush has started to turn and the colour palette of red, yellow and brown so often associated with this time of year has become so much more evident over the last week as we move steadily into our winter period. The wildlife has also put on a spectacular show this week with some really good predator viewing being had.

Lion viewing, in particular, has been fantastic with both the Tsalala pride and the two Mapogo male lions being found feeding on buffalo kills. This meant that they were seen over the week as they fed on the huge meals that they had acquired.

The female cheetah and her cub have once again made an appearance in the area and have been seen utilising the open areas of one of the airstrips to hunt resident impala herds.

Leopard

Leopard viewing this week has proved to be a bit difficult, this may be attributed to the increased lion activity in the area. We found Salayexe and Nsele as they moved through a thicketed area after losing an impala kill to the resident hyena clan.

Mbilo was also seen this week as she moved through the area around Kudu-drift road, scent marking and coursing through the thickets that are found in the area.

june1 june1 june1


Lion

The highlights of the week has been the presence of the Tsalala pride, which has been seen every day this week. The pride managed to bring down an adult bull buffalo at the beginning of the week and spent the following three days feeding on the carcass. The pride then moved east and joined the two Mapogo male lions on another buffalo that the two male lions had killed earlier in the day.

The males were found after we had heard the distress calls of a buffalo; the sound of a buffalo being killed by lions is one that is unmistakable. We spent the better part of the morning tracking the lions and eventually found the kill site, where the male lions were busy feeding on the carcass.

june1 june1 june1


Elephant

Good elephant numbers have been seen this week, with two large herds moving through the property.

Buffalo & Rhinoceros

A large herd of approximately one hundred and fifty buffalo, moved through the area this week. The herd finally moved east out of our traversing area on Friday morning. This may have been due to lion pressure as the previous morning the two Mapogo male lions had killed a large bull from the back of the same herd.

Rhinoceros sightings have been good and the young rhino calf is still being seen regularly.

june1 Cheetah & Wild Dog

The female cheetah and her daughter were spotted late on this week and have been seen moving and hunting in the open areas surrounding Safari airstrip. They have managed to bring down what appears to have been a female impala.

The Wild Dog pack have returned to hunt the large herds of impala around another one of our airstrips and it was with lots of excitement that we followed them as they chased impala late on an afternoon drive. It appears that the pups are still healthy and it has been reported that the Beta female of the pack has also had a litter of pups. This is a very rare occurrence and we will have to wait to confirm this news.

Kind Regards

The Simbambili Guiding and Tracking Team

Leopard Diaries 17th - 23rd May 2010

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 17th - 23rd May 2010

leopard1The week has proved to us that we cannot always predict what we will find when departing on a game drive. The lion prides that have been so visible over the last few months have only been seen once this week.

This has allowed us to follow animals that we do not see nearly as often, with cheetah being seen every day this week and two different sightings of wild dog also being enjoyed.

There has been a definite change in the weather with, winter having arrived. The morning and evening game drives are now really chilly. The early morning mist has made for some stunning vistas as we start out on drive.

Leopard

Leopard have been seen on a number of occasions this week, we have been seeing a territorial struggle over the last few days, as Safari and Mbilo are trying to contend for the prized area around Big Dam. Safari, the old leopard female has been found roaring and scent marking in the area.

leopard2 leopard3 leopard4

Nsele was found on the remains of an impala kill, it appears that she is starting to venture further and further from her sibling and mother and it should not be long before she sets off as an independent leopard. Salayexe, her mother has been moving through her territory daily and it is thought that she may be coming back into oestrus and looking for a suitable male.

Lion

Lion have been very conspicuous by their absence. We have only seen them on one occasion this week, when the Styx pride was found on Sunday morning, resting in the watery sunshine. They got active later in the day and were left as they moved off into some thickets.

Elephant

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