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Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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27th April - 03rd May

By Liam Rainier
Leopard diaries from 27th April - 03rd May

The number of elephants in the area appeared to be increasing every day this week. Despite this, the vegetation is still looking good after recent unseasonal rain. We had numerous sightings during the week of various big herds of elephants that came into the Sabi Sand from the Kruger National Park.

Leopard sightings have been excellent. On one morning game drive one of our experienced trackers, Lucky spotted very fresh female leopard tracks. We immediately jumped off the vehicle and followed the tracks that left the road and went into the bush. This led us to an old den site of hyenas. This was empty but we were able to pick up more tracks and followed an animal path into the bush where we discovered an impala kill under a large fallen tree. Unfortunately, as the leopard was not present this meant that she had seen us and run off. Lucky stayed behind some distance away from the kill whilst I went to fetch the vehicle.  We returned to find the female leopard Salayexe resting opposite the kill under a marula tree. We viewed her for a while and then saw her two cubs heading through the bush towards her.

The sighting was amazing, with lots of play between mother and cubs. We continued to watch them for over half an hour in the hope that they would feed from the impala kill, but they didn't and instead went to rest under a thick bush.

Later after leaving the leopards, we had a wonderful sighting of hippo at Big Dam during our morning coffee break.

On another occasion we saw the female leopard Nyeleti's young cubs on the dam wall at Serengeti. They were very skittish as their mother was not around but we soon heard her calling to them. We drove around and saw them meet up, they played for a while and then moved off towards the boundary where we lost visual of them.

Two male lions (Mapogo) were spotted at Chitwa-Chitwa airstrip resting. There was not a lot of activity from them but it was nevertheless good to see them. The Styx Pride were also seen during the week. We enjoyed a good sighting of them and watched as they hunted and then attempted to make a kill but they were unsuccessful.

Wild dogs were again spotted on the property during the week. It was a pack of five dogs and we watched as they killed a duiker. They then wolfed the kill down in five minutes flat and then ran off across our boundary where we were unable to follow.

Until next time

Simbambili team
Laz.

18 to 26 April 2010

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 18th to 26th April 2010

The weather has been wonderful for the last few days. We had good rain to begin the winter this season and it had been cloudy for the previous two weeks making the game viewing somewhat variable.

Leopard sightings were scarce for a few drives this week, which is unusual for Simbambili. Tyson, the big male leopard, has not been spotted for a couple of days since he crossed the boundary into an adjacent property. Safari the old female leopard was seen at Big Dam where she had a close encounter with Salayexe the western female leopard. When Safari spotted Salayexe she tried to hide but it was too late, Salayexe had already spotted her and there was a confrontation. Everyone in my vehicle was very concerned about the old female as Salayexe inflicted injuries on both front legs. Luckily she was able to back off completely and the young female walked away from her in a different direction after establishing her dominance.

Salayexe's young sub adult cubs were seen in a different area, she is trying to separate from them as it is about time they start hunting for themselves. It has been about two weeks that they have been away from each other, and the cubs have started to catch small game such as scrub hares, dwarf mongooses and ground nesting birds. They appear to be doing extremely well, but their mother still keeps an occasional eye on them to ensure their survival. She fetches them if she makes a big kill. The young male is named Rhulani (which means peace) and Nsele is the female leopard (which means aggressive one). Normally the mortality rate of the leopard cubs is high but Salayexe has done extremely well looking after these cubs from a young age until now. They are 12months old now and it seems they will make it to adult hood.

Lion viewing was also quiet for a few drives this week, however we were fortunate to see young male lion of about 4years of age at Big Dam. He appeared to be injured on his front right foot, and he had few claw marks on his back. Obviously he had been attacked by the two dominant males of our area. During the week we also saw the Styx pride on Londolozi boundary not doing much.

Until next time.

The Simbambili team

5 to 11 April 2010

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 5th-11th April 2010

Simbambili Private Game LodgeThis week has seen us receive a considerable amount of rain, with a single thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon resulting in just over 70mm of rain falling in the northern Sabi Sand. This has had a marked effect on the vegetation with fresh growth and renewal taking place and the waterholes all being fill to brimming.

The wildlife has also prospered after the welcome rain, with a very late new born impala lamb being seen on Sunday. The presence of the Tsalala lion pride on the property for the entire week has provided us with some very good lion sightings. The buffalo numbers have dropped as the three herds present last week have all moved off our traversing area. Leopard and elephant have been seen regularly, with the young female leopard Mbilo providing the bulk of the leopard sightings during the week.

Leopard

As previously mentioned, Mbilo has provided the main leopard sightings of the week. Early one morning we found her on a fresh impala kill, which she had managed to hoist into the branches of a large marula tree. The young leopard fed on the kill for a further three days and finally moved off on Saturday morning, moving down to the dam to quench her thirst before spending the remainder of the day resting.

Nyeleti was seen in the same area on Friday and appeared to have been involved in a fight, as she was sporting a few fresh injuries. The worst of which was a bad cut under her eye! We just hope that the injuries were not as a cause of a fight to protect her cubs and as we have not seen them since cannot tell if they are all well.

Simbambili Private Game Lodge Simbambili Private Game Lodge Simbambili Private Game Lodge


Mafufunyane the male leopard, was seen moving through the eastern half of the area, scent marking and calling, late one morning and was left to his own devices as he moved off through a thicket.

Lion

Simbambili Luxury Game LodgeLuxury Private Game ReserveThe Tsalala pride has remained on the property for the entire week, spending a considerable amount of time around the lodge. They were first found on a wildebeest kill on the nearby airstrip. They had killed the wildebeest cow during the early hours of the morning and had all but finished the kill by the time we found them. Later that evening they were found a little further south of the morning's sighting, feeding on the remains of warthog that had been killed in the afternoon.

The sound of lions roaring woke us early on Sunday morning, and it did not take us long to find the entire pride resting close to the lodge. All of them appeared to have eaten well and it was assumed that they had made a kill the previous day on a neighbouring property, before returning.

The Mapogo males have also been seen regularly this week with three sightings of these two impressive males. They were seen early one evening as they groomed and started to move towards a waterhole for a drink. That evening they moved a considerable distance and were found on the outskirts of Simbambili Lodge, clearly following the roars of the Tsalala pride.

The Styx pride made a brief appearance on the property but due to the presence of the two males did not stay for long before moving east and removing themselves from any run-ins with the Mapogo's.

Elephant

A number of herds have been seen this week. The highlight of the elephant sightings this week was the sighting of a very young elephant calf. The calf appeared to be a day or two old and was being carefully ushered by his mother and siblings as they fed near a large waterhole.

Buffalo &Rhinoceros

The last of the bigger herds of buffalo left the property on Thursday, moving eastwards out of our traversing area. They had been followed by the three groups of lions for their entire stay in the area and appeared to have lost three members, to the big cats during their week-long stay.

Rhino sightings have been constant and we have once again seen a large number of our sightings in the northern parts of the property as the rhino moved to and from the large waterholes.

Kind Regards

The Simbambili Guiding Team

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Africa is the heartbeat of our planet, haled as the orig in of mankind, its contrast of breathtaking beauty and brutal survival fascinates us, we are drawn to the bush almost in response to a primordial call...

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Thorny bush was fenced in 1955 and the Lodge was first built and operated in 1961. Proclaimed in April 1993. The size is 13816ha. 48 Mammal species, 112 Tree species, 230 Bird species and 54 reptile species...

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Renamed the Thornybush Collection in 2007, our group has since grown in stature from five to ten lodges. Of these prestigious properties, all but one is located within the pristine 14-000ha Thornybush Nature Reserve.

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