26 March to 4 April 2010
What a week we have had here at Simbambili!! The game viewing has been nothing short of unbelievable, with the presence of all of the big cats providing some fantastic predator viewing for our guests.
The weather has been relatively good this week, with some much needed rain falling over the weekend. The total rainfall for the week has been approximately 35 mm, which has been very welcome and has filled a number of the temporary pans in the bush.
The general game numbers are still very high with zebra, wildebeest and giraffe being seen regularly. Buffalo numbers have also been good with a total of 3 herds being seen on the property during the week.
Leopard sightings this week have been predominantly of the two dominant male leopards, Tyson and Mafufunyane. The territorial struggle between these two cats has once again changed with Mafufunyane moving further west and hunting well within the territorial area of Tyson, who covers the area around Simbambili dam. He has been seen following the exact route taken by Tyson and appears that he is looking to challenge his old enemy for a greater part of his old territory.
Tyson was tracked one morning and found on a fresh impala kill. He spent the entire day resting near the kill, feeding at his leisure as the kill was safely stashed in the branches of a large Scotia tree. He finished the kill early on that evening before we left him resting along one of the large branches of the tree with a number of hyena waiting below for any chance of a meal from the scraps falling from the carcass.
Lion sightings this week have been good with the Mapogo males, the Tsalala and Styx prides being found at different times through the week.
We located the Styx pride late in the week as they rested near a waterhole in the eastern half of our traversing area. The pride was not complete with three of the adult lionesses not present. It is these three lionesses who we believe to be in oestrus and they could possibly be with the two Mapogo males in the area south of our property.
The Mapogo males were found in the company of a new male lion, feeding on two different buffalo carcasses. The first carcass was an adult buffalo cow which appears to have died of natural causes and had been fed on by hyenas before being appropriated by the lions.
The second carcass was of a sub-adult buffalo which was definitely killed by the males an hour or so before it was located. The two dominant males in the area appeared to accept the presence of the new male and it is going to be interesting to see how this interaction pans out.
The Tsalala pride spent the beginning of the week moving through the western half of their territory, leaving the 8 cubs resting in the nZimba riverbed, as the lionesses moved off to hunt. They seem to have been successful as they returned and collected the cubs, moving onto our western neighbouring property.
The pride still appears very healthy with all 8 cubs doing extremely well. The three lionesses have been fantastic mothers to the cubs and we are hoping that the pride is going to go from strength to strength as the young female cubs join in and become part of the hunting parties.
The presence of a number of herds has made elephants relatively easy to find this week. The herds have been moving through the area regularly and many are seen feeding in the acacia and teak thickets.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
The arrival of three different herds of buffalo on the property this week has meant that these large bovids have been seen on every drive this week. The herds have numbered between eighty and a hundred and fifty animals, with all herds containing many new young calves and the lions have been very interested in following the herds as they moved through the area.
Rhinoceros have been seen regularly, the crash of 3 animals being seen regularly on the eastern airstrip grazing on the short grasses on the airstrip edges.
The female cheetah and her cub have been spending considerable time hunting in the area around the eastern airstrip. The terrain surrounding the airstrip is perfect cheetah habitat, with a large open plain area and an abundant supply of impala.
The female has made two kills this week, both being adult impala, the cub and herself have managed to feed on both kills and are both fat and healthy after the large meals. The second kill was stolen by Safari, the leopard female who stashed the remains in a large marula tree.
The Simbambili Guiding Team