Rangers Report February 2010
The weather has been unpredictable, with some exceptionally hot temperatures being experienced in the beginning of the month and cooler rainy conditions being experienced near the end of the month. The total rainfall for the month ended being approximately 30mm.
The waterhole in front of camp has been a hive of activity this month with lion, leopard, elephant buffalo and hyena being seen drinking. The general game viewing during the day has been great with large herds of wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and impala being seen.
The sightings of Salayexe and her two cubs were good with the three leopards being found on six different kills, four of these were impala and two were grey duiker. An interesting development in the relationship between the predators in the African bush has started to develop between Salayexe and the local hyena clan in her territory. Once the female leopard makes a kill she then has to fetch the cubs and then bring them to the carcass. The hyena, have realised and now follow the three leopards at any time that they are moving through the territory, in the hope that a free meal may be on offer.
The young female who has taken up residence around the big dam area, Mbilo, has been seen regularly again this month. The young leopard female appears to be surviving well and was found on a warthog kill late in the month. We were also able to watch her as she raided a francolin nest and proceed to catch and eat all the recently hatched chicks! The adaptability of this young leopard, who is able to utilise such a broad range of food sources is what makes her such a successful predator.
The territorial males, Mafufunyan and Tyson have been seen on a number of occasions this month. They both appear to be in good health and are still very much in control of their respective territories. Mafufunyan managed to kill a sub adult warthog and was seen to feed off of the carcass for the following three days, he was joined on one evening by the old female Safari who was quickly dismissed by the male leopard as she approached the tree where the kill had been stashed.
The sighting of the old female in the Rhino Pan area was an unexpected surprise one morning and the 18 year old leopard appears to be doing well and we are hoping to see more of her in the next few months.
The lion viewing this month has not been as good as last month, but we have however had the Styx Pride and Sandy Patch Lioness on the traversing area for large parts of the month. The Styx Pride was seen around the Safari airstrip on numerous occasions, waiting for the numerous grazing herds that utilise the short grass plains around the airstrip as a "safe" refuge during the hours of darkness.
There was however a twist to their trials at the end of the month, when they were seen roaring one evening. This pride has remained quiet in our concession ever since the Mapogo Males have taken over the territory. The sub adults have not been fathered by these males and they are in constant danger from the males who will not hesitate to kill the young lions. The roaring alerted the males to the presence of the pride and the following morning the three lionesses were found in the company of the two males who had killed a buffalo bull during the night. The rest of the pride however were scattered with two female sub adults being found together and another single sub adult lioness being found alone. The disheartening thing was that the young male was not found! Only time will tell what happened?!
The elephant sightings have been good with herds and single bulls being seen daily. The fruiting marula trees are the biggest attraction for the elephants at the moment, as we approach the end of summer the fruit provides welcome substance not only for elephants but for baboons and antelope and guides alike!
The sighting of an elephant swimming is always a pleasure, the feeling of joy and enjoyment is tangible as you watch the large animal splashing and cavorting in the water. We were lucky enough to watch a young bull swimming, he seemed to be having an absolute ball, splashing and dunking himself and then chasing the resident hippo around the dam!!
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
Buffalo have been more difficult to find with no herds being seen on the concession this month. We are lucky to have the resident "dagga boys" that utilise the mud wallows and the waterhole in the front of camp. These big bulls are seen almost daily as they move to their favoured wallows.
Rhinoceros numbers have been much higher this month with regular sightings of two different crashes both of which number four animals. The southern crash, which is found in the territory of the Londoz bull, were seen on three occasions. The bull was found on many occasions as he moved through his territory maintain his middens and territorial scent markings.
The northern crash has been seen with a new bull rhino, who does not seem too relaxed with the presence of the game drive vehicles and has to be approached with caution when we are viewing him.
A single sighting of a young male cheetah was had one morning as the animal moved through the far eastern half of our concession. The male moved north and it was reported later that he was seen stalking a herd of waterbuck on our northern neighbours property.
The Simbambili Guiding Team.