Rangers Report December 2009
The month has been filled with some fantastic game viewing and the weather has played along with some clear blue skies and hot temperatures being experienced. The temperatures for the month were an average minimum of 20 degrees Celsius and an average high of 35 degrees Celsius. Rainfall has been good and the total for the month was 75 mm, the heaviest rainfall was a 30mm deluge late one evening.
The wildlife viewing has been superb with predators being seen in good numbers, we even managed to get a sighting of a cheetah. Elephant and buffalo numbers have been consistently high throughout the month and rhinoceros have been seen regularly. There have also been some good birding opportunities and a number of rarities have been seen.
Salayexe and her cubs are still together and providing guests with some great sightings. The trio of leopards were seen on five different kills this month, two of which they unfortunately lost to hyena. Both of these kills were full grown impala rams and the leopard female was not able to hoist the heavy carcasses into trees in time to prevent the hyenas from appropriating the kills.
We have had a number of sightings of Nyeleti and her three cubs, the female leopard is utilising a bigger portion of her old territory and it is great to see her bringing the cubs into the concession area.
A new leopard female was spotted on a number of occasions in the western part of our concession; she appears to be an older female of about 10 years old and is relaxed with the vehicles.
Other leopards seen this month have included; Mafufunyane, Tyson, Mbilo, Ntima and Safari.
This month has seen some of the best lion viewing this year. We have had a three prides and four different male moving through the concession. The Tsalala, Styx and Nxuhuma prides have all been seen with most prides feeding on the new wildebeest herds and their calves.
The Tsalala Pride has been seen moving with their eight cubs and all appear to be healthy and growing daily. The pride was seen on two zebra foal kills early one morning and have been resting in the Manyeleti river-line for the last two days leading up to the end of the month. The three females are providing regularly for their cubs and it is looking good for their future.
The Nxuhuma Pride, who has not been seen on the concession for two months, made a return and spent three days around One-Eye Pan. The pride killed an adult wildebeest bull and were seen feeding of the remains late one afternoon.
The Styx Pride has managed to find the lioness that was separated from the pride. The female was being seen in the eastern half of our concession and it is really good to see her back with her pride. They were last seen as they attempted to hunt impala late one night on one of the airstrips.
The presence of four different males throughout the month has been a nice surprise and the presence of two new males in the east of the concession. The Mapogo males have been accompanying the Tsalala Pride and seem to be spending the majority of their time in the presence of this pride.
A large number of elephant have been moving through the concession; these large herds are being followed by a large number of bulls and have provided us with some outstanding sightings. There has been a herd of between 40 and 50 elephant in the concession for the last three days of the month who are by far some of the most relaxed and approachable elephants that I have managed to view. The entire herd spent fifteen minutes sleeping and resting in the shade of a tree that I had parked under while viewing them. An absolutely spell binding experience to have elephants of all shapes and sizes, completely relaxed and at ease with our presence.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
Large herds of between 50 and 150 buffalo have been seen moving through the concession this month. The herds have been seen utilising the bigger waterholes that have been filled by the summer rainfall. The herds are all growing as calves are being dropped almost daily.
White rhinoceros have been relatively easy to find and all guests who have come to the lodge have left having seen at least one of these pachyderms.
Wild Dog & Cheetah
The day time hunters have provided three sightings this month. The cheetah sighting was in the eastern half of our concession and a young male cheetah was seen feeding on the remains of an impala that it had recently killed.
Wild dogs were seen early one morning as they hunted a large impala herd close to one of the airstrips. The pack was successful in bringing down two of the young lambs and we watched as they quickly finished these small kills.