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Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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Leopard Diaries 8 May - 22 May 2012

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 8 May 2012


adult male leopard

Leopard Diaries 23 March - 4 April

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 23 March - 4 April 2012

leopard-01 leopard-02

Tingana and Salayexe were seen mating again during the week. This time it seems for real as they mated non-stop for a full three days. When they mated previously it only lasted a day, if that long, and it was probably a result of Salayexe chasing Shadow away from Tingana when they were mating. Now it seems that she is properly in oestrus so hopefully she will give birth to her next litter around the end of June, beginning of July.
leopard-03 leopard-04

Nsele was found on the Robson's boundary, the first time she has been spotted since July 2011. It seems that she has cemented her territory just to the west of Simbambili and Elephant Plains and news from Singita is that they see her on a regular basis in this area. It was good to see she is still doing well and looking extremely healthy.

leopard-05leopard-06The most regular sighting of the resident leopards in the area over the past two weeks have been of the dominant male, Tingana. He has been seen patrolling far into Arathusa Safari property so seems to be extending his territory even further east. He now dominates most of the western sector.

Ntima has also been seen frequently crossing from the east into the west. It is always great to see this very successful female leopard, despite her age of about 15 years she is still hunting well and was also found mating with Lamula recently.


lion-07 lion-08
lion-09 lion-10

We haven't had extensive lion sightings of late but we were lucky to have the Styx pride with us during the week. They had brought down a wildebeest cow on the Arathusa airstrip, when we found them early in the morning they had already fed quite well; in fact, most of the wildebeest had already been eaten. By 8 o'clock every scrap of meat had been consumed and they were resting in the thickets along the fringes of the strip. By the afternoon all that was left were some bones that the hyenas gratefully chewed on.

Other sightings

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Elephant viewing has been great with large breeding herds as well as a few large bulls providing fantastic sightings on game drives. Here we see a small herd having a drink at big dam while two of the younger bulls playfully fight each other into the water, these two bulls have probably formed a really strong bond and they are likely to stay together through the duration of their lives.

Not only was it great to see the Lesser Moorhen on its own but there are two chicks with the adult. The heavy rains have left many wetland areas and these have attracted many uncommon birds much to the delight of all the keen birders that come and visit us here at Simbambili.


The Simbambili team

Leopard diaries 17 March – 23 March 2012

By Liam Rainier
17-leopard-01Leopard Diaries 17-23/03/12


We really had to work for our leopard sightings this week. Early in the week we picked up some female leopard tracks around Boundary Pan and tracked her for five kilometres until her tracks crossed out of our traversing area.

Disappointed, we carried on the following morning. Checking around the western boundary, we came across fresh tracks for a male, they were on top of vehicle tracks of that morning. We followed them into our property but we soon realised with the thick bush and all the elephant around we weren't going to have much luck.

That evening we stopped for drinks on the western boundary and heard the cough of a male leopard to our north. After an hour of searching fruitlessly with a spotlight, we headed back to camp, again disappointed. The next morning, with guests leaving, it was now or never. We'd give the male on the western boundary one last chance. We left camp and slowly made our way towards the Uthla Corner to start checking the boundary when he was spotted by another vehicle further down the boundary.
We immediately responded and heard on the radio there was another leopard calling north of the male. Heading south towards the sighting, we came over a rise to find Salayexe walking up the road.17-lion-01


Lion sightings this week were somewhat infrequent, but for two mornings we did have the Styx pride and the dark maned Maxingilane male around. The first morning they just lay around, the cubs played whilst the females kept a close eye on them.

The Maxingilane male was head down, sleeping. Occasionally the distant roars of the Matimba males calling from the Manyeleti woke him.   That night they didn't move far.

They had only moved a few hundred metres but they had made a substantial kill. We never found a carcass but all of them had full stomachs the next morning.


The pack of two wild dogs dogs were running around in the area chasing impala and after a few failed attempts they found themselves having a rest and a water break right in front of Simbambili Lodge.

The last week we have been inundated with elephant.
17-elephant-02 Herds and herds of cows with young calves and bulls causing endless roadblocks as they push vegetation onto our roads.

It sure makes for interesting walks though. This was a female with a unique deformity to her left tusk. 

And one of the biggest bulls I have seen in a while, his tusks are not very long but are thick and his general size was impressive. 


Richard S and The Simbambili Team


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