Leopard Diaries 2nd - 8th May 2011
It has been a fantastic week once again here at Simbambili, the weather has changed and we are waking up to a misty fairy tale world with dew drop covered spider webs and thick mist shrouding the valleys out in the bush.
The temperature has been normal for this time of year with warm days and cool clear evenings. We did have an unexpected thunder shower late one evening, which treated us to a natural light and sound show!
The game viewing as previously mentioned has been great with some of the highlights being the continued presence of the female leopard Kurula and her two cubs, a lion kill, literally on our doorstep and large herds of elephants still being seen almost daily!
The leopard viewing this week has been dominated by the presence of one of our leopard families. Kurula and her two cubs, one of which is a male and the other a female, have delighted us with their antics. The two cubs were left for two days on their own as their mother moved off to hunt and patrol her territory.
Salayexe has also been seen this week. A quick glimpse was had, of her two new cubs which have just started moving around with her. They are estimated to be about ten to twelve weeks old and are being hidden in dense riverine vegetation in the south west of our property.
The female leopard killed a fully grown impala ram and spent the first three days of the week feeding on the carcass, we found her early one morning later in the week taking care of her territorial "house keeping".
The constant patrolling, calling and scent marking will hopefully ensure that no intruders will enter her territory and pose a threat to her young cubs.
The young leopard male known as Mati has been seen on a more regular basis this week and seems to be looking at setting up a more permanent territory in our area. This is exciting as he is a beautiful cat and is very relaxed in the presence of the game viewing vehicles.
Lion viewing this week has been good, with the presence of the two young Nxuhuma males who managed to bring down a buffalo cow near one of the waterholes approximately five minutes from the lodge. The pair have been utilising the far northern section of our property for the last six months and although they are not very relaxed in with the vehicles do provide us with a few sightings. This sighting however proved to be a blessing and we were able to witness the two males feeding on the large carcass for nearly a week.
The other lions seen this week have been two of the Styx lionesses, which were seen moving through the eastern half of our traversing. The oldest and youngest females in the group have separated from the other two lionesses that have moved off to give birth to new litters of cubs.
Elephant sightings have been amazing this week with numerous herds being seen throughout the area. A number of the larger herds have been moving into the riverine vegetation and open areas in front of the lodge and have provided great viewing from the deck. A number of big bulls have also been seen and one in particular this week possessed a large beautifully curved set of tusks.
The early morning mists always adds a surreal quality to the early morning sightings and we were lucky enough to find a large herd of elephants as they moved down to drink at one of the larger waterholes. The mist and rising sun added a very special feel to this particular sighting.
Buffalo & Rhinoceros
A number of good buffalo sightings have been had this week. At least two different herds have moved through the area and both herds have numbered in excess of a hundred and fifty animals. A smaller herd of ten has made frequent use of the waterhole in front of the lodge and were seen almost daily from the lodge.
White rhinoceros sightings have been good and we are still regularly seeing the large territorial bull grazing in front of the lodge on a regular basis.
The resident clan of spotted hyena are providing some great viewing of these often misunderstood carnivores. The clan is made up of approximately eight members, of which three are sub-adults.
The clan is often seen trailing the resident leopards in the hope that there will be a free meal on offer and will make use of any opportunity to run in and steal a free meal.
We watched as the entire clan waited patiently in the area around the lion kill this week and were eventually rewarded with a very smelly but sizeable meal once the lions had decided that they had had their fill.
The Simbambili Guiding Team