29 June to 5 July 2009
We have had some fantastic predator viewing over the last week, with one particular evening drive having us spoilt for choice with a total of 6 different leopard sightings!! The spotting of game is definitely made a little easier by the sparser vegetation that is so typical of our dry winters here in the lowveld.
Salayexe has been an absolute superstar of our drives this week. She is proving to be an exceptional mother and her two cubs have provided us with some truly memorable sightings as they explore their new world under the guidance of mum. We found the trio early one afternoon as they got active for an evening move, the cubs running and chasing not only each other but getting mum to join in their game of "cat and mouse".
Alistair and Mumps found the leopards on an impala kill on a morning drive and watched as Salayexe, dealt with the attentions of two spotted hyena who posed a threat to the two cubs. The leopardess charged straight at the intruders with fangs and claws bared. The hyenas made a quick departure. All of this was watched by the cubs from a lofty perch up in the boughs of a large Tamboti tree.
Tyson turned up one afternoon and sauntered down the riverbed during lunch. All of the guests watched in astonishment as he simply ignored them and marched by. We found him a little while later as he attempted to hunt a large herd of impala. He appeared to have been in a scrap with another leopard and was sporting a few cuts and bruises. This could be due to an altercation with a large male leopard on his western territorial boundary.
Mafufunyane and Ntima, were found together and have been reportedly mating for the past three days. Although this is always a fantastic sighting and one not commonly seen, it is tinged with sadness as this proves that Ntima has indeed lost all three of her cubs. We had feared the worst as we had not had any reports of the cubs for a period of two weeks. Let us hope that this mating will result in a new set of cubs.
We have had numerous sightings of two Mapogo Males, who have been in the company of two different female groups. Earlier on in the week, they were found companying the two Styx Lionesses and their two young cubs. There appears to have been a skirmish between the Styx and Tsalala lionesses. Both sets of lionesses were found the following day on opposite ends of the property. The Styx lionesses, appeared to have come off worse in the encounter with both lionesses limping and one sporting a large bite wound on her rump. One of the Mapogo males was located by Matt and Doctor on a morning drive as he faced off with an injured giraffe bull. The game of patience being waged as the two animals attempted to get a better footing in the struggle. The entire encounter took over three hours. The giraffe almost succumbing a few times as the lion pressed home attack after attack. In the end however the lion seemed to give up and left the scene of the confrontation with the giraffe staring at him from above.
There have been very good sightings of both species during the week. The resident buffalo bulls are still utilising the camp waterhole daily. A large herd of approximately 300 buffalo was seen in the eastern part of the property utilising one of the larger dams as their regular watering hole. Rhino have been seen in small groupings of between three and five, either grazing out in the open areas or drinking in the early evening at any of the waterholes through the property.
There has been a true abundance of elephant viewing over the last week with a number of different breeding herds utilising the traversing area. Herd size averaged between fifteen and fifty. There are very few experiences that can compare with viewing these gentle giants at close quarters and we have been treated to some great sightings of the herds as they drink and feed, the social intricacies of these herds is fascinating.
Well, that's all from us this week and as usual we are off to a great start again this week with the news that the Mapogo males have managed to kill a young buffalo. This should provide us with some great lion viewing over the next couple of days. We will fill you in on the details next week! Kind Regards The Simbambili Guiding Team