5th to 11th July 2010
The game viewing this week has been phenomenal, with some unbelievable predator viewing being experienced by our guests.
The pack of wild dog made a surprise appearance late one evening and killed an impala in front of the lodge during dinner. Leopard viewing has been very good and the lion dynamics in the area are playing out in dramatic fashion.
The weather has been typical of the lowveld winter period, with chilly mornings and comfortable afternoon temperatures. No rain has fallen this week.
As previously mentioned, the leopard viewing this week has been fantastic, with Tyson, Salayexe, Rhulani and Mbilo being seen through the week. Mafufunyane is currently engaged in a territorial battle with a new male leopard that has moved in from the southern part of the reserve. The new male known as the Emsagwen male has been moving further north and is starting to really pressurise Mafufunyane and they have been seen pacing along growling and roaring at each other on two occasions this week.
Tyson, the territorial male in the west, killed and hoisted a large male impala right in front of the lodge and spent the better part of three days feeding off the kill. What was most surprising was to see that he had stolen a portion of the kill from the wild dogs which had killed the impala in front of the lodge and had hoisted this kill into the same tree.
Mbilo has started to really establish herself in the Arathusa Big Dam area and we were lucky enough to find her during the week on an impala kill. What was surprising was to see the size of prey she is selecting. This is not the first time we have found her on a fully grown impala ram kill. The ability to bring down large prey is one of the most astounding aspects of viewing this female leopard.
Salayexe made an impala kill and hoisted it high into the branches of an enormous Jackalberry tree close to the lodge. Her male cub Rhulani was located late one evening and followed for a considerable distance as he contact called for his mother. Eventually they were reunited and she led him back to the kill. Lion
The most interesting developments regarding lions have arisen after the death of one of the Mapogo males. The four new males, known as the Majingilane males, have unfortunately caught and killed two of the Tsalala Pride cubs and the pride has split into two groups one of four and one of five.
The two groups were seen moving through the property trying to locate each other, they eventually did this on Thursday evening and were seen moving north before they crossed out of our traversing area.
The Tsalala Pride, were moving away from the threat of the four new males, who killed and brought down a buffalo in the open areas around Arathusa Safari Lodge in the central part of the reserve. The males spent two days feeding on of the kill before heading further east.
The Styx Pride have had a rather tough time of late and are now down to six members, with one of the young females believed to have died after receiving a bad mauling from one of the male lions. The three adult lionesses are still moving constantly trying to keep the remaining three sub-adult lions alive.
The elephant numbers have been good, with large herds being seen almost daily and small family groups present all over the property. The largest herd was estimated at over eighty animals strong. The large herds have also drawn in some big elephant bulls, one of which has a magnificent pair of tusks!
The buffalo herds have been absent this week, with the majority of our sightings being of the groups of bulls.
White rhinoceros sightings have been regular this week, two different crashes both numbering four individuals have provided the bulk of our sightings as well as a sighting of the Uthla bull who was incredibly relaxed as he grazed close to the vehicle.
Two female cheetahs were seen during the earlier part of the week, they appear to be doing very well, although the young cheetah female does have a large wound on her hind leg.
The pair moved through the property trying to hunt impala and steenbuck but did not manage to bring down any prey over the three days that they spent in the area.
The pair were spotted crossing out of the property into the eastern part of the reserve. We are hoping that they will return quickly.
The Simbambili Guiding Team