Rangers Report

February 2018
Nkuhuma cubs - Morné Fouché

Elephant herd by Morné Fouché

This month was very exciting, with incredible game viewing opportunities. The average maximum temperature for the month was 32°C, with a wonderful 86mm of rain. We had several wild dog sightings again this month. With our resident hyena clan, we are always guaranteed that there will be a standoff between the hyenas and wild dogs. Our resident hyenas also doing very well and they are still very strong. The den is always very active and we saw another heavily pregnant female hanging around the den. Hopefully with my next newsletter, we might have a new hyena baby or two.

Leopard

The leopard sightings this month were just unbelievable and we could not ask for more. There are big changes happening at the moment and some of these changes affect several leopard individuals.

There is a young female named Sibuye, who stole the lime light this month. She is moving more and more north from our southern boundary. This young female has two very small cubs and decided to make their den in our traversing area. She is a wonderful little cat and very relaxed with the vehicles. At this stage we only allow one vehicle at a time, when mum is at the den. If mum is not there the den is closed. The little cubs are still very weary of the vehicles, but that is understandable, because it is the first time they see vehicles. If all goes well they will be totally comfortable with the vehicles in a few months. All the more reason why we follow such strict habituation protocols!

Thandi was also in our area this month. She finally brought the little one into our area and we saw her cub for the first time. Thandi is moving the little one all over the area now, which is good for us. The core of Thandi’s territory is to the north and out of our traversing, so sometimes it happens that we do not see them for a few days.

Tiyani, the young female, was all over the show, as always. Tiyani is growing in confidence every day and her territorial calls are getting louder. She is scent marking all over the central and western parts of her late mother’s territory. Tiyani must be careful to not get too confident. She had two big stand offs with Xidulu and her big sister, Nsele. It will be interesting to see what the future will hold for this young, adventurous cat.

Xidulu was also seen a few times this month. This young female is a beautiful cat and very healthy. She has turned into a fascinating female, confidently expanding her territory. She is still going further east and also more north, deeper into Shadow’s territory. If she continues to expand more east, she will move into Thandi’s territory. Both Thandi and Shadow will have a hard time getting this young, determent female out of their territories.

The Ingrid’s Dam female was also seen this month. It is good to see that she is still doing her rounds in the area. The core of her territory is in the western part of the reserve. It is possible that she is expanding more northeast, due to her fast-growing daughter. Whatever the reason might be, it is still great to have another female in the area.

Nsele was also seen a lot this month while moving around and scent marking her territory. Nsele had a big standoff with her sister, Tiyani, on the eastern boundary of her territory. At this stage Nsele is not ready to give up any of her territory to her sister. Nsele went easy on Tiyani, maybe because Nsele has new cubs and cannot risk any injuries.

Thamba was seen a few times this month. He is still doing really well and has become an awesome hunter. The only problem for him now is that he still moves around in the very strong Hukumuri’s territory. He had a very close encounter with Hukumuri the one evening. I will not be surprised if he moves more north, out of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin.

Hosana was also seen a few times this month. This little guy is doing really well for himself and he looks really good. He might have to leave sooner than he thinks, as the Hukumuri male is expanding more east. Time will tell when this beautiful male would have to move on.

Tingana was also seen a few times this month. He was not looking so great and his age is starting to show. I must say that things are not looking good for him, as Hukumuri has already started to scent mark over his scent. At this stage it is not just Tingana’s future hanging in the balance, but also both Thandi, Shadow and their cubs. There are definitely some interesting times waiting for us in the next few months.

Hukumuri was also seen a few times this month, but nothing like previous months. As mentioned before, he is spending a lot of his time looking for Tingana, Thandi and her cub, or Shadow and her cub. It looks like he realized that Anderson in the south is too strong for him and he moved more east.

Anderson was seen a few times and he is expanding more north. This puts pressure on Hukumuri and the only way to go is east. Anderson is still looking great and he is still a force to be reckoned with. This is good, as the majority of his ladies have new cubs who needs protection.

Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

Hosana the young male leopard by Morné Fouché

 

Lion

We had some awesome lion sightings this month. I would go as far as to say we were spoiled by the lions.

We were very fortunate to see three members of the Tsalala pride. The 16-year-old tailless female is looking great and she is still very healthy. Her son is also in very good condition and growing up very fast. The other young female is also in tip top shape. I am very happy to see that they are all looking good. The only thing they need now is a male in the pride that can protect them, but that option does not look too good at this stage…

The Nkuhuma pride is looking great and it looks like they are expanding, or maybe just exploring, more into the western part of the reserve. It is not that unusual for a pride to move over their boundary, if they realize that there are no other prides close to them. It is really good to see that the pride moves around a lot, looking for food and soon they will see that there is a lot of old buffalo bulls in the area. Overall things are really looking good for this pride and if all goes well, there will be a few more females in the pride as the sub adults are getting bigger. Luckily for us, they still have another few years before they will come into estrus and by then, there might be new males in the area for them to mate with.

The Styx pride was also out and about this month. With all the misfortune this pride had to endure the last few years, it finally looks like there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The cubs are looking very healthy and are always well fed. The three ladies are also looking awesome and in good condition. The Styx pride is also moving more and more west, but this might be due to the males with them. The Birmingham males are moving more west and southwest and the Styx pride is just following. This forced them to go more into the Tsalala prides territory. At this stage the Tsalala pride is no match for the younger and stronger Styx pride. More interesting times are awaiting us in the next few months…

Young Ingrid's dam female by Morné Fouché

Elephant's eye by Morné Fouché

 

Buffalo

The buffalo sightings were really good this month. We were spoiled rotten when two big herds and a very small herd moved into our area. The smaller herd of the two big herds stayed in our area for a few days feeding away on the lush green grass in the area. This herd, with about 300 individuals, did not move very far in a day, as there was enough food and water in the area. The big breeding herd with about 700 individuals did not stay very long before moving on again. It was an awesome experience to see this big breeding herd moving along a small open area towards the water. To see a group like this is such a treat, as we do not often see a breeding herd this big. One noticeable thing was that both the big breeding herds had several newborn babies with the herd. This is very positive as the previous drought affected them very badly. There was also a wonderful bachelor group of males that moved into the area. These bachelors were staying around some of the bigger waterholes, as there was enough food around the waterholes for them.

Tiyani the female leopard by Morné Fouché

Red-crested korhaan by Morné Fouché

 

Elephant

Marula season is now in full swing and the elephants are making the most of this opportunity. We were so lucky with all the elephants moving through the area. It is awesome to see the herd move from marula tree to marula tree, in search of these wonderful fruit. Competition can get real between these heavyweights and at times the younger elephants will run ahead to get to the next tree before the adults. Once the adults get to the marula tree and there is no fruit left, they will shake the tree and more of the fruit will fall down. With their trunks, they will then sniff the fruits out in the tall grass. They will also use the trunk to pick these tiny fruits up from the ground and put it into their mouths. This tiny marula fruit is very high in vitamin C. It is really funny to see how the baby elephants are trying to use their trunks to get the fruits. This month was also like a baby boom, as we had several newborn babies in the herds. It is such a treat to see all the babies and how protective their older siblings are over them. These little ones will not go for 10 minutes, without one of the herd members touching them. The little babies need this insurance- that everything is all right. We also had a few big males in the area, following the scent of the female units.

Special sighting

It was such a treat to see the tiny cubs of Sibuye, the female leopard. It is always very special to see new cubs and it is a big bonus if they are already relatively relaxed with us around them.

Did you know?

A mother leopard may move her cubs to a new den as often as every two days, to avoid detection by other predators.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

Manager’s Report September 2018

  Wild photo of the month - by Paul, Sue, and Mark Johnstone Spring is in the air and the landscape is slowly changing. Some of the trees around camp are showing off new small, green leaves and before we know, we will be surrounded with a fresh burst of green. Now...

Manager’s Report May 2018

  We are at that time of the year again, winter has arrived! The bush is wearing its winter coat once again! We have the blankets and hot water bottles back on the game drive vehicles and game viewing has been spectacular! The trees and grass are not as lush anymore,...

Manager’s Report February 2018

The shortest month of the year came and went in the blink of an eye. We had loads of wonderful game drive sightings, had some maintenance projects and also celebrated many staff birthdays. We experienced some strange weather patterns as well. We had very hot, humid...

Manager’s Report January 2018

Like I always say: “Time flies, when you’re having fun!”   It feels like just a few days ago that we had our new year's dinner and we are already going into the second month of 2018. By now, I am sure that most people are back home after the festive season. Some might...

Manager’s Report December 2017

December was a great month to end the year. We had lovely animal sightings, shared happiness and laughter over the festivities of Christmas and New Year and just before we said our last goodbyes to 2017, we received a heavy downpour of rain and hail.  Our New Year's...

Manager’s Report November 2017

The final countdown has arrived… just one more month until we welcome the new year. With the bush now once again wearing its bright summer colours, we are looking forward to an eventful summer! Game viewing has been amazing and with all the new babies that were born...

Rangers Report September 2018

  It’s spring time! What an awesome time to be out on safari. Migratory birds are returning and the trees are all in bloom with fresh, green leaves. Our temperatures jumped from the one extreme to the next. One day we were sweating in 43°C and the next day we had our...

Rangers Report May 2018

This month was one for the record books. We had a great time with awesome weather and spectacular sightings. The day temperature was very pleasant, with only a few days where the temperature went as high as 33-34°C. The average maximum temperature for the month was...

Rangers Report February 2018

This month was very exciting, with incredible game viewing opportunities. The average maximum temperature for the month was 32°C, with a wonderful 86mm of rain. We had several wild dog sightings again this month. With our resident hyena clan, we are always guaranteed...

Rangers Report January 2018

We could not ask for a better way to kick off 2018. It was an absolute pleasure to be out in the bush this month. The sightings were phenomenal and there was never a dull moment. The weather was up and down, but the rain was a huge, welcome relieve. The average...

Rangers Report December 2017

And so all good things have to come to an end. It is hard to imagine that we’ve reached the end of 2017. Looking back on this year, one realizes once again just how fantastic the sightings were. December is normally a really hot and wet month. It was a little...

Rangers Report November 2017

  Finally, the long wait is over and the first babies of the season started arriving during November. The first impalas arrived between 10 and 13 November. November is the start of the rainy season and that directly translates into baby season. The majority of the...

Big 5 Sightings 26 November to 2 December

 The highlight of the week was one male lion of the Avoka coalition visiting, and three cheetah’s moving through the area. Monday,26 November 2018 (40ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard resting on Airport Link Four members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Sawmill...

Big 5 Sightings 19 to 25 November

Monday,19 November 2018 (31ºC) Four members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions resting at Serengeti Dam Young Ingrid Dam female leopard resting on Star chestnut Road Ingrid Dam female leopard walking on Rocky Road A breeding herd of about 30 elephants feeding on Chestnut...

Big 5 Sightings 12 to 18 November

The highlight of the week was to see Young Ingrid Dam female leopard Monday,12 November 2018 (34ºC) A breeding herd of about 20 elephants feeding at Five Way Junction Tiyani the female leopard resting in a tree at Simbambili Firebreak Two Ximungwe lionesses and one...

Big 5 sightings 05 to 11 November

The highlight of the week, was to see a young pangolin foraging for ants just before sunset   Monday, 05 November 2018 (36ºC) Xidulu, the female leopard, resting on Xihumbane Road. Two elephant bulls feeding on Simbambili Fire break. A pack of four wild dogs and four...

Big 5 Sightings 29 October to 04 November

Monday 29 October, 2018 (37ºC) Xidulu the female leopard, feeding on a duiker kill on MMM North The Nkuhuma pride, three young Mhangene pride and one of the young Talamati males resting on Gowrie Main Road A breeding herd of elephants feeding on EP open area   Tuesday...

Big 5 Sightings 22 to 27 October

The highlight of the week was the female cheetah and her two subadult cubs hunting and killing an impala female on Bushcamp East Monday, 22 October 2018 (24ºC) Moya, the female leopard eating her duiker kill at Londoz Drift Six members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions,...