Rangers Report November 2017

Rangers Report

November 2017

 

Nkuhuma cubs - Morné Fouché

Nkuhuma cubs - Morné Fouché

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 animals will normally give birth during the wet season, when water and food is more abundant. The vegetation is getting really dense and searching for food is a thing of the past. The average maximum temperature was 30°C and we received a very welcome 74mm of rain. Game viewing was absolutely incredible. We were spoiled, not only with the quality of different sightings, but also with quantity. This month we had two different pangolins on our traversing area. This was once again so amazing to see, as the one pangolin was spotted a few hundred meters from our lodge. The wild dogs were also out in their numbers and they made sure we got some great sightings. The Elephant Plains hyena den have a brand-new puppy! What an amazing little creature. We are really spoiled with this hyena den on our property, especially due to this fact that it has been very active for more than a year now.

Leopard

There is still a lot of uncertainty with regards to the territory of the late Salayexe. Both Tiyani and the young Ingrid Dam female are still occupying the same area and they still scent mark the same areas as well. Both these females are fairly young and have a lot of life lessons to learn. It will be nice if both of them can share this available territory.

Tiyani is still getting bigger and she is showing some strong features. She also looks very healthy and this is definitely due to her successful hunting routine. It is always a treat to see this young cat. She was often spotted, moving through the area and scent marking as she went along. The area that Tiyani is scent marking and claiming is quite big for a young female. The possibility is evident that she might need to downscale a little to something smaller.

The young Ingrid’s Dam female was also seen a few times this month. This young female is a little older than Tiyani, but they are similar in size. Both of them can hear the distinct territorial call of the other, but chooses not to engage in any territorial disputes. Unfortunately, a territorial dispute is bound to happen somewhere in the near future.

Nsele was not seen too often this month. When we did see her, she had a belly that almost dragged on the ground. It would be so awesome if she is pregnant and we could see new bundles of fluff soon. This is not impossible, as her daughter from her previous litter is almost two years old now. We saw her older daughter a few times as well this month and she is a really stunning cat.

The young Hosana is growing up really fast and he is becoming a beautiful and bulky leopard, due to his excellent hunting skills. He still has no urge to move away, in search of his own little territory. Unfortunately, there will come a time when he would have to leave, as he will be forced out. But for now, he is still loving life around the area.

There is a new male on the block and he is moving around in the south-eastern corner of Tingana’s territory. He looks like a confident, focused and strong male, who wants to make his mark in the area. He is not that relaxed with the vehicles, but he will get there. At this stage he is smack bang in the middle, between Tingana and Anderson. Talk about being between stuck in between a rock and a hard place!

Mvula was also seen this month and he is still looking good. Mvula is still moving all over the show, as he has Tingana to the east and then Anderson to the south of him. So far it is still looking good and he is avoiding the younger, stronger males. The big question is just for how long he would be able to keep up this Houdini act.

Anderson was very low on the radar this month. During the times we did see him, he was still on a mission, patrolling his territory. He is spending a lot of his time in the southern and western parts of his territory. It might be because there is some new competition coming into the area, or he might just be busy expanding his territory.

Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

Elephants and a leopard drinking water by Morné Fouché

 

Lion

The lion sightings were absolutely brilliant this month. We were very fortunate with the different lion prides in the area. There was also a lot of excitement with these beautiful cats.

The Nkuhuma pride stole the spotlight during November. The Amber eyes female has suckle marks. It is still unclear how many cubs she has, as she was only spotted in a thick dry riverbed. It will be so awesome if we could see the cubs and find out how many there are. The young female with the two older cubs is spending a lot of time with the Amber eyes female at the den site. Fingers crossed that she will keep the new babies safe for the next few months or so, before she re-joins the pride. The young female with the two older cubs are also doing well. The two cubs are growing up really fast and they are keeping their mother on her toes. The other females with the bigger cubs are also looking good and they are eating really well. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this pride.

The Styx pride was also seen a few times during the month. They are looking great and all the cubs are very healthy. It is always great to see this pride. As they are the oldest pride in the Sabi Sand, I will always have a soft spot for them. They’ve had a really tough time the last couple of years, as they were not able to raise a single cub to adulthood. So far, the three adult lionesses are doing really well for themselves. As long as they can eat well, they will stay healthy. It is good for the pride to have one, or even all four, of the Birmingham males accompanying them, to keep them safe.

The Tsalala pride was also seen a few times this month. Unfortunately, this pride still doesn’t have any pride males to keep them safe from other males. The responsibility all comes down to the adult females to keep the rest of the pride safe. It looks like the two fifteen-year-old sisters are back together, but there are a few pride members missing. The one young female of the Tsalala pride was mating with one of the Birmingham males this month. It is great to see that this young female is mating with the Birmingham male. All that needs to happen now is for the Birmingham boys to expand their empire more south, into the Tsalala prides territory. This is most probably what will happen within the next year.

The four Birmingham males are also looking very healthy. They have really turned into beautiful big male lions. They are getting more and more confident and moving further and further south, while scent marking and roaring. With the aging Majingi males to the west, it will not be too long before the Birmingham males will expand their territory further west.

Young Ingrid's dam female by Morné Fouché

Young Ingrid's dam female by Morné Fouché

 

Buffalo

More and more bachelor herds are making their way back to our area. This has a lot to do with the awesome rain we’ve received during the month. It is great to see the waterholes that were bone dry a month ago, finally three quarters full again. Mud wallows are an essential part of the day to day living of a buffalo’s life during the summer months. The buffalo bulls love to roll in the mud, as it is cool and soothing and also helps them to get rid of some of the parasites that might be stuck on them. We are still hopeful that the females and their calves are not too far away. Hopefully they would soon make their way into our area as well. This time of the year there should already be a few females with very small calves. Buffalo cows have a gestation period of between eleven and twelve months. This is the longest gestation period in the bovine family. Despite a long gestation and the ability of the calve to be able to stand within the first ten minutes after birth, they can’t keep up with the rest of the herd. Mothers that give birth within the herds rest period, are usually left behind by the herd when they move on to feed. This will force the mother to go into hiding with the calve, until it is strong enough to move along with the herd.

Tiyani the female leopard by Morné Fouché

Tiyani the female leopard by Morné Fouché

 

Elephant

The elephant sightings were just incredible this month. Normally the elephants will embark on their yearly journey to the Kruger National Park this time of the year. This year it was different and we had so many elephant herds moving through the area. One noticeable thing is that there are a lot more family units than in previous years. This certainly has to do with the amount of rain we’ve recently had, which totally transformed the bush. These family units will normally consist of an old female and her offspring, as well as their offspring. These herds consist of only about ten to fifteen animals. These family units will again join forces with the rest of their family during the winter, when they rely on the matriarch of the herd to find food for them. Leadership and experience play such a crucial role in the social structure of elephants.

Special sighting

The special sighting this month was to see a new, tiny hyena cub at the hyena den. He was so small that he had a hard time getting up to the entrance of the den. His mother was very relaxed with us being there and her focus was only on the little cub. Mum was lying on the slope just next to the entrance of the den and the cub walked with very wobbly legs towards mum. The slope turned out to be quite a challenge for the inexperienced walker, as he tripped and rolled down the slope, all the way to the bottom. Mum just looked on in shocked disbelieve at his clumsiness, as baby ended up all the way at the bottom of the mound.

Did you know?

Spotted hyena cubs are born with their eyes open.

See you out on the game drive soon.

Morné Fouché

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...

Rangers Report October 2017

What an awesome time out in the bush. The temperatures were pleasant most of the time, but the month ended with a heat wave of note! The average maximum temperature for October was a wonderful 32°C. We were once again on the tip of our seats, with all the amazing...

Rangers Report September 2017

Spring is finally here and with it, came some wonderful rain and temperatures. With 18mm of rain, the bush received a total facelift in the form of wonderfully bright, green colours. The average maximum temperature for this month was 32°C. All the browsers in the area...

Rangers Report August 2017

It is strange how the unexpected can happen at any time and any place. The month started off with a bang and everything was out and about, going really well, until that one day. As most of you know by now Salayexe, our resident female leopard, passed away on the 18th...

Rangers Report June 2017

It is hard to imagine that we are half way through the year, when it still feels like we celebrated new year’s yesterday. I now know why people always say that time flies when you are having fun! The winter is finally here and we had a few very crisp mornings and some...

Rangers Report May 2017

With the impala rutting season in full swing, there is no shortage in the action department. Broken horns, bloody faces and puncture wounds on their bodies are only a few signs of the fights this month. These bloody battles can even be heard late at night, as the...

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...

Manager’s Report October 2017

Wow! What happened to the year!? It feels like 2017 started yesterday and now we only have two months to go before the end of the year. I guess you can say that “time flies when you’re having fun!” There is always lots of fun to be had in the bush. We had a little bit...

Manager’s Report September 2017

Spring is in the air!  Birds are singing, trees are blooming and the bush is a slowly turning into a painted canvas of green delight!  It seems as if everything almost transformed overnight, after we received an extremely welcome shower of rain just before the last...

Manager’s Report August 2017

August is the month of leaves!  At first, we thought that we welcomed the beginning of spring a bit earlier this year. But just as we got comfortable with the idea of the pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very chilly winds during the last few days of the...

Manager’s Report June 2017

Note from the webmaster: We've been working on upgrading the Big 5 Blog the past few months, and for this reason we have not been able to publish our regular manager- and ranger reports. We apologise for this but hope that you will enjoy the flood of news that has...

Manager’s Report May 2017

Winter has arrived and the bush is wearing its winter attire 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, which gives you a better view of all...

Big 5 Sightings 05 to 11 February

Monday, 5 February 2018 (34ºC) Pack of ten Wilddogs running south of Mhisi Mati Sibuye the female leopard resting on Hofmans Wessels cutline Six Buffalo bulls walking on Ekiso Road One Elephant bull at Safari Open Area Hosana the young male Leopard drinking water...

Big five sightings 29 January to 4 February

Monday, 29 January 2018 (38ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Grass Cut Road A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Kudu Drift Six buffalo bulls resting on Milkberry Road Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on EP open area Ten buffalo...

Big 5 Sightings 15 to 21 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Hukumuri male leopard   Monday, 15 January 2018 (35ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard scent marking on Xidulu Road Six buffalo bulls resting in the water at Kraaines Pan A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on...

Big 5 Sightings 1 to 7 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see one of the Birmingham male lions drinking water at Rhulani mud wallow Monday, 1 January 2018 (25ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Airport Link Tiyani, the female leopard, feeding on her kudu kill at Kimbeans crossing The...

Big 5 Sightings 25 to 31 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Styx lion pride resting on Little Gowrie/Wessels cutline Monday, 25 December 2017 (23ºC) The Hukumuri male leopard moving south from Shinzele road The Xidulu female leopard moving west on Rhulani Two Lionesses from the...

Big 5 Sightings 18 to 24 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was Xidulu female leopard, resting on termite mound at Simbambili firebreak Monday, 18 December 2017 (42ºC) A bachelor group of buffalo bulls resting on Rhino Ring East Tiyani, the female leopard resting on EP airstrip A breeding herd...

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Rangers Report October 2017

Rangers Report

October 2017
Birmingham male lion with the Nkuhuma pride by Morné Fouché

Birmingham male lion with the Nkuhuma pride by Morné Fouché

What an awesome time out in the bush. The temperatures were pleasant most of the time, but the month ended with a heat wave of note! The average maximum temperature for October was a wonderful 32°C. We were once again on the tip of our seats, with all the amazing sightings this month. Just when you think you saw something you cannot top; the next sighting takes your breath away again. We had another 30mm of rain during the month and this really forced the bush into 2nd gear. Finally, the last trees got their lush green leaves. We were very lucky with the wild dog sightings again this month, as we had several packs moving through the area. The one afternoon we had two different packs on our property at the same time, moving into opposite directions. That was not where our luck stopped, as we were also privileged to see cheetah this month.

Leopard

Changes are still taking place amongst the leopards. Tiyani, the young leopard is still moving far and wide, in search of the best area. She is still hanging around our lodge a lot. This might be due to the fact that she grew up in the area and it still feels like home. She knows the area very well and now she has also started scent marking all over the place. The Young Ingrid Dam female on the other hand, is new to the area, but has her eyes fixed on the very same spot. At this stage these two females utilise the same area when it comes to hunting. When the time is right, these two ladies will have the ultimate battle for supremacy.  Moya was also seen a lot during the month. She is now expanding her territory more north and even south-east. She is spending a lot of her time in the newly reclaimed area and she also leaves her daughter in the area when she goes hunting. Her daughter is spending a lot of time around one of the water holes in our area. This little cat is a true lady. I just hope that she will one day set up a territory of her own in our area. Another female who is expanding her territory is the old Ingrid Dam female. She is expanding her territory into Nsele’s territory. So, it is not going to be long before these two females battle it out.  Nsele was also seen a few times, but without her daughter. Her daughter was also seen a few times moving in and out of our western boundary. It looks like Nsele has finally broken the bond between mother and daughter. It is good to see the young lady moving through the area from time to time. Hosana was also out and about this month. He had a run in with his father the one afternoon over an impala kill. Tingana made sure that the young male understood who the boss was. It was quite a surprise to see the young male not holding back. The Gejima male was also seen this month, but he is not the most relaxed leopard in the area. This young male has also moved more and more south-west into Tingana’s territory. Gejima is a great looking young male, now scouting for his own territory and Tingana would need to start watching out, before this young male takes over his territory.  Tingana had his hands full with all the young males moving around his territory. At this stage he is moving all over the show, as he tries to follow the various scents, being left behind by the youngsters. Mvula was also seen a few times this month.  Despite his age he is still looking great. Mvula is still spending a lot of his time in Tingana’s territory. At this stage Mvula needs to be more worried about running into the Gejima male, than running into Tingana. The Anderson male was also seen a few times this month. There are still no challengers moving into his area. It also looks like he himself took a break in expanding his territory for now. For a big male to have an enormous territory also means that he might neglect another piece of the territory. We will have to see what will happen in the next few months, as there are a lot of dynamics involved in the male leopards of the area…

Lion

There was so much excitement with the different prides in our area.

The Nkuhuma pride was seen for almost the entire month around our lodge. They moved freely and made a few kills and even had the tiny cubs with them. They unfortunately lost one of the cubs this month, but it is still unclear what happened to it. At this stage the pride is still doing great and still looking very healthy. It was great to see the Birmingham males walking with the females, while exploring unfamiliar territory. It really looks promising that the Nkuhuma pride is looking to expand their empire more southwest into our area.   The Styx pride was really low on the radar this month and we only saw them a few times. The four little cubs are just a treat to watch, while they constantly play around the pride members.  The Styx pride lions are all looking fit and healthy.  We also spent some time with a few members of the Tsalala pride. It was only the two old ladies – a sub adult female and a cub. Although the two old ladies are 15 years old now, they are still looking good for their age. Not having a resident pride male is tough on the pride, as they are slowly but surely loosing parts of their territory. If all goes well and all the young subadult females grow up and a few males can take over this pride, they might go back to full strength. We also saw an unfamiliar pride this month, which was quite exciting! The Nharu pride from the Manyeleti Game Reserve paid a visit the northern Sabi Sand Wildtuin. These three adult lionesses are the sisters of the four Birmingham male lions. They also broke away from the Birmingham pride in the Timbavati Game Reserve, in order to settle down in the Manyeleti Game Reserve. The name Nharu, means three, as the three sisters broke away from the main pride. They moved all over the area, exploring, before they went back to their own territory. It was amazing to see a new pride exploring some new areas.  The four Birmingham males are looking great and growing in size and muscle. They are once again spending more and more time together, while doing their regular patrols. If they want to be as successful as the Majingilane coalition, they should stay together. I for one cannot wait for these four big boys to finally take over this area. I must say, there are some interesting times awaiting us in the next few months.  The three young Tsalala males also came for a quick visit. These three males are looking great and very healthy. The scars on their faces are slowly getting more, as they continue to fight for survival.

Black bellied korhaan by Louis Liversage

Black bellied korhaan by Louis Liversage

 

Buffalo

There were several bachelor groups moving through the area this month. So far, we still await the return of the big herds. There are also a few of the females within the herds that are pregnant. Buffaloes will try and have their babies during the rainy season, or very close to the rainy season. This will be the time when more food and water become available, to help them get back into top condition, while nursing their new born calves. We also had a few smaller groups moving through the area, but these were just splinter herds from the main herd. The old boys are still moving around the lodge and every afternoon they are enjoying the water in the mud wallows. These old boys are spending the majority of their time in the water, as this brings welcome relieve against the hot African sun.

Elephant

We had a few awesome sightings with these giants. Once again, we were spoiled for choice and we were just blown away by the wonderful sightings this month. We had several herds moving through the area, closely followed by a big male or two.  Males live separately, alone or in small bachelor herds. Being nonterritorial, the mating success depends on size and weapons. Bulls continue to grow until old age and therefore the seniors are the biggest tuskers and do most of the breeding.

Elephants are arguable the worlds most versatile herbivore. They are equipped with an all in one nasal appendage. Their trunks are used for grasping, smelling, drinking water, squirting water and as a broadcasting tool. With their trunks they can reach leaves higher than a giraffe can reach. Their trunk can also wrap around grass, pick up small fruit of the ground and tear off tree limbs to eat.

Special Sighting

It was an awesome experience and an absolute privilege to see a big tusker elephant this month. This big male moved around in our area for a short while, before moving on again. It was such a pleasure to see this absolute giant amongst giants and I hope to see him again in the years to come.

Did you know?

An elephant’s tusks will keep on growing throughout their lives.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

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...

Rangers Report October 2017

What an awesome time out in the bush. The temperatures were pleasant most of the time, but the month ended with a heat wave of note! The average maximum temperature for October was a wonderful 32°C. We were once again on the tip of our seats, with all the amazing...

Rangers Report September 2017

Spring is finally here and with it, came some wonderful rain and temperatures. With 18mm of rain, the bush received a total facelift in the form of wonderfully bright, green colours. The average maximum temperature for this month was 32°C. All the browsers in the area...

Rangers Report August 2017

It is strange how the unexpected can happen at any time and any place. The month started off with a bang and everything was out and about, going really well, until that one day. As most of you know by now Salayexe, our resident female leopard, passed away on the 18th...

Rangers Report June 2017

It is hard to imagine that we are half way through the year, when it still feels like we celebrated new year’s yesterday. I now know why people always say that time flies when you are having fun! The winter is finally here and we had a few very crisp mornings and some...

Rangers Report May 2017

With the impala rutting season in full swing, there is no shortage in the action department. Broken horns, bloody faces and puncture wounds on their bodies are only a few signs of the fights this month. These bloody battles can even be heard late at night, as the...

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...

Manager’s Report October 2017

Wow! What happened to the year!? It feels like 2017 started yesterday and now we only have two months to go before the end of the year. I guess you can say that “time flies when you’re having fun!” There is always lots of fun to be had in the bush. We had a little bit...

Manager’s Report September 2017

Spring is in the air!  Birds are singing, trees are blooming and the bush is a slowly turning into a painted canvas of green delight!  It seems as if everything almost transformed overnight, after we received an extremely welcome shower of rain just before the last...

Manager’s Report August 2017

August is the month of leaves!  At first, we thought that we welcomed the beginning of spring a bit earlier this year. But just as we got comfortable with the idea of the pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very chilly winds during the last few days of the...

Manager’s Report June 2017

Note from the webmaster: We've been working on upgrading the Big 5 Blog the past few months, and for this reason we have not been able to publish our regular manager- and ranger reports. We apologise for this but hope that you will enjoy the flood of news that has...

Manager’s Report May 2017

Winter has arrived and the bush is wearing its winter attire 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, which gives you a better view of all...

Big 5 Sightings 05 to 11 February

Monday, 5 February 2018 (34ºC) Pack of ten Wilddogs running south of Mhisi Mati Sibuye the female leopard resting on Hofmans Wessels cutline Six Buffalo bulls walking on Ekiso Road One Elephant bull at Safari Open Area Hosana the young male Leopard drinking water...

Big five sightings 29 January to 4 February

Monday, 29 January 2018 (38ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Grass Cut Road A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Kudu Drift Six buffalo bulls resting on Milkberry Road Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on EP open area Ten buffalo...

Big 5 Sightings 15 to 21 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Hukumuri male leopard   Monday, 15 January 2018 (35ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard scent marking on Xidulu Road Six buffalo bulls resting in the water at Kraaines Pan A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on...

Big 5 Sightings 1 to 7 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see one of the Birmingham male lions drinking water at Rhulani mud wallow Monday, 1 January 2018 (25ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Airport Link Tiyani, the female leopard, feeding on her kudu kill at Kimbeans crossing The...

Big 5 Sightings 25 to 31 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Styx lion pride resting on Little Gowrie/Wessels cutline Monday, 25 December 2017 (23ºC) The Hukumuri male leopard moving south from Shinzele road The Xidulu female leopard moving west on Rhulani Two Lionesses from the...

Big 5 Sightings 18 to 24 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was Xidulu female leopard, resting on termite mound at Simbambili firebreak Monday, 18 December 2017 (42ºC) A bachelor group of buffalo bulls resting on Rhino Ring East Tiyani, the female leopard resting on EP airstrip A breeding herd...

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Rangers Report September 2017

Rangers Report

September 2017
Anderson, the male leopard by Louis Liversage

Anderson, the male leopard by Louis Liversage

Spring is finally here and with it, came some wonderful rain and temperatures. With 18mm of rain, the bush received a total facelift in the form of wonderfully bright, green colours. The average maximum temperature for this month was 32°C. All the browsers in the area are enjoying the lush green leaves and new flowers on the trees. A beautiful green blanket is also merging from the ground after the lovely rain that we had. All the grazers are totally over the moon with the green grass shoots. The first flowers have emerged from the dry soil in some of the areas where, not so long ago, there was only a brown canvas. It is not going to be too long before the entire area is transformed. This September was an absolute great birding month, as more migratory birds have returned to our area. Game viewing was also unbelievable and full of excitement. Again, we were very fortunate to have the wild dogs in our area.  Our resident hyena clan is also doing very well and there were more babies born this month. The two new pups are extremely cute and very adventurous. It is a delight to see them and we are grateful to have the den on our property, very close to the lodge.

Leopard

The leopard sightings were just out of this world and the quality of the sightings were any photographer’s dream. We were really spoiled for choice as some days there were more than four different sightings going. There are still big changes going on in the area between the female leopards, after Salayexe’s death.

Tiyani, the young lady has finally realised that Salayexe is not coming back.  We saw her so many times this month moving around the lodge. Tiyani is scent marking all around our lodge and doing the territorial call as well. I must say, for a small cat, she’s got a powerful voice on her. Still it is not to say that she will set up territory in this area.  She is still young and any other big female can come and take this territory from her. But for now, it is awesome to see her moving freely.  The young Ingrid’s Dam female is also moving all over the show and scent marking on everything. She has also picked up on Salayexe’s absence and she has her eyes set on a piece of the late Salayexe’s territory. This young female does not want to stop there, as she is also putting some pressure on Shadow. She was seen scent marking in the western part of Shadows territory. It will be thrilling to see what will happen when these two finally meet.

Moya also knows that her aunt is not here anymore. She has started reclaiming the area that Salayexe previously took from her. She and her cub are both doing really well and both are looking really healthy. The young female is spending a lot of time alone, while mum is out, looking for Anderson. Moya has mated with Anderson twice this month, but is was not for the average four to six days each time.

Kuchava, the young female, was also seen a few times this month. She is such an energetic little cat and so relaxed with the vehicles around her. This young female is really a beauty and I really hope that she gets a territory in the area. If she wants a territory in this area, she would need to challenge her mother first. Her mother, Thandi, is not going to take it lightly if she finds an intruder in her territory, even if it is her own daughter. Kuchava was seen mating with Tingana this month, so there are some interesting times waiting for us in the near future.

Thandi is also doing very well. Thamba is also looking good and spending a lot of time on his own. This is also Thandi’s way to force him to hunt for himself. The reason for that is that he will be pushed out in another few months. This all depends on Thandi, if she thinks Thamba is ready to go out on his own, then she will kick him out.

Shadow and her cub were also seen a few times. The cub is very shy and does not like the vehicles around. Shadow was really up and down, patrolling her boundary. Unlike her sister, she is not very calm with the vehicles around her.

Hosana, the young male leopard was also seen a few times this month. This young male is one of the most relaxed young leopards in the area. Unfortunately for him, there is no room in the area and he will have to move on to a new territory, or be ready to challenge his father.

Mvula was also seen a few times this month moving around in Tingana’s territory. At this stage he needs to stay clear of Tingana, as he might get injured if Tingana gets hold of him. I must say Mvula is still looking great and is in good health.

Tingana was also seen a few times this month. Once again, it looks like Tingana has his hands full with the young males and Mvula moving around in his territory. It will not be too long before Tingana will be challenged by these young males.

Anderson was seen several times this month. It looks like he slowed down a little bit with expanding his empire more north and more east. So far Anderson has no challengers yet, but anything can still happen in the near future. Anderson is still in the prime of his life and an absolute brut of a male.

Lion

The Styx pride was seen on a regular basis this month. The females always manage to kill something for the cubs, even if it is only an impala. The three Styx lionesses are doing really well and they are caring really well for their ten cubs. We were so fortunate to see the four new cubs being moved from the old den to the new den. These four bundles of fluff are looking great and are so adventurous. When mum takes them into the safety of the under-growth thicket, they just walk out again. They want to go and explore around the new den. The one Birmingham male always pays a visit to the den and then stays at the den for a day or so, before moving on.

The Nkuhuma pride is also looking awesome and they are very healthy. We were also very lucky to see them on a number of occasions this month. It is always great to see them moving around in our area. The majority of times when we saw the lionesses together, there were only four together and not five. We know that the one female of the group has cubs somewhere. It will be so awesome when she brings them out for the first time. Fingers cross that they all survive and become independent.

One lioness of the Ximungwe pride was also seen this month. She did not stay very long before she moved back to the western part of the reserve. It is still unclear why she came here, but it was good to see her.

The Birmingham males were also seen several times this month. These males are looking great and with all the scars in their faces, they look like true warriors. We saw them a few times in groups of two or three, but never all four together. It is not to say that all four of them never walk together, I am sure they do from time to time. I must say there is nothing more impressive than four adult male lions with full manes, walking down the road towards you.

Birmingham male lion by Louis Liversage

Birmingham male lion by Louis Liversage

 

Buffalo

We had a few great buffalo sightings this month. We were fortunate to see some small breeding herds moving through the area. This is good news for us, because it might just be that the big herds are on their way. There were no calves with the small groups that we saw – we only saw a few older youngsters and a lot of pregnant females. A few of the bigger mud wallows are filled with water and it did not take long for the small herds and the dagga boys to soak in the mud during a hot day. Buffaloes will take a mud bath to mainly cool down and also to get rid of tics and parasites on them. After enjoying a wonderful mud bath, they will go and rub against a big tree. There were two bachelor groups that moved around in the area. Both these groups moved between three main water holes, so we did not need to go and look very far for them. Also with the new grass coming out, things are looking much better for these bulk grazers.

Elephant

We were very lucky with elephant sightings this month, as we saw multiple herds each day. The majority of the herds that we saw this month had about sixty or so individuals in it, together with a lot of babies. It was such an awesome experience for the guests to see such big breeding herd of elephants, quenching their thirst at the water hole in front of the lodge. We saw a few smaller family groups with a few very small babies that stayed in close proximity to the lodge area. This might be due to the little babies in the group. There is also lush green leaves and new grass coming through after the wonderful rain that we had, so they do not need to move very far. It’s really something to see when the small babies try to use their little trunks for the very first time. It was so special to spend some time with them, especially the little ones that are still trying to figure out how to use their trunks and what it is actually used for. When the baby is with mum, he tries to mimic her in everything she does. This is also how they learn what to eat and how to get it. There were a few times when mum had to gently use her trunk and move the little one out of the way, so that she could carry on feeding.

Special sighting

It was an absolute treat again this month to see the Styx female move all four her cubs to a new den. This isn’t something you get to see every day!

Did you know?

After a lioness gives birth, she will keep the cubs hidden from the rest of the pride and only introduce them to the pride after six to eight weeks.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

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...

Rangers Report October 2017

What an awesome time out in the bush. The temperatures were pleasant most of the time, but the month ended with a heat wave of note! The average maximum temperature for October was a wonderful 32°C. We were once again on the tip of our seats, with all the amazing...

Rangers Report September 2017

Spring is finally here and with it, came some wonderful rain and temperatures. With 18mm of rain, the bush received a total facelift in the form of wonderfully bright, green colours. The average maximum temperature for this month was 32°C. All the browsers in the area...

Rangers Report August 2017

It is strange how the unexpected can happen at any time and any place. The month started off with a bang and everything was out and about, going really well, until that one day. As most of you know by now Salayexe, our resident female leopard, passed away on the 18th...

Rangers Report June 2017

It is hard to imagine that we are half way through the year, when it still feels like we celebrated new year’s yesterday. I now know why people always say that time flies when you are having fun! The winter is finally here and we had a few very crisp mornings and some...

Rangers Report May 2017

With the impala rutting season in full swing, there is no shortage in the action department. Broken horns, bloody faces and puncture wounds on their bodies are only a few signs of the fights this month. These bloody battles can even be heard late at night, as the...

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...

Manager’s Report October 2017

Wow! What happened to the year!? It feels like 2017 started yesterday and now we only have two months to go before the end of the year. I guess you can say that “time flies when you’re having fun!” There is always lots of fun to be had in the bush. We had a little bit...

Manager’s Report September 2017

Spring is in the air!  Birds are singing, trees are blooming and the bush is a slowly turning into a painted canvas of green delight!  It seems as if everything almost transformed overnight, after we received an extremely welcome shower of rain just before the last...

Manager’s Report August 2017

August is the month of leaves!  At first, we thought that we welcomed the beginning of spring a bit earlier this year. But just as we got comfortable with the idea of the pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very chilly winds during the last few days of the...

Manager’s Report June 2017

Note from the webmaster: We've been working on upgrading the Big 5 Blog the past few months, and for this reason we have not been able to publish our regular manager- and ranger reports. We apologise for this but hope that you will enjoy the flood of news that has...

Manager’s Report May 2017

Winter has arrived and the bush is wearing its winter attire 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, which gives you a better view of all...

Big 5 Sightings 05 to 11 February

Monday, 5 February 2018 (34ºC) Pack of ten Wilddogs running south of Mhisi Mati Sibuye the female leopard resting on Hofmans Wessels cutline Six Buffalo bulls walking on Ekiso Road One Elephant bull at Safari Open Area Hosana the young male Leopard drinking water...

Big five sightings 29 January to 4 February

Monday, 29 January 2018 (38ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Grass Cut Road A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Kudu Drift Six buffalo bulls resting on Milkberry Road Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on EP open area Ten buffalo...

Big 5 Sightings 15 to 21 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Hukumuri male leopard   Monday, 15 January 2018 (35ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard scent marking on Xidulu Road Six buffalo bulls resting in the water at Kraaines Pan A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on...

Big 5 Sightings 1 to 7 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see one of the Birmingham male lions drinking water at Rhulani mud wallow Monday, 1 January 2018 (25ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Airport Link Tiyani, the female leopard, feeding on her kudu kill at Kimbeans crossing The...

Big 5 Sightings 25 to 31 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Styx lion pride resting on Little Gowrie/Wessels cutline Monday, 25 December 2017 (23ºC) The Hukumuri male leopard moving south from Shinzele road The Xidulu female leopard moving west on Rhulani Two Lionesses from the...

Big 5 Sightings 18 to 24 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was Xidulu female leopard, resting on termite mound at Simbambili firebreak Monday, 18 December 2017 (42ºC) A bachelor group of buffalo bulls resting on Rhino Ring East Tiyani, the female leopard resting on EP airstrip A breeding herd...

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Rangers Report August 2017

Rangers Report

August 2017
Big tusker by Morné Fouché

Big tusker by Morné Fouché

It is strange how the unexpected can happen at any time and any place. The month started off with a bang and everything was out and about, going really well, until that one day. As most of you know by now Salayexe, our resident female leopard, passed away on the 18th of August. This sudden death shook the whole of the northern Sabi Sand Wildtuin and also everyone who had come to know her. Rest in peace, our fallen angel.  The rest of the game viewing was just unbelievable this month, though, as we saw the little pangolin several times. We were also very lucky regarding the wild dog sightings, as we saw three different packs moving through the area. The nightlife was rocking this month and we saw many beautiful nocturnal animals. The average maximum temperature was 28°C with 2mm of rain.

Leopard

Tiyani, the young female, is still all over the show. She still moves around in Shadow’s territory and also still frequents Salayexe’s old territory. I do not think that she knows yet that Salayexe has passed away, but I doubt that it will be too long before all the females will know that there is a prime piece of land up for grabs. The young Tiyani’s confidence levels are on a high at this stage, as she is scent marking all over her territory.  Nchila was also seen a few times this month. Nchila is still occupying the north-eastern part of our traversing area. This female is also growing in confidence and is very relaxed with the vehicles around her. She has a sneaky streak in her and will let you know immediately if and when she has had enough of you.

The young Ingrid’s Dam female was also seen a lot this month. She is really becoming our go-to girl and there is never a dull moment with her. For some odd reason, she moved out of the area where we thought she would set up a territory for herself. She moved up north, right into the heart of Shadow’s territory and the best of all is that she is scent marking as well. Interesting times are waiting for us, regarding the young females in the area.

The old Ingrid’s Dam female and her cub were also seen a few times this month. It looks like this female is moving into our area more and more, so it will be great to gain another female leopard.

Moya and her cub were also seen a few times this month. It looks like Moya started expanding more north into the late Salayexe’s territory. Her cub is looking great and in tip top condition. She really is a little beauty.  

Hosana, the young male leopard, is still around in Tingana’s territory. Hosana is looking great and he is still doing well for himself. Unfortunately, there will come a time when this young male, as with all young males, will need to move on to another area. Tingana is a very tolerant male, but like any male he has a limit.

Young Thamba was also seen a few times this month. This young male is always such a treat to watch and he is relaxed with the vehicles around him. He will be a great dominant male one day.

Mvula was seen several times this month. It looks like he lost everything now and he is a nomad again. At this stage, he is avoiding Tingana at all times, as the last thing that he wants would be to have a fight with a younger and stronger male.

Tingana was also seen a few times this month. I think he knows that Mvula is moving through the area. The only problem is that he can’t spend too much time looking for him, as he needs to check his whole territory for any younger intruders.

Anderson was also seen a lot this month. Every time we see him, he has a new scar on his face. It is unclear with who he battles it out every so often, but it should be interesting to see the other male. It also looks like Anderson has stopped expanding his territory for the time being, so Tingana can breathe again, for now.

 

Lion

The lion sightings were absolutely mind blowing. I would go as far as to say that the quality of the sightings was the best so far, this year. The Nkuhuma pride is doing really well and they are looking very healthy. The young Nkuhuma has given birth to three healthy cubs. This is so good for the pride, as they can potentially grow even more. At this stage, the cubs are still too small for us to view, as this is mom and baby bonding time… Too much traffic around a den is never a good idea. If there is a lot of traffic around a newly discovered den, it may cause unwanted attention by other predators. Fingers crossed that this first-time mother will be successful in raising her cubs to independence.

The Styx pride also shared the limelight with the Nkuhuma pride this month. The pregnant lioness of the Styx pride gave birth to four healthy babies around the 26th of August. This is such an exciting time for us. We all know this might be just the turning point we all have been waiting for. If all the cubs can survive, this pride will be able to grow in numbers.

Two lionesses of the Ximungwe pride were also seen a few times in our area. These two lionesses are really beautiful and very relaxed with the vehicles moving around them. At this stage, it is unclear whether they have a territory, or if they are just moving around in search of a place to call home. For two or three lionesses to hold their own against a pride of ten to fifteen individuals is always very difficult and so often, they would lose their territory. It will be great if they can take the area around the lodge, which used to belong to the Tsalala pride.

We had a surprise visit from the hair-bellied Matimba male lion this month. He was on his own and had a limp on his left hind leg. He did not stay very long before he moved out of our area again. Besides his limp, he appeared to be in really good shape.

The Birmingham males are still looking great and I must say that they have really bulked up a lot. They have joined forces a few times this month, but still split up the majority of the time. One good thing is that there is no competition for these for boys yet, but it is not going to be that case forever.

Birmingham male lion by Morné Fouché

Birmingham male lion by Morné Fouché

 

Buffalo

At last it looks like the buffaloes are slowly moving back into the area. As food is getting scarcer in the reserve, the buffaloes tend to move more and more, as they search for sustainable food and water for the herd. We have seen two small breeding herds that moved around the area for a few days before they moved on again. It is great news for us that they are moving around, as this means that the big herds might also come through sooner or later. We also have two different bachelor groups which hanged around our lodge for almost the entire month. One of the hot spots for one of the group was the water hole in front of our lodge. In the early mornings, they would move into the brush to go and eat and then in the afternoon, move back to the water to quench their thirst.

 

Elephant

It is great to see that the breeding herds are coming back into the area. We had such awesome sightings this month. We were spoiled for choice, as there were times when there were five to six different herds in the area. We were also very fortunate to see herds of elephants at the waterhole in front of the lodge. As the majority of the waterholes in the area are dry, the elephants make their way to the lodge almost every day. Elephants are most probably some of the most interesting and entertaining animals to watch. If you take the time and watch a herd for an hour or so, you soon realize that they are extremely intelligent and also such loving and caring animals. We also saw a lot of big males moving through the area. It is such a treat to see these big heavyweights in their natural habitat.

Special sighting

It was the most exciting thing to see the Nkuhuma lioness moving her tiny cubs to a new den. This is always special to see, as you cannot imagine that they can be so gentle with their strong jaws and long canines.  One by one, she carried them to the new den, holding them ever-so-gently in her mouth.  The cubs appeared so calm and peaceful, you would think that they were fast asleep. As this is still a closed sighting and we happened to see them by change, we will wait until later before viewing them again. Seeing them per chance while they were still so small made this extra special.   

Did you know?

The woodland kingfisher is generally found away from water and prefers a diet of invertebrates, rather than fish.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

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...

Rangers Report October 2017

What an awesome time out in the bush. The temperatures were pleasant most of the time, but the month ended with a heat wave of note! The average maximum temperature for October was a wonderful 32°C. We were once again on the tip of our seats, with all the amazing...

Rangers Report September 2017

Spring is finally here and with it, came some wonderful rain and temperatures. With 18mm of rain, the bush received a total facelift in the form of wonderfully bright, green colours. The average maximum temperature for this month was 32°C. All the browsers in the area...

Rangers Report August 2017

It is strange how the unexpected can happen at any time and any place. The month started off with a bang and everything was out and about, going really well, until that one day. As most of you know by now Salayexe, our resident female leopard, passed away on the 18th...

Rangers Report June 2017

It is hard to imagine that we are half way through the year, when it still feels like we celebrated new year’s yesterday. I now know why people always say that time flies when you are having fun! The winter is finally here and we had a few very crisp mornings and some...

Rangers Report May 2017

With the impala rutting season in full swing, there is no shortage in the action department. Broken horns, bloody faces and puncture wounds on their bodies are only a few signs of the fights this month. These bloody battles can even be heard late at night, as the...

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...

Manager’s Report October 2017

Wow! What happened to the year!? It feels like 2017 started yesterday and now we only have two months to go before the end of the year. I guess you can say that “time flies when you’re having fun!” There is always lots of fun to be had in the bush. We had a little bit...

Manager’s Report September 2017

Spring is in the air!  Birds are singing, trees are blooming and the bush is a slowly turning into a painted canvas of green delight!  It seems as if everything almost transformed overnight, after we received an extremely welcome shower of rain just before the last...

Manager’s Report August 2017

August is the month of leaves!  At first, we thought that we welcomed the beginning of spring a bit earlier this year. But just as we got comfortable with the idea of the pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very chilly winds during the last few days of the...

Manager’s Report June 2017

Note from the webmaster: We've been working on upgrading the Big 5 Blog the past few months, and for this reason we have not been able to publish our regular manager- and ranger reports. We apologise for this but hope that you will enjoy the flood of news that has...

Manager’s Report May 2017

Winter has arrived and the bush is wearing its winter attire 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, which gives you a better view of all...

Big 5 Sightings 05 to 11 February

Monday, 5 February 2018 (34ºC) Pack of ten Wilddogs running south of Mhisi Mati Sibuye the female leopard resting on Hofmans Wessels cutline Six Buffalo bulls walking on Ekiso Road One Elephant bull at Safari Open Area Hosana the young male Leopard drinking water...

Big five sightings 29 January to 4 February

Monday, 29 January 2018 (38ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Grass Cut Road A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Kudu Drift Six buffalo bulls resting on Milkberry Road Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on EP open area Ten buffalo...

Big 5 Sightings 15 to 21 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Hukumuri male leopard   Monday, 15 January 2018 (35ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard scent marking on Xidulu Road Six buffalo bulls resting in the water at Kraaines Pan A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on...

Big 5 Sightings 1 to 7 January 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see one of the Birmingham male lions drinking water at Rhulani mud wallow Monday, 1 January 2018 (25ºC) The Styx lion pride resting on Airport Link Tiyani, the female leopard, feeding on her kudu kill at Kimbeans crossing The...

Big 5 Sightings 25 to 31 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see the Styx lion pride resting on Little Gowrie/Wessels cutline Monday, 25 December 2017 (23ºC) The Hukumuri male leopard moving south from Shinzele road The Xidulu female leopard moving west on Rhulani Two Lionesses from the...

Big 5 Sightings 18 to 24 December 2017

The Big 5 highlight of the week was Xidulu female leopard, resting on termite mound at Simbambili firebreak Monday, 18 December 2017 (42ºC) A bachelor group of buffalo bulls resting on Rhino Ring East Tiyani, the female leopard resting on EP airstrip A breeding herd...

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Rangers Report June 2017

It is hard to imagine that we are half way through the year, when it still feels like we celebrated new year’s yesterday. I now know why people always say that time flies when you are having fun! The winter is finally here and we had a few very crisp mornings and some chilly evenings.

The sightings were absolutely out of this world and we’ve had so many wonderful sightings. We were very fortunate to tee the wild dogs on a regular basis. Their den is just outside our traversing area and they move through our area on a regular basis to hunt. They will move though the area almost every 2-3 days, in search of food. Unfortunately, they do not stay very long, as they need to go and feed the alpha female, who is patiently waiting at the den. Zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, nyala and so much more were also out in their numbers. The night life was also out and about and we saw a lot of porcupines, civets, genets and even a pangolin.

Leopard

The leopard dynamics in the area are still changing. There is a lot of changes happening amongst the males and females in the area. Salayexe is still expanding her empire and moving all over the show. It was really hard to find and follow her, as she was on the move the whole time. The only time that she was sitting still was when she had a kill. There are two young ladies still moving around in Salayexe’s territory and that is Nchila and Tiyani. Although these two ladies are family of Salayexe, there is no love lost between them. Salayexe will not tolerate any other female in her territory, even if it is family. Nsele was seen only once this month, without her daughter. Nsele is looking great and she is very healthy. I think it is not going to be too long before she will have a new litter of cubs. Moya and her cub have really surprised us, as they moved into the area on a regular basis. It is great to see these two beautiful cats moving in the area. Both are super relaxed with the vehicles moving around them. I just hope that she will stay clear of her aunt, Salayexe. Shadow and her cub were also seen this month with an impala kill. The cub is still very shy, taking after mom, and does not like a lot of vehicle movement around her. It will still take a while before the cub will become more relaxed with the vehicles. Although these two cats are so elusive, they are still very beautiful. Nchila is becoming a really beautiful cat. She still hasn’t found a territory of her own yet, but she is still looking around and weighing up her options. Nchila had another run in with her grandmother, Salayexe, and this time it was serious. Salayexe did not pack out any tea and cookies, as she made sure Nchila understood who the boss of the area is. We will have to wait and see where this young cat will end up. Tiyani has moved back into her mother, Salayexe’s, territory. Like a naughty teenager she does not respect the boundaries and rules. Once again, these two cats had another fight and like all the other times Salayexe came out on top again. Tiyani is really oblivious to the danger that she is in as she continues to stay in mom’s territory. Tingana is still spending the majority of his time on the eastern part of his territory, which is understandable. Overall Tingana is very healthy and in great shape. It is only time before Tingana and Anderson will meet again. Anderson is still expanding his territory more east, taking more and more of Tingana’s territory on the western side. This male is still looking absolutely fantastic. Although he has been more like a ghost this last month, we still had some great sightings of him.

Lion

Female elephant by Morné FouchéWe had such great sightings of these big cats this month. Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. There is a lot of changes about to happen in the near future regarding the lion prides in our area. We were so fortunate to see the tailless female and her two cubs for the first time. It was such a wonderful surprise when the call echoed over the radio about the tailless female and her group having been spotted. Unfortunately, they did not stay very long before moving south again, out of our traversing area. Her twin sister and her group have spent a lot of their time in our traversing area. This might be due to the continuous changes of the lion dynamics between the male lions in the southern part of the park. With all these changes happening, it might cause the Tsalala females to move back north. The Tsalala pride is looking absolutely great and the 15-year-old twins are doing a great job in keeping the rest of the pride safe. The Styx pride is also looking great and we also saw them a few times this month. They were also seen deep in Tsalala territory. This pride is eating really well and the cubs always have full bellies. The Styx females killed two aardvarks the one evening, so you can just imagine the mixed emotions from the guides and guests when we saw this. Unfortunately, lions do not have a certain food criteria, as anything will do to feed themselves and the cubs. It is good to see that the Birmingham males are still spending a lot of their time with this pride. The Nkuhuma pride is also looking great and very healthy. We were so fortunate to see this pride so often this month. This pride has spent so much time around our lodge area and even more south than that. The pride has moved all the way to our southern boundary, which is very far into the Tsalala territory. It really looks like this pride wants to expand their territory more south, but with the Tsalala pride moving back north, we will have to see what happens. The 4 Birmingham brothers are also moving more and more south and west. They are slowly moving into old Majingi territory, but doing so very cautiously, as they were chased out a few times by the Majingi males. Everything is connected in some way and if the Birmingham males take over this area, it will mean that the Tsalala pride will be in the line of fire. At this stage, the only thing that we can do is wait and see how this story will unfold.

Buffalo

The Tsalala pride feeding on a buffalo kill by Neil CoetzerThe buffalo sightings were not that great this month, as there is still no sign of the big herds. We have seen a small group of about 20-50 individuals making a quick appearance before moving on again. It is always great to see a herd of buffaloes and it doesn’t matter if it is big or small. Buffalo herds will always vary in size, this is due to the area and food and water supplies. Once again, the old dagga boys came to our rescue this month. It was still a challenge to find them, before the lions. As soon as buffaloes realize that lions are on their trail, they quickly disappear again. Unfortunately for the buffaloes, the majority of the lion prides in the area specialize in hunting buffaloes.

Elephant

Tiyani stalking a baby rhino by Dawie JacobsWe once again had very memorable elephant sightings this month. These big heavyweights are moving all over the area. Elephants do not have a fixed territory like lions or leopards, but rather a home range. The breeding herds that we saw this month was only between 10-20 individuals. We saw a few different herds quenching their thirst in front of our lodge. It is great to see all the babies in the herds, which mean that the herds are doing well and that they are healthy. There were not a lot of big bulls in the area this month, but we still had our fair share of big elephant bull sightings. One big elephant bull really stood out from the rest of the bulls we saw. We were very fortunate to see the bull on more than one occasion. His body size was absolutely mind blowing and although he did not have very big tusks, he was still a giant amongst giants.

Special sighting

This month’s special sighting was to see a young pangolin on drive. What made it even more special was that we saw him on four different occasions. Pangolins are very secretive animals and they are mostly nocturnal as well. This young male walked around in day time and he was so relaxed with the vehicles. It was so nice to see him so many times in this month, let’s hope we can continue this lucky streak in July.

Did you know?

Pangolins are the only mammals in the world, covered in scales.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

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Rangers Report May 2017

With the impala rutting season in full swing, there is no shortage in the action department. Broken horns, bloody faces and puncture wounds on their bodies are only a few signs of the fights this month. These bloody battles can even be heard late at night, as the sound of males rutting and the clash of horns echoes through the night. The sightings were just out of this world and we were again so fortunate to see the African wild dogs this month. We also had great interaction between the wild dogs and the hyenas that kept us on the edge of our seats. The night life is just getting better and better as the temperature is changing. With the winter chill upon us the African civet, genet, porcupine and even caracal was out and about and they start much earlier in the evenings to look for food. The average maximum temperature for the month was 29°C and we had 13mm of rain.

Leopard

If one would ask me to describe the leopard sightings this month in one word, it would be spectacular.

Salayexe was seen a lot this month and she expanded her empire even more this month. She has the biggest territory of all the females in the Northern Sabi Sand Wildtuin. Salayexe is all over the show as she tries to patrol her enormous territory. At this stage, there is no another female in the area strong enough to challenge her for territory.

Tiyani, was seen a few times this month moving back and forth into her mother’s territory. She is growing in confidence and moving more into Shadow’s territory as well. Tiyani killed an impala male the one day and hoisted the kill into a big marula tree. The impala male would normally feed her for a few days, but it did not happen this way. The smell of a fresh kill was picked up by her mother and she homed in towards the kill. Salayexe made sure Tiyani knows who is the boss and who the kill belongs to. After Salayexe had her fill she came down the tree and moved on again. Tiyani was pushed more south into Moya’s territory. Tiyani is a survivor and a fighter, so I am sure that we will see her again in the near future.

The young Ingrid Dam female was also seen a few times this month moving around. She is still in the area that belonged to the late Kwatile. It is always great to see this young female moving all over the show. It will be awesome if she can settle down in that area.

Nchila was also seen a few times this month. This is a beautiful female and it is great to have her back in the area. The only problem here is that she is currently in her grandmother’s territory. As we all know too well, Salayexe does not like any intruders in her territory, even if it is family. Like Ingrid Dam and Tiyani, Nchila is also looking for a place to call home and being 3 years old now she will start looking for a male soon. The other problem is that her father, Anderson is still the dominant male in this area so things might still change.

Nsele and her cub was also seen a few times in the area and both are looking great. The cub has grown so much in size and in confidence. She is a great cat to view and a real poser for the camera, with so much confidence. Moya and her cub was also seen this month in our area. She was seen moving and sniffing around her aunt, Salayexe’s, territory. Moya has a territory on the southern boundary of Salayexe’s territory. Moya and her cub are looking great and it was our first time to see the cub. Thandi and Thamba was also seen a few times this month. Thamba has turned into a wonderful cat with a great personality. Thandi has done a tremendously good job in raising this cub and it looks like he might make it to adulthood.

Shadow and her cub was also seen this month. She has been moving the cub around a lot this month, to and away from kills. The cub is still very shy, but if you just wait a while you will be rewarded with an awesome sighting.

Hosana was also seen a few times this month and he is doing well for himself. We saw him with a big male impala kill in a tree. This just shows that he’s got the ability to hunt for himself. One good thing is that the area which he moves around in does not have a resident hyena clan to steal his food.

Tingana was also seen often this month. He spends the majority of his time in the centre of his territory and did not move very far west which was very confusing for us at first. After we saw Anderson scent marking all over the western part of Tingana’s territory, it made sense.

Anderson is expanding again and has already taken a big chunk of Tingana’s territory to the west. This big brut of a male has decided he wants more. With Anderson pushing more east poor Shadow also needs to go more east as the life of her cub is now hanging in the balance.

Lion

Female buffalo by Louis LiversageWe had a big surprise this month, as half of the Tsalala pride came to visit us in our area. They did not stay for very long before they crossed out of our traversing area again to the core of their territory. This was great to see them again as they do not usually venture this far up because they do not have any pride males anymore. Fingers crossed that the little ones who were sired by the Matimba males will make it to adulthood. This will be difficult, but these females have showed us that it is possible to raise cubs to independence without a pride male.

The Styx pride is doing really well and the cubs are growing up very fast. The three females are looking absolutely great and doing really well in supporting the cubs and feeding them. It is great to see that the cubs are doing well and if all goes well the pride might grow with another four females. One good thing is that the Birmingham males are very involved with the Styx pride.

The Nkuhuma pride is looking great and it is a pleasure to view them. The female with the amber eyes is far pregnant and we cannot wait to see the new bundles of fluff. The rest of the cubs also look very healthy and they are growing really fast. The Nkuhuma females are moving more and more west and south, looking to expand their territory. This will be great for them and for us if they take over this area around our lodge.

The Birmingham males are also expanding and they are also moving more west and south with the Nkuhuma pride. Finally, they have started moving around again as a unit. Maybe just for now, as they are expanding their territory. Let’s hope that they will succeed in taking over this area that once belonged to the mighty Majingi males.

Buffalo

Young elephant bulls playing by Morné FouchéThe buffalo sightings were absolutely great. We had a big breeding herd of about sixty individuals moving in and out of our area. They came into the area but did not stay for very long before they moved on again. This is common for herds, whether it is big or small. They all have one thing in common and that is finding enough food for all of them. Luckily for us we had a small bachelor group of buffalo bulls who stayed around our area. Once again this was short lived as the Nkuhuma pride tracked them down and killed one. This send the other males running and crossing out of our area for good. One would think that these guys are too big to be taken down by anything, but lions are the apex predators of the bush.

Elephant

Baby impala by Louis LiversageThe elephants are back in their numbers and we had a great time with these gentle giants. Evidence of these big animals are scattered all over the roads. As the grass is getting dryer and less palatable for the elephants, they turn their attention more towards the trees and shrubs. For their big bodies, elephants consume a lot of vegetation each day. We had a few big males in the area as well this month. These big boys had one thing on their mind: finding the female groups to mate. We also saw a few younger males that were recently pushed out of their family groups. These young males will sometimes join forces with other young males, who were also pushed out of their herds by their mothers.

Special sighting

One crisp evening we were on our way back to the lodge after a wonderful drive. We came around a corner and there it was, a juvenile caracal! It did not give us any chance to get a picture before it went straight into the tall grass disappearing into the darkness.

Did you know?

Elephants have a really large appetite and can spend up to eighteen hours a day feeding.

See you out on the game drive soon.
Morné Fouché

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