Rangers Report February 2018

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...

Rangers Report January 2018

Rangers Report

January 2018
Nkuhuma cubs - Morné Fouché

Young Ingrid's Dam female leopard by Morné Fouché

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 maximum temperature was 31°C with 90mm of rain. Bird life was fantastic and we saw an abundance of our feathery friends. We were very lucky regarding the wild dogs. We had several different packs moving in and out of our area this month. Our resident hyena clan is also doing great. All is going well at the den and the pups are growing up very fast. The young warthog male is still sharing the hyena den from time to time and it looks like they came to some kind of an understanding! The wild dogs and the hyenas provided us with excellent sightings. We have witnessed plenty of epic standoffs between them and I know that there will be many more in the near future.

Leopard

This month was excellent for leopard viewing. The number and quality of sightings that we had, was just crazy. This area is renowned for its leopard sightings and this month we were not disappointed. Tiyani, the young female was seen almost every day of the month. She is looking great and growing a lot in confidence. I watched her stalking a hyena one day. She almost pounced on the hyena! The poor hyena got such a fright when Tiyani came flying through the air. Xidulu, the young female, was seen a few times this month, moving all over her new territory. At this point it looks like she wants to expand more east. She pushed Shadow more east and took over the western part of Shadows territory. She was also seen mating with the Hukumuri male again. Hopefully the mating was successful and she conceived this time round. Moya, was also seen a few times this month.

Good news is that my feeling was correct in December. Moya has suckle marks, which is a definite sign off small cubs! This beautiful female is still in good shape and excellent condition. I can’t wait to see the new cubs as soon as she starts moving them. Thandi was also seen once or twice this month. Still no sign of her cub, but we have faith that she will move her sooner or later. Thandi is still looking great, but unfortunately, she is getting older. She is almost 11 years old and at this age she might start to lose some of her territory to younger females like her daughter, Kuchava. Shadow was also seen a few times this month, moving all over the show. Shadow lost a small section of her territory on the western border to the younger and bigger Xidulu female. Shadow’s daughter is looking great and spending a lot of her time alone. The future of this little cub is looking great and she is almost independent. Nsele was also seen a few times this month. Excellent news for us is that she had suckle marks when she was last seen. We know the den is just out of our traversing area, as we have followed her tracks crossing the boundary. Luckily, we know it will not be too long before she brings the babies over to our side.

Nsele’s daughter from her previous litter is also moving around our lodge. She and Tiyani already ran into each other twice this month. The Ingrid Dam female was also seen this month. She is still scent marking in the area, but Tiyani is like a nasty thorn in her flesh, as she is scent marking over her scent the whole time. So far, she is not really worried at all, as she does not go and look for Tiyani. It will be a matter of time before their paths will cross, though. Thamba, the young male, is moving all over his father’s territory. This young male is moving around a lot more than the other young males normally do. He is an excellent hunter and he eats well. This youngster is looking really healthy. Unfortunately for us, he will have to leave his birth place at some time in search of his own territory. Hosana is still moving around in his father’s territory and has no intension of leaving. This young male is growing up really fast and he is looking very healthy. Hosana is a really beautiful male and it will be sad to see him leave. Mvula was also seen a few times this month. At this stage, his age is really counting against him. This once very impressive territorial male, is now totally nomadic. It is sad to see yet another legend fading away, but I guess that is the way of life.

Tingana was also seen a few times, but not as much as we are used to. He is looking good, but his age is also taking a number on him. So far it looks like he still has some fight left in him to defend his territory against rival males. Anderson was also seen a lot this month. I think he finally realized that Hukumuri is moving into his territory. It is great to see him patrolling and doing his deep territorial call again. Anderson is almost 10 years old, which means that he will now also start losing some of his territory. One thing that counts in his favour is his size. It is crucial for him to hold on to his territory for another two years at least, as two of his ladies has new babies at the moment. Hukumuri was just all over the show. He has grown a lot in confidence while scent marking and doing his territorial call. One thing he is still afraid off is Anderson, and for good reason. He was pushed more north east by the old brut, Anderson. The positive aspect of this move, though, is that he appears to like this area and he is going to make it his new home.

Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

Birmingham male lion by Morné Fouché

 

Lion

The lion sightings were just awesome and we had such great sightings again this month. The Styx pride was seen a lot this month and they had full bellies almost every time we saw them. The three big females are doing a really good job with the youngsters. One thing we noticed is that when they go hunting, they will leave the four small cubs behind and take the six older cubs along on the journey. The six older cubs are not ready to help with the hunts, but at least they are starting to learn. I can not wait for the day that the young females will join the hunts in order to feed their own cubs. If all goes well, the Styx pride will be one formidable force to take on.

The Nkuhuma pride was also moving through our area the last month. Things are looking better and they are also eating very well. Like the Styx pride, all the members are fit and healthy. The sub adults in the pride are now undergoing hunting lessons. Hunting is an art, a skill passed on from generation to generation. Every lion pride in Africa is specializing in a certain animal when it comes to hunting. For the Nkuhuma pride, buffalo is their preferred meal. The two Ximungwe females came in for a quick visit this month. These two young females are really looking good and I do hope that we can see more of them in the near future. With the future of the Tsalala pride looking very shaky, it might open a door of opportunity for the two Ximungwe females. As we know all too well, nature works in mysterious ways. The Birmingham males spent a lot of their time out of our traversing with the Kambula females. Overall, the Birmingham males are looking great and very healthy. Still the one concerning factor is that they tend to split up for days at a time before they reunite. Maybe they feel confident enough and know that there are no other males in the area to challenge them.

Young Ingrid's dam female by Morné Fouché

Grey heron by Morné Fouché

 

Buffalo

There is still no sign of the big breeding herds in the area. There was a small splinter group, who moved around in our area. This group consisted of several females accompanied by a few dominant males. This group was only about fourteen individuals with no babies. They unfortunately did not hang around for very long before moving off again. The bachelor groups are still moving all over the area and they were spending a lot of their time close to the water. These males have bulked up a lot comparing to the bulls in the small breeding herd. These bachelors will soon leave the safety of the brotherhood and return to the herds to fight for the females again. We have not seen a lot of the old dagga boys this month, but their tracks still indicate that they are in the area. There is an abundance of new mud wallows after the amount of rain that we had. This can also be why we do not see them very often.

Tiyani the female leopard by Morné Fouché

Young elephant bull playing in the mud Morné Fouché

 

Elephant

It was a real treat to see all the different breeding herds of elephants in the area. There was really no shortage of elephants, as we saw five to six different herds on a drive. We saw several new baby elephants who were born during the month. It was a spectacular sight to see, as the herd comes moving through, with the babies safely tucked away in the middle of the herd. These herds do not move very far in a day and they rest quite a lot, because of the new-born babies who need to take more regular breaks. There were a few of the herds who moved around in the area, who had up to fifty members. This was definitely an elephant month!

Special sighting

We saw several baby elephants this month, but it was very special to see one specific baby, trying to take his first little baby steps. This baby was only about a day or two old at most. It was so difficult for this little youngster to stand up and the uneven roads made walking somewhat of a challenge. He tried with all his might, but gravity was just too great. He came down face first a few times, but that did not stop him from trying even harder. With each attempt his little legs became stronger, until he finally got the hang of it and followed mum into the bush. This was an awesome sighting and I am glad we were part of this.

Did you know?

An elephant herd is considered one of the most closely-knit societies of any animal. Then only time a female will leave a herd, is when she dies.

See you out on the game drive soon.

Morné Fouché

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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...

Rangers Report December 2017

Rangers Report

December 2017
Nkuhuma cubs - Morné Fouché

Birmingham male scanning the area by Morné Fouché

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 different this year, with little rain and mild days. There were only a few days where the temperatures reached the low 40°C’s. The average maximum temperature was 31°C and we had 23mm of rain.

We had a great time with the wild dogs once again. The wild dogs and hyenas made sure that we were entertained by having some standoffs. The Elephant Plains hyena clan has a new, rather unusual member in the clan. A young warthog male decided that the hyena den is the perfect place for him to call home. It is rather unique to see this kind of relationship between hyenas and a warthog. The warthog leaves the den in the early mornings to go and feed and returns later in afternoon. He does not bother the hyenas and they apparently do not bother him!

Leopard

The leopard sightings in our area were mind blowing, as always. Still there are some interesting times ahead of us, with the shuffling between the leopard females in the area. As we all know, nature works by a different guidebook than what we are used to and there is always a curve ball in the works. Moya and the older Ingrid Dam female have expanded their territories more north. At this stage they are putting more pressure on the two young females, Tiyani and the young Ingrid Dam.

Tiyani, the young female leopard, is growing a lot in confidence. After her mother, Salayexe, died it was like she transformed and climbed out of her shell. It is awesome to be a part of her life and to see how she grows into a more successful female.

The young Ingrid Dam female was also all over the show. She is getting more confident as the months go by. There is a big confusion regarding the two Ingrid Dam females, as the older Ingrid Dam female is pushing more north. We have decided that the young Ingrid Dam female will receive another name. We decided to give her a name that will suit her character. There is only one leopard who will always be on a termite mount. So, this made the choice very easy and we decided to call her Xidulu. Xidulu means termite mount in the local Shangaan language.

Shadow and her cub were also seen a few times this month. The young female is a beautiful cat and she is growing really fast. It will be great for us if she can survive and stay in the area. Shadow is still looking great, although she’s had some altercations with Thandi this month. Both these females are busy expanding into their late mother, Karula’s, territory. Shadow is really doing well in raising her little cub and so far, it looks like a bright future ahead.

The Ingrid Dam female and her cub are both very healthy. This female is expanding her territory more north east into a part of Salayexe’s old territory. This puts more pressure on Tiyani to also move more north. I think that the Ingrid Dam female has realised that Tiyani is a young female and that she could easily take her on.

Moya was also seen a few times this month. Moya is also expanding her territory more north, putting more pressure on the Xidulu female and Tiyani. Moya is only 8 years old and still in her prime, so she still has the upper hand. Moya’s daughter is now spending a lot more time on her own. It looks like Moya’s milk glands are swollen.  If this is the case, then there are new babies on the way. Moya’s daughter is a really awesome little friendly leopard. Hopefully she will survive to adulthood and stay in the area. The south-western section of the late Kwatile’s territory is still open and any young female can still claim this territory.

Nsele’s daughter from her last litter was also seen a lot this month. A few months ago, she was really skittish and did not like the vehicles at all. She has improved a lot and is much more relaxed with the vehicles around her. It would be awesome to see this young female more often. 

Both Tingana and Anderson were low under the radar this month. It looks like Tingana was in a fight with another leopard, as he had a sore front paw. It was nothing serious, but he just looked uncomfortable. Tingana is still looking good and very healthy.  I do, however, expect a lot of competition for him in 2018, with all the young males in the area.

Anderson is still fit and strong. It is always great to see this big guy, but it looks like he is neglecting his area a little bit. This is not good for business, as it leaves an open invitation for other young males to move in.

There is a new kid on the block called Hukumuri, who is currently moving into the area around our lodge. This young male came from the western part of the reserve where he was born. We estimate him to be about 4years of age and he is already scent marking in the area. Hosana was also seen a few times and he is still looking great. He still has no intention to leave his fathers territory. Slowly but surely, Tingana will get fed up with this little youngster and eventually push him out.

Lion

The lion sightings were absolutely spectacular and we ended the year with some mind-blowing sightings.

The Nkuhuma pride had more bad luck this month, as they lost yet another cub. Nobody really knows what happened to the little cub. We just saw them one morning with only one small cub. Overall the pride members are looking very healthy. The sub adults are also looking great and the youngsters are getting nice and big now. When the females go out to hunt, they take them with so that they can start learning.

The Styx pride was also out and about and seen very often. The three adult lionesses are in top condition. The 10 cubs are growing up fast. With the 10 hungry youngsters, the females need to hunt more often than usual. The three females are always on the lookout for a good meal and will travel long distances in search of food. The cubs are still too small to join in on the hunts and they are left in a safe place. The future is looking bright for the Styx pride, but as we know, nature works in mysterious ways.

The Tsalala pride was also seen a few times in our area this month. We only saw three members of the pride. The two older lionesses are approaching 16 years of age and they might not be around for much longer. Unfortunately, the future of this pride is really not looking good at the moment.

We were very fortunate to see the Mhangene pride again this month. This is definitely my favourite pride of all. These females had a tough life growing up, but they had a fantastic teacher to help them. They are awesome females and look very healthy. The 12 sub adults are also in good condition. The nine young males are going to be a formidable force when they grow up. If these nine males stay together, they will surely cause mayhem. It is still too early to say what will happen to these youngsters and if the three females will stay with their mothers or not.

The Birmingham males were very low on the radar this month. This might be because they are expanding and looking for new horizons.  Two of the Birmingham males were seen in the southern part of the reserve. There are definitely changes happening and it looks like the Birmingham males want to move more south. It is difficult to say what they are busy with, but I hope that they will stick around until their cubs are bigger, before they make a move.

The two old Matimba male lions also came for a visit this month. It was great to see these beautiful males again, even if it short lived. They are now nomadic, because they lost all their territory. These males are moving all over the reserve and avoiding the dominant males in the different areas. Careful not to hang around in another male’s territory…

Buffalo

Finally, the long wait is a thing of the past. We had a big herd of about 100 or more buffaloes this month, moving through the area. It is good to see that the herds are finally moving closer to our area in their quest to find food and water. One thing we noticed is that there were no small calves within this big herd. There were, however, plenty of pregnant females in the herd. This might be a smaller splinter group that broke off of the main herd. Hopefully this herd will realise that there is enough food for the whole herd and remain in this area for the next few months. We also saw several bachelor groups moving through the area. One specific group had about 14 males sticking together.  This all male group also stayed in the area for a long time, before moving on again. It is almost time for these big boys to return to the breeding herds.

Tiyani the female leopard by Morné Fouché

African sunset by Morné Fouché

 

Elephant

We had mind-blowing elephant sightings this month and could not ask for more. The rainy season is always great for elephant viewing. The mud wallows are full of water, acting as a mud bath spa for these gigantic bodies. Elephants need a lot of water to drink and need to cool down in the harsh African heat. Therefore, any water mass big enough to accommodate an elephant is a potential water spraying, mud throwing zone.

Special Sighting

It is always difficult to decide on the best, most special sighting of the month. This month there was one sighting that stood out from the rest. A spectacular interaction between a pack of wild dogs and the resident hyena clan still lingers in my memory. It was fascinating to watch how neither of the two groups wanted to give in. The noises and calls gave us all goosebumps and there was never a dull moment. Predator interaction like this is always very intense and exciting.  At the end, both parties got a bit of the impala pie and went their separate ways in peace.

Did you know?

A lion’s roar can be heard up to eight kilometres away. Roaring helps pride members to keep in contact, discourages intruders and advertises that the territory is occupied.

See you out on the game drive soon.

Morné Fouché

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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Big 5 Sightings 07 to 13 May

The Big 5 highlight of the week was the Mhangene pride of subadult lions following the Nkuhuma pride of lions whist hunting an impala, then stealing the kill from the Nkuhuma’s Monday 07 May 2018 (31ºC)    Nine sub adults from the Mhangene pride resting on East Bank...

Big 5 Sightings 30 April 2018 to 07 May 2018

The Big highlight of the week was to see One Pangolin twice feeding at Mums Road   Monday 30 April 2018 (30ºC)   A pack of eight wild dogs resting on A-Main Road The cub of Moya the female leopard feeding on her duiker kill at Big dam link north Road The Hukumuri male...

Big 5 Sightings 23 to 29 April 2018

The Big 5 highlight of the week was: Xidulu the female leopard meeting a wilddog while chasing the same impala   Monday,23 April 2018 (32ºC) Tiyani the female leopard walking along Pungwe Island crossing The Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Simbambili firebreak road...

Big 5 Sightings 16 to 22 April

Highlight of the week was the Avoca male lions    Monday, 16 April 2018 (29ºC)   A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Ngala open Moya the female leopard cub on a Impala kill at Leopard drift road Two buffalo bulls resting at Pungwe island Nkuhuma pride...

Big 5 Sightings 09 to 15 April

The Big 5 highlight of the week was, Sibuye the female leopard and her Cub   Monday,9 April 2018 (29ºC) Styx pride of lions resting South of Ingwe pan Hosanna the male leopard on a grey duiker kill at Mike’s kitchen One elephant bull walking on Rhino midden road One...

Big 5 Sightings 2 to 8 April

Monday,2 April 2018 (29ºC)   Ingrid dam the female leopard resting at Chestnut Open Area A breeding herd of about 40 elephants walking west from Horseshoe Open A breeding herd of about ten buffalos resting at Drongo North Road Xidulu the female leopard resting at...