a cycle of life, loss and reuniting
This cycle, more than most others, was an epitome of the trials and tribulations experienced by the animals that inhabit the wild plains of Sabi Sabi. During this cycle, our guests and myself had a glimpse into their epic world, a dynamic world, where life and loss are seamlessly woven together.
As is customary at this time of the year, we had the summer rains, and at one stage we had torrential downpours resulting in 260mm over a 3 day period. The Musuthlu, the Umlechwane and the Sabie Rivers were in full flow, bursting their banks but replenishing the water table for the long dry winter ahead.
We were also very lucky to have a gorgeous male cheetah, which is always a special sighting, feeding on an impala that he managed to kill that morning. This sighting was on my first drive back and I knew that if my luck continued in this vein, we were going to be in for some amazing sightings.
Our luck continued when we had some of the Southern Pride females and their 6 cubs regularly seen for a long period of time. The best sighting was when they took refuge in the shade of a Tamboti thicket which was less than 3 meters from the road. Seeing new life is always a treat, but this was a bitter/sweet sighting. There was no doubt that these cubs were malnourished and the Southern Pride females were not looking too much better and struggling to produce milk .If you wanted to see my thoughts on this, have a look at our blog, Survival of the cubs .
The loss side of this blog, was hearing that some of the cubs were found dead, presumably killed by the Sandriver male coalition, whose tracks were found in the immediate vicinity. We found another cub along with some of the Southern Pride females a few days later. The next day the females were found, but the last remaining cub was a noticeable absentee. My most exhilarating sighting was when Warthog Wallow and her cub killed a baby Kudu and while they were busy feasting, a hyena came and stole the hard won prize and treed the both of them. Then with pure arrogance, continued to feast on the bounty right below the salivating leopards. If you want to see more pictures of this epic sighting, check out Fight or Flight.
The Southern pride females, reunited with the Kruger male after a long time apart. It was great to see them back together and even though there was lots of affection shown, there was the occasional spat which reaffirmed bonds and dominance. I wasn’t complaining as this gave us a wonderful opportunity to get some great pics.
There is without doubt that this cycle we witnessed some amazing sightings which reaffirmed the volatile environment that these animals live in. Life is precious and something that must be treasured and these sightings make me appreciate my life and how lucky I am to witness its beauty and unpredictability.