Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

a week in the bush: vol 17

by Sabi Sabi on July 25, 2014

Well this week has once again been an incredibly action packed week here at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. It seems as if the predators have taken the spotlight this week, most possibly due to there having been two massive herds of buffalo on the property, and trailing these herds we found both lions and Maxabeni male leopard.

These buffalo herds are incredibly good in nutrient cycling and cropping the grass allowing the specialist grazers such as wildebeest a greater access to food in areas not normally accessible for them. In the middle of winter we often find large troops of baboons overturning the dried up buffalo dung. What they are seeking is termites, scorpions and any other insect that is seeking refuse and feeding on these dried ‘patties’.

buffal

buffalo hunt

The Sand River males and the three Southern Pride lionesses fed on a huge buffalo bull for 4 days before moving throughout the property scent marking and further establishing themselves as the dominant coalition here. The rest of the Southern Pride were found around Earth Lodge and the Sabie River trying to avoid and keep a low profile around the Sand River males. It is extremely interesting to watch the development of the social pride dynamics here of the Southern Pride. Will we have a permanent split? Only time will tell.

male lions

male lion

lions

The leopards this week have certainly been giving us the most incredible display of behavior from being on a kill to defending cubs and marking territory. Nottins female and her young cub were found moving den sites this week after nearly two weeks of not being seen. The little cub is growing in confidence daily and looking in great condition even taking time to try and tackle mom between posing for pictures.

leopard and cub

The Little Bush female was found fighting aggressively with Sandriver male leopard as he tried continually to try find and kill her cubs. Hopefully her tenacious attitude has ensured the survival of her cubs and only time will tell.

The Outcrop female cub has been seen feeding on a duiker kill, making for some incredible viewing. It is always great to see a new young recently independent leopard fending for itself and looking for a territory. Although she is fairly shy and nervous, those green eyes are extremely highlighted along with the pink nose, showing her young age.

Once again Maxabeni and White Dam female were seen mating, this is now the forth time in recent months and it would seem as if she is failing to conceive. This aggressive mating display allows for a fantastic array of facial expressions from both the male and female.

With the incredible African winter sunsets it has most certainly allowed for amazing stargazing opportunities with a warm glass of glühwein (mulled wine). Here we take time to let the stars come out in full strength whilst listening to a leopard give a territorial call and Side-striped Jackals alarm calling in the background.

What an incredible week and hopefully this winter madness will continue here at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill.

BY: STEVE VOLKWYN (BUSH LODGE RANGER)
IMAGES BY: TERRY ENNEVER, PRAVIR PATEL, GRANT RODEWIJK, STEVE VOLKWYN AND CHARLES FERROW

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