safari bush sightings
sabi sabi 8th february 2010 - 16th february 2010
Yes, it's February again and the temperatures are soaring into the high thirties, and even over 40. We had one day this week where the temperature actually moved up to 45 degrees!!
The bush is still lush and green and even though it proves to test every ranger and trackers eyes as it is becoming very thick that in some parts, we are having some fantastic animal and bird sightings. February is meant to be the wet month…but we still haven't received any rain .For sure it is coming and when it finally decides to grace us with its presence I am sure we will know all about it! We have had some very spectacular thunder and lighting but no rain as of yet.
As I mentioned, this week we have had some phenomenal sightings and most of these sightings consisted of lions and leopards.
The highlight of the week was when some rangers were following the Southern pride - 15 lions. It was spectacular to see 15 lions all moving together down the road towards us. As they began to move they all stopped and pricked up there ears, sniffing in a certain direction. We turned towards where they were looking and we saw a herd of wildebeest. The lions moved in attack formation and managed to surround the unsuspecting herd. One of the lionesses charged the herd and they all bolted toward the trap of the other 14 lions. The pride managed to bring down one large adult bull right in front of a Land Rover, a sighting that all the guests on the vehicle will never forget.
The pride also managed to kill a zebra, waterbuck and warthog this week. They are turning into a killing unit which is very hard to evade - their success rate is extremely high due to the large amount of individuals within the pride. The Southern male is still looking great and is in fantastic condition. He is at the moment following one of the females of the pride as she seems to be moving towards her oestrus cycle. We all are holding thumbs that this female will be able to conceive and add even further numbers to our magnificent pride. We also hope that our male remains strong and is able to push out any other competitors that may threaten the pride.
He has been roaring on a nightly basis providing some fine memories for all of our guests. The roaring is due to the presence of two younger males that moved into the southern section of our reserve. They moved into this area for a day or so and then moved out straight after that - they obviously caught wind of our big male. Is a great to see theses two nomads moving in and we hope we see them often at Sabi Sabi.
We have also been extremely lucky to see a pride which we don't see too often, moving in from the east. This pride, known as the Charleston Pride, consists of 2 beautiful males 2 females and a very small cub of about 3 months old. They spent the entire week in that section and even managed to kill a small buffalo as well as a warthog. This once again gave all our guests fantastic photographic opportunities and we hope that this pride will make more use of our reserve. 52 sightings.
These magnificent cats have also given us some amazing sightings this week, with at least one leopard seen on every drive. The bulk of the sightings have come from our dominant male leopard which we call the Sand River leopard. He has been moving around marking his territory making sure no other leopard decides to move in on his patch. He was seen following and checking up on one of the young females we call Mblio, as she might be going through a false oestrus cycle,
One of our other females, the one we call young Nottons, must have some well hidden cubs. She seems to have suckle marks on her teats. This is fantastic for us as it means in about 2 months we will be able to see the new additions to the Sabi Sabi leopard family. This female has had other cubs in the last few years, but she has not been lucky and has lost all of them to hyenas or to male leopards. We do hope that she will be able to raise these fluff balls and be able to add more leopards to this special place.
The young male leopard that moves in and out of our area has been a star this week as he has managed to make 3 kills in the space of 5 days: one was an impala and the other two were bushbuck. This was great for all the guests as they all managed get some fine shots of the leopard in the trees with his various prizes.
Down in the south of Sabi Sabi we came across another female, the one we call the Lisbon female. We hadn't seen her for a while and it was great to see her again. She was being followed by a very large male leopard which we quite regularly see down in that area. Leopards have been so abundant this week and we hope next weeks sightings will be as good. 75 sightings.
Elephants, rhinos and buffalo have all been abundant this week, with very big herds of elephants being found on a daily basis with a large amount of youngsters. Other than the herds there are also many bulls around, following the herds with females, and providing us and our guests magnificent sighting. 80 sightings.
Rhinos have been great, with as many as 10 individuals seen on every drive. The rhinos love all the fresh green grass and are flocking to the beautiful open areas which are perfect for them. 65 sightings.
The buffalo have also been great, with 3 huge male buffalo lying in the pan in front of Bush Lodge every day, trying to get away from the heat. This means that we don't ever have to move far to find these animals. We have also had constant sightings of small herds all around Sabi Sabi. 79 sightings.
4 sightings this week of the very rare painted dogs.
General game has also been great, with zebra, wildebeest and lots of giraffe being seen. One of the highlights for one group of guests this week was when they walked into a stretch of giraffe with their ranger and managed to get no more than 15 meters away from these amazing animals.
Birds have also been spectacular this week, with painted snipe being seen as well as a pent winged night jar in full plumage. These two birds are incredibly rare and difficult to find in these parts. The woodlands kingfishers are still in full call which creates an amazing atmosphere when you are sitting in the bush. The carmine bee-eaters are also everywhere. They are incredibly beautiful in their full red plumage .Owls and eagles have also been plentiful, with giant, spotted eagle owl, scops, pearl spotted and white faced owls being seen: while on the eagles side, bateleur, african hawk, tawny and Wahlberg's have been seen on a daily basis. These have been providing the ultimate experience for all the birders who have been with us this week.