This cycle we have once again seen some spectacular sightings. I spoke about how beautifully green and alive the bush was looking in my last cycle highlights and here, about two months later, it is very apparent that this summer Mother Nature has not been too generous in terms of rain. The bush has dried out but luckily, we are expecting a lot of rain this coming February. Let’s hope this materialises or we could be in for a dry winter.
This cycle got off to a banging start when we were surprised by the two Avoca males en-route to the entrance of Bush Lodge one late summer’s evening. We have since had a few more sightings of these two young males, the last being an interaction between them and a dominant male leopard in the area.
In the early stages of my cycle, just as we entered the New Year, four beautiful lionesses that seemed in extremely good condition were seen on the property. They were lucky enough to meet up with the two young Avoca males and assisted in pulling down a female Cape Buffalo. Their feast was short lived as four male lions known as the Birmingham’s from the northern Sabi Sand chased them off their kill.
The Southern Pride has been seen frequently in the southern part of Sabi Sabi’s property. They seem to be doing well and feeding regularly, having taken down a large kudu bull as well as a Cape Buffalo, both sightings which were rather memorable. It is nice to see this pride doing so well, we have had many a sighting of the mature lions resting with full bellies whilst the cubs play nearby as seen outside Earth Lodge’s Amber Presidential Suite.
We have once again been privileged with many great leopard sightings. The young White Dam male has made some very welcomed appearances over the past few weeks, this has resulted in us getting some really exciting sightings. We suspect the Little Bush female has given birth to a litter of cubs based on her movements, constant scent marking and suckle marks on her mammary glands. This is further supported by the fact that she was seen mating with the White Dam male as well as his father, the Maxabeni male, roughly three months ago.
We had many amusing sightings of Spotted Hyena in the beginning of the cycle. Most of which were seen around an elephant carcass of a bull which had succumbed to wounds from a fight with another dominant elephant bull in the area.
The lack of rain has meant that many large breeding herds of Cape Buffalo have made their way onto the property in search of water. The first summer rains meant that many females gave birth to their calves, this has provided us with a number of sightings of youngsters within the herds.
Almost all female impala have given birth by now; the oldest lambs were born early November after the first rains of the season and are developing extremely fast. Some of the young rams are incredibly already developing horns!
We have had numerous sightings of large birds of prey often perched on top of one of the many dead trees seen on safari as well as some beautiful summer migrants that will be leaving the area shortly.
Elephants always enhance any safari and provide us with hours of entertainment. This cycle was no different as seen in my following two videos.
A young calf discovering its trunk for the first time and an impressive tusker using his for what is likely more than the thousandth time.