Cold mornings, mild warm afternoons, and cooler evenings, it’s the time of the year when game viewing is at its best, the winter season. Herbivores are adapting to the change in environment, using survival strategies to pass the drier less palatable season awaiting the first rains in November. Carnivores are making good use of these conditions and preying upon the weaker individuals. It may be not as vibrant as the summer, but everything is truly alive and pushing through to the comfort season at the end of the year, with that being said, game viewing has been on top form this last cycle.
Two young sub-adults of the Southern Pride have seemed to have found their feet as they continue to successfully hunt and kill day in and day out providing sustenance for their survival.
In the Northern part of the reserve we are witnessing a rare scene where eight young male lions, accompanied by one young female lion, try to avoid the pressures of territorial males in their struggle for survival. Battling during this season, they have come out of the shadows and seem to be doing surprisingly well despite their young age and imperfect hunting skills.
Two lionesses from the previous Eyrefield Pride have been seen regularly following up on the scent of the Avoca males who seem to have claimed the previous territory of the Charleston males.
We have had numerous sightings of cheetah on the Western side of the property, making use of the wide vast open landscape for protection and the possibility of securing a meal.
With all this good news, we sadly must interrupt by making note of the Little Bush female and her cub. Early on in my cycle I witnessed the young cub on a Common Duiker kill, however, the last three kills since that, the cub has not been seen and we believe that the cub is missing and possibly been killed by lions. It’s a very sad moment experienced among rangers and staff as we witnessed the cub’s mother constantly calling for her offspring with no response or outcome, but that is life in the bush and considering the high mortality rate, these things happen.
The young Msuthlu female has been a regular sighting as she extends her territory into our reserve in the hope of finding a compatible mate in order to reproduce offspring, however this will be her first litter but one nevertheless. We are all excited to the upcoming months to see this females progress.
Ntsumi, Little Bush’s independent, striving offspring from her previous litter, has been doing exceptionally well and is a beautiful young female to be in the presence of, always photogenic and giving us a good time when viewing her.
The young White Dam male has been up to a little mischief as he poses a potential threat on his father’s territory. We have witnessed him a lot over my last cycle and believe that he could slowly but surely be pushing his father out of his own territory.
A battle which is going to happen sooner or later, the Maxabeni male and the Inyatini male. Two mature male leopards competing for an area of space in one another’s territories. It is going to be an interesting couple of month regarding these two legends in this area.
Lastly, I leave you with a selection of photographs of some general game and birds one will witness during a winter safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Who knows what next cycle will have in stock for me.