The week has been so insane, it’s hard to know where to start with the highlights! The cats have definitely stolen the limelight this week and it’s been wonderful to see some “old” faces again!
A young pride of nomadic lions – the Mhangeni Pride – has had a hard time in their young lives but managed to secure themselves a meal of sorts this week allowing for us to spend some good time with them.
A trio of young males – the Tsalala’s – also made a welcome appearance this week and have been seen almost daily since, grooming one another and re-affirming bonds. This all paid off as we located them resting their full bellies. Our final sighting of them for the week got our pulses racing as we switched all lights off and listened as they attempted to hunt a large herd of buffalo. The sound from the stampede sent goose bumps down your spine. Once things quietened down, we approached the lions but sadly they had not been successful.
We complete this week’s lion highlights with some wonderful news – 3 more members of the Southern Pride have shown up! We successfully tracked and located three lions – a sub adult female, a sub adult male (young Charleston male) and a male cub! They had been feeding on a kill when we found them one morning and proceeded to groom one another in the wet grass from some rainfall the night before. We hope they connect with the rest of their pride soon.
Let’s take a break from the cats for a moment and look back on some of the other magnificent sightings we have had around the reserve this week…
We were delighted to see an energetic pack of wild dogs as they scouted the reserve for a potential meal.
An old favourite – the Kashane male – his week seemed to have ended badly. We saw him on the weekend, looking to be in good condition and by Tuesday, he had clearly come into contact with another leopard and was carrying some injuries. Despite all this, he showed his elegance as he moved through the bush at first light.
Always a special sighting – mating leopards! Having recently lost her cub, Little Bush was seen mating with Maxabeni… bringing the potential of more babies for her!
A couple of days later we followed up on a rather excited Clan of Hyenas who were chasing Maxabeni until he took refuge in a Marula tree. About 50 meters away we found another treed leopard, Msuthlu. Once the hyenas lost interest, the leopards moved off in different directions with the male headed west towards the rasping calls of another female leopard. We then found Little Bush female who had been mating and they resumed their ritual, under the watchful eyes of the annoying hyenas.
We came across the petite Tatowa female who was trailing intensely behind a pair of Common Duiker. We watched as she patiently stalked the small antelope through thick terrain showing us the true leopard crawl movements and stealth.
Until next time…