The weather: We have had an amazing Nhlangula / October at Inyati. The comfortable September weather is a distant memory and is replaced by the hot, dry days that give October its reputation as the warmest month of the year. We have experienced quite a few warm days with temperatures reaching highs of 44° c. With the heat we had a few sensational afternoon thunder showers which have caused the trees to burst into bloom.
Wildlife: The month of October often brings about change in the African wilderness – Inyati, Sabi Sand game reserve has been no exception. Game viewing has been astonishing. The predators have been all out and entertaining and general game has been excellent , with congregations of giraffe, buffalo, impala, kudus, wildebeests and waterbuck around the reserve.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
It’s a privilege to be able to watch these animals grow. This male is in great condition and really looking magnificent. He still walks all day covering great distances marking and patrolling his massive territory. He was also seen mating with Hlabankunzi female for few days during the month of this report.
This great mother leopard very seldom interacts with the cub now. She still takes her to the kills she makes every now and then but doesn’t stay there with her. She killed an impala one morning, hoisted it in a tree just off our airstrip and a male lion walked past only about 200 hundred metres away without seeing or smelling the kill.
Finally! We get the first glimpse of Xikhavi’s cubs on drive this month. The cubs are very relaxed even approached close to the vehicles; mum did keep them in line and close to the den site. She constantly had to carry these little cubbies back in the den where as they were happy to explore the world.
(Thanks to Mr Frank Maroschek, our long time regular guest for this wonderful picture)
Tlangisa f emale
This beautiful young leopard have been scarce of recent month, a few times this month she did however came out of the thick vegetated north-western corner of the reserve but she still refuses to show us her cub or cubs.
We have been spoilt with many sightings of the two of our resident pride of lions; they have been found frequently. They have been successful with hunting and our guests have been very lucky to see these lions hunting and feeding on a couple of occasions.
Sadly the formidable four – Selati male coalition – known for defeating the Magogo coalition is now down to three. One of the males has passed on after battling for over eight months from the internal damage caused by a buffalo hitting him. He was found dead east of our boundaries, we are not sure how he died but there is a theory that he was finished off by another buffalo.
This pride continues to thrive, they have been extremely successful in their hunts and the cubs are growing by day. One of the lionesses was mating again this time she was with the large of the Selati males.
The lionesses lost few of their kills to the selati male, which we followed hunting on one afternoon. They caught a young male nyala before they could tuck in and eat their kill the dominant selati male was there to claim it.
On another occasion Othawa pride had some luck again. The pride was lazing on the banks of the sand river when the wild dogs caught a nyala ewe within earshot. The lions were off in an instant and quickly chased the dogs off the Nyala that was still kicking.
A battle then broke out between the lionesses…. The tug of war lasted into the night. There was a lot of fighting but hardly any eating. These loud growls did not go unnoticed… the Selati male come running into the scene for some share of the carcass, he took no time to steal the kill from the lioness. He was able to keep his two brothers at bay as well. When we left he was still finishing off his spoils.
We didn’t see much of this pride this month as they spent most of the time to the South and East, but all three females and the six cubs are doing well and are still making regular kills. Every dog has its day! We watched the pride hunting they and they had an amazing opportunity to pull down a wildebeest. As the image depicts the lionesses were on top of the herd before they could sprint off. The wildebeest that was about to have its rump slapped managed kicked the lioness under the jaw and actually stunned the cat long enough to escape.
Large breeding herds, bachelor herds and some single bull elephants are a common sighting along and around the sand river. We have enjoyed numerous herds of these gentle beasts and their young ones continuously parading through camp and along the sand river. There are few new add ons to the herd at the moment. It’s very exciting to see these cute little guys run behind their protective mothers. Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
The big herds are still visiting the area and bachelor groups were seen all around the property and in the lodge area enjoying the thicker green grass. Some new big herds of buffalo, ranging between two hundred and five hundred animals were found along various plains and the river. The lions have been taking advantage of the situation sneaking in catching unsuspecting young and old individuals.More than the big five…..
Two crocodiles were found fighting close to camp. We suspect it might be a male chasing off an inquisitive intruder from a nest site. A smaller individual that we presume is the female was constantly hovering close to the battle whilst her man had the intruder clasped in his jaws. An ostrich gave us a surprise visit, very exciting! This was one of the only two sightings we had in over 10 years in the western sector of Sabi Sand game reserve. (Thanks to Mr Frank Maroschek, our long time regular guest for this wonderful picture)
In and around camp
The Camp has also been wonderfully productive, with a steady supply of elephants moving through to drink and play in the river. Amongst few other animals that visit the lodge was the mother leopard, Xikhavi hunting impala in front of the lodge.
The weather: Ndzhati / September saw the mercury rise steadily with midday temperatures reaching the high thirties (Celsius) and the cold winter’s mornings of June and July are behind us. On few occasions, very light showers surprised us and grey thunderclouds threatened but brought little more than a bit of shade. The bush remains dry as a bone and very dusty indeed. The vegetation in general is much thinner now which grants us far greater visibility. The winds are blowing strong which make for some dusty, yet successful game drives.
Wildlife: The game has been exploding out of the bush this month and the guides and guests have been notching up some incredible sightings of lion, leopard, wild dog and of some great general game.
The leopard sightings have been prolific this month, to say the least – one group of guests recently recorded sightings of seven different leopards during their three-night stay.
Dayone still remains the active dominant male in our region covering every corner of the reserve. He has been hunting mostly warthog of late and getting better at killing these vicious animals.
One doesn’t win every day! The bemused look on his face (picture below) is due to him being bowled over by a warthog boar just prior to the photo being taken. He took some time to stake out the burrow but a large male exited and barreled straight through his attempted tackle. He had a look down the burrow hoping for an opportunity to salvage some pride but this morning belonged to the hogs.
Tai dam has settled in the north – east of our traversing area. We found him in a tree attempting to avoid his sisters persistent flirting. The Hukumuri female was waiting on the base of the marula tree, she didn’t let up but the male ignored her advances…as one should.
This female leopard gave birth in the middle of this month. One evening our guests that stayed up until the next morning at Warthog Wallow (Inyati bar) got to see her carrying the cub across the lawn at the lodge. We are avoiding the area where we presume her cubs are but will post images as soon as she is happy to introduce her litter to us.
Lion (Panthera leo)
We have had some great lion sighting! Both our resident pride and the coalition have been very active throughout the month.
Selati Coalition and Othawa pride
Three of the Selati males are often seen together constantly patrolling and marking their territory. They spent a good fair amount of time with the Othawa pride. Unfortunately the fourth male is still not doing well. He continues to lose condition due to the broken ribs and possible punched lung from when he was hit by a buffalo. Remaking the pride! The Othawa lionesses are growing the pride again. This pride was made of seventeen members few years ago and they made pulling down a buffalo look easy. We hope all the cubs make to adulthood and restore their pride.The Sand River has been a home for this pride lately, as this is where most of the game is concentrated while we wait for our first rains to come. Here they are proving to be very successful with their hunts and are continuously catching kudu and nyala along the banks.The males are regularly involved in a brotherly squabble over the Othawa lioness with no cubs, whether in estrous or not the boys still fight for her. On one afternoon we witnessed the lionesses hunting they made a kill just east of our airstrip, by the time selati male lion and cubs arrived there wasn’t much of impala carcass left.Ximhungwe pride
The pride is moving great distances again reclaiming the large territory that they have ignored for a while as they were raising the cubs and avoiding the Selati male and Majingelane male lions.
We had an unbelievable sighting of the whole pride climbing on a large jackalberry tree. It was all well and fun as they were climbing up the tree but coming down was rather ungraceful.On one morning we had a once in a lifetime interaction between some of the apex predators. It all started when the pack of wild dogs killed an impala. A nearby clan of hyena responded to the alarm calls and a fight broke out between the dogs and hyenas. The dogs were able to fend off the hyenas. The dogs and hyenas then trotted to a nearby pan where they came upon the Ximhungwe pride and further chaos erupted. We now had dogs chasing hyenas, lion chasing dogs, lion chasing hyena and so it when on for about half an hour.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Massive herds of elephant, typical for this time of year, have been spotted roaming the reserve this month, feeding on the rich abundance of foliage which starts to appear around this time of year. The Sand River has been dotted with many large breeding herds of elephant, providing us with some great viewing even from the lodge. There are also many lone bachelor bulls around the reserve.Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
We have had couple of large herds of these great animals in our area during the month of this report. The one herd seen at dam five was very large estimated to be over six hundred animals in it. We sat there for about half hour more and buffaloes just kept coming.More than the big five…..
Cape hunting dogs are back – They are still denning in our traversing area and we can now confirm that the pack have grown by six members. The little puppies are about eight weeks old and growing fast. They are eating meat now; the pack has to kill at least twice a day to keep full and healthy. It is special treat to see the excitement by the little ones as they beg food to be regurgitated to them by the adults.
It is time for new life in the bush some of our lucky guests got to see a new born giraffe! I believe it was only few hours old; it was still very wobbly on its legs, with the umbilical cord still attached. The mother giraffe was very alerts at all time and attentive, she was constantly licking the calf on the face as if she was reassuring it that all was okay.
Xikhavi female have been seen in and around the lodge often. One evening she killed an impala just outside the boma while guests are enjoying their dinner. She then dragged the carcass and hoisted in a tree just outside rooms 10 and 11.
The heavily pregnant and very well fed Xikhavi female will often take some time out and lay next to the swimming pool in the cool evenings.There is never a shortage of elephants near the lodge especially in winter months as they come for the greener foliage in and around the lodge.
As long as there are rhinos, we will keep fighting. There is still hope! Spread the word-the world loses 2-3 rhinos every day. They are killed for a myth-their horn is NOT medicine! Stop the demand, stop the slaughter.
MUST SEE HEARTWARMING VIDEO:
THANDI WITH NEW FRIEND: http://www.kariega.co.za/blog/cute-rhino-calf-playing-withthandi-at-kariega
Here is Dave’s account of the Lion encounter in Kruger
“Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19 633 square kilometers in the Northeastern part of South Africa.
To trade or not to trade? Always a hotbed of debate concerning rhino poaching
But since South Africa is entertaining the idea of a "one-off" sale to sell the current stockpiles of horn, things have taken a dismal turn indeed.
Here are the scenarios: #1) Trade IS allowed as a one-time only option- wetting the appetite of the Asian market, like throwing a chicken into a hungry hoard of crocodiles.
The weather: August is the month on the cusp between our winter and spring, where the evenings are cool, chilly even and the days varying between warm, to almost hot even and other days with coolness borne on the southerly wind.
Wildlife: The wildlife viewing has been of an excellent standard this month. Warmer afternoons were accompanied by an increase in fantastic sightings. Barely an afternoon passed without a predator sighting and the Sabi Sand’s countless elephants provided much entertainment almost every day.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
Dayone male leopard is looking great at the moment and he is been actively marking and patrolling his territory. He seemed to be on the search for the Nyeleti male who has been sneaking into his territory. It was really a very busy month for him as he was seen mating with Metsi female and then he was mating with both Metsi and Hlabankunzi female at the same time. After four days Metsi left the two of them. Once Metsi was gone the mating resumed beyond the norm and they were copulating at about every 5 minutes , lasting longer than a good five days.
This male is known for killing the Ravenscourt female and he is still determined to find a territory this month. He has been covering great distance and appears to be on the trail of Hlabankunzi female and cub, however with no success. One morning we saw Nyeleti male trying to get to the Ravenscourt young male who he followed deep into the western sector, luckily for the young leopard, he was denied access by Selati male who was resting under a tree that the young leopard was in.
Hlabankunzi and Cub
Hlabankunzi has been spending time away from her cub. She was spent a week with Dayone male, mating. The cub is semi-independent now we have seen it hunting but haven’t witnessed a successful hunt to date. The picture below shows her leading an appreciative cub to yet another Impala kill. She has been doing well and killing often, this is evident in their condition. Even though the pack of wild dogs have “stolen” some of her kills , she is coping with the competition and threat they pose.
This leopardess have been seen frequenting the lodge more and more often the last couple of months. So far she has been seen in the lodge area every third day or so. She is heavily pregnant she will drop anytime now.
Exciting news! She has given birth. We can see suckle marks which is clear indication that there is at least one little cub somewhere on the Northern-western section of the reserve where she is often seen. Now we wait for her to bring them out for us to see. Once spotted, we will share with you.
Lion (Panthera leo)
Lions have provided us with regular sightings this month. Two different prides and four members of the Selati males have been seen throughout the month.
Three members of the coalition are doing great often seen together hunting or patrolling their territory. The male that had injured paw has recovered well as he is able to keep with the group. Unfortunately we can’t say the same about the male with broken ribs. His condition is worsening and is he appears to be having difficulties in keeping up with any group of lions, his brother or any of the prides.
The three males killed a buffalo in the Sand river, luckily he happened to be nearby got to join in few hours later for a feed. When others left he remained at carcass finishing the scraps knowing it may be a while before he eats again.
This pride has provided us with some fantastic lion viewing throughout the month. The prey species have dispersed because of lack food and water and predators have to cover large areas in search for their food. This pride has been seeing hunting often along the Sand River. They have been having great success hunting and killing mostly kudus and nyalas and the cubs are looking healthy.
The lioness with no cubs is thought to be pregnant as she was mating with the most dominant Selati male, possessive as we know him, he was hogging her. The other sisters were denied access to her; the other males could not even look in her direction without him growling at them.
The pride has been scarce for most part of the month but one of the few sightings we had of them was great. They had killed a large male kudu and the pride was feeding at the same time with fights between the cubs getting intense. The cubs are growing and their confidence in hunting is rising fast, although they are only getting in a way of their mother at the moment, they will learn.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Elephants have arrived in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Inyati in force – crossing back-and-forth the Sand River, providing us with superb sightings of swimming pachyderms (nonruminant mammals). Situated just on the bank of the river our lodge has become a very popular gathering spot for these huge beasts, especially at midday when thirst drives them to drink from the waters directly in front of the lodge.
Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
We were blessed this month with couple of the large herds each consisting of around 300 buffalo in our traversing area for almost three weeks. The herd is still in good condition despite the dryness of the grass. The groups bachelors are still spread around the property. One small group of 8 bulls spend most of their days around our causeway.
More than the big five…..
As we had predicted, the resident wild dog have denned in the area. The den site was located early in the month and the roads leading to the site were closed off so as not to disturb the pack. We now wait in anticipation for the arrival of the pups in the coming months. However this did not signify the end of the wild dog sightings. Around mid-month while out on afternoon drive we found the pack and followed them. We got to witness them hunting a waterbuck. Just when the dogs were a about to pounce the young antelope ran in a dam, the dogs seemed worried about the possibility of crocodile in the dam, after few minutes of running around they moved on searching for some other antelopes.
A trip to the hyena den site is a real treat when staying at Inyati. This hyena cub didn’t give its exhausted mother a seconds rest. Beautiful to see how caring a patient such fearsome predators can be.
In And Around Camp
There is seldom a moment during the day where an animal of one sort or another cannot be seen from the main lounge area or deck. With a vista to die for, the addition of a herd of elephant, a journey of giraffe, a raft of hippo or as was the case this month, the pregnant female strolling through the camp grounds.
This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane
The weather: July brought with it some very chilly winter mornings and evenings but it was worth every second out there in the bush. Hot water bottles and cosy fires have been the order of the day, and blankets have been a most welcome addition to the dinner table. The vegetation continues to thin out, and every day we’re able to see further into the bush.
Wildlife: Game viewing this month has been spectacular! Winter always provides an abundance of general game and this July has been no different. The area has been thriving with game and we are always thrilled to see the delight of our guests after experiencing everything the area has to offer.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
Of course one cannot talk about the Inyati, Sabi sand area without bringing up leopards, the other abundant predator species here. Guests have been treated to excellent sightings of these beautiful cats.
Khashane and Dayone male
We have being seeing Khashane male more often in recent months; he was involved in yet another territorial fight with the Dayone male. It’s unclear who won the battle with both carrying large wounds yet keeping their territories.
Early one morning we caught up with Khashane hunting, the preferred form of hunting by most large male leopard is to sit on old termite mound and wait for warthog to come out of the mound they spend the night in. The warthogs often just shot out the hole marking it bit difficult for the leopard but on this morning the experienced Khashane male had more success as he was able to bring down a large warthog which kept him well fed for few days.
Dayone male has manage to keep Khashane male’s claws away from his face, he is looking great for a male recently involved in a territorial fight. The swollen throat and wound on his shoulder is the only indicator of how serious the battle was. We were privileged to watch him hunting impala on one afternoon, unfortunately for him the monkey on trees nearby saw him and alert everyone around that he was there.
Hlabankunzi and cub
The mother leopard has rarely been seen with her young in the last month. Her hunting outings last couple of days now possibly hinting to the little one that it’s time to start trying to catch her own food. We did see the cub trying to hunt a slender mongoose but with no success.
The Tlangisa female has been out and about of late. She was being her usual self, posing on a termite mound giving us perfect photographic opportunity. We suspect she maybe pregnant this might be fuelled by hope but we will keep you posted.
Lion (Panthera leo)
Selati Coalition and Othawa pride
These males have been spending much of their time with the Othawa pride. They did not do much of their own hunting as we know them to rather follow the pride around helping them to eat the kill they have made. On one evening the lioness killed an impala which the males stole it . While fighting over the kill the lionesses and cubs left. It was good idea, they did manage to lose the males for couple of days but the boys got smart and they found the cubs and waited with them knowing the mothers will return at some point.
We were sitting with the pride one morning when the lion decided to leave the cubs in the drainage line to go out hunting. As they were leaving , at distance of about 800 metres, they saw a male leopard, Tai dam who was heading in the direction of the cubs. The lionesses didn’t waste any time chasing him around they ran fast ahead of him back to move their cubs to a safe area. If he was given half a chance that male leopard would have killed those cubs just like the lion or hyena would kill the leopard but to eliminate competition for food.
This pride seemed to have split up for while and we have seen only the two young males and young lioness, the rest of the pride is possiblly in the far-east of our boundaries. We witnessed these three sub-adult tried to pull down a buffalo cow. Their optimism was only overshadowed by their lack of experience and the herd of buffalo quickly gathered and chased the lions. The little pride was still following the herd the next morning, but with slightly more respect. They have a patient and perseverance of a true hunter! They never gave up and three days later we found them feeding on a buffalo close to Newington gate.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
The breeding herds of elephant have arrived on the Sabi Sand Reserve and most days we get see at least two breeding herds, as well as there being always a few big bulls around. The two young bulls put up a good show for us as they were pushing each other around knock over bushes, testing each other strength …Boys being boys.
The large herds have been in and out of our traversing area, covering long distances to find food because it’s very dry and grass and water is scarce. The numerous small herd of just bulls have continue to help us completing the big five list.
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
It’s always exciting to see the return of the rare, slender, elegant, spotted cats in our traversing area. The male provided us with a few great sightings. One morning we followed him hunting, when we left he had not killed anything but later in the afternoon he was full and resting on a termite mound. He stayed there for hours scanning the surrounding plains for possible danger.
More than the big five…..
Two heavily pregnant wild dogs, a very unusually site! It is so true what has been said – animals don’t read the same books we do. They have surprised and excited us time and time again with their habits. Normally only the alpha pair breeds in a wild dog pack and all others only help in feeding the young. We are all hoping they den on our property it will be interesting to see if both litters will be allow to live as it been witness often the alpha female kill the puppies of the beta female.
In and around camp
It is very dry here and Animals are coming more and more to the river to drink, and as a result we’ve got a plethora of animal activity in and around camp, causing much delight and interesting excursions to and from rooms! The herds of zebra, impala, giraffe and waterbuck have made the waterhole in front of the lodge at home.
That’s all from us this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.
This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane
We've seen advertisements and pleas targeting Asian communities to stop using rhino horn. Famed Chinese NBA player, Yao Ming and Chinese stuntman and actor, Jackie Chan have used their star power to bring awareness to the plight of the rhino in China.
Finally! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Southern White Rhino as threatened. This now places ALL rhino species under the umbrella of protection of the Endangered Species Act.
This closes a loophole that has been allowing the exploitation of international rhino horn trafficking. The move will give legal strength to prosecution of offenders.
This comes after President Obama issued an executive order aimed at combatting wildlife trafficking in July of this year.
We have been nominated in the “Best guiding team in Africa” category of The Safari Awards 2014.
Voting is quick and easy, so please could we ask for a few minutes of your time to vote for us now?
Imagine you are planning on spending your next big holiday on an amazing African wildlife reserve. You book the lodge, purchase the plane tickets and arrange all the transportation. You are super excited about going on as many game drives as you can and really experiencing a full African safari with the sunrises and sunsets, dozens of wild species and the entire culture about living in the bush.
1. Rhinos are critically endangered
At the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today, there are fewer than 24,500 rhinos surviving in the wild.
Three of the five species of rhino are “Critically Endangered” as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). A taxon is classified as critically endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of a range of pre-determined criteria. It is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The southern subspecies of the white rhino is classified by the IUCN in the lesser category of being “Near Threatened”; and the Indian rhino is classified as “Vulnerable”even this is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
In 2005, some of us are lucky enough to be able to travel to Africa and Asia to see them in the wild. In 2035, when our children and grandchildren have grown up, will they still be able to see wild rhinos?
2. Rhinos have been around for 50 million years
Rhinos have been an important part of a wide range of ecosystems for millions of years; we must not let them join the dodo in extinction.
3. Humans have caused the drastic decline in numbers
Poachers kill rhinos for the price they can get for the horns (used for traditional Chinese medicine and for ornamental dagger handles in Yemen); land encroachment, illegal logging and pollution are destroying their habitat; and political conflicts adversely affect conservation programmes.
4. Rhinos are an umbrella species
When protecting and managing a rhino population, rangers and scientists take in account all the other species interacting with rhinos and those sharing the same habitat. When rhinos are protected, many other species are too; not only mammals but also birds, reptiles, fish and insects as well as plants.
5. Rhinos are charismatic mega-herbivores!
By focusing on a well-known animal such as a rhino (or, to use the jargon, a charismatic mega-herbivore), we can raise more money and consequently support more conservation programmes benefiting animal and plant species sharing their habitat.
6. Rhinos attract visitors and tourists
Rhinos are the second-biggest living land mammals after the elephants. Together with lion, giraffe, chimpanzee and polar bear, the rhino is one of the most popular species with zoo visitors. In the wild, rhinos attract tourists who bring money to national parks and local communities. They are one of the “Big Five”, along with lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.
7. In situ conservation programmes need our help
Protecting and managing a rhino population is a real challenge that costs energy and money. Rhino-range countries need our financial support, and benefit from shared expertise and exchange of ideas.
8. Money funds effective conservation programmes that save rhinos
We know that conservation efforts save species. The Southern white rhino would not exist today if it were not for the work of a few determined people, who brought together the 200 or so individuals surviving, for a managed breeding and re-introduction programme. Today, there are some 17,500 Southern white rhinos.
With more money, we can support more programmes, and not just save rhino populations, but increase numbers and develop populations. The Northern white rhino subspecies may just have become extinct, but it is not too late to save the rest.
9. Many people don’t know that rhinos are critically endangered
Not just that, but how many people know that rhinos also live in Asia? Or that two species have just one horn? Or that the horn is not used as an aphrodisiac? We have even heard some people say that they are carnivores!
If people do not know about these amazing animals and the problems they are facing, how can we expect them to want to do something to help save rhinos?
10. We all have an opportunity to get involved!
You can help us raise awareness of the plight of the rhino! The more we do all together, the more people will learn about rhinos and the more field projects we will be able to support. There are lots of fundraising ideas scattered in the ‘Support us’ section, as well as ways to donate directly to Save the Rhino. And there are rhino-themed games and puzzles in the ‘Rhino info’ section.