Wildlife Journal July 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

Inyati Game Lodge continues to surprise and tantalise us. Situated in arguably one of the best game viewing areas in the Africa, it’s a delight of being part of a park of about 22 OOO km² or approx. 2.2 million ha. There is no doubt that we have an incredible variety of animals and birds in the area, both nocturnal and diurnal. The leopards, hyenas and lion calls that ring so clearly and so close on some nights, and the numerous tracks that await us in the mornings are all testimony to this variety and to a nocturnal world that goes largely unseen. Yes it was very cold this month but every cold morning we had was definitely worth it, animals were all out there.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

LeopardMetsi and cubs, She has been mostly far in the south and west of our traversing area! We have notice that she stays away from her cubs for long time lately some times over two weeks. We think the cubs are already being pushed out by Metsi and will become independent soon. Only one of her cubs has been seen for the last two weeks so we suspect that the other young male, the nervous one has been killed by one of the territorial males, Xhinzele, Babalas or Kashane.

The remaining cub is very relaxed with vehicles we have been seeing on the western boundary possibly to avoid the dominant male leopards are that roam our reserve. Xikhavi female has been seen few time times this month she seems to have moved her territory slightly more west. She was seen mating with Xindzele male. She later killed impala on the afternoon Xindzele male leopard join her filled his belly and then took the carcass up a tree. And the next morning a lioness join them! She chased them off, climbed up the tree and stole the carcass. Hlabankunzi female and Khashane male were chased up two separate trees by the three lionesses from the Ximungwe pride, accompanied by one male of the Mapogo brothers. They spent hours in the trees, staring at lions below. The lions soon lost interest and moved off into the shade, leaving the leopards bare trees.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Inyati Game Lodge

Lion sightings have been great, on one morning we followed up on the noises of lions and buffalo interactions we heard the night before. It was only after a few minutes of followings tracks that we found two male lions (Mapogo) and a lioness from Ximhungwe pride on a buffalo kill. Mapogos are, as always, having some domestic disputes. A quiet afternoon nap at the buffalo carcass erupted into a full on brawl war. The Mapogo are showing signs of a recent battle with a neighbouring coalition. They have deep scratches and bite marks. Three of the Ximungwe lionesses have cubs at present. They range in ages from 2 to 10 months old re

spectively. One of the Ximhungwe lionesses killed an impala and went to collect her two cubs to join her on the feast. The Ottawa pride was seen also this month we watched trying to stalk a very young rhino calf. The calf stuck close to its mother and she protected it and mother rhino charged the pride, they soon lost interest and moved off.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

There were numerous herds of these gentle beasts during the month of this report especially along the Sand River. The river is a great attraction in the winter as most of the water holes are drying up so when animals need to drink we know where to find them. We have been privileged to have number of great sightings from the veranda of the lodge.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large herd entered our traversing area, entertaining us for 3 days. Action packed viewing included mating, play fight and wallowing in Cheetah flat pan. The young adult took advantage of the situation, there were plenty interaction between the young adults and playful calves.

More than the big five…..

Spotted HyenaDen, not so long ago we had wild dogs denning of our property now its hyenas, we have been spoilt here this year with young wildlife.

Spotted Hyena

There seems to be only one female with two 4 month old cubs. Unlike wild dogs all female in a clan will breed but the lower ranking females typically use a den away from the communal den site. Both male and female hyena have very similar sexual organs making it very difficult to tell sex but because there are two cubs and one larger than the other suggest that one is female (larger)and other one male( smaller). If they both male they should be the same size and if two females one would have kill the other before emerging from the den. All members of this little family including the cubs are very relaxed even when the mother is away from the den and we have enjoyed some fantastic viewing of their interaction and curiosity behaviour. We hope she stays around for us to enjoy this interesting animal.

In and around camp

The game viewing from the lodge has been great with sightings of waterbuck, kudu, warthog, impala and giraffes. A journey of 13 Giraffe in front of the lodge at one there were visibly nervous after a male leopard sauntered by a few minutes earlier.

Journey of Giraffe
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