Wildlife Journal August 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

Summer has finally arrived and the first migratory birds have returned from the winter vacations bringing with them warmer days .The water level has dropped considerably in Sand River and most of our water holes and we are seeing a lot of birdlife on the fringes of the water ways looking for food sources. The afternoons have been warm we had couple of days where the temperature reached 38°C. August is traditionally a windy month and this year was no exception the bush is dry and we remain on high alert the risk of fire is elevated. As per game viewing, the month was full of sightings that can only be described in one word as special.

 Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

The leopard viewing has also been fantastic this month. It’s been a  rather a stressful month for one of our leopard (Dam 3 female) Two male leopards have had several territorial disputes in her territory where she have her cubs hidden. She had to be the mediator, walk between these males the entire time as they growl to challenge each other.
So far it’s only a stand off between Xindzele and the Mashiyabanje male but a more serious tussle is inevitable and will happen soon. Mashiyabanje was seen on two different occasions on an impala kill on the northern section of his territory. Dayone river male, the new male in the southern section provided some great viewing this month.
Some of our guests were privileged to see him pull down a full grown kudu cow.
For few days we knew where to find him, he was lucky the hyenas never find the kudu carcass
until it was finished. On the last day Tlangisa decided to show herself she was
showing some mating display,
she
seemed to be on oestrous.
The forever playful Tlangisa was not playing this time she meant business she tried her best to get Dayone River male to mate with her but she didn’t succeed.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Lion (Panthera leo)

All three Mapogo males, three females and the two younger litters were found on buffalo kill. The buffalo herd returned to drive the lions away but it too late rescue the one buffalo. For a few days we had some great viewing of these lions
taking turns to feed off the carcass, with the females and cubs taking turns once the males had had their fill.

 Firstly good news, a new litter of about three cubs were seen, Ximhungwe pride is recovering and we all happy! I have no pictures of these new cubbies yet, I will share as soon she brings them out for us. Sadly, there is only one remaining cub from the youngest litter.  We are unsure what killed the cub Mapogo were seen flushing them out the bushes on the morning and in the afternoon are herd of elephant was chasing Mapogo around in the same area. Mapogo, elephants or something else killed the cub.  The remaining cub is providing loads of entertainment, and is completely relaxed around the vehicles. 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. Situated just on the bank of the river our lodge has become a
very popular gathering spot for huge beasts, especially at midday when thirst
drives them to drink from the waters directly in front of the lodge.

Cape buffalo(Syncerus caffer)

There we two large herd of buffalo has been in the western sector this month. Our usual herd of about 300 in the southern section and we are being spoilt with a very large herd of 800 hundred in our northern traversing area.
Our resident small groups of bulls “Daggaboys” are spread along the sand river
.

More than the big five…..

Wild dog sightings are always special. These interesting animals wander onto our traversing area every two week or so and it is always a delight to spend some time with them. The pack made couples of welcomed visits to our area
during the month of this report and we were treated to some great viewings of
them hunting, playing and drinking after their hunting session. One of the puppies wouldn’t share his price, common duiker’s head (note the picture on the right). The pack has been moving a great deal throughout the reserve. The five puppies
remaining are doing well and they are getting pretty big already. They are
their usual playful selves, and it is good to see how the adults are joining
in.

In and around camp

Our resident vervet monkey family is forever present and entertaining. As we leaving for the drive we saw them lined up on the branch enjoy the early morning sun. The cute Dwarf mongoose group was seen just outside the camp foraging for some insects and feeding their young.

Dwarf mongoose

 

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