Hukuri – November 2012 Wildlife Journal
The weather: November is a magic time to visit the bush, as Mother Nature goes through an elegant state of chaos. The month started off hot and dry with only little sign of rain. It was only later in the month we witnessed the afternoon build-up of rain clouds becoming more pronounced until finally some thunderstorms came rolling in from the south-east and bathed the landscape around the Reserve in a regenerative, life-giving rain.
Wildlife: There is a baby boom going on at Sabi Sand, Inyati game lodge, which is proving both entertaining and heart-wrenching experiences. For the predators, it’s a buffet in the bush, and there have been many sightings of leopard, lion and wild dog feeding on some of the less fortunate new arrivals to the game reserve.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
This male is well-loved for his vain tendencies – he patrols his territory and devotes time and energy to preserving his perfect, unscarred appearance and wooing the females of the area. Guests adore his majestic looks and his fondness for the camera.
This handsome male went missing for over two weeks and got us all worried, when he finally showed up he had few wounds one particularly large on his left hind leg. It does appear that he was involved in deadly territorial battle with another male. These animals are extremely hardy.
Hlabankunzi and Metsi female
Our mother leopards are both doing well and cubs growing fast. Hlabankunzi have stayed at the same den site the whole month, its perfect place on those rocks with plenty of hiding places for the little one.
Metsi on the other hand had difficult month with many threatening accidents at her den site. Ximhungwe pride, Selati males, hyenas and Nyeleti male leopard have come passed the den site in the last three weeks.
Introducing a new young male leopard who have been giving Dayone male headaches, he is known as the Nyeleti male from the south-eastern section of the reserve, believed to be about three years and six months old. He is been moving about in Dayone male‘s territory for couple of months now posing big threat to the Hlabankunzi and Metsi’s cubs. He is a beautiful relaxed male have been providing us with some great viewing.
No other time of year leaves you with such a keen awareness of the timeless cycles of life and death, as November with so much evidence of rebirth and regeneration everywhere. The predators are like Xikhavi female leopard make use of these opportunity as we seen her hunting and killing two impala lambs in a twenty minutes that we were with her.
Lion (Panthera leo)
Selati coalition and Othawa pride
The males have continued their routine, hunt buffalo, patrol , mark and defend their territory. They have the first week of the month to Othawa lionesses, however, visible signs suggest that all three lionesses have lost their cubs.
As life goes in the bush, every up has a down. On last report and this month we mentioned how unsuccessful the Othawa pride have been with their latest litters of cubs and now we are happy to say that we have seen all the visible signs that the two lionesses of Ximhungwe cubs have cubs and one other female is heavily pregnant.
And now what we do is wait…. As we look forward to seeing the survival of the first Ximhungwe cubs sired by the Selati male lions.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
There have still been some good sightings of breeding herds of elephant considering that there is lots of water and animals are then lot more disperse. Set against the daily struggle for life is the explosion of new life which erupts at this time of year: suddenly the woodlands are full of wobbly, impossibly curious new impala youngsters, and equally unsteady young elephants dot the woodlands, mothers nursing their young.
On one afternoon we met a young bull elephant who was totally convinced that he will be able to drive us away from the waterhole by performing series of mark charge, waving his ears, trumpeting and splashing the water using his trunk and feet. He seemed so surprised and disappointed when we just sat there and took pictures of him.
Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
Fresh green sward has covered many parts of the Mpumalanga, Sabi Sand, providing fresh graze for buffalo, zebra and wildebeest. The large herds of buffaloes have been scarce of late; we however had lots of small herds of bulls including one consisting of 30 and 2 cows.
More than the big five…..
The pack of cape hunting dogs are here with us again this month, the puppies are growing fast and are now participating in hunting. This critically endangered species’ numbers have dwindled to less than 120 in the Kruger National Park and the global population is being decimated by the pressures of an ever increasing human population. The future of this animal and his species is on a knife edge and unless we conserve the last of the wild lands in Africa they will fade into extinction.
In and around camp
The camp is filled with many different melodious sounds from the birds, crickets, frogs and cicada singing their Christmas songs. Herds of impalas, waterbucks and elephants have been giving us some ‘in lodge’ viewing.
The dominant male Dayone come pass the swimming pool on one afternoon but he was bit late as everyone has gone out for game drive.
That’s all from us this month, we thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, shared our experiences and joined our adventures, and we are committed to keep you updated.