Hlabankunzi and cub

April 2013 Safari Journal

DzivamusokoThe weather:  April is the month of transformation in the Sabi Sand Reserve – straddling the cusp between the wet and the dry seasons at Inyati. Winter is rolling in at a rapid rate throughout the province, a weather change that brings beautiful developments on our paradise. There is a definite chill in the air making the hot chocolate or coffee and Amarula during morning safari breaks more enjoyable. The days are however still warm and a relaxing lounge by the pool or is a great way to spend the afternoon. Amazing thunder showers are experienced some afternoons; this spectacular display of nature’s tremendous power is a definite treat. The bush is now starting to dry up a bit and the grass is all a golden colour and visibility is now starting to become slightly better. 

Wildlife: Once again, Inyati delivers stunning cats!! During April it was virtually impossible not see lions or leopards!! And the general games were all here in their hundreds.

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

Dayone male and Xikhavi femaleDayone male and Xikhavi female 

It’s been a busy month for the handsome male leopard, the magnificent Khashane male is pushing deeper in the territory, keeping him on his toes. And Xikhavi female came into estrous twice during April month. Just when he thought it can’t get any worst he had to mate with Dam 3 female

Hlabankunzi and cub 

The leopardess had very successful month few kills she made and has been extremely good to us, coming out in areas where we got to see her and young well; they often just pose for the pictures, literally!

Hlabankunzi and cub
One morning the brave mother Hlabankunzi and her cub had quite an exciting start of the day. They were chased up a marula tree by………a herd of Zebra! Every time they attempted to get down the zebra adamantly sent them back up a tree. They learnt their lesson – don’t mess with the strips.

Ravenscourt female  

Ravenscourt female We have had few sightings of this beautiful leopardess this month. Ravenscourt female normal resident the east across our boundary yet she seem to be pushing more and more west of her territory. She has proven to be a successful mother and she is raising another litter now.   

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

Selati maleThe four male lions are recovering well from the battle injuries, the Majingelane coalition of lions have stayed away for a while. The Selati spent good part of the month of trailing behind the three Othawa lionesses.
Selati maleOne of the male lions stole two impala kills from one of the leopards. Given only a few seconds the leopard (Nyeleti male) managed to claim one of his hard earned meal back and quickly put it up a tree.

Persistence pays off! After three days and three nights of following the large herd of buffaloes, making few failed attempts, the four Selati male lions finally pulled down a buffalo cow. The herd came to rescue her several times but the lions had injured her badly that she couldn’t keep up with the rest of the herd it was only a matter of time the big cat knocked her of the feet. It was a hard earnt meal, they were already very-very hungry and the one with injured ribs was looking very weak. Selati coalitionXimhungwe pride 

This pride still provides most of our lion sightings. The lionesses have had a successful month of frequent killings. Ximhungwe cubThe cubs are growing fast and looking very healthy.

Ximhungwe prideHere the cubs were left of top of boulder for few minutes as mothers were trying to hunt the nearby herd of impala. Impalas saw the predators early and all got away.

Southern prideSouthern PrideThis pride resident the far southern section of the reserve but they have been coming across on to our sector more and more frequent. As its great for us to have a new pride coming across it may prove to be a problem for the two prides that resident our section of the reserve, especially because they have small cubs.

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)The elephants also proved to be amazing this month. They came right around the vehicle. One decided to have a dust bath that he, due to the wind direction, shared with my guests. They got covered in dust but enjoyed it even more than what the elephant seemed to enjoy his. The baby elephant, who is just over a year old mock charged my vehicle, quite to our amusement. We followed them down to top dam to watch them drink, ooh what beautiful sighting with awesome light for photographs.

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER) Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) The big herd are here, it’s always great to see the return of these animals in big numbers, some days we had over 700 buffalo in our traversing area scattered in three herds. It was really great watching them crossed into our property early one morning. And we then followed to the water hole where they were joined by large dazzle of zebras giving us fantastic photographic opportunities. We are definitely living up to our lodge name “Inyati” meaning buffalo in Zulu and other Nguni languages. Cape buffaloMore than the big five…..Cape hunting dogsThe cape hunting dogs were here for more than half of the month. It’s always a privilege to spend time with these highly endangered species. They are full on energy and very interesting animals which are fun to watch. The pack seem to have lost the alpha female who was old and looking bit tired, that means were might not see puppies this season. Things will get back to normal as one of the female take over the role of the alpha female.

In and around camp

Hippos basking in the sun have become a common site looking across the sand river from the lodge. Impala, waterbucks, nyala and many more visit the lodge frequently looking for greener grass around the lodge area.Hippos basking in the sun Elephants walking along the edge of the camp were an exciting experience for all the guests, getting their adrenalin going. What can be better than sitting down for breakfast or brunch and watching elephants sauntering past on the bank of Sand river – it was surreal!  

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