October 2013 Safari Journal
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.