May 2015 Field Guide Report by Matt

The cheetah is a unique felid, with its closest living relatives being the puma and jaguarundi of the Americas. This cat is notable for modifications in the species' paws, being one of the few felids with only semi-retractable claws

It was warm on the last evening of autumn, it had been very hot for a few days and so we all new a cold front was coming. It didn’t make the temperature drop the next morning any more bearable. With the cold thud winter is here! The roads have turned into powder soft sketching maps that last for days, everything from the smallest birds to the mighty elephant can’t escape but leave their mark as they go. The trackers come into their own, as the disintegration of the tracks is a timeline that very few can decipher. The tracks most sought after are those of the cats, from the tiniest tracks of new born cubs up to the dark mane Madjingilane.

The three young lionesses of Ximhungwe Lion Pride pride are back with us, looking great and well feed. The young male was seen last night close to where the mother was killed.

All small pans are dry and major dams look decidedly lower than usual. This means we have had elephants aplenty and all along the river. We had a sighting of over 200 elephants in and around the river recently that was simply spectacular.

All members of Manjingelane male coalition are with us in the Western sector currently. The Othawa lionesses are finally able to escape the boys

Xhikavi has had cubs! Two of them that look to be about a month old, we found her suckling them in a den site close to the lodge. So standby for great pictures soon. Tlangisa has been leaving her cubs for longer periods but they still seem to rely on her for most of their food. The older one is coming along fine though and it will be nice to see her become independent soon. The question on everyone’s minds is where will they choose to become independent?

Mother leopard and cubs playingScotia after a few brief encounters with Ravenscourt has taken up calling in the evenings as she gains confidence in her territory she inherited from Hlaba Nkunzi. Hlaba Nkunzi has almost permanently moved east and we only see her from time to time. Boulders has been seen a few times but she is so seldom seen and so far away from the lodge that I have only ever seen her two or three times. Dam three is also lactating which means she has cubs so we have a lot of babies around to go with. The lucky guy for the most part is Dewane and he is doing really well keeping Nyeleti far in the east so much so that we hardly ever see him.
The Othawas are doing well, the three cubs have what looks like mange which they must have picked up from the one male but it isn’t permanent and as they get older it should heal. The four Madjingilanes have been almost permanently set up her in the west as there are rumours of new coalitions making noise east of us as they arrive from the Kruger Park. The Ximungwes have not been seen in a while but for their tracks from time to time it is also rumoured that one of the females is dead. The Mangene Pride have been seen more and more in the south as they find it a relative vacuum of lions.Inyati Game Lodge airstrip
The Wild Dogs have been seen looking for a den in the North but they haven’t been seen in a few weeks. The Cheetah did well with the cubs but the last two died outside of game drive by a suspected leopard and hyena not at the same time. The coming months hold some interesting times for us to see hopefully.

Cub kiss


Yellow billed hornbill

That’s all from Matt for this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.


Keith & Francis – Managers George (Head Guide) & Solly (Tracker) Khimbini (Senior Guide) & Rodger (Tracker) Matthew (Senior Guide) & Nelson (Tracker)

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. Photographs by Khimbini, Keith and Matthew

Breakfast deck

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