Inyati Game Lodge is situated in arguably one of the best game viewing areas in the world & most prestigious private conservation areas, the Sabi Sand Reserve (Wildtuin), adjoining the renowned Kruger National Park. Experience fantastic close-up’s with Africa's wildlife on every game drive. #inyatisafari
"If you can visit two continents in your life time visit Africa twice"
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So you think you would never jump out of an aircraft?
Can you believe that the future of one of OUR Big Five is in your hands?
The African Conservation Trust wants to match one- for-one, the Rhinos that were poached last year in South Africa with a national ‘Skydive for Rhinos’ campaign. Be one of 448 Ordinary South Africans doing something Extraordinary by raising awareness, raising funds, and making a tandem skydive from 10 000ft at one of four national Skydive for Rhinos events happening between 27th July and 23rd September.
Be a Rhino ambassador!
Register with ACT to receive your sponsorship form, raise a minimum of R 5 000, select one of four national “Skydive for Rhinos” events, and make a tandem skydive from 10 000ft in honour of one of South Africa’s poached Rhinos.
Teams of dedicated, professional tandem masters are in place at the four registered Parachute Association of South Africa (PASA) Drop Zones that will be hosting Skydive for Rhinos events, which are:
After the 45-minute flight from Johannesburg, I am completely surrounded by the African bush.
The only manmade items are the runway and a little airport terminal which is a thatch roof hut. “Hi, I am
Richard, from Inyati, come with me.” Inyati Private Lodge is located in the Sabi Sand Reserve, one of the world’s largest private conservation areas on the North East tip of South Africa made up of private reserves, whose owners run commercial safaris. With unfenced borders between each other and an unfenced 50km boundary with the famous Kruger National Park, there is almost a guarantee to see the African Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino – during your stay.
Inyati means magnificent buffalo in Shangaan, a local African language. The resort caters to 22 guests, with a one-to-one guest to staff ratio, and has seven luxury chalets and four executive chalets.
On arrival, guests are guided to the restaurant area which is a large deck overlooking the Sand River.
‘The resort is unfenced, so animals may wonder through. They are wild so do not approach them.
Make sure your door is always locked, as the monkeys know how to open them’ – with these warnings, I am escorted to my chalet, a thatch roof luxury bungalow with a walk-in-robe and large ensuite.
With two hours before the first game drive, I unpack and head to the pool, checking twice that the door and windows are locked. As I refresh from the heat, I see the cheeky monkeys running through the open gardens in between the chalets and a mother kudu and her calf chewing on grass. By 3:30pm, I’m refreshed, showered and doused in insect repellent – it is peak malaria season.
Back at the restaurant I am greeted by the other guests who are enjoying the afternoon tea spread of local
pastries and cakes. At 4pm, we are guided to the open top Land Rover and introduced to the ranger, Khimbini, and his brother, Richard, who picked me up earlier. While Khimbini explains the ways of the bush, Richard is perched on the seat attached the front grill of the Land Rover to track the animals.
Khimbini explains the rules: ‘The animals are used to the shape of the car, so please don’t stand up or lean out. Also, sometimes we will go off track into the bush, do not grab at the branches as some have dangerous thorns, just get out of their way’. And with that we are off.
After thirty minutes, we are all getting worried. Not one animal in view. Just as I think about putting my camera away, we turn a corner and find ourselves in a herd of 100 buffalo. As Khimbini turns off the car, he points out the days-old calf running after its mother, five metres from the car. It is like we are in the middle of a National Geographic documentary.
We slowly move on, and while the sun is setting, Khimbini veers off the dirt track. One of the unique things about Sabi Sand is rangers are allowed to go off road to get closer to the animals. Everyone remembers the rules and dives as the thorn branches scrape the car. Without warning we stop and sit in complete darkness. Richard turns on the spotlight and we are surrounded by four lionesses and their five cubs. I have no idea how Khimbini and Richard knew they would be here, but they are adorable, with the cubs play fighting and sometimes annoying mum.
Driving back to Inyati, I see what the night sky looks like without large city lights, more stars than sky. As we have drinks and dinner on the balcony overlooking the lit-up river, the conversation is on the lion cubs.
There is a knock on my front door at 4.30 in the morning, my wake-up call. The sun is already starting to light up the river and there are impala on the other side eating the dew-laden grass. After a few biscuits and local Rooibos tea, we head back onto the trucks.
Eight giraffe – one heavily pregnant – meet us first off. They don’t seem to mind us staring at them as they reach the tops of the trees to get the sweetest leaves with their long tongues. After a short stop we drive off, with Khimbini and Richard staring down at the dirt road. The guests take a look too, but no one wants to admit that all they see is dirt. As we turn a corner, three elephants appear.
“That is the mother,” Khimbini points to the largest of the three, “and these are her two daughters with the youngest probably a few months old.” The baby is upset by our presence and tries to charge the car but runs off crying to mum when it doesn’t work.
Richard jumps off his seat and Khimbini gets out, continuing to examine the ground. To the untrained eye the road looks bare, but Khimbini and Richard are figuring out which way the leopard went from the faint
footprints. After thirty minutes driving, with all eyes on our ranger and tracker, Khimbini’s head pops up. On a large rock a leopard is sunning herself in the early morning rays. She doesn’t even mind that we have now driven, off road, within a metre of her and we all start clicking our cameras, while she grooms herself. After a couple poses, she grows tired of us and disappears off into the distance.
We drive off in search for more. I soon start to worry that we won’t see any rhino, after all they are once again nearing extinction due to the illegal poaching of their horns. However, Khimbini doesn’t let me down and we find a group of four white rhinos munching on the long grass. They are an extraordinary animal, prehistoric but gentle. Normally, Khimbini would be on the radio, letting the other rangers in the area know about the finding but not this time. “We don’t call out rhino sightings on the radio, as we are worried that poachers are listening in and we don’t want to let them know where they are,” he explains.
As I take my photos, I wonder whether the next generation will be able to see them in the wild.
Heading back to Inyati for brunch, I realise, that within less than 24 hours, I have seen all of the African Big Five. I shouldn’t expect any less. Inyati doesn’t only provide luxury accommodation, they also provide expert local staff, all with over ten years’ experience, to ensure you see all the wildlife you wish for.
In July, we experienced typical lowveld (Mpumalanga) winter conditions. The mornings and evenings were chilly, averaging around 5° Celsius and then warming up to 30° Celsius by midday. The ‘bush babies’ or hot water bottles have remained popular with guests clutching onto them during the cold mornings. One of the highlights for the winter months is the amazing night skies experienced on most evenings. The crisp, clear and dark nights were dotted with stars, planets, galaxies, meteors, satellites and the moon – it truly was beautiful! The month has brought excellent game viewing with the colder temperatures and the bush thinning out. The predators have been active longer into the day and we have had some fantastic sightings.
Whilst elephants may have been the most frequently encountered animals over the last few weeks, they have not had a monopoly on magic moments at Inyati. Every area has its special animal, the creature that seems to symbolise a place, to embody its spirit and distinguish it from every other corner of Africa and ours is the beautiful leopard. It’s truly a privilege to have these animals allowing us into their lives.
He is now well established in this prime territory enriched by few female leopards, for most of the month he was kept busy by Dam3 and Shangwa female. We witness mating with Dam3 for about 4 days and about a week after he was mating with Shangwa female again. Just like last month it took a lots persistence and experience for the elderly female to convince him to commit into mating activities.
We found on one afternoon on the bank of Sand River, he was very angry there were clear signs of another male in the area. We even heard some growling by the other cat by never got to see him.
We think it was the huge yet skittish male becoming known as Tsutsuma (Shangaan word meaning: run) Note on the picture of Dayone salivating, one of the signs of a furious cat.
Hlabankunzi dominated our Facebook posts during the months of this report but with her spending time in around the lodge were being spoilt with the viewing in the early morning light. On one afternoon we left her hunting impalas in the lodge and the next morning we leant that she killed an impala ewe between the lodge and staff village, making going to work rather interesting for our staff. She hoisted the carcass on the nearby tree which she kept and guarded for five days guarantee us a leopard sighting every drive.
Few days after she finished the kill, she was seen in a different area chased up a tree by one of the Selati males, she won the patience game and he left her unscathed.
Hlabankunzi as seen resting in the jackal berry tree on with an impala kill; a hopeful hyena lurking nearby.
Shangwa and cub
The Shangwa females wound is healing well and she is back to her old habits. Making a bit of a cougar of herself by mating with the young Dayone male.
The Tie dam male (Shangwa young male) was on form, terrorising mice, and even stalking a small crocodile at Tie dam.
The leopard lost his nerve when the croc melted into the water.
Ndevane male and Dam3 female
These two shy and skittish individual were seen few times this month. Ndevane is slowly becoming more habituated to vehicles, tolerating our presence a little more each time we see him. After mating with Dayone the Dam3 female was seen mating again this time with Ndlevane male, she had impala carcass hoisted in a tree and had to eat during the 15 minutes breaks between every copulation, while eating she showed concern about the elderly male sneaking away.
A new young male leopard was seen trapped between a larger and older leopard, Ndlevane male in the same tree as him and the Ximhungwe pride of lions at the base of the tree. Talk about a rock and a hard place. We presume the older male stole the kill from the young male and the scuffle attracted the attention of the lions.
A surprising and extremely exciting sighting for us this month was the first cheetah seen in the traversing area for almost six months. George and Solly noticed a giraffe staring intensely at one spot. Wondering what it was that had so captivated the animal, they decided to investigate and found it looking directly at a cheetah. The high concentration of lion here over the last few years has excluded the far less competitive cheetah. He had killed a bushbuck lamb, but there were three Ottawa females and one Selati male close to the area, he is in for a long night. Unfortunately, we have not seen him since.
For almost the whole month these male we preoccupied by the mating with tree lionesses of Ximhungwe pride and feeding on a hippo carcass that died at Xikwenga dam. The buffaloes and the Ximhungwe sub-adult even got a little break from these males chasing them around. The cubs are growing fast hopeful they will grow to the age and size where the Selati male will accept them as sub-adult and not kill them.
These males have become so comfortable in their territories they are roaring almost every night and are very seldom seen together.
The three lionesses of this pride was seen on few occasions hunting up and down along the river possible looking for bushbucks, nyalas and kudus that prefer these kind of habitat. All tree Ottawa lionesses look pregnant, we are impatiently waiting for the next generation, the first cubs of Selati males.
The lionesses are trying very hard to keep the cubs away from the Selati male, keep them alive. We seen them their strategy from running and hunting to engage entertaining and mate. The one lioness, Queen is left to baby sit and feed the three remaining cubs, hunting without the help of the three sisters (who are busy entertaining the Selati males) have proven little difficult especially because she been limping for a while now but she is managing so far.
It was much to our relief that the lioness and the 3 sub adults made a kill on one morning. We found them with bulging bellies and still bloodied. The Lioness had fed a bit but had clearly left the lions share to the youngsters. Hope beyond hope, as the Selati males still search for the last of the Mapogo’s cubs. The sad news this month is the lioness that had new litter lost all her cubs, we only got to see one cubs, we saw her carrying this cub to a wildebeest kill and the next day it was dead we are not sure what happened to it.
We are seeing many elephants around Inyati Lodge at the moment, mainly to the southern and western part of the reserve.
Breeding herds are commonly seen and at times, lone bulls are found around the camp. They tend to move through camp towards the western section of the reserve and then return (again through camp) towards the eastern section again following the Sand river, leaving evidence of their visit around camp, with broken branches and large piles of dung in the pathways and large, deep footprints in the mud.
One of the youngsters become very inquisitive he came closer and closer with his truck up in sniffing the air he was determent to find what we were all about.
The large buffalo herds were scarce for the first half of the month, but were seen daily during the second half of the month. It’s always exciting such large group of animal run to be first at waterhole before the water is stirred into mud by the fellow bovines.
More than the big five…..
We have been really spoilt with lots of hyena sightings this month. We are noticing a growing numbers of hyenas in our section of the reserve, often wrongly referred as just scavengers these adaptable predators do hunt efficiently in areas where they need to. On none morning we witness a clan of 6 hyenas hunt impalas successfully from the start to finish.
Another exciting animal seen around Inyati game lodge this month is serval an elusive and beautiful cat which is active mainly from dusk until dawn.
We have had great birding this month. The lilac-breasted roller has decided to show off its brilliantly coloured feathers as he flew down to catch a grasshopper. Guides have also reported good raptor sightings: a pair of nesting bateleurs, good sightings of the majestic martial eagle, a pair of african hawk-eagles and few sightings of tawny eagles.
In and around camp
Game viewing along the river and around camp has been amazing. Herds of elephant and giraffes are seen as a daily occurrence.
The area is full of elephant, and most water courses are bursting with hippo and crocodile.
A few snakes have started to reappear after a cold winter and we witnessed a grey-headed bush shrike attacking a large vine snake. It was interesting to notice how the bird try to destroy the snake’s eye first before kill it.
The resident troop of vevet monkeys constantly visits us at the camp; they are always entertaining, giving us superb close up views.
It’s been yet another amazing month here at Inyati, and we hope you’ll come here soon to share in it all…
At the onset of June it seemed bit cooler than May but this did not last long and the temperatures rose quickly. Early morning temperatures have been a chilly 10-13°C but warming up during the day to a pleasant 25-27°C. We have also been having strong blistery winds around midday. The sightings have been great with guests retruning from drives with interesting tales.
The sunsets have been spectacular with the dust in the air adding some beautiful colours in the sky.
The felines have been performing spectacularly for our guests this month.
SHANGWA AND CUB
This elderly female have recently shifted her territory more west of her normal range, she was seen hung bushbucks along the sand river with a big open wound on her leg this is possible from a territorial fight with another female leopard or injured by warthog in the hunt.
It’s incredible how quickly these animals heal only couple of weeks late the wound is looking much better.
Her sub adult male is fully independent now and she is coming into heat again now. She was seen way out of her territory south of the Sand River following Dayone male around. It took a while for her to convince him to mate but after few days her persistence work and experience he finally gave in.
This illusive and aggressive male come out few times this month, he was more tolerant to game viewer vehicles, not run away and not charging asking us to leave like he often does. In one of the sighting we saw him with unidentified young male feeding on carcass in the tree.
He been the luckiest and busiest boy ever, with few of the female that their territory are within his come into oestrous during the month of this report. Some of the female he was seen mating with includes Xikhavi, Shangwa, Hlabankunzi and Dam 3 female. We even got to have a good view of the shy Dam 3 female, the lure of the new male and hormones clouding her usual fear of vehicles allowed us to view this generally skittish leopardess. The look in her eye is a sure sign of her temperament.
She is slowly gaining back her status as the most viewed leopard in our area. She is still covering her large territory she grew when she was trying to keep her cubs away from new territorial male, Xindzele a year ago. She seen very busy mating with Dayone male but after about 5 days has since separated from him and went back to patrolling and securing her own territory, such a large territory have required her to move over 17 kilometres a day.
We have seldom seen this female lately, she used to be the most consistently viewed leopard in our area until couple of months ago when she moved her territory to a far densely vegetated area up by the north-western the reserve. She felt the pressure from the older and large female, Metsi who is push more and more north of her territory. We were privileged to see her on one afternoon perched on a termites mound in the last light just before she set out for her hunting pursuit.
These male are certainly making their presence known around the area as they constantly making, vocalising and mating with lionesses that roam within their territory. They are often seen in separate areas as they search for female in heat only get together to hunt. Yet another buffalo was killed this month as a result of the team work by the Selati boys. If all four are seen together it’s almost a given that a buffalo is coming down soon. Soon after the buffalo carcass finished the Selati male lions and Ottawa lionesses have moved little further away and the mating has resumed.
Ximhungwe pride ran into one of Selati male lion on one morning, two lionesses took the cubs out the area when the other two stayed with him, interestingly the short tail female, mother of the two older cubs tried to seduce him to mate. It took few days for the male to allow mating but eventually two lionesses were mating with the Selati boys.
These seventeen months old cubs are looking very nervous after the confrontation with Selati males, their mothers have done exception work to keep the sub adults away the Selati Coalition and keep them alive.
Latter in the month we witness the Selati male lions mating, one mating with Ximhungwe lioness and the other one was mating with two of the Othawa lionesses. Yes! he was mating with two lionesses at same time.
The three lionesses are looking their best moment and confident, they seem to have accepted Selati male entirely and much easier compared to the Ximhungwe pride. One of them was seen mating again with one of the Selati males by the river side after feeding on a buffalo kill.
ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)
June saw a marked increase in elephant activity along the river in the vicinity of camp. This is probably linked to the fact that most of the greenery disappeared else accept the along river and some dams have dried up and the animals are forced to congregate around the Sand River in order to meet their water requirements.
CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)
The large resident herd of buffalo have been out of our traversing area for most of the month but there been no shorted of buffalo sighting as there we few bachelor herds around the property including one group of about 20 bulls.
MORE THAN THE BIG FIVE…..
This month’s special sightings included, a honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel, which is a species of mustelid native to Africa. These creatures are mostly active by night and are seldom seen. The honey badger is a tenacious small carnivore that has a reputation for being, pound for pound, Africa’s most fearless animal despite its small size.
It is even listed as the “most fearless animal in the world” in the Guinness Book of Records.
Simply Amazing! Honey badgers do appear to have some immunity to snake venoms. A honey badger bitten on the face by the highly cytotoxic puff adder will show signs of severe pain but recovered fully within five hours. This immunity may develop over the life time of the honey badgers due to regular contact with small amounts of venom in snakes, scorpions and bees.
And our feathered friends have been around too!
Red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) feasting on termites. An early breakfast on a beautiful and cold African winter morning!
A lilac breasted roller using a game viewer driving by to find a meal, as the vehicle disturbs insects the colourful fly in to catch them.
In and around camp
Our guests have been enjoying sightings of zebra, giraffes, impala and many more from the comfort the comfort of their breakfast table or pool beds.
Even for hippo, water has been little bit too cold to spend the whole day in it. They can be see from the lodge basking in the sun. Did you know? Recent DNA evidence suggests that the hippopotamus is more closely related to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) than it is to any other artiodactyls (even-toed hoofed mammal)”
The month of May was a successful one with great sightings and estatic guests, mornings and evenings were little chilly but the days were pleasant. Morning breaks with tea, coffee and hot chocolate are becoming more popular as we get into the winter season. Our dams and many of river systems are fill up we should have enough water to last us through dry winter this year. Surprisingly, Sand River’s water level is low considering the huge floods we had early this year.
We are often ask what differentiates safari destinations, well location must be one of them, pristine wilderness, diversity in habitat, enough resources to support huge numbers of big game….(On picture below) follow the river to the top of the picture and note the green patch on the bank, sits Inyati Game lodge.
Leopard galore! Sightings of these beauties have been outstanding over the past month. Even Khashane male who spent most of his time out of our traversing was here with us for most of the month. We were following him on one morning while on his territory patrol when two impala ram chased each other right passed him. Even though his focused was on a territory marking he couldn’t resist this opportunity of a meal. He followed them for about two hundred metres waited for the two fighting antelopes to lock horn, he then literally run in and took one of them.
Shangwa and cub
The elderlyfemale leopard, Shangwa and her grown cub continue to provide us with the most rewarding experiences – they have been seen with kills couple of times this month. Later in the month she picked up few injuries, one wound on her forehead she is also looking undernourished but she should get better soon. The cub has been seen on his own a lot, have begun to wonder way out of his mother’s territory to explore new areas.
He has grown in size and in confident as seen often patrolling every corner of his prime territory with no fear. They say no one has perfect life, but some come really close, all is seemingly good for this leopard right now.
The most viewed of our leopard, Tlangisa was little bit scarce this month she had ventured completely out of her territory, we were all very surprised to see her on far north-western corner of the reserve where she spent couple of weeks exploring the area. On her return she got into a little territorial dispute with Dam 3 female who on of their territory boundaries. The dispute was resolved without a physical contact they eventually separated moving back deeper into their own territory. Tlangisa was noticeably very careful of the older and large Dam 3 female.
The new dominant males, Selati have spent a good part of the month with the three Ottawa lionesses of which two of them were in oestrous. The boys did manage to pull down at least couple of buffaloes this month. While they were feeding on the buffalo, one of the younger male sneak away he was found the next morning in the different area mating with two lionesses at same time. It didn’t take long before the three brothers caught up with him. This was the first time that the bond amongst these males was put to real test, the younger two males have been given so many chances in the past but this time it wasn’t the same there was few serious battle between among themselves and the younger two who initially claimed the lionesses where beaten up and driven off.
One of the male younger male was seriously injured but the next day were found him with the female he lost the night before, this particular male have very strong character of them all. He often separate, he was one driving the group to search for the Mapogos, he was more aggressive when they killed Mr T. He is far less affectionate; often lie separate from the rest of the males. He was the one who continue the chase of Ximhungwe pride ended up in the tough jaws and claws of four Ximhungwe lionesses. This male can be easily identified by the prominent bulge on the right side of his heap and his frown or mean face he wears. (Note second picture blow)
Our resident pride, Ximhungwe has been out of our traversing area into the eastern section of the reserve this was to obviously avoid the Selati males who will more likely kill the cubs if found. On return they find a corner where the Selati males hardly ever go, they stayed there safely for weeks until the end of the month when were found by the males. We found them in the morning followed as they ran through almost the entire length of our traversing area, we noticed that two lionesses were injured and tree cubs were missing. We feared that the pride might have lost three cubs but few days later two of the missing three were found alive, so only one is killed.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Elephant sightings were really fantastic. Breeding herds of these grey goliaths were seen all around the traverse area this month. We watched these gentle giants for hours and they seem to enjoy our presence as well. One of the cows was performing all the tricks including “bum scratching” as can be seen on the picture below.
We also had close encounter with one of the youngster, when her decided he was going to drive us away by shaking his head and hold his ears out as he charge at us. His mother seemed not to pay any notice to us or him. Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
The big herd only pay couple of visit this month but we were never short of buffalo there plenty of solitary and bachelor herd along the sand river. In one of the dams the herd visits for a drink is resident by a lone hippo, he doesn’t seem to mind their presence rather fascinated as he often try to get close to the buffalos for a closer look. I guess as lonely bull driven out of the herd he does need little company sometimes, after all friends come in different sizes.
More than the big five…..
Hippos spend most of their daily hours in water and nights on land grazing along, but with the cool weather they can be seen lying on the banks of rivers and dams. We had are great viewing of couple, cow and bull chasing each other around at Inyati causeway.
Steenbok is the smallest of the antelope species we get to see, these little antelope will generally scuttle off but we saw one that was very relaxed and curious she decided to investigate the game drive vehicle instead.
In and around camp
The resident sounder of warthogs constantly visits us at the camp, feeding on the green grass, giving us superb close up views. The piglets are growing fast they have become accustomed to people walking around the lodge, very entertaining as they roll in the mud wallows to cool off at mid day temperatures.
As winter’s cold dries the vegetation elephants follow the rivers in search of greenery and our lodge is just in perfect place, guests are able view these animals as they flock up and down the river.
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.
Indaba 2012 – It is always terrific to catch up with so many of our travel partners and associates.
Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC), South Africa
INDABA is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar. It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.
INDABA is a four day trade event that attracts well over 13000 delegates from the travel tourism and related industries.