Category Archives: Wildlife Sightings

Big 5, Wilderness Safaris, Kruger National Park South Africa safari, game drive safari , African safari

Elephantastic view @ Inyati

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Inyati Game Lodge by Elaine McArdle

Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sands: the perfect South Africa Safari!

From the second we came across the Inyati Game Lodge in our search for the perfect South Africa safari accommodation we were certain it was the perfect luxury safari retreat for us. We had a short and undemanding list of requests: luxury accommodation, good food, drinks and company and the best chance of sighting the big 5. It’s not much to ask really! After a glorious morning spent exploring the Panorama route we arrived at Inyati. With its amazing rooms, fantastic rangers and the gorgeous surrounds of Sabi Sands we knew we were in for a treat on our first South Africa safari. We couldn’t wait to experience the best of what Inyati and Sabi Sands had to offer!

Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Inyati Game Lodge

The Inyati Game Lodge is located deep within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is situated on the banks of the Sabi River. After a morning of sightseeing on the Panorama route we couldn’t resist the safari call any longer and set off for our stay at Inyati. The heavy, end of summer rains had taken their toll on the gravel roads and it was a slow and bumpy ride to the Newington Gate of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The drive was soon forgotten as we turned the corner into the entrance of the gorgeous Inyati where the reception staff had assembled to greet us and whisk our luggage away. Welcome drinks awaited us and we were instantly transported into holiday mode! Bliss!

Welcome to Inyati!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe lodge:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

As we sipped our drinks we finally had the chance to absorb our incredible surroundings and we were absolutely blown away! The lodge itself is stunning and the African decor blends seamlessly with the surroundings of the Sabi Sands bush. The focal point of Inyati is the main lodge with its chill out lounge area and terrace and the views over the Sabi River are mesmerising.

Terrace views! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe Sabi River:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The grounds of Inyati:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Chalet time!

It was time to check out our safari home and we were escorted to our Chalet, No 1, to settle in and freshen up before our first game drive. With only 11 rooms the lodge is intimate and luxurious, with the chalets dotted in clusters around the main lodge. We opted for a family chalet as we were travelling as a trio with my lovely mum accompanying Dave and I on the trip.

Our chalet was perfect and we instantly felt at home in Inyati. The room was spacious and we were spoiled with a huge King Size bed and two spacious doubles, one of which Dave used to tuck his beloved camera equipment in at night. Seriously! The room was equipped with everything we’d expect from 5* accommodations: a walk in closet, a generous sitting area, a well equipped mini bar and a beautiful bathroom. We knew we were in for a treat!

Our chalet:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The bathroom:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe view from our room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Game Drives at Inyati

Why we chose Sabi Sands and Inyati

The quality of the game drives and the frequent reported sightings of the Big 5 were the main reason we opted to stay at Inyati. Inyati is located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which shares an open boundary with Kruger National Park meaning the animals roam freely between the two. Game drives take place in an open topped truck and the vehicles are allowed to go off road to get closer to the animals. It’s widely accepted that Kruger and Sabi Sands offer some of the best game drives in Africa, with Sabi Sands being particularly renowned for leopard spotting. It’s said the leopards are more relaxed in the Sabi Sands surroundings.

The Inyati game trucks:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Our Game Drives at Inyati

Our pre lunch arrival on day 1 allowed us to enjoy four game drives, two morning and two evening, during our two night stay at Inyati. Morning drives required an early start with a 5am wake up call courtesy of a gentle knock on the door from our lovely guides!

In search of greatness:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

There’s only one word to describe our game drives at Inyati: INCREDIBLE! Cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, buffalos, impalas, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, warthogs, dung beetles, lizards and vultures. Our ranger George and tracker Solly were amazing in their pursuit to show us everything the Sabi Sands bush had to offer.

Our memories of our Inyati game drives are like scenes from a movie. It’s difficult to narrow down our favourite moments but sitting in the middle of a herd of 40 elephants as they made their way through the bush is one of our highlights. I still have to pinch myself when I think of that moment!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Our favourite Inyati sightings:

A leopard mama and her two month old cub:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

The elusive cheetah:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Rhino bath time:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundA softer side to the king of the bush:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundAlways watching us, the buffalo herds:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundSniffing out a kill, the hyena:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundMeandering across our path, the lofty giraffe:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Wildlife on site!

Inyati is an unfenced game lodge meaning the wild animals can wander in and out of the property as they please. This was a real treat although it did mean that all our night time movements outside our room had to be accompanied by a ranger!

We woke up from a post breakfast nap to find a troop of monkeys with some bushbuck wandering among them on our private veranda. One of the monkeys went so far as to try and open our door and we were glad we’d heeded our arrival warning of locking the doors at all times! Another highlight came as we were leaving the lodge and a family of giraffe rambled alongside us! Returning guests regaled us with tales of lions wandering through the grounds on their previous stay but we weren’t so lucky. Here’s hoping for next time!

Hello there! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Do you mind if I come in?!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Food and drinks

Inyati rates are all inclusive meaning breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee and water are included in the price. Bar purchases were extra but the reasonable pricing was a pleasant surprise (we spent around US $15 to US $20 each on soft and alcoholic drinks over our 48 hours at Inyati). We were totally spoiled on the food front and our biggest fear, that we would starve in the bush, was totally unfounded as we enjoyed a constant supply of food! Our food schedule went something like this:

  • 5:30am: pre game drive breakfast of pastries, fruit and museli served with tea, coffee, water and fruit juice.
  • 7:30am: morning tea in the bush! Flapjacks, tea, coffee and biscuits during a quick bush stop on the morning safari.
  • 9am: post game drive brunch with a delicious selection of cold and hot foods where we munched on salads, fruits, sausages, eggs, pastries and cereals.

As good as it looks! Brunch at Inyati:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 1pm: a small lunch menu with toasted sandwiches and a snack is available during the day. Given the late breakfast indulgence it’s geared towards the arriving guests!
  • 4pm: afternoon tea is served prior to the evening game drive.

Afternoon tea time:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 6:30pm: the highlight of the day for us! Sundowners and savoury snacks watching the sun go down in the bush.

Gin and tonic sundowners, amazing company and this view:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 8pm: dinner time! Dinner was a 3 course communal affair with delicious soup, meat, fish, vegetables and salads choices plentiful.

One of the highlights of our dining at Inyati was the rotating locations the team used. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner on the main terrace during our first meals but the real highlight was the outdoor dinner in the Boma, where at one point the background noise was a pride of lions roaring, and breakfast on the river terrace!

Breakfast views!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Facilities

For us, staying at Inyati was all about the safari experience but the surroundings and facilities did much to add to our stay. The communal guest areas are beautifully equipped with relaxing seating, books and a television. A small gym is located on site and the outdoor pool is a lovely spot for relaxing between the drives.

Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Wi-fi

Limited wi-fi is available around this main spot but it is very slow and this was a common occurrence across most of our South Africa travels. With all that was going on we weren’t bothered about having wi-fi so it wasn’t an issue!

The bar and chill out area:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Beautiful touches:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Overall

We absolutely adored our stay at Inyati and from the moment we crossed the Newington Gate to enter Sabi Sands we were instantly transported into another world filled with the delightful sights and sounds of the South African Bush. The Lodge and its staff were incredible and we were totally spoiled for every second of our 2 nights in Inyati.

Staying at the lodge is a luxurious experience but the real star of the show is the Inyati game drives: the rangers and trackers are warm and funny and have an amazing safari knowledge allowing them to answer every random question we came up with! Of which there were many! Our dream of seeing the Big 5 was quickly realised and we made incredible bucket list memories which still give us goosebumps.Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Worth the cost?

The private game reserves of Sabi Sands come at a price and we spent a lot of time considering our safari options. For us, the luxury, the experience and the private game drives are worth the extra cost. We couldn’t think of a more perfect spot to spend our first safari experience and, despite our reluctance to visit the same place more than once, we really, really hope to return to Inyati in the future!

Disclaimer: Inyati Game Lodge provided us with a media rate during our stay. Our opinions, as always, are our own.

 

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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

March 2015 Field Guide Report by Matt

INY fathers day

The sentimental bush.

I have delayed writing this piece. There has been a drama playing out and instead of making it two parts as seems to be the trend these days when someone finds a marketable story like the Lord of the Rings movie series. Like any good drama it has highs and lows and it has so much sadness. I guess it all started about 6 months ago. One quiet evening unbeknownst to the Selati lion coalition, four old campaigners moved into this, a relatively stable part of the reserve. The story ended on the 15th of April with a sad and lonely death from a broken lion that never had a chance.

INY mothers dayA single Selati male lion was killed on his own in the North of our reserve, his body was found by a guide out on drive. He was the second casualty to the Majingelane lion coalition with one of his brothers having been killed by the coalition a few years before. A third brother was killed in two separate encounters with buffalo. The two surviving brothers were seen walking off the property never to return. The new coalition on the property had actually come up from the north of the Sabi Sand, where they had been established for a few years.

INY lion spaThe new coalition then went about looking for the females on their new territory. We left them one evening on a kudu kill in a drainage line and when we returned the next morning 4 of the 8 cubs from the Othawa pride were dead. The remaining cubs had scattered about the reserve lost and bewildered by something they had no clue about. It took many weeks of searching to get them all back, one young female even ended up following the Ximungwe pride around for two weeks. This signaled the start of the great race, the females from both prides took it upon themselves to mate with the lions as a distraction tactic and allow another female to lead the cubs to safety. However over time the males got two more cubs from the Othawas leaving a male and female cub left as the survivors from 8. The two cubs became sub-adults together and often found them alone having to fend for themselves. They lasted for many months and it seemed like for the female at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

INY lion cubsThen in February one of the Othawa females gave birth to three beautiful little cubs. The Majingelanes had become proud fathers once again. The Othawa group thought it was time to introduce the males to the two remaining sub-adults. Surely having cubs of their own would appease their vengeance on the Selati’s at last? The interaction did not go well and the female was seen fleeing the area with all the males after her. The young males were also injured in the skirmish. The female was found close to the lodge a few days later as her decomposing body could be smelt from afar. The young male alone and injured returned to the females with cubs who rejected him. I’m trying not to anthropomorphise here but I can only imagine how he must have felt, being hurt and hungry and then cast away from his family.

Othawa pride

In the meantime the short tailed lioness from the Ximungwes had been isolated from her pride because of a small injury. She was on the mend but needed to join the group again. She must have made the fatal mistake of contact calling close to the Othawas and their new cubs. The short tailed lady must have fought like a demon possessed judging by the signs of the struggle left behind as flattened and bloody grass. Her body had mostly been consumed by one of the male coalition when we found her the next morning.

INY Othawa cubsThis story ends late one morning drive, after the males and the Othawas had finished off a kill and were relaxing by a watering hole. The lone surviving offspring of the Selati coalition tempted by food and a time gone by came close. He forlornly was calling more from instinct than hope. He lay in the shade of a tree hoping to get in close and join the group. The coalition then came up to him and as he lay there exhausted and broken, they approached with a look of intent. He accepted his fate as only one destined for the gallows can be, resided to his fate he did not run away. With a flurry of activity it was over, the males walked away leaving the broken body and a broken promise from his fathers. Hopefully now the bush has taken its required amount of blood and the strong genes of the Majingelane and by proxy the mighty Mapogos will see this new generation of cubs lasting long. However only time will tell and the bush is certainly not sentimental.

Othawa cubThat’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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan

February ’15 Field Guide Report by Matt

INY cape hunting So at some point in this year it was January, the next thing I know a cycle has flown by and February came to an end. Admittedly February is a short month but it seems to have flown past. Ellie babyWe still have had no rain and the bush is prematurely turning the beautiful blonde colour that suggests the rain might not come this season. The last few years have seen really plentiful with rain and when I drove in a drainage line a few days ago the ruts filled with water. So the crests have this golden colour and in the valleys it is still largely green. There are no almost no pans of water left, so all the animals have been spending more and more time along the river. This is really good news as Inyati is perfectly positioned to have excellent game viewing all day long. INY playing

So in this last month we have seen Hlaba Nkunzi a few times and had the privilege of seeing her new cub who is around three months or so. She crosses into our neighbouring property and so we don’t see her as much as we used to so it’s nice to see little cubs. Tlangisa is still thriving in the North and it is quite difficult to tell at a glance between her and her cubs. They are fast approaching a year old and are so big. INY posingThey must surely be thinking about starting to learn to hunt. Dewane has now officially displaced Nyeleti and has been seen far east of our traverse which has historically been Nyeleti’s territory. Nyeleti has moved east out of our traverse and south, so we don’t see him all too often anymore. Xhikavi, Schotia, Ravenscourt and Torchwood have all put on cameo displays for us but they are not seen all that regularly.

Ravenscourt male
Ravenscourt male leopard

Leopards like Boulders haven’t been seen in a few months. Dewane has been around a lot and we have seen him patrolling his territory and feeding on kills and generally posing like the rock star he is! INY territoryThe Ximungwe’s are still at a composition of six and doing pretty well, they are a clever bunch of lions and I’m sure the Majingies don’t even know they exist. The sub-adults are looking really big at the moment and should be in the clear. Male cheetah sunsetThe two Othawa sub-adults have not been seen with the adults in weeks, yet they are doing well and by all accounts have started hunting for themselves as the few times I’ve seen them they have both been full and looking happy.Coqui Spurfowl

There have been hundreds of buffalo and elephants all over the property, they have taken it upon themselves to redecorate the reserve for us and we are constantly having to clear the roads of big trees they keep pushing over.INY buffalo resting

So I have saved the best for last, only for the few people who read on to the end of the blogs. I’ll let you into the secret… One of the Othawa’s has cubs. She has been seen in the north/eastern part of the territory but I haven’t seen them yet. I cant wait to get my first glimpse of the Majingilanes hard earned reward.

INY Tlangisa cub
One of Tlangisa’s cubs

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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

January ’15 Field Guide Report by Matt

Giraffe
Giraffe are vulnerable to predators when drinking, here she had the rest of the journey looking own for any danger.

 

600 buffalo herd
Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer), also called African buffalo, the largest and most formidable of Africa’s wild bovids (family Bovidae)

There still hasn’t been a drop of rain. Only the most stubborn of mud wallows still has water and most of the reserve is dry. The crests between the drainage lines are always the first to show the signs of drying out and the bush is not as thick as it could be.Wild dog pack It is still really green though and the animals have been out in full force. The dryness of the bush has caused the animals to cling to the water sources and so we have had all the animals taking an early pilgrimage. The young elephants don’t mind and we have seen them frolicking in the shallows.

Elephant herd
Elephant have a highly ordered and structured social fabric.

Huge herds of buffalo and the odd cheetah have been coming into the south of the reserve and for about two weeks the wild dogs have been around making all the bushbuck and impala rethink the lifestyle the river offers.Lioning around

The Majingies and the Othawa’s have seemingly moved onto the next stage of their relationship, not that I’m anthropomorphizing the situation at all. The lions have been seen everywhere together and the four brothers have been following the Othawas everywhere they go. Majingilanes

The Xhimungwes have remained ever elusive from the male lions and while they have been around they have kept to the central to western part of our traverse. The sub-adults are getting big now and I hope that the young females are accepted by the males.

Ximhungwe pride
Ximhungwe pride

So Hlaba Nkunzi has not been around for a while as she has moved east to accommodate the Schotia female her last offspring. The update from the eastern reserve is that she has a new cub with its sibling having been killed by hyenas. On our side though we have been seeing Schotia, Xhikavi and Tlangisa with fair regularity and they have been giving us some good viewing by making plenty of kills and putting them in trees for us. Leopard familyDewane has decided he wants more of Nyeleti’s territory and he has been camping on the eastern side of the camp waiting for Nyeleti. The two had a tense stand-off over an impala kill that ended up with Nyeleti retreating. It never got physical but rather the two leopards were calling at each other at a respectful hundred meters, they salivated and looked thoroughly menacing. Tlangisa’s cubs are almost as big as she is now and they don’t know what it feels like to be hungry. She keeps them full all the time and never stops protecting them, we have seen her often putting her body on the line and has taken on three hyenas at a time.

INY Mom and cubs

The new sand banks that have formed on the river look great and really lend to having a great winter if we don’t get late rains, the birds are all in full breeding and the insects and butterflies are still landing from perch to perch. All the bees are full of pollen as they go out of their way to make honey, their little legs are fat with the yellow powder making them easy to see as they float about. On drinks stops we often see the fireflies floating and flitting at night adding to the starlight show.Buffalo

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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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.

December ’14 Field Guide Report by Matt

Carmine-bee-eaterEverything is green and lush and having finally seen the carmine bee-eaters all the migrating birds are present and accounted for. The Red-billed Quelea’s are flocking which for me is sign of subtle change, when everything is at its most plentiful. I can’t help feeling though that we have been a little cheated with regards to rain this season, and the river only came up once. It doesn’t mean anything significant off hand, rain like anything has years of more or less. However while on the topic the reality of global warming will lead our area to receive more rain steadily as the warmer air will be able to support more moisture. Red Billed Quelea_Male

The good news for us, though is that the area we are in has led to a lot of the animals all in a kind of midrange for them. So change should be mild and predictable for them with certain species moving off and certain species moving in. It is oddly humans that need to adapt by building bigger and better river crossings and constant maintenance of roads and general water damage. The animals have the freedom in the Greater Kruger that if they don’t like a place within the limits of their species they move away. It is in the extremes of climates that the specialists will take show the effects of global warming the most. Polar bears are the best examples but all fringe species are showing the first signs of minimization.Sand river

This reserve is renowned for its big cats and we have had them a plenty. Dewane has pushed far east and Nyeleti is making way for him. He has really grown into a beast of a cat. Xhikave and has been seen a few times on kills, being typically xhikave she has kept them in the thickest brush, except for the impala lamb the hyenas tried to steal she put that up a Marula tree on Inyati’s access. Xikhavi leopardWe’ve been seeing Scotia a few times. Thlangisa has been taking advantage of the lambing season and her cubs don’t know what it feels like to be hungry. As such they are both growing really fast and have turned into little leopards.Day One leopard

At least one of the Othawa’s (lioness) is pregnant and is showing signs she might be ready to drop soon. This is good news because the two sub-adults have been seen with the Majingilanes with a survivable amount of hostility. The xhimungwe’s also seem to be enjoying the abundance of prey and when we see them they are snoozing away from the heat with full bellies.Ximhungwe pride

The herds of buffalo have been around as well as cheetah and the wild dog. The best thing about this time of year is the colours and the sounds as every insect, bird and plant is trying to take advantage of this time of plenty. It is also great to see the new shape the river is taking.600 buffalo herd

November ’14 Field Guide Report by Matt

Resting Giraffe
Resting Giraffe

So with much pomp and ceremony, there has been very little rain. A few showers here and there but nothing significant. Instead of sweltering heat followed by thunderstorms which I have been expecting. It has been chilly in the mornings although I refuse to wear a fleece this time of the year on principal. The bush has turned green but everything seems to be on standby for some real rain. Having said that, the trend of wonderful sightings has continued into the green season. The animals are plentiful and putting on a show. There are also wildflowers, and all the migratory birds are back.

Black flycatcher chicks
Black flycatcher chicks
Red-crested Korhaan
Red-crested Korhaan
Impala herd
I can’t believe it is that time of the year again! It’s lambing season for the beautiful Impala.

There is a lot to say on the habits of the leopards here at the moment. Starting with Xhikavi, she has given birth and has put her cubs in the drainage line just east of the lodge. The problem for her is that she is in a love triangle with Nyleleti and Dewane. Dewane seems to be the jealous type as he has killed cubs before and has been seen searching the drainage line for the cubs. Kashaan and Nyeleti have been doing the rounds. We saw Kashaan recently, he followed vultures to where 3 hyenas had a new born hippo carcass. He viewed the hyenas from afar and lost interest and kept moving. Tlangisa is revelling in the new born impalas, the new borns don’t stand a chance and she eats regularly and keeps a fresh kill all the time for her cubs.

Thlangisa with cubs
Thlangisa with cubs
Thlangisa and cubs wanting attention
Thlangisa and cubs wanting attention
Majestic cheetah
The cheetah is a large feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx

The lion sub-adults are all growing quickly. We haven’t been seeing the Othawas of recently as they have been hanging out in the east. The Ximungwes however have been seen sleeping everywhere. We had the Majingilanes on a buffalo kill North of the lodge. It made for some fine viewing especially the activity of all the scavengers. All the trees were full of vultures.

Wild dog pack
Wild dog pack

 

Wild dog on lawn
Large pack of Cape hunting dogs playing on our lawn at Inyati Game Lodge.
Resting crocodile
The Nile crocodile is an African crocodile and the second largest extant reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile

There have been many herds of elephants and buffalo and zebra around attracted by all the growth in the areas that burnt. The elephants have been putting on a good show coming to bath and play in the wallows by the lodge and in the river.

Going forward we are looking forward to some decent rain and we hope some new lion cubs in the new year.

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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan

December 2013 Bush journal

Elephant crossingN’wendzamhala Weather:

It has rained a great deal and we got 100mm in a few days. This caused the river to swell nicely and the northern section of the reserve was closed off for a bit. As soon as the levels were just passable we crossed the causeway to head north which raised a few pulses on the game viewer. We were however rewarded with the Hukumuri female, one Selati male and a group of buffalo all in the same sighting. We really got some great interaction here, watching the dynamic between the different animals.

LionFirstly the lion was on his own and so his interest in the buffalo was superficial, as he quietly observed looking for any possible opportunity to exploit he preferred to keep himself hidden from the group. The group of buffalo then started reacting to something. Immediately we noticed that there attention wasn’t aimed at the lion. The buffalo had stood up and were looking in an easterly direction, ears pointed forward, and there whole bodies were focused on this new threat. We noticed the female leopard as she stood up on a rock next to a tree, which she knew was her best defence against the buffalo. She stood with her tail erect and made her easy to see, like she was teasing the buffalo. I’m quite sure the leopard was unaware of the lion through all of this. The buffalo decided it was time to move on and slowly drifted away while the leopard started walking and marking territory by spraying urine on leaves along her path. She then climbed a fallen over marula tree, the male lion was walking in the direction and as soon as the leopard saw him, she bounded out of the area and out of sight. This sighting portrayed the subtle and overt dynamics of superiority and dominance with these apex predators and buffalo.

Cats:

Xikhavi and DewaneXhikavi: It is unconfirmed yet and we are still holding out for a miracle, but we think that the other cub is dead. Xhikavi has been in the area calling for her cub for about two weeks and recently she has been seen mating with Dewane. Leopards have a high mortality rate in the infant stage, hopefully Xhikavi has another litter as we are hoping she will get it right eventually and there can be other leopards as beautiful as her. Interestingly about cats is that when they lose their cubs, they come back into cycle within a few months. So if she has lost her last cub we can expect her to start mating properly in the next few months, something I’m quite interested in is whether she repeats her behaviour with regards to birth and storing of th e cubs, like will she use the same den sites or choose new ones? When we get to spend so much time with these cats it makes us curious as to what is intelligence or instinct?

LeopardOn a more exciting note, Hlabankunzi’s cub and metsi’s cub are now old enough to warrant their own names. Coming of age is a big deal, the opportunity to go out into the world and stand on your own two feet. With us you might get a car, or have a celebration or get jewellery from your parents. With leopards the females get given a portion of their mother’s territory and a name. Sometimes the two are synonymous, Hlabankunzi’s cub is now known as the Scotia female named after where she has been around the last month or so and Metsi’s cub is called Boulder’s female for the self-same reason. Male leopards tend to be chased far away by the territorial males of an area. We wish these two all the best for the future and can’t wait to be a part of their exciting adventure. Interestingly about leopards and their territories is that both males and females have territories, with females territories being smaller than the males and one male territory overlaps and encompasses several territories. The territories are not set and often move and drift based on competition amongst the different members and are always subject to change.

StalkerXhimungwe’s: We had a scare with three of the cubs from this pride as two males from the south had chased them into the north and for quite a few days they were missing. Thankfully one pleasant morning we came around the corner and saw them with the rest of the pride and had eaten with their mother’s during the evening and so they were looking happy with themselves.

Pride rockOthawa’s: They have been absent for most of the month in the Othawa concession, but we have been getting regular updates on them, also they are currently back on the property and seem to be well.

Selati’s: These males have been here, there and everywhere the last few weeks and have been roaring up a storm. The presence of intruding males on their territory has got them going bit. At the moment they are fat and contented after a buffalo feast that they picked off from the big herd that has been on our property from time to time. These males are doing well and have lots of cubs, their main function at the moment is to keep all competing males out of the area. They are regularly patrolling and scent marking in order to maintain dominance in the area. While the cubs from the two prides are close to a year old, they are still vulnerable and if the males lose their territory then we can expect the new lions to kill these cubs in order to bring the females into cycle and so they can start breeding. Male lions have quite a short life cycle of about 10 years and so they can’t afford to wait for the old cubs to reach maturity.

Cheetahs and Wild Dogs: we have seen our pack a few times, with them taking advantage of the young impala’s which make for an easy meal; the 6 pups are really doing well and are growing at a rapid rate. The fact that they started moving with the pack the moment the lambs started appearing is no coincidence and it has given them the best advantage to make it to adulthood. Also there is a young male cheetah that has been about on the property and it has made itself a firm favourite amongst guides because of his relaxed nature around the vehicles and his tendency to always be busy at something.

CheetahIn general there have been plenty of elephants although that is what we have come to suspect of Sabi Sand, there has been a high percentage of bulls in musth which makes for exciting game viewing. Ele baby

 

There have been a really high number of giraffe and zebra which is also nice and plenty of general antelope like impala’s and waterbuck. The beautiful carmine bee-eaters are back which has put a lot of colour into the air. Also every pan and every wallow is filled with the chorus of mating frogs which sometimes can be deafening; the bush can be quite a noisy place and it can be difficult to let the guests know just what is making all the racket in the first place.

Safari ChristmasThat’s all from us 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.
Regards,

THE INYATI TEAM

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan

November 2013 Bush journal & update by Matthew Brennan

Inyati WeatherWeather: The rains are upon us. It has been quite a wet season so far with hardly a day gone by this month without any rain. This has been a blessing on two fronts as the usual November  heat has been dissipated and the bush is green, lush and interspersed with all the colours of the flowers and birds. The river regularly flows over the wall of our causeway and makes for a breath-taking few seconds driving across it.

Wildlife: The bush has had an influx of young. The impala are perfect miniatures of their mother’s which offer great opportunities for guests taking photos and predators feeding. The migrating birds are back and the breeders are in full plumage; at this time of year it is all about the colours of the bush.Impala lamb Leopard Panthera pardus

Dayone: This beautiful cat has seen a few times in the last month, it hasn’t been too often but to be fair there has been so many leopard sightings that we haven’t had much need to track him. He has been seen patrolling his usual routes and maintaining his dominance within his territory. Panthera pardusHlabaNkunzi and her cub:HlabaNkunzi and her cubHlabaNkunzi has been seen mating over the last while with a few leopards in the area; as such it appears that she is slowly starting to cede some of her territory to her cub. Her cub is really taking her change of circumstance well and is adjusting to the new role in her life.   The cub has been seen hunting and there are rumours that she has made a few kills. She has been a bit overly ambitious and got chased up a tree by a warthog once and screeched at by a white-tailed mongoose which she promptly let go.HlabaNkunziXhikavi:

Unfortunately we can confirm that one of the two new cubs was killed, either by baboons or dayone in the area. She has moved her den most likely because of the incident. Hopefully the remaining cub will keep hidden until it is able to look after itself.

Xhikavi and cubDam 3 Female:

She has been found regularly with a cub about 4 months old. While the mother herself is pretty skittish the cub is very relaxed around vehicles and is helping us keep Dam 3 in the area and not have her bolt off.

Lions Panthera leo

Selati malesSelati:

All three brothers have been seen with the one Othawa female and have been taking it in turns to mate with her. They have looked really skinny but for them it is a matter of priority with regards to mating or feeding. Surely when she passes through this cycle the males will return to their usual well fed selves.

Selati & OthwaOthawa’s:

The two mothers have been working hard to keep all the young ones alive and recently they have kept a nyala bull alive on a hunt so that the cubs could learn to make their own kills. Two of the cubs are very adventurous and are often not with their brothers and sisters, which always raises alarm bells with the rangers but as soon as we lose all hope they appear from some adventure or other no worse for the wear.

OthawasXimungwe’s:

This pride had a windfall recently when a bull rhino killed a female rhino in a mating incident. The pride got to share the carcass with an apparent million blow flies and made their life really difficult. Other than that they are doing well and keeping to the south of our property.

Elephant Elephantidae

ElephantidaeThere are a lot of elephants on the property at the moment and following the herds is a high number of bulls with a large majority of bulls being in musth, which has made for a few interesting drives and a few raised pulses. There have been a few births as well and so we get to see the parenting skills of these great animals, with all the members of the herds taking part. Recently we saw a whole herd lie in the road and go to sleep during the day.

Of other things:

Halcyon leucocephala
The grey-headed kingfisher is an insect-eating kingfisher with a silvery-grey head, nape and breast and a distinctive chestnut belly . The wing primaries are black, while the secondaries and the tail are cobalt-blue . The straight, dagger shaped bill is bright orangey-red . Although the sexes are alike in appearance, immature birds tend to be duller and have a blackish bill and dark barring across the chest .

There have been two spectacular sightings that come to mind, first is the grey-headed kingfisher which is a rarity for the area and secondly a trumpeter hornbill. There are the more common yet no less spectacular birds like the red-headed weaver, white storks and Southern Carmine bee-eater which is so loved that it gets the deserved attention from the rangers.

In conclusion:

The bush has always something to offer just sometimes it has more to offer than others, and just like all the animals are benefiting from the rain and the rewards it creates and stimulates, so do we as the privileged few benefit. This is certainly the time of abundance and it would be remiss to not take full advantage of the situation.cheetah on our plainsThat’s all from us 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.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan

 

October 2013 Safari Journal

OctoberThe 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)

Dayone male

Dayone leopardIt’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.

Dayone maleHlabankunzi and cub

Dayone maleThis 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.

Xikhavi female

Xikhavi femaleFinally! 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. Tlangisa female

Tlangisa female with EllieLion (Panthera leo)

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.

Selati Coalition

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.Selati male RIP

Othawa pride

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.

Othawa prideThe 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.

Othawa eatingOn 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. Othawa killOthawa kill 2Othawa kill 3

Ximhungwe pride

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.

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride2Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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. ElephantCape 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.Cape buffalo 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. CrocodylinaeAn 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)Struthio camelus

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.

Xikhavi leopard
Xikhavi leopard hunting impala in front of the lodge.

 

 

 

 

September 2013 Safari Journal

The weather: Ndzhati / September saw the mercury rise steadily with midday temperatures reaching the high thirties (Celsius) and the cold winter’s mornings of June and July are  behind us. On few occasions, very light showers surprised us and grey thunderclouds threatened but brought little more than a bit of shade. The bush remains dry as a bone and very dusty indeed. The vegetation in general is much thinner now which grants us far greater visibility. The winds are blowing strong which make for some dusty, yet successful game drives.

Inyati cheetah

Wildlife: The game has been exploding out of the bush this month and the guides and guests have been notching up some incredible sightings of lion, leopard, wild dog and of some great general game.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caf Leopard (Panthera pardus)

The leopard sightings have been prolific this month, to say the least – one group of guests recently recorded sightings of seven different leopards during their three-night stay.

Dayone male

Dayone still remains the active dominant male in our region covering every corner of the reserve. He has been hunting mostly warthog of late and getting better at killing these vicious animals. 

Dayone male leopardOne doesn’t win every day! The bemused look on his face (picture below) is due to him being bowled over by a warthog boar just prior to the photo being taken. He took some time to stake out the burrow but a large male exited and barreled straight through his attempted tackle. He had a look down the burrow hoping for an opportunity to salvage some pride but this morning belonged to the hogs.

We are not amusedTai dam male

Tai dam has settled in the north – east of our traversing area. We found him in a tree attempting to avoid his sisters persistent flirting. The Hukumuri female was waiting on the base of the marula tree, she didn’t let up but the male ignored her advances…as one should. 

Tai dam male leopard

Xikhavi female

This female leopard gave birth in the middle of this month. One evening our guests that stayed up until the next morning at Warthog Wallow (Inyati bar) got to see her carrying the cub across the lawn at the lodge. We are avoiding the area where we presume her cubs are but will post images as soon as she is happy to introduce her litter to us.

Xikhavi female leopard

 Torchwood male

A new young male leopard has strolled into the area; he was later indentified as torchwood male (New arrival Torchwood maleson of Mvula male and Inkanyeni female)  

Lion (Panthera leo)

We have had some great lion sighting! Both our resident pride and the coalition have been very active throughout the month.

Selati Coalition and Othawa pride

Three of the Selati males are often seen together constantly patrolling and marking their territory. They spent a good fair amount of time with the Othawa pride. Unfortunately the fourth male is still not doing well. He continues to lose condition due to the broken ribs and possible punched lung from when he was hit by a buffalo.   Selati Coalition male lionsRemaking the pride! The Othawa lionesses are growing the pride again. This pride was made of seventeen members few years ago and they made pulling down a buffalo look easy. We hope all the cubs make to adulthood and restore their pride.Othawa pride lionessThe Sand River has been a home for this pride lately, as this is where most of the game is concentrated while we wait for our first rains to come. Here they are proving to be very successful with their hunts and are continuously catching kudu and nyala along the banks.Khimbini on safariThe males are regularly involved in a brotherly squabble over the Othawa lioness with no cubs, whether in estrous or not the boys still fight for her.  Othawa pride On one afternoon we witnessed the lionesses hunting they made a kill just east of our airstrip, by the time selati male lion and cubs arrived there wasn’t much of impala carcass left.Selati CoalitionXimhungwe pride

The pride is moving great distances again reclaiming the large territory that they have ignored for a while as they were raising the cubs and avoiding the Selati male and Majingelane male lions.

We had an unbelievable sighting of the whole pride climbing on a large jackalberry tree. It was all well and fun as they were climbing up the tree but coming down was rather ungraceful.Ximhungwe prideOn one morning we had a once in a lifetime interaction between some of the apex predators. It all started when the pack of wild dogs killed an impala. A nearby clan of hyena responded to the alarm calls and a fight broke out between the dogs and hyenas. The dogs were able to fend off the hyenas. The dogs and hyenas then trotted to a nearby pan where they came upon the Ximhungwe pride and further chaos erupted. We now had dogs chasing hyenas, lion chasing dogs, lion chasing hyena and so it when on for about half an hour.Cape hunting dogs

Lioness vs cape hunting dogThis hyena strolled past the lioness in the background without seeing them. She did get the fright of her life once they charged her though.Hyena vs lioness

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Massive herds of elephant, typical for this time of year, have been spotted roaming the reserve this month, feeding on the rich abundance of foliage which starts to appear around this time of year. The Sand River has been dotted with many large breeding herds of elephant, providing us with some great viewing even from the lodge. There are also many lone bachelor bulls around the reserve.Elephant (Loxodonta africaCape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

We have had couple of large herds of these great animals in our area during the month of this report. The one herd seen at dam five was very large estimated to be over six hundred animals in it. We sat there for about half hour more and buffaloes just kept coming.Cape buffalo (Syncerus cafMore than the big five…..

We have had a mother cheetah and two cubs in our traversing area for couple of weeks providing some great sighting as she hunted successfully on almost every second day.cheetah

Inyati cheetah

Cape hunting dogs are back – They are still denning in our traversing area and we can now confirm that the pack have grown by six members. The little puppies are about eight weeks old and growing fast. They are eating meat now; the pack has to kill at least twice a day to keep full and healthy. It is special treat to see the excitement by the little ones as they beg food to be regurgitated to them by the adults.wild dog pups

It is time for new life in the bush some of our lucky guests got to see a new born giraffe! I believe it was only few hours old; it was still very wobbly on its legs, with the umbilical cord still attached. The mother giraffe was very alerts at all time and attentive, she was constantly licking the calf on the face as if she was reassuring it that all was okay.

 Giraffe babyIn and around camp

Xikhavi female have been seen in and around the lodge often. One evening she killed an impala just outside the boma while guests are enjoying their dinner. She then dragged the carcass and hoisted in a tree just outside rooms 10 and 11. 

Kill in camp The heavily pregnant and very well fed Xikhavi female will often take some time out and lay next to the swimming pool in the cool evenings.Visitor at poolThere is never a shortage of elephants near the lodge especially in winter months as they come for the greener foliage in and around the lodge.Lodge activity

August Safari Journal2013

MhawuriThe weather:  August is the month on the cusp between our winter and spring, where the evenings are cool, chilly even and the days varying between warm, to almost hot even and other days with coolness borne on the southerly wind.                      

Wildlife: The wildlife viewing has been of an excellent standard this month. Warmer afternoons were accompanied by an increase in fantastic sightings. Barely an afternoon passed without a predator sighting and the Sabi Sand’s countless elephants provided much entertainment almost every day.

Leopard (Panthera pardus

Dayone Male

Dayone maleDayone male leopard is looking great at the moment and he is been actively marking and patrolling his territory. He seemed to be on the search for the Nyeleti male who has been sneaking into his territory. It was really a very busy month for him as he was seen mating with Metsi female and then he was mating with both Metsi and Hlabankunzi female at the same time. After four days Metsi left the two of them. Once Metsi was gone the mating resumed beyond the norm and they were copulating at about every 5 minutes , lasting longer than a good five days.

Dayone male mating

Nyeleti Male

This male is known for killing the Ravenscourt female and he is still determined to find a territory this month. He has been covering great distance and appears to be on the trail of Hlabankunzi female and cub, however with no success. One morning we saw Nyeleti male trying to get to the Ravenscourt young male who he followed deep into the western sector, luckily for the young leopard,  he was denied access by Selati male who was resting under a tree that the young leopard was in.  Nyeleti male

Later in the month the Nyeleti male was reported to have had a fight with Khashane male and was displaying a few minor wounds including cuts on his ears, which were evidence of the battle.  Nyeleti male scrapes

Hlabankunzi and Cub

Hlabankunzi has been spending time away from her cub. She was spent a week with Dayone male, mating. The cub is semi-independent now we have seen it hunting but haven’t witnessed a successful hunt to date. The picture below shows her leading an appreciative cub to yet another Impala kill. She has been doing well and killing often, this is evident in their condition. Even though the pack of wild dogs have “stolen” some of her kills , she is coping with the competition and threat they pose.  Hlabankunzi and cub

Xikhavi Female

This leopardess have been seen frequenting the lodge more and more often the last couple of months. So far she has been seen in the lodge area every third day or so. She is heavily pregnant she will drop anytime now.  Xikhavi female

Tlangisa Female

Exciting news!  She has given birth. We can see suckle marks which is clear indication that there is at least one little cub somewhere on the Northern-western section of the reserve where she is often seen. Now we wait for her to bring them out for us to see. Once spotted, we will share with you.  Tlangisa f emale

Lion (Panthera leo)

Lions have provided us with regular sightings this month. Two different prides and four members of the Selati males have been seen throughout the month.

Selati Coalition

Three members of the coalition are doing great often seen together hunting or patrolling their territory. The male that had injured paw has recovered well as he is able to keep with the group. Unfortunately we can’t say the same about the male with broken ribs. His condition is worsening and is he appears to be having difficulties in keeping up with any group of lions, his brother or any of the prides.  Selati Coalition

The three males killed a buffalo in the Sand river, luckily he happened to be nearby got to join in few hours later for a feed. When others left he remained at carcass finishing the scraps knowing it may be a while before he eats again.  Selati Dagga boy

Othawa Pride

This pride has provided us with some fantastic lion viewing throughout the month. The prey species have dispersed because of lack food and water and predators have to cover large areas in search for their food. This pride has been seeing hunting often along the Sand River. They have been having great success hunting and killing mostly kudus and nyalas and the cubs are looking healthy. 

The lioness with no cubs is thought to be pregnant as she was mating with the most dominant Selati male, possessive as we know him, he was hogging her. The other sisters were denied access to her; the other males could not even look in her direction without him growling at them.  Othawa pride lioness

Ximhungwe Pride

The pride has been scarce for most part of the month but one of the few sightings we had of them was great. They had killed a large male kudu and the pride was feeding at the same time with fights between the cubs getting intense. The cubs are growing and their confidence in hunting is rising fast, although they are only getting in a way of their mother at the moment, they will learn.  Ximhungwe pride

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephants have arrived in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Inyati in force – crossing back-and-forth the Sand River, providing us with superb sightings of swimming pachyderms (nonruminant mammals). Situated just on the bank of the river our lodge has become a very popular gathering spot for these huge beasts, especially at midday when thirst drives them to drink from the waters directly in front of the lodge. 

Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

We were blessed this month with couple of the large herds each consisting of around 300 buffalo in our traversing area for almost three weeks. The herd is still in good condition despite the dryness of the grass. The groups bachelors are still spread around the property. One small group of 8 bulls spend most of their days around our causeway. Cape buffalo

More than the big five…..

As we had predicted, the resident wild dog have denned in the area. The den site was located early in the month and the roads leading to the site were closed off so as not to disturb the pack. We now wait in anticipation for the arrival of the pups in the coming months. However this did not signify the end of the wild dog sightings. Around mid-month while out on afternoon drive we found the pack and followed them. We got to witness them hunting a waterbuck. Just when the dogs were a about to pounce the young antelope ran in a dam, the dogs seemed worried about the possibility of crocodile in the dam, after few minutes of running around they moved on searching for some other antelopes. Hyena den site

A trip to the hyena den site is a real treat when staying at Inyati.  This hyena cub didn’t give its exhausted mother a seconds rest. Beautiful to see how caring a patient such fearsome predators can be.

In And Around Camp

There is seldom a moment during the day where an animal of one sort or another cannot be seen from the main lounge area or deck. With a vista to die for, the addition of a herd of elephant, a journey of giraffe, a raft of hippo or as was the case this month, the pregnant female strolling through the camp grounds. Pregnant female

Giraffe 1

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

July 2013 Safari Journal

Mawuwani / JulyThe weather: July brought with it some very chilly winter mornings and evenings but it was worth every second out there in the bush. Hot water bottles and cosy fires have been the order of the day, and blankets have been a most welcome addition to the dinner table. The vegetation continues to thin out, and every day we’re able to see further into the bush.

Mawuwani / JulyWildlife: Game viewing this month has been spectacular! Winter always provides an abundance of general game and this July has been no different. The area has been thriving with game and we are always thrilled to see the delight of our guests after experiencing everything the area has to offer.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Of course one cannot talk about the Inyati, Sabi sand area without bringing up leopards, the other abundant predator species here. Guests have been treated to excellent sightings of these beautiful cats.Day one male

Khashane and Dayone male

We have being seeing Khashane male more often in recent months; he was involved in yet another territorial fight with the Dayone male. It’s unclear who won the battle with both carrying large wounds yet keeping their territories.

Dayone male Early one morning we caught up with Khashane hunting, the preferred form of hunting by most large male leopard is to sit on old termite mound and wait for warthog to come out of the mound they spend the night in. The warthogs often just shot out the hole marking it bit difficult for the leopard but on this morning the experienced Khashane male had more success as he was able to bring down a large warthog which kept him well fed for few days.

Dayone male Dayone male has manage to keep Khashane male’s claws away from his face, he is looking great for a male recently involved in a territorial fight. The swollen throat and wound on his shoulder is the only indicator of how serious the battle was. We were privileged to watch him hunting impala on one afternoon, unfortunately for him the monkey on trees nearby saw him and alert everyone around that he was there.

Hlabankunzi and cub

Hlabankunzi and cubThe mother leopard has rarely been seen with her young in the last month. Her hunting outings last couple of days now possibly  hinting to the little one that it’s time to start trying to catch her own food. We did see the cub trying to hunt a slender mongoose but with no success.

Hlabankunzi and cubThe cub waited for three days for her mother to return and when she finally did the excitement was amazing, she took the cub to an impala killed she made the night before for a feast.

Tlangisa female

Tlangisa female The Tlangisa female has been out and about of late. She was being her usual self, posing on a termite mound giving us perfect photographic opportunity. We suspect she maybe pregnant this might be fuelled by hope but we will keep you posted.

Taidam male

Taidam male
The young and handsome son of Shangwa female has been seen few times north of Sand River where he seemed to have established a territory.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati Coalition and Othawa pride

Selati Coalition and Othawa prideThese males have been spending much of their time with the Othawa pride. They did not do much of their own hunting as we know them to rather follow the pride around helping them to eat the kill they have made. On one evening the lioness killed an impala which the males stole it . While fighting over the kill the lionesses and cubs left. It was good idea, they did manage to lose the males for couple of days but the boys got smart and they found the cubs and waited with them knowing the mothers will return at some point.

Selati CoalitionWe were sitting with the pride one morning when the lion decided to leave the cubs in the drainage line to go out hunting. As they were leaving , at distance of about 800 metres, they saw a male leopard, Tai dam who was heading in the direction of the cubs. The lionesses didn’t waste any time chasing him around they ran fast ahead of him back to move their cubs to a safe area. If he was given half a chance that male leopard would have killed those cubs just like the lion or hyena would kill the leopard but to eliminate competition for food.Selati Coalition and Othawa pride

Southern pride

This pride seemed to have split up for while and we have seen only the two young males and young lioness, the rest of the pride is possiblly in the far-east of our boundaries. We witnessed these three sub-adult tried to pull down a buffalo cow. Their optimism was only overshadowed by their lack of experience and the herd of buffalo quickly gathered and chased the lions. The little pride was still following the herd the next morning, but with slightly more respect. They have a patient and perseverance of a true hunter! They never gave up and three days later we found them feeding on a buffalo close to Newington gate.Southern pride

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)The breeding herds of elephant have arrived on the Sabi Sand Reserve and most days we get see at least two breeding herds, as well as there being always a few big bulls around. The two young bulls put up a good show for us as they were pushing each other around knock over bushes, testing each other strength …Boys being boys.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffaloThe large herds have been in and out of our traversing area, covering long distances to find food because it’s very dry and grass and water is scarce. The numerous small herd of just bulls have continue to help us completing the big five list.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)It’s always exciting to see the return of the rare, slender, elegant, spotted cats in our traversing area. The male provided us with a few great sightings. One morning we followed him hunting, when we left he had not killed anything but later in the afternoon he was full and resting on a termite mound. He stayed there for hours scanning the surrounding plains for possible danger.Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)2

More than the big five…..
Two heavily pregnant wild dogs, a very unusually site! It is so true what has been said – animals don’t read the same books we do. They have surprised and excited us time and time again with their habits. Normally only the alpha pair breeds in a wild dog pack and all others only help in feeding the young. We are all hoping they den on our property it will be interesting to see if both litters will be allow to live as it been witness often the alpha female kill the puppies of the beta female.Wild dog

In and around camp

GiraffeIt is very dry here and Animals are coming more and more to the river to drink, and as a result we’ve got a plethora of animal activity in and around camp, causing much delight and interesting excursions to and from rooms! The herds of zebra, impala, giraffe and waterbuck have made the waterhole in front of the lodge at home.

Zebra

That’s all from us 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.

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane