Our guides and trackers are highly trained and deeply committed to conserving the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and revealing its secrets. Learn more about this talented team:
Georgie is a living legend in the reserve. He was born on the property and as a result started honing his bush craft skills as a toddler. George is still living and working on the reserve with his family. Tracking and anticipating animal movements and behaviour is second nature to George and his guests are guaranteed to be where action is taking place.
Keith studied to become a conservationist and moved to the Kruger Park after qualifying, here he fell in love with guiding and furthered his career as a field Guide. Keith loves tracking big game, and all the small wonders the Sabi Sand has to offer.
After qualifying Matt cut his teeth in a walking concession in the Kruger Park, this sparked his passion for Guiding on foot. Matt enjoys safe responsible interactions with big game and has an intricate knowledge of everything from big game to insects.
Like most of the best guides Omega started his career as a tracker. This moulded his understanding of the animals he lives and works with. Omega quickly moved through the ranks and is now a trails Guide at Inyati. Omega brings a huge amount of energy to the team with a larger than life bubbly personality.
Darren has a lot of experience guiding in the Sabi Sand, and has now found his niche. His passion for wildlife and his guest is always evident as he goes the extra mile. His humble nature, brimming smile and bush lore keep his guest enthralled on game drives and walks.
(George and Solly) – Solly Sibuyi (right)
Solly is one of the most respected trackers in the reserve. His immense trailing talent is evident in his relaxed yet confident approach to tracking. He is one of a handful of trackers that managed full marks on his first ever tracking assessment and has been growing even stronger since.
Nelson has over 30 year tracking experience at Inyati and has an intricate knowledge of the land, and knows most of the animal’s individual habits. His local knowledge, tracking skill, sparkling personality and work ethic make him privilege to be with.
Roger is one of the most multi skilled trackers in the team. He has strong tracking and hospitality background and treats every guest like gold. He tracking skills and passion for the bush enthral every guest that he guides.
Joel has been with Inyati for almost twenty years he has a quiet calm demeanour that suits his profession perfectly. He loves every aspect of the bush but tracking and spending time with guests are his firm favourites.
Cliff came to Inyati after finishing top of his class at the Tracker Academy. His tracking skill meant that he slotted into this experiences team very well and his fresh and youthful perspective motivates the old salts to stay on their game.
Every year, Wildaid receives up to $200m of donated media space in China, and has changed attitudes surrounding wildlife products, like Shaopin Tsui. We need your help to take the rhino’s message directly to consumers so please help support this work because when the buying stops, the killing can too.
The weather: We can feel the early morning chill as winter is creeping in the back door. The afternoon thunderstorms that were so frequent last month seem to have rumbled and grumbled off elsewhere and we have enjoyed very welcoming blue skies and the warmth of the African sun.
Wildlife: Wildlife sightings as usual have been terrific, most game drives have been richly rewarded with large buffalo herds, hippos in large rafts of about twenty, plus cats and birds galore. Large breeding herds of elephant have also moved back into our area along with large numbers of giraffe, both with some young additions to their families.
These two leopards have been giving each other a grief. Dayone had managed to keep way all of the young males that have been encroaching into his territory, the likes of Nyeleti, Mashabeni, and Tai-dam male.
Just like wise man once said “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb” (Nelson Mandela). Just when Dayone male thought he is about to have the whole territory to himself the enormous Khashane male begins to push further west into Dayone’s territory. So far the dispute ends on 24-48 hours of walking parallel and growling at each other. The road ahead is looking rather hard-hitting for both of our beloved male leopards and of course we will keep you updated of the development.
Khashane male (above) is older and larger than Dayone male (below) but he doesn’t seem intimidated by him.
HLABANKUNZI AND CUB
These two leopards remain the most viewed in the area even though there are several other relaxed leopards in the reserve. One can understand if you spent few minutes with this mother and cub, they just full of energy and very playful. They also seem to enjoy being photographed as they often perch with a pose on termite mounds, rocks or fallen branches.
Meercat leopard!! The two leopards had killed a common duiker; while the cub was feeding a pair of steenbok came pass the area. The mother leopard got up gave us this ‘meercat stance’ to have a better look she then started stalking and killed one of them.
The seldom seen Metsi and her cub were spotted several times during the month of this report; the cub is becoming confident in her hunting skills.
We witnessed extraordinary sighting, the cub heard something in the grass went to investigate. We then heard some hissing, the cub jumped away and the mother leopard come to rescue. We initially thought it was a rock monitor lizard but soon discovered that it was a huge snake of about 4 metres long – an African rock python. The leopard started attacking the snake it was a big battle that lasted over 20 minutes but finally the leopard overpowered the snake, killed and ate it over a two day period.
These males have been very active throughout the month moving great distances covering every corner of their territory. It could because of the recent encounters they had with Manjingelane coalition of male lions, but it could also be that they have pick up scent of the new pride(southern) frequenting the area.
We often seen and heard the males in different areas of the reserve. We watched this Male roaring in cold misty morning possible looking for other members of his coalition.
One of the Selati male lion has fresh wounds, we are not sure what happened. He could have met the Manjingelane males again. The boys may have fought among themselves as there is a lioness of Othawa pride that is in oestrous and they have been taking turns in mating with her.
This beautiful pride has 11 members at moment. They are rather nomadic they have been coming more and more into the western sector and every time they come in they stay bit longer in the area. We have seen them trailing the large herd of buffalo, and made few attempts with no success, they did however kill a large kudu eventually.
It’s been long waiting! The pride has finally brought out the cubs for us all to see. We had our first proper sighting of the prides’ new litter at the beginning of the month. There are eight cubs in total, and it looks like two litters of four but we have been unable to sex them thus far.
The lionesses killed a zebra and brought out the cubs to carcass and the 8 new cubs were very excited to have one of their first hard meal.
We also got to see the little cubbies crossing the sand river which is full crocodile fortunately they all made it across.
And a little dispute between two sister lions, the lioness with no cubs have been acting rather strange, she been unfriendly to her two sisters and their cubs. The fight started as play fight of which she initiated and she just went mad started hitting and biting hard and then there was a war. Fortunately the fight only lasted a minute or so with only few minor bleeding wounds on the mother lion.
ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)
The elephant viewing this month has not been as great as we are use to, however we have had some great bachelor herd sightings. One morning we were privileged enough to be charged by a baby of about 2 years. He was determined to see our vehicle drive off he put on such a show by flapping the ears, shaking of trunk and even trumpeting. He was disappointed when the Land Rover didn’t move he then ran back to the shelter of mum who thankful was totally ignoring his antics
CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)
The large buffalo herd have graced us with their visit on number of occasions this month. It’s always a great sight to watch this massive herd of rushing down to a water hole as if they haven’t had a drink for months. We have also had new herd of buffalo consisting of about 300 animals on our traversing area for two weeks. This herd seem to have come from the far east of Kruger national park.
More than the big five…..
One of the highlights during the month was to watch the a baby giraffe take its first step ever. We arrived just few minutes after the baby was dropped and we watched the mother dry it and encourage it to stand up, it took about 15 minutes then with a wobble the baby managed to stand up. It was very interesting to watch how the mother used her front legs to support the calf.
We even got see mother giraffe eat her own afterbirth, a behaviour practise by many mammals referred as placentophagy or placentophagia. There are a few reasons for this behaviour; the placenta is full of nutrients which re-energize the mother after the very taxing ordeal of labor. It eliminates the strong smell of blood which may draw predators from all around to their new baby and If left can become perfect hosts to a wide variety of disease.(note the picture below)The hyena den site have been providing some excellent sightings of late, there are also two new cubs in the clan, very inquisitive and so cute.IN AND AROUND CAMP
Some of Most of our feathered friends have left for their summer visits Europe and Northern Africa; but our garden is not left empty. The African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) , Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata), the Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) and the Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus), to name but a few that still capture our attention with their awe striking colours.
Elephants, leopards, nyala and bushbuck are amongst the few animals that one sees as you walk around the lodge area.
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
The weather:April is the month of transformation in the Sabi Sand Reserve – straddling the cusp between the wet and the dry seasons at Inyati. Winter is rolling in at a rapid rate throughout the province, a weather change that brings beautiful developments on our paradise. There is a definite chill in the air making the hot chocolate or coffee and Amarula during morning safari breaks more enjoyable. The days are however still warm and a relaxing lounge by the pool or is a great way to spend the afternoon. Amazing thunder showers are experienced some afternoons; this spectacular display of nature’s tremendous power is a definite treat. The bush is now starting to dry up a bit and the grass is all a golden colour and visibility is now starting to become slightly better.
Wildlife: Once again, Inyati delivers stunning cats!! During April it was virtually impossible not see lions or leopards!! And the general games were all here in their hundreds.
It’s been a busy month for the handsome male leopard, the magnificent Khashane male is pushing deeper in the territory, keeping him on his toes. And Xikhavi female came into estrous twice during April month. Just when he thought it can’t get any worst he had to mate with
Hlabankunzi and cub
The leopardess had very successful month few kills she made and has been extremely good to us, coming out in areas where we got to see her and young well; they often just pose for the pictures, literally!
One morning the brave mother Hlabankunzi and her cub had quite an exciting start of the day. They were chased up a marula tree by………a herd of Zebra! Every time they attempted to get down the zebra adamantly sent them back up a tree. They learnt their lesson – don’t mess with the strips.
We have had few sightings of this beautiful leopardess this month. normal resident the east across our boundary yet she seem to be pushing more and more west of her territory. She has proven to be a successful mother and she is raising another litter now.
LION (PANTHERA LEO)
The four male lions are recovering well from the battle injuries, the Majingelane coalition of lions have stayed away for a while. The Selati spent good part of the month of trailing behind the three Othawa lionesses. One of the male lions stole two impala kills from one of the leopards. Given only a few seconds the leopard (Nyeleti male) managed to claim one of his hard earned meal back and quickly put it up a tree.
Persistence pays off! After three days and three nights of following the large herd of buffaloes, making few failed attempts, the four Selati male lions finally pulled down a buffalo cow. The herd came to rescue her several times but the lions had injured her badly that she couldn’t keep up with the rest of the herd it was only a matter of time the big cat knocked her of the feet. It was a hard earnt meal, they were already very-very hungry and the one with injured ribs was looking very weak.Ximhungwe pride
This pride still provides most of our lion sightings. The lionesses have had a successful month of frequent killings. The cubs are growing fast and looking very healthy.
Here the cubs were left of top of boulder for few minutes as mothers were trying to hunt the nearby herd of impala. Impalas saw the predators early and all got away.
Southern prideThis pride resident the far southern section of the reserve but they have been coming across on to our sector more and more frequent. As its great for us to have a new pride coming across it may prove to be a problem for the two prides that resident our section of the reserve, especially because they have small cubs.
ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)The elephants also proved to be amazing this month. They came right around the vehicle. One decided to have a dust bath that he, due to the wind direction, shared with my guests. They got covered in dust but enjoyed it even more than what the elephant seemed to enjoy his. The baby elephant, who is just over a year old mock charged my vehicle, quite to our amusement. We followed them down to top dam to watch them drink, ooh what beautiful sighting with awesome light for photographs.
CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER) The big herd are here, it’s always great to see the return of these animals in big numbers, some days we had over 700buffalo in our traversing area scattered in three herds. It was really great watching them crossed into our property early one morning. And we then followed to the water hole where they were joined by large dazzle of zebras giving us fantastic photographic opportunities. We are definitely living up to our lodge name “Inyati” meaning buffalo in Zulu and other Nguni languages. More than the big five…..The cape hunting dogs were here for more than half of the month. It’s always a privilege to spend time with these highly endangered species. They are full on energy and very interesting animals which are fun to watch. The pack seem to have lost the alpha female who was old and looking bit tired, that means were might not see puppies this season. Things will get back to normal as one of the female take over the role of the alpha female.
In and around camp
Hippos basking in the sun have become a common site looking across the sand river from the lodge. Impala, waterbucks, nyala and many more visit the lodge frequently looking for greener grass around the lodge area.Elephants walking along the edge of the camp were an exciting experience for all the guests, getting their adrenalin going. What can be better than sitting down for breakfast or brunch and watching elephants sauntering past on the bank of Sand river – it was surreal!
The weather:Nyenyenyani / February in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve has been a month of sudden showers and spectacular sunsets, of stalking lions and stealthy leopards. Early mornings are concealed by heavy drapes of rolling mist, which gradually unfurl to reveal magical apparitions of silver cobwebs, crystal drenched grasses, dazzling zebra strips and angelic giraffes floating against the foreground of a captivated white horizon.
The mornings are warm and build up during the course of the day to allow for exquisitely timed afternoon thundershowers.
February has been an active month for predators in the Sabi sand in which Inyati Game lodge is situated. Sightings of wild dog were frequent at the beginning of the month, lions, leopards and hyenas.
General game, as always seems to be this case in this scenically attractive and productive area has been good with large herds of elephant, zebra and giraffe seen, often in mixed herds. Impala, wildebeest, warthog and waterbuck as well as a number of other species have of course been seen regularly.
LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)
This male has provided some great viewing of late with her been found with more regularity as he m move great distances covering every corner of his territory. He is reaching his prime and continues to prosper and stay in excellent health.
Hlabankunzi And Metsi Female
We hardly saw Metsi and her cub during the month of this report.
Hlabankunzi female and her cub providing the most rewarding experiences – they have been seen with kills twice this month. The cub has also taken up the habit of approaching vehicles for a closer look, and has been the subject of some pretty interesting photographs! They had a close call at one of the kill sight as the new male leopard, Nyeleti surprised them, luckily the mother managed to warn the cub it run and hide. Latter in that day he met up with the formidable Dayone who drove out of the territory.
The illusive Xikhavi killed a young impala ram and hoisted it into a Marula tree west of camp. Dayone leopard arrived the morning after and in true male leopard fashion bullied her off her hard earned meal. Luckily she had fed quite a bit prior to the theft.
LION (PANTHERA LEO)
The coalition is still going very strong in defending their territory. During the month of this report we have seen them pushing more towards the eastern section of their territory, possibly following Othawa pride.
This resulted in a territorial battle with the Manjingelane males, a coalition of four males that denominate the north-eastern of the Sabi sand game reserve. Two of the Selati males were injured in this fight, one had his bottom lip split and the other got his eye badly injured. Sadly the Selati male who got injured by buffalo who was recovering his condition have change direction, he now deteriorated, looking thin again.
After anxiously following the movements of this pride, we know that two of the three lionesses were pregnant and now believe that they both have given birth. We have yet to see the tiny scrap of spotted fur that a lion cub is during its first few days of life, but it appears from our most recent sightings that they are both lactating, a sure sign that there is a small mouth out there hungry for milk. We are waiting patiently for the mothers to introduce to cubs; hopefully we will photos to share with on the next report.
This resident pride has provided us with lots of great lion sightings during the course of the month. Having young cubs meant that they need to stay in a relatively smaller area making it easy to find them. We have had some regular sightings of them at their favourite spot where they relaxed on a large boulder, surreptitiously monitoring the movements of waterbucks who had come to the waterhole to drink.
ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)
Elephants are still present in significant numbers much to the delight of guests on almost every drive. George and his guest were treated with some up close and personal experience by the relaxed herd of elephant. It all started when the young teenage boy become inquisitive approached the vehicle with his trunk raised trying to pick up our scent. The young calves become interested and also came close and of course the protective mothers had to follow their young to make sure everything was fine. At one stage the vehicle was surrounded by about 15 of these beasts. None of them showed any sign of aggression so it was wise for George not to start the engine and disturb them but rather let them satisfy their curiosity.
We also had awesome sighting of two young bulls play fighting as the other animals were drinking. As the one gave up the fight the other mounted him as a sign of showing dominance.
CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)
During February our resident herd of buffalo was seen only couple of occasions. This herd numbers approximately 500 animals has spent most of this month in central Sabi Sand out of our traversing area, moving little, probably because the herd has been calving and food, water availability.
Groups of “dagga boy” old buffalo bulls have always been there to help our guest completing the big five.
More than the big five…..
The pack of cape hunting dogs was back in our traversing area again. They spent a few days in the south and to our astonishment swam across the Sand River to the north where they spent another week providing us with some fantastic viewing.
Few hyenas and over 800 vultures came out to scavenge on wildebeest carcass the Selati males killed on one morning. It was awesome to see the interaction between these animals, interesting to see the packing order within these different species of vulture.
IN AND AROUND CAMP
The resident hippo family have been forever entertaining by the causeway, their grunting, honking and snorting sounds is heard the whole day and night.
The camp is kept alive by bird’s songs with mocking squawks of Arrow-marked Babblers and raucous calls of Lilac-breasted Rollers engaged in a heated debate as they tumble through the air. And shrill alarm calls of Blacksmith lapwing shriek out from the water hole.
In a groundbreaking move to halt the relentless poaching of Rhinos, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has partnered with Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), a Vietnamese non-profit NGO, to develop a hard hitting rhino protection campaign for countries where rhino horn is in great demand, starting with Vietnam.
Said Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme: “We are extremely excited about our partnership with ENV. We are certain that our campaign, with this crucial buy in from a respected and well known Vietnamese NGO, will help us to turn the tide on the plight of the rhino. Our message: Say NO to rhino horn, is an invitation to all the people of Vietnam to join the people in South Africa to help conserve Africa’s rhinos for today’s and tomorrow’s generations. By saying NO to rhino horn, the demand for rhino horn will decrease, and in this way, the slaughter of these magnificent animals could come to an end.”
The campaign consists of posters, media outreach and an online component and will be executed in both English and Vietnamese. “In Vietnam, the campaign elements will be distributed virally through websites, social media channels, forums and blogs, and displayed during ENV awareness activities such as public exhibitions and university programmes. The joint venture marks the first formal co-operation between ENV and a South African organization mutually committed to ending the killing of rhinos and we at ENV are absolutely committed to its success,” commented Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy of ENV’s Communication and Public Awareness Unit.
Rhino poaching has been on the rise since 2008 with a staggering 668 rhinos killed in South Africa at the end of 2012. The EWT believes that there is no single solution to addressing illegal wildlife trade, which is an increasing global phenomenon, estimated to be the third largest illegal industry worldwide after drugs and human trafficking. Wildlife trade often has its roots firmly established in organised and trans-boundary crimes. For this reason the EWT’s Rhino Project is implementing interventions at several stages in the poaching and wildlife trade chain. These interventions include: # Improving the detection of wildlife contraband through the deployment of wildlife detection dogs. Thus far the EWT has deployed four sniffer dogs at OR Tambo International airport with plans to secure dogs in additional airports throughout South Africa;
# Improving the detection of wildlife contraband through capacity building and training;
# Supporting and facilitating the reporting of information to the authorities;
# Supporting anti-poaching efforts in Zimbabwe by trialling anti-poaching dogs;Deploying a rhino horn detection dog in Limpopo;
# Supporting selected provincial government organisations through the provision of equipment and resources;
# Supporting selected private reserves; # Contributing to the standardisation of anti-poaching training;
# Implementing the Rhino Orphan Response Project, which focuses on improving rescue and rehabilitation through emergency response and training;
# Reducing the involvement of lodge and reserve staff directly or indirectly with poaching through the development of a community based support project;
# Promoting the consistent and effective implementation of legislation around rhino; # Providing awareness raising and support to the judiciary involved in rhino poaching cases; and
# Influencing the legal framework to contribute to enforcement.
For further information and comment please contact Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme, on email@example.com and Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy of ENV’s Communication and Public Awareness Unit on firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Africa and Vietnam Working Together To Campaign For Rhino Protection
The weather: Nwendzamhala is Shangaan word for December it translates to “the visits of impalas”. During this month life seems to explode in this part of the world. We have had a good amount of rainfall, interspersed with sunny days, creating that characteristically crisp, clear air that adds an edge of brightness to our world. The bush is infused with the wonderful aroma of the earth stirred to life by rain – a scent that is impossible to describe, yet so evocative of Africa in the rainy season.
Wildlife: The rains have given life to the landscape and the earth and wildlife react to this change with unparalleled vigour. Where the ground was once dusty and bare, rampant green growth bursts from the ground. Fireball lilies add firecrackers of colour to the landscape, other flowers open themselves to the sun, and of course, the antelope drop their young in multitudes, creating a bounty for predators large and small.
The interesting duel between the Dayone and Nyeleti male leopards has continued with the younger Nyeleti male still fancying his chances against the recovering Deyone male. At the beginning of the month the young Nyeleti even managed to take over Dayone’s impala kill. But then the tables have turned, Dayone have bounced back to life his injuries are healing quickly and he has been able to keep the young interloper at bay.
Hlabankunzi and Metsi female
We saw had only a couple of sighting of Metsi female and cub as she kept him/her well hidden. Hlabankunzi on the other hand have been seen regularly, the cub had become very relax with vehicles around. She has been extremely successful on hunting.
One evening, while we were following her as she walked down the sandy track, she stopped and listened. We switched off the vehicle so that we could maybe hear what she had picked up. It was silent except for some frog and crickets chirping nearby. What had she heard? We ask ourselves. She continued walking into the bush and we lost sight of her. We waited patiently for her to reappear. Suddenly a single bleat, then another muffled sound. We drove around and found the leopard with an impala fawn firmly clamped in her powerful jaws. With her excellent hearing and eyesight, she had homed in on some hapless impala. And the next morning she caught a young warthog, unfortunately she lost both kills to Khashane male leopard who walked in, took over the carcasses and threatened the little cub up on the highest and smallest branch of tree.
We have had more yet still infrequent sightings of Tlangisa female leopard this month, on one afternoon she was found with very skittish male and we never got to identify him. She was certainly interested on mating but we are unsure if they ever did because the pair quickly lost us into the thick woodland.
Tai dam male
This is Shangwa’s young male that have been independent for almost a year now. Still residing up in the north, she surfaces very rarely in the dense environment up there but we have not seen Shangwa female for about a month and half now, we fear the elderly female might have passed on.
The coalition is still going very strong in defending their territory. During the month of this report we have seen them pushing more towards the eastern section of their territory, possibly following Othawa pride. This pride normally spent only half of their time on our property as about half of its territory is outside our traversing area. During the whole month of this report they were here and provided good viewing for us and our guests. One of the Selati male had a difficult month his condition deteriorated so much that he got too weak to keep up with the rest of the males. He is believed to be suffering from some kind of trauma, maybe broken rib; possible got hit by buffalo in a hunt. He did how pull it through and he is recovering well.
The Pride sighting continue to dominate our lion viewing. At the begining of the month the four lionesses killed a large male kudu, one lioness got injured in this hunt but the wound isn’t bad and should heal quickly. We are excited to report that the short-tail lioness has 3 cubs, she have finally brought them out few times and some of us have been lucky to see these fluffy little cats. We have no photos of the cubs yet to share, we will most certainly keep you all updated…….
African elephants are the elephants of the genus Loxodonta (Greek for ‘oblique-sided tooth'), consisting of two extant species: the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant.
Breeding herds of elephant were abundant at the beginning of December. On one day guests enjoyed watching the ‘elephant parade’ as over 50 elephants walked in front of lodge, one after the other.
On the afternoon drive, they found them to the west of camp, upstream the sand river enjoying an afternoon swim and playing in the mud, two young bull put a good show for us they were sparing testing each other strength and skill.
Excellent buffalo viewing, with great number of bachelor groups, lonely bulls and the large herd of 500 animals frequenting our traversing area, life was made easy for us to complete the big five.
More than the big five…..
The sighting of general game has been fantastic with a lots of kudus, nyalas, wildebeest, giraffe and zebras being sighted regularly throughout the month. Hippo action has also been great; on one occasion an adult bull attempted to take over the resident pod, but was disposed of rapidly and sent running back to the safety of the water. It was a very vocal encounter with lots of grunting and honking.
The bird activity has been astounding…… building nest, calling and performing beautiful display to attract mates. A Black-bellied Bustard using a small termite mount as a perch from where his distinct “popping” call and distinguished pose should attract a mate.
In and around camp
We have had a lot of activity around the lodge, despite the abundant availability of water all round the reserve. Buffalos, waterbuck, warthogs, bushbucks still frequent the lodge area; even zebras came to drinking in the waterhole in front of the lodge.
Zebras are several species of African equids united by their distinctive black and white stripes
Other wildlife in and around camp are the newborn impalas. They make a perfect picture with their long unstable legs, small body and big ears. They seem to have a curious yet mischievous look on their little faces as they take in the big world around them. Due to the good rainfall we’ve received, there has been ample forage for them too.
An impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized African antelope
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.
This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane
The weather: We have had an amazing October at Inyati – we experienced a lot of really warm days with temperatures reaching highs of 39° C but we also had a few thunder showers which have caused the vegetation to explode into summer bloom, with many trees sharing their colourful and fragrant flowers with us.
The Wildlife: We have been spoilt with many sightings of the predators, general game and bird activities. Two of our resident leopards have produced cubs and at least two lionesses from our resident prides have cubs. It’s really an exciting time in the reserve. We anticipate the arrival of many new-borns in the coming weeks; the bush will be dotted with baby impala, zebra, kudu, giraffe and other plains game. We will need more clouds to open up and wet the grounds before this happens.
Leopard sightings have been remarkable this month, lots of mother and cub interactions. The highlight for me was the sighting of a Dam3 female leopard feeding on a Southern African python. The python we estimated at 3.5 metres (around 10 feet) in length and this female must have done this before; to make a kill like this requires years of experience and skill.
This leopard has grown to be a brave majestic mal. He has had few more territorial fights with Ndlevane male and he was able to come up stronger than the elderly male. His preferred hunting tactics often provide us with some great photographic opportunities as he often poses on top of termite mounds waiting for the warthogs to come out.
There are few males young males venturing into the area, the territorial Dayone male is kept on his toes, he needs to mark and patrol continuesly to protect the two liters of cubs that are in his territory.
Hlabankunzi and Metsi females
We are delighted to report that the two mothers Hlabankunzi and Metsi have finally brought their cubs out for us to see. They both have one cub each, we are not sure of the sex yet. Their den sites are on the rocky outcrops which allow us to have great view of them without getting into their personal space. Metsi’s cub is very brave, it often approaches the vehicles and the poor mother has to constantly bring it back him.
Tlangisa female leopard has made an occasional appearance, she was looking her best this morning, it was so nice to see her again after a long time. We followed tracks of a pair of leopard for long distance and then located her completely out of her territory it become obvious that she was after one of the male.
After giving up the chase of the male, Tlangisa she wondered back towards her territory and come across two hyenas and a new (unidentified) young male leopard that had a duiker carcass hoisted in the tree and the young leopard was certainly not sharing his meal. The hyenas did their best to get to the carcass and even tried to use the fallen logs as step ladder in attempt to get to the carcass (note the duiker’s leg hanging above the hyena) Tlangisa came into the area and just lay there and watched for a while before moving off.
This female continues to come deeper into our traversing area; she is normally resident across our eastern boarders. On one evening we followed her out hunting she was really determent to make a kill for herself and cub but when we left for our dinner she still haven’t caught anything and we could locate her the next morning.
Lion (Panthera leo)
Let’s face it; it would be bigger news if lions were NOT seen at Inyati lodge. Well, that certainly wasn’t the news this month.
Selati coalition and Othawa pride
The Selati males spent most of the month trailing either Othawa lionesses or Ximhungwe pride, which has given the buffalo a bit of a break from these killer cats.
At least two lionesses of Othawa pride have given birth, and after a brief sighting of the lionesses with cubs in the sand river, we closed the area to game drives to avoid any pressure on her and her offspring.
She has been seen several times on her hunting forays and appeared to be heavy with milk, which is a good sign.
Unfortunately that seems to have all changed and it appears that one of them have lost her cubs as she was seen mating with the Selati male.
The Selati males were seen crossing the Sand River on one evening in search of buffaloes they seems so determent to find food; so much for the hunt we found them the next morning lying happily among the Ximhungwe lionesses.
Well, what can we say -there are priorities in life.
And by the afternoon there was mating going on. One of the lionesses, the short tail female have given birth in a secluded den site on the hill top of a rocky outcrop, we await patiently our first view of the cubs.
Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
This was another month of the elephant and multitudes of these large grey mammals we seen throughout the area, some in breeding herds, bachelor herds and lone bulls.
We have had frequent sightings of this one particular bull with both his tusks half broken in the lodge and on our airstrip. This individual male was rather friendly he would happily leave the lodge when ask to but we had hard time keep him out, as he kept coming back to destroy this in the lodge.
Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
We have had on a few sighting of the large herd of buffalo this month. With the rains there are plenty of grasses and water for them, they traverse the whole reserve even areas that they would normally avoid because of lack of rivers or dams. There are lots of small herd of bull and lone spread around the reserve.
On one cloudy morning we came across a ”Dagga boy” (old buffalo bull) that gave us an evil eye. It was a good place to if you are buffalo because at mere 900 metres the renowned buffalo hunters, the Selati males were resting for the day.
More than the big five…..
Inyati is teeming with wildlife again; viewing of general game has been particularly good, with the numbers of zebra and wildebeest sightings increasing from the previous month.
It’s not all about big elephant and large male lion! We often remind our guests that the experience here is also about appreciating the smaller fauna such as frogs and birds, and being absorbed by the particularly stunning surroundings. On one of the afternoon drive we spent about 20 minutes watching the most fascinating family of dwarf mongoose foraging on the ground with one on the branch watching out for predators.
We have also been experiencing large concentrations of giraffe in the area, most probably due to the surrounding trees which are all sprouting new growth. It is amazing to watch the journeys of giraffe move elegantly through the area and how they drink, they always approach the water cautiously and then splay their long legs and drink with a watchful eye out for predators.
In and around camp
The Camp itself continues to be a magnet for various species of mammals and birds. The sightings this month have been really extraordinary. Seen from the lodge was a family of elephant walk silhouetted against the glowing orange sky. Our resident hippos herd have been entertaining as they came out to feed on our lawn at night.
And while enjoying our high tea just before one of the afternoon drives Dayone male leopard came strolling through the lodge in patrol of his territory.
The animals in the Sabi Sand Reserve are named after their territories. The predators have been given names and the guides and trackers know the animals according to the names they have given them.
Many Sabi Sand Wildtuin members have been involved in development initiatives working in the neighbouring communities for many years and what has already been achieved through their efforts is remarkable. To unlock the potential of a more coordinated, strategic approach, the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust (SSPT) was established as a joint venture of all the existing agencies (lodges and NGOs). This collaborative trust provides an opportunity to align and maximise these efforts to achieve greater impact. NGO organisations which are part of our collaboration include Africa Foundation, Buffelshoek Trust, Chitwa Trust, Good Work Foundation, Virgin’s Pride ‘n Purpose, the Singita Foundation and the former Pfunanani Trust which has now been incorporated as the central body. Participating lodges who are involved in community development work include Leopard hills, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi and Savanna Game Lodge. By aligning the combined efforts towards a common vision, the promise of meaningful change through progressive development can be realized.
The needs of the communities are immense and they face a multitude of challenges. Aid
intervention alone would not be able to meet all the needs, but can be a catalyst for meaningful community development. In this regard the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust has identified three focus areas which are:
1. Environment – including water, conservation, biodiversity, sustainable use, ecosystem
services, sanitation etc.;
2. Education – including schooling, youth development, skills and capacity building
3. Entrepreneurship – including income generation and inclusion of communities in the
tourism value chain and other opportunities in the wildlife economy
Within these focus areas we have selected a small number of priority projects which we are actively supporting at present and are endeavouring to raise funds for.
The activities of the trust take place in Bushbuckridge municipal area. Activities span 17 rural villages with approximately 91000 people. The beneficiaries are from under privileged and disadvantaged communities. Community participation in projects is essential and we work closely with community members and leadership to identify and shape projects.
A core principal of SSPT is that beneficiaries receive the maximum possible benefit and that shrinkage in the delivery process is minimised. To this end, internal governance processes strictly regulate the use of funds and project resources are carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure the most efficient use thereof. Donor reporting is comprehensive and detailed. A code of transparency and honesty are non-negotiable in all dealings. Our members have extensive experience in successful project implementation and a strong track record of outstanding delivery.
The Columba Leadership youth leadership program which is aimed at unlocking the potential of the youth and has produced an exponentially positive affect in many of the areas it has been run. It is the Columba and SSPT team’s goal to run a program in each of the main villages neighbouring the Sabi Sand Wildtuin. This will entail running a further 15 programs in the next 3 years. The vision is to build a movement for responsible leadership amongst South African youth by developing young people who are socially and environmentally conscious and active who lead through service. Aiming to help shift the social perception of the role of young people in public life and to and help resolve the social exclusion of youth. The Columba approach uses experiential learning of values to empower young people to make the right choices in life and to elevate their ideals above pure self-interest. They learn to care for themselves, their schools and communities and the environment. The young leaders are equipped with skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work and they become role models of engaged citizens in depressed areas where there is little hope. The program works with 12 young people (selected based on their commitment to building a better society) with 3 senior educators at a quality Lodge in attractive natural surroundings for 6 days using experiential learning and lessons from nature, history and culture to show how every human being has greatness in them and can be a leader if they understand values. A highly skilled team of facilitators run the Academies.
In return for the privilege our graduates are challenged to recruit their friends and use peer/social networks and partnerships with their educators to drive positive change. Their value system and civic engagement experience significantly improves confidence and efficacy enhancing their employability and/or equipping them to become successful entrepreneurs. In many cases our graduates have started social enterprises in their schools.
To date more than 300 young leaders from 17 disadvantaged schools all over South Africa have graduated from the academy and are making a real difference. The first program in Bushbuckridge was run at Manyangana High School in the North last year. The program has continued to deliver excellent outcomes with recent matric prelim results released by the Manyangana High School in the North increasing from 50% to a hitherto unseen 82%. The school principal attributes the change entirely to the Columba program and speaks enthusiastically of the positive initiatives being planned and implemented by the students themselves.
A HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS IN HUNTINGTON VILLAGE
The Huntington community development forum made an appeal to SSPT for assistance with building a high school in their community. At present there is no high school at Huntington and students have to attend school at Mabarule village. Mabarule High School is overcrowded and unable to cope with over 1400 students attending school there. The department of education has given the community their agreement to support the establishment of a high school facility at Huntington and to provide teachers and operational resources if the community can find a sponsor for the necessary infrastructure. Initially 415 students would attend at Huntington and this will be grown over time. The school would need 5 classrooms, an admin building, toilets and fencing.
Local builders will be used for the project to provide short term employment during the
construction. The tribal authority has said they will make land available for the school. The SSPT management committee is of the opinion that this is a project that should be supported and the SSPT is endeavouring to help the community raise the R3m of funds needed to build the school.
Subject to funding being obtained there is also the opportunity to establish a satellite of the Good Work Foundation digital learning centre at the school to enrich the education services. This will provide English and computer tuition to school and adult learners as well as offering management support to the school educators. Local people will be trained and employed to run the program.
The cost of establishing this facility would be R650k and thereafter R180k per annum.