Tag Archives: African buffalo

Stacy’s Story

Stacy’s Story.

Stacy Howell

November ’14 Field Guide Report by Matt

Majingilanes
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

Khotavuxika / June 2013 Safari Journal

Giraffe

Khotavuxika / June 2013The weather: The last of the rains has fallen and the leaves are starting to change to beautiful shades of orange and red and covering the ground below them. We have had the most glorious weather during June and we are still waiting for a really cold snap to arrive. Although there is a definite nip in the air in the early mornings and evenings, the daytime temperatures have still risen to between 25c & 34c.   June 1

Wildlife: As for the wildlife goes, they are all here in large numbers on their top form, fighting, mating, hunting and rearing young, we were  entertained for the whole month of this report. Khotavuxika June

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

This month’s Leopard viewing has been exceptional….

KHASHANE MALE AND DAYONE MALE

Khashane male and Dayone male

The dispute between these two males continues with neither of the males is backing down. They have met few times this month again growling, walking parallel displaying strength to one another.

The furious Khashane male…. About 70 percent of his territory is outside our traversing area but we have been seeing frequent now as he tries to keep our resident male, Dayone away from his territory.

Khashane maleAfter 2 days of matching around with Khashane male, Dayone went on to Dam 3 female and stole her hard earned meal, an impala carcass and didn’t even share.

Dayone male

HLABANKUNZI AND CUB

Hlabankunzi and cub

Hlabankunzi and cub

This mother leopard is covering great distances in search of food, patrolling and marking her territory. The cub is sometimes left alone for two days, she have become more comfortable being alone and started working on her hunting skill stalking anything and everything that moves.

Hlabankunzis cub

These long distance hunting sessions often result on her losing carcasses to hyenas. She will hunt and kill an impala, then put it under some bushes as she doesn’t like putting her prey up a tree like most leopards, she will then walk far to fetch the cub only to return and find that the hyenas have stolen the carcasses.

RAVENSCOURT FEMALE

Sadly the great mother has moved on…..

Ravenscourt female

Sadly the great mother has moved on…..

Ravenscourt got into a confrontation with the male leopard, Nyeleti who was set to kill her cub, she gave her all and successfully saved her cub but unfortunately she lost her life to this male. She will be missed dearly, we will forever cherish great moments were shared and the young she raised will save as reminder of how great mother she was.

Tlangisa female

Tlangisa femaleOur beloved young leopard, Tlangisa was seen few times during the month of this report , she seem to be shifting her territory more east to an area that is little more open and is frequently traversed by the game viewers allowing to find her easier. She is not so young any more in fact we think she is pregnant. We found her one morning after impalas uttered their alarm calls suggesting that there was a predator in the area, upon investigation she was found resting on a termite mound. The Othawa lionesses having heard the alarm calls of impalas also arrived in the area forcing the leopard to find safety on high branches of marula tree.

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

SELATI COALITION

Selati Coalition

The coalition has given us wonderful viewing throughout the month. The male with injured ribs was battling again at the beginning of the month but he seems to be recovering now.

Selati Coalition Buffalo

Some of our guests were lucky to witness an amazing sighting of the Selati males killing a buffalo cow. The males quickly brought the buffalo down, we presume they broke her neck, but the herd of about 400 buffalo turned and chased the lions off their fallen sister. Despite their best efforts the cow was unable to stand up. The Bulls fiercely held the lions at bay for about an hour but it was only a matter of time before the herd had to move on and lions claimed their hard earn price.   One of the cow taking the last glance at the lions and their kill, relactantly moving away as she had to stay with the herd otherwise she would fall victim as well.

Selati coalition buffalo kill

The one Othawa lioness with no cubs, the one that we believed was pregnant was seen with one of the Selati boys mating, this male made clear that he wasn’t sharing her with anyone not even his brothers.

Othawa lioness

OTHAWA PRIDE

After some few months monitoring Ottawa pride’s movement one can securely say that this animals have settle in our area or maybe for while. They are becoming more comfortable and started moving south-east into Ximhungwe pride territory. Their eight cubs are well feed and growing fast.

Othawa prideOn one afternoon we tracked them for couple of hours before finding them resting after having gorged themselves of nyala bull they killed. The cubs were playing with their full belies on the nearby fallen down marula tree.   The pride also came across a dead hippo which they fed on it for couple of days before the salati males join them to feast on large meal. The hippo had some huge puncher wounds that seem to be from a battle with another hippo.Othawa pride cubs

Othawa pride 2

XIMHUNGWE PRIDE

Ximhungwe prideThe pride have been successful in their hunting they have started to move further in the northern part of their territory, kudu and zebra is some of the thing they killed during the month of this report. Unfortunately the Selati males have killed one of the cubs, leaving 5 cubs. It is unusual that the male will kill their own cubs, here is what is we think is reason of this behaviour. The pride have suffered losing cubs to pride males on few times in the days of Mapogo coalition of male, they now don’t trust any male lion, they hardly ever interact with the Selati males, as of recent they ran when confront these males. On many occasion the males don’t even follow them but on one situation they chased them got hold of the cub and killed it, instinctively. We hope the situation change, which is the lionesses stop running and accept the Selati male as pride males otherwise the result will be dreadful to the pride.

Ximhungwe pride cubs

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

lephant (Loxodonta africana)

We have had some exceptional and regular sightings of elephants. As the bush dries the animals covers long distances in a day in search of better food. Elephants at the waterhole are awesome to watch; there are lots of calves at the moment always full of energy as they play fight pushes each other around the area.

lephant (Loxodonta africana)

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)Buffalo viewing have been constant in recent months, with a number of small herds of bulls scatted around our traversing area. The large herd was here with us on few occasions .One of the most thrilling sighting is to see a herd of about 500 buffalo heading towards a waterhole. We also had great viewing opportunities of the solitary bulls that always look very angry, stares at you like you owe them money.

CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS)

 

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)We have had some great cheetah viewing in the last couple of months, we been seeing males coming through our traversing area. This month we even got more excited when the mother and two cubs crossed to our reserve. The mother appeared very nervous, we later heard a leopard calling in the area which she would have sense earliar. She moved way completely out of the area with her two beatiful cubs,a smart move on her side becouse given the oppoturnity the leopard will kill the cubs or even the mother.

 

More than the big five…..

Have you ever wondered why the enormous hippopotamus or a giraffe, such a magnificent animal that always represent Africa in many way isn’t a member of Africa’s big five? The Big 5, a household term, which animals and why or how were they selected? Read on…Repeat Guest

The term Big 5 originated from the long-gone days of hunting safari days of Africa. They were the most dangerous animals to hunt and were therefore regarded as the ultimate trophy. They include the Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo. The buffalo is regarded to be the most dangerous for the simple reason that it does not have a mock or warning charge. The other animals will first give you a sign of aggression, to indicate that they are not happy with your presence, before initiating a full charge. When you see a buffalo coming, the chances are it won’t stop. The problem lies more with the solitary bulls or “Dugga Boys”. “Dugga” meaning mud for they spend most of their time in mud wallows or concealed amongst the reeds on the water’s edge. For this reason, they are often disturbed at close quarters and this can result in catastrophic consequences. They seem to release a huge amount of adrenalin when charging, rendering them difficult to stop, thus have killed more hunters than any animals in southern Africa. Today we choose to shoot with our cameras and they animals have become accustomed to vehicles and people in it providing us with some great photographs to hang on our walls. Giraffe is vulnerable when lying down there are normally weary and will stand up when sense any danger but this male below couldn’t be bothered about us.

INY Dagga boy HULKIn and around camp

The water hole in front of the lodge has become a popular drink spot for lots of animals. From the comfort of your room you may see a dazzle of zebra coming, journey of giraffes and waterbuck and of course impalas always come for a drink. The Selati male lions also wondered through the camp on one morning always exciting to see, reminding us that they see this whole area as their territory, we are the intruders not them.

We have been having lots of repeat guests at Inyati and it is wonderful to see you all coming back.

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.

March 2013 Safari Journal

The weather: The last rumbles of thunder have faded into the distance and the flickering lightning is finally stilled. Summer is ending and the cool breath of the tropical winter touches us. It ruffles the surface of the water and shakes leaves which are already turning gold. The afternoon showers provided a refreshing relief from the warm days and cleared the air to reveal stunning blue skies. The hint of cloud remaining on the skyline provided us with the backdrop for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  March 2013

Wildlife: Game viewing this month has been fantastic. Along with the herds of elephant, zebras, kudus and other general game, there have been some great sightings of cape hunting dogs. Lion sightings have been a daily occurrence and the antics of the cubs have been a continual source of entertainment. Distant drives and patient tracking were rewarded with some excellent sightings.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Dayone male

Dayone male

Magnificent cat!! He has grown to be large male, becoming even more confident, still holding his territory and dominating most of the Western sector. We have seen him frequently and life is good for Dayone as there are no young males in his territory at the moment.

 Hlabankunzi and cub

Hlabankunzi cub

This mother and her young continue to thrill us with their presence and ever playful behaviour. Here they climb up the tree; incredibly the mother jumps down from a great height, the cub then contemplates doing the same but then decides to climb down little closer. 

Hlabankunzi and cub

The mother got worried a bit seeing the cub running around the tree considering jumping down from such great height, and then she stepped in close to helped it down.

 Few days later she killed an impala ram and large herd buffaloes came past the area, cub was happily viewing from a safe perch as mum was feeding on an impala carcass at the base of the tree at the time.

Hlabankunzi and cub

  Metsi female

Metsi female & cubThe illusive Metsi and her cub were out and seen about several times this month. On one afternoon we followed them for a while she was en route to an impala kill. She walked the cub a considerable distance but was kind enough to have some water and grooming breaks in between.

Metsi female

She normally keeps her kill on the ground unlike most leopards that will put up a tree to keep it away from other predators like hyenas, having it on the kill ground means that she needs to stay alert the whole time, every time the bush moves she jumps up, listens and scans the area for any intruders.

Metsi female

 Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati male

Selati coalition

Selati coalition
The last three months have been tough for the Selati coalition, the Majinilane have been keeping them on their toes. There was another dispute between these two groups of male lions this month. Three Majingilane male lions came across one Selati male, the smaller one and a Othawa lioness mating. Majingilane retreated immediately and one other Selati join in chasing the intruding males north-west across the sand river. We herd commotion across the river unfortunately we could follow across. It was on few minutes after the two Selati males chased Majingilane males, when suddenly we saw our boys running back across with the three males chasing them back. It was only the younger two of the Selati males that were in this territorial dispute. The Majingilane had the upper hand since three of the Selati we still injured, two were injured in previous battle and the third one was injured by buffalo and was not well enough to participate in this fight. There were no major added injuries on the recent territorial fight. However one of the males who was actively fighting and chasing the three intruding male is now badly limping. The boys are recovering well even managed to kill two buffalo cows in one evening.

One of the Selati males showing battle scars after the encounter with the Majingilane males.

 Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride

These big cats are still thrilling guests and staff alike. The three lionesses and seven cubs are forever present; cubs are always energetic and playful. Sadly, the fourth lioness of the pride has not been seen for over two months , she have not been well for some time and  it seems as if we have “lost” her . Of the seven cubs we think six are females and a male, if it all goes well 50% or more survive we could end up with a big pride in our reserve.

Ximhungwe pride cubsElephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

 We had astonishing elephant sightings in March. On one afternoon while driving along the bank of Sand River we found ourselves amongst a breeding herd of Africa’s largest land mammal – the Elephant. We sat back and watched as the whole family walk pass in their way to the river. We spent about 30 minutes watching these animals swimming and the young males being their usual self, play fighting. It’s always a nice treat to watch elephant take a bath they become so playful like kids. 

Elephant

 Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large herd of buffalo consisting of about 500 animals stayed on our traversing area for most of the month. Smaller herds were also seen on the northern section of our property. Some lonely bulls and bachelor herd have been spotted several times this month.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

 More than the big five…..

Male cheetah

The male cheetah was spotted and seen several times this month, he has visited this area for over a year, it was exciting to see him again. On one afternoon we set off to try to find him it wasn’t easy, Thanks to the team of rangers and tracker for their hard work and determination we found and the end. What great afternoon I had, viewing a beautiful animal shared with awesome group of guests. Unfortunately it was rather late when we finally find him, we had to share the sighting rather quickly and some of the guides didn’t get to see him before it got too dark. Since cheetahs are diurnal we don’t view them at night. And the next morning, he killed an impala only to have it stolen by three lionesses, ooh what a bad start of a day.
Male cheetah

Male cheetah

 We even got see pair of klipspringer, these antelopes are seldom seen in our region. The name Klipspringer is the Afrikaans for ‘rock jumper’ and alludes to the animal’s ability in rocky territory where it can be seen moving freely, seemingly on tiptoe. They are the only antelope that lives on cliffs and rock outcrops. Here are some of their adoptions: The klipspringer stands on the flat tips of its truncated hooves, walking and running in a jerky, stilted manner, their coat is rough and the hairs are hollow, brittle and loose, which makes for good padding and insulation.

 Klipspringer

In and around camp

In and around camp

Elephants, waterbucks, warthogs, nyalas and giraffes are amongst the few animals that came to the camp during the month of this report.

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

 

February 2013 Safari Journal

Othawa Pride

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.

Nyenyenyani skies

The mornings are warm and build up during the course of the day to allow for exquisitely timed afternoon thundershowers.

 African equids

Wildlife:

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)

Dayone Male

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

 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.

Xikhavi Female

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.

Xikhavi Female

 LION (PANTHERA LEO)

LION (PANTHERA LEO)Selati Coalition

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.

Othawa Pride

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.

  Othawa Pride

Othawa Pride

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride

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)

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.

 Cape Buffalo (Syncerus Caffer)

 More than the big five…..

 Cape hunting dogs

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.

 

 Hyena

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.

 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.

  Hipopotamus

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.

Nhlangula – October 2012 Wildlife Journal

Leopard patrolling the lodge

Inyati Game Lodge - OctoberThe 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 (Panthera pardus)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)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.

Dayone male

Leopard (Panthera pardus)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.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)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

Cubs - Hlabankunzi and Metsi femalesWe 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

INY Tlangisa femaleTlangisa 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.INY Tlangisa female

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.Hyena

Ravenscourt female

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.INY Ravenscourt female

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.

INY Selati coalition and Othawa pride

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.

INY Selati coalitionAt 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.

Ximhungwe pride

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.

INY Ximhungwe prideWell, 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.INY Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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.INY Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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.INY Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

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.

INY Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)More than the big five…..

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.

INY Plains gameIt’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.

Dwarf mongoose

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.Elephant in Camp

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.Leopard patrolling the lodge

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.

Nyenyankulu: March 2012 – (End of an era) Wildlife Journal

Young Mr T

The weather this month was perfect. The afternoon showers provided a refreshing relief from the warm days and cleared the air to reveal stunning blue skies. The hint of cloud remaining on the skyline provided us with the backdrop for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The clear skies allowed the stars to be enjoyed as we dined in boma and shonalanga (bush dinner site) watching the constellations of the Southern Cross and Orion.

And what a month it has been for game viewing. Possibly the best thing about being on safari at Inyati game lodge is the sheer variety on offer. The advent of winter has coincided with a return of the buffalo and elephant herds and an activity of predators is at its peak.

Buffalo herdLeopard (Panthera pardus)

The leopard sightings have been as good as it gets this on this month. Almost all our resident leopards were seen at some point, either close to camp or further afield.

Dayone maleDayone male

MetsiHe is well settled in his new territory he seem to be expanding north into territory Xindzele male who we have not seen in few months. On one morning we located Dayone male relaxing on marula tree Khashane male mating with Tassalberry female.deep in Xindzele male’s territory. He was extremely relaxed and we watched her for 20 minutes. She eventually stretched and gracefully climbed down the tree. He had been watching impalas in the distance and we followed her towards them he did make a fail attempt to catch one of them. There is another male occupying the northern section of xindzele’s territory along the sand river. This male is rather large he could well be responsible for xindzele’s disappearance. Our young dayone needs to be careful may take him out. Unfortunately for us the new male is very nervous and aggressive we have never had a great viewing of him.

Metsi female

Since her two male cubs have grown and are independent she was seen mating with the young and handsome Dayone male on the same day on the opposite side of our traversing area the magnificent Khashane male was also mating with Tassalberry female.

Tlangisa female continues to give us the best viewing with her playful nature, she is always presenting herself for photographs as she run up trees and pose for the pictures as if she is getting paid for doing that.

Tlangisa female The Ravenscourt Female is lactating, which means there is possibly another litter of very small leopard cubs hidden away in her territory.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Mapogo coalition –The end of an era: The world famous coalition of 6 males has fallen.

The end of an era: The world famous coalition of 6 males has fallen.

These six males are also known as the Eyrefield Males originated from the Eyrefield Pride (also known as the Sparta Pride). After leaving their pride in 2005 they moved deep into the Sabi sand challenging few males taking over their territories. These males began to ruled with an iron fist. In their quest to dominate this area, the Sabi sand Reserve lost approximately 150 lions which included lots of cubs, females and adult males of which many they killed and eaten. They were named Mapogo after a security company that utilizes rather harsh methods in dealing with offenders. Once they had established themselves, the coalition split and two took over the north-eastern sector, whilst the other four settle over the central and Western sector of Sabi Sand game reserve.

They lived many happy years like that, things begun to change dramatically when five new young males moved into eastern corner of the territory where the two( Kinky tail and Mr. T) of Mapogos were occupy. On afternoon June 8th 2010 the two mapogos killed one of the new lion group late known as Majingilane males. And later that night one of the Mapogo, kinky tailed was killed and eaten by the remaining four males of majingelane, in deadly attempt Mr. T failed to rescue his brother and had to run for his life. Upon joining his four brothers in the western sector they set off to face the Majingilane males and that resulted in one male killed and one badly injured. Now they were down to four and few month later one other male disappeared. They trio lived happily in the western sector avoiding majngelane in the eastern sector of the reserve that was until couple of month ago when a group of four males entered mapogo’s territory. The first battle on the morning morning of 23rd February 2012 resulted on a draw; both coalitions eventually moved in different direction, one Mapogo came out severely beaten after an encounter with the 4 Selati males.

The second and last battle that mark the end of mighty Mapogo coalition happen on the morning 16th march 2012, two groups met near our western boundary, Upon confrontation the two Mapogos ran , Mr. T got surrounded brutally and mauled to death. This male was brave warrior; He died as he lived, a true fighter till the end. I fell privileged to have spent over 8 years of my life with these awesome animals. These are magnificent lions that will forever hold a special place in not only my heart, but the hearts of all that set eyes upon them and those that have followed their lives through the eyes of others.

Young Mr TLooking back at the beginning when I first got to know him, Mr. T was never just an ordinary lion, he was full of character, complex and often got completely misunderstood by human race, forgetting that he was a lion being a lion. I will always cherish the time I spent with him and the little I learnt from him about lion world.

Mr T in his last battleThe brave elderly lion put up a good fight but eventually the Four Selati males over powers him.

The end of one of Africa's most famous lion's - Mr T.The remaining two Mapogos have run far-east of the reserve and the Selati Males have finally taken over the Mopogo’s territory. We spent one of our morning with the and while following these proud males as they went to explore Inyati Tree tops (our conference centre), try to cross the river and we were also privileged to witness them hunting buffalo from the start to finish.

Selati malesElephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)Elephants were out in abundance this month as they search for the last few remaining marula fruits of the season.

Did you know? An elephant’s trunk is actually a long nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things, especially a potential meal. The trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles. Their enormous ears radiate heat to help keep these large animals cool in the hot African climate.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)The herd of buffalo consisting of about 400 animals stayed in our traversing area for the whole month. A small herd was also seen on the northern section of the property. Some lonely bulls and a bachelor herd with one female have been spotted several times this month.

More than the big five…..

Rhanidophora cinctuttata

“Dice moth” – Rhanidophora cinctuttata

With all the obviously magnificent creatures around us it is all to easy to overlook natures intricate and minute beauty. This “Dice moth” (Rhanidophora cinctuttata) larvae had us fascinated as it waved it clublike protective hairs about.Spotted hyenas are famed scavengers and often dine on the leftovers of other predators. But these hardy beasts are also skilled hunters that will take down wildebeest or antelope. They also kill and eat birds, lizards, snakes, and insects. We witness this individual still a carcass from a female leopard (Ravenscourt female). After eating to full capacity the hyena dragged the carcass into small pool water.Giraffe

In and around camp

Around camp the elephant are making almost daily appearances; sneaking out from the tree line onto the plains and into the sand river. Sometimes we see just a few bulls and sometimes large breeding herds of over 20 individuals show up, including at least five or six tiny babies. And giraffes have been visiting past the plains in front the lodge.

Spotted hyenas

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.

Nsunguti : January 2012 Wildlife Journal

Ximhungwe lioness

So we’re into the summer season now and with the summer season comes an increase in tropical activity off the east coast of South Africa. These summer cyclones that occur usually don’t have an effect on South African weather and tend to move south before approaching the S.A coast line. Rain has been quite a dominant factor this month. Dramatic is an understatement – no two days of the play unfolding in the Sabi sand theatre are the same. On the 16th January, Tropical Cyclone Dando caused a torrent of rain to come down over the Sabi Sand and the surrounding Kruger areas. In a matter of 72 hours the rain gauges showed that we had received 520mm of rain and the rivers showed just how much rain had come down. The water rose slowly but as the intense rain continued and the ground became saturated there was nowhere else for the water to go except to the rivers. The Sand and Sabi River got extensively flooded and reached its highest recorded level, even higher than 2000 floods which was the highest the area have ever experienced. The river have been reformed enormously, with trees uprooted and swept away and huge amounts of sand shifted, even diverting the main river course in some areas. The lodge remained safe, we did however lose our lower deck and the bird hide got damaged and thankfully, no major loss of wildlife was recorded. Despite the floods game viewing has, by no means, been a disappointment.

Sand River risingAn amazing African sunset has to be the most glorious way to bid farewell to one year and welcome in the next.An amazing African sunset

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

One of the most viewed leopard of our section of the reserve Hlabankunzi have finally brought out her cub briefly for us to see. We are still keeping away from the den site to give them some privacy and time to get comfortable to the new surroundings. We spent a good part of the last night of the year with while on the hunt at some point we had to leave her to enjoy our celebrate New Year’s Eve. The next morning in a new year we set off to find her, we did caught up on her still hunting, the hungry mother leopard stalk and killed a warthog just in front of our vehicle, the first and successful hunt of the year 2012 for her.

Hlabankunzi

We haven’t been seeing much of Metsi female leopard, she did however came out couple of times this month and we were relieved to learn that she is still alive and well.

We found her on one late afternoon perched on a marula tree presenting awesome photo opportunity.

Hlabankunzi hunt

The Day One male leopard also had an exciting start to 2012. He did it again, killed a full grown kudu cow and this time he killed its calf as well. The hyena then tries to steal his kill and pinches pieces of it the entire morning, eventually it drags the kill into the open, in full view of the vultures, within ten minutes more than twenty vultures descend onto the kill and Day one snaps!

He came hurtling out of his resting place and sent vultures and hyena scattering in all directions to reclaim his meal.

Hyena

 

Metsi female leopard

Lion (Panthera leo)

Ximhungwe prideMapogo brothers The resident males, Mapogo brothers have been seen regularly during the whole month of this report, they still remain separated into 2 males, the elder male and Mohawk mane male together and the other male spent most time with the Ximhungwe pride. Just after the rains the two males killed a young giraffe, the one of the Ximhungwe lioness who is been separating from the pride was present feeding with the males.

With sand river flooding the rest of Ximhungwe pride, 3 lionesses with their four cubs (Ages ranging from 6 to 12 months) for most of the month have remain in the southern side of the river. Despite the smaller hunting ground the pride have remain highly successful in their hunting, they made a wide range of kill, wildebeest, giraffe and waterbuck. Few of our wildebeest calves have fallen victim to this pride during the month.

We also found them feeding on a buffalo kill in the south-western section of our traversing area. The carcass appeared to be a few days old and we had seen the pride far north the night before so it doesn’t look as if as if they killed it. Initially, only one of the Mapogo boys was present, but the other two soon smelled the kill, and joined up with the pride to enjoying their rotting buffalo carcass.

 

Ximhungwe lioness

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)The hot summer months in the Sabi Sands is the best time to see elephants. Herds have divided into small groups to minimise competition over marula fruits. You can almost count on a breeding herd or a lone bull on every corner. With marula fruits dropping to the bush floor in great quantity, elephants are moving from tree to another in search of these juicy and delicious snacks. They are small fruits that it might not seem worth it for the big giants to spent hours collecting these tiny fruits one by one, this just show how much they love them.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Buffaloes are still present in significant numbers much to delight of our guests. They are seen mainly on open plains of the southern part of the reserve. There been lots of mating activities in herd and the battle beween the breeding male have been the order of the day(note the battle wounds on his face)

The local bachelor The local bachelor herd have been gracing us with their presence mostly around the camp and along the sand river.

More than the big five…..

We found this hyena walking with intent and occasionally sniffing the air. As these animals have an uncanny ability to sniff out carcasses we followed her for quite some time. After about a kilometer of walking she came across an Impala carcass, recently killed by a leopard. We had a brief glimpse of a small female leopard that was in no mood to cross swords with this large hyena. I presume the hyena heard the impala alarming after the kill was made and then had to rely on her acute sense of smell to locate the meat, truly some well honed senses on a super predator.

hyena walking with intent In and around camp

HippoAfter the floods the river have change a lot, there deep pools right in front of the lodge and few hippos have taken resident there, they have been very entertaining day and night.

Xindzele male leopard have been visiting the camp, affording us a rare opportunity to photograph leopard on foot.

Xindzele male leopard 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.

The heavy floods cut-off access to Inyati

Inyati Game Lodge

Thank you all for the wishes during the floods. The lodge is fine, only the lower deck and our treehouse experienced the wra

th of the Sand river. Luckily the lodge was built above the fifty year floodline.

Our river views have dramatically improved, a beautiful sand bank has formed and the flood has cleared a remarkable amout of vegetation…a silver lining yet!

The game drives continue as normal and our guests are enjoying spectacular sightings. Our guides and trackers are conducting the drives with the utmost sensitivity to the environment, as a lot of the areas are waterlogged.

 

December December 2011 Wildlife Journal

Elephant (Loxodonta africana

Keith JenkinsonWildlife Journal December 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane.

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