Tag Archives: African safari

September bushtales

Rolling lawns at Inyati…….

Safari greetings……

Days have slowly but surely become longer, and long chilly nights are washed away with more vibrant sunrises as we head toward spring.

 Winter is far from over, the dusty dry landscape is very much proof of this.

The Sand river snakes through the reserve like a green vein, providing life giving water to the parched environment that in turn provides browse and grazing for the secondary producers like impala, nyala, kudu and bush buck.

The concentration of food along the banks of the sand river draws and keeps the herds on it banks, this in turn attracts predators to the abundant food source.

The lion prides have had kills on the river and our resident leopard are also thriving.

The Inyati philosophy is one of being part of the environment, this is evident with the camp not being fenced. Animals wonder through the grounds freely and the concentration of game in camp in the late winter can be spectacular. Our resident herd of nyala and impala feasting on our indigenous gardens. We have decided to view them as part of the garden rather than the consumers of it, the gardener’s relationship with them remains ‘complicated’ though.

A bull elephant took a liking to the Aloes in camp, and he created havoc as only a five-ton pachyderm can. Unfortunately, some days the aloe gardens were pruned with the finesse of a cyclone, but these are the punches we roll with in the bush. The bull has had his fill and moved on, and the gardeners are propagating aloes.

Our resident leopards have still been passing through camp, creating unique viewing opportunities, and keeping the nyala herd on their toes.

The Tumbela males have settled with the Othawa pride and have been spending a lot of time close to camp. As the males settled, they have now been vocalizing every night in an attempt to maintain their new territory. Magical evenings around the fire with lions roaring in the background have become a regular dinner treat at Inyati.

Bush beat…….

The Othawa pride has managed to maintain their little pride, all the cubs are doing well and growing strong.

The pride brought down a buffalo in the Sand river, it seems the new males have been assisting the pride in brining down larger prey like the formidable Cape buffalo. The days of leisure are numbered for the old buffalo bulls along the Sand river.

Tumbela male lion

The Tumbela males certainly have lion hearts, or they seem to bite off way more than they can chew.

Two of the males were spotted from the lodge at early morning tea, and tea was cut short! We rushed out to see the two boys at sunrise. On arrival it was evident that there had been a scuffle at the pan north of the lodge, and a drag mark led into the pan. The two males had attempted to pull down a young hippo bull!

The visibly upset hippo bull was still in the pan keeping a lazy eye on the two lions. We sat with the lions enjoying the warm sunrise when the hippo lost his nerve and tried to make a run for the safety of the river. The one male was on the hippo like a flash, but then pure physics failed the lion. The two-ton beast had built up a head of steam and was now hurtling toward the river, downhill. The lion held on to the hippo’s substantial rump and bit his tail like a poor rider tugging at reins.

 The lion certainly inflicted some damage but was dragged across the Sand rivers banks and was forced to “jump ship” as the hippo hit the water.

The hippo was left with a pain in the butt and the lion with a dent in the ego and a lesson in perspective.

Two new male lions have been visiting the north, they ventured into the Sabi Sand all the way from the Matimanthle area in the Kruger National Park.

These males could have posed a serious threat to the Othawa cubs if the Tumbelas were unable to fend them off. We found one of the Nwalungu males visibly shaken after following his tracks running in from the east. Our eastern neighbor confirmed that one male lion had been killed by hyena. His traumatized brother ran into the lodge area the following morning and has been keeping his head down since. This probably means the end of the road for the Nwalungu as one male taking over a territory is unlikely.

Tlangisa and cub

Tlangisa has been able to keep her cubs alive even though they had another close shave. She was with her cubs on an impala kill when one of the lioness’ from the Tsalala pride arrived. The cubs scampered up a tree together and the mother was isolated in another tree nearby. Patience often equates to survival in the wild and the little cubs passed this trial with flying colours. The cubs simply stayed in the tree with the lioness at the base staring up at them. It took a full day for the lioness to lose interest and move off.

 Tlangisa waited for the lioness to move out of sight, called the cubs down and marched them straight to the safety of their rocky den site.

The cubs are still developing integral survival skills and nerves of steel.

Species feature……

You may well have noticed that we never post updates of rhino sightings on social media, and we discourage guests from posting any rhino images they may get during a safari at Inyati. This policy is unfortunately necessary to ensure the safety of the rhino population within the Sabi Sand and Greater Kruger National Park.

 In China, unfounded beliefs that the horn can cure cancer and increase virility have driven the monetary value of rhino horn to astronomical values. This has created a very intricate criminal network to poach and traffic rhino horn from Africa to China. In short, the African rhino population is under massive threat of extinction in the wild as a result.

Inyati and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin are proud to be part of one the most effective anti-poaching operations on the planet. This is not only due to the incredible work of the men and women on the ground, but also to every single guest that visits the reserve. Inyati and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin channels revenue from guests straight to the anti-poaching operation. The anti-poaching effort uses the lion’s share of the reserves budget to keep our rhino, and all animals in the reserve safe.

Every visitor to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin hence makes a huge contribution in the fight against rhino poaching by visiting Inyati and our neighbors.

Veterinary intervention is usually very limited in the reserve and we only “lend a hand” if an animal is injured because of humans or human infrastructure. But in the case of rhino, we do whatever we can to ensure we do not lose a single animal.

Two large rhino bulls had a territorial battle earlier this month. One bull sustained some injuries to his front and hind legs in the fight and rangers were asked to monitor the animal and report back on his movements and injuries. A while after the fight it looked like the wound had turned septic and it was for a vet to intervene.

As you can imagine, treating a wild rhino bull comes with many challenges. One must find the animal, dart it with a sedative to immobilize it, get a team in quick to monitor vitals and start the work needed in as short a time as possible to minimize stress, then get the team out safely, administer a reversal drug and monitor the animal’s recovery. Simple.

With a team of dedicated guides, rangers, security personnel and a fantastic vet this mammoth task was done without any hiccups.

We were glad to hear that the animal is healing well and should make a full recovery, hopefully not to fight another day.

We would like to thank each and every visitor to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and Inyati Game Lodge for making these conservation and Anti-poaching efforts possible.

Hope to see you soon!

Keith and the Inyati team

Safari greetings…… 

The mid-winter chill has reached the lowveld and we have experienced low temperatures in the early mornings. The temperature had dipped as low as four degrees Celsius this season, still not nearly as chilly as the Highveld or the escarpment but some of the hardiest of rangers sported trousers on early morning drives.

On evening drives guests often notice a drop in temperature as we drop into the drainage lines and rivers. This is simply air cooling down, and becoming more dense, heavy, and settling in lower lying areas as temperatures drop after sunset, this air flow is referred to as Katabatic flow or Katabatic winds.

The opposite happens after sunrise.  At dawn the sun brings some welcome heat after a chilly evening, and as the air heats up it creates a mini low-pressure system that draws the dense cool air up from the low-lying areas. As this happens moisture is also “dragged” up and condensation takes place to the extend that bands of mist rise from the lower lying areas making these Anabatic flows visible as waves of mist slowly sweeping up from drainage lines.

These misty waves light up as the first golden rays hit them after sunrise making for a spectacular dawn.  

Bush beat…….

The Othawa lions have done very well, and the six new cubs are thriving. The pride managed to bring down a giraffe that provided a fantastic meal for the adults and cubs alike.

The Tumbela males joined the feast, and the new kings spent some quality time with their new offspring. The Big male showed his soft side as he accepted his little daughters climbing on him and using his tail as a chew toy.

Our Leopard Queen, Tlangisa has done a phenomenal job with her two new cubs. The little cubs have grown from waddling balls of fluff to miniature leopards that are able to scale trees and even digest meat.

Tlangisa introduced them to their staple diet by supplying steenbok and impala kills this month. This extra boost of nutrients combined with moms milk has seen the two little cubs grow from strength to strength.

The little family did have a close shave though. One morning early in June we followed Tlangisa into a rocky outcrop she was using as a den for the cubs. One could see she was determined as she took no time to call the cubs form their rocky haven with soft grunting contact calls. To our delight the cubs answered with their bird-like squeals form within the outcrop and an enthusiastic greeting and grooming session followed.

Tlangisa, being the fantastic mother she is, first allowed the cubs to suckle for a while to top up their energy reserves. She the then stood up and marched out of the den site. The little cubs followed her cue, instinctively interpreting the mothers body language without any questions asked. Tlangisa blazed a trail to the west with two extremely excited cubs in tow, one could see the anticipation in their demeanour as they confidently trailed mom.

Tlangisa took them into a thick grassland, and we lost site of them as we viewed from a distance, a few minutes after they did not emerge from the thicket, we went in to investigate. Our suspicions were confirmed, Tlangisa had managed to bring down an adult Impala ram that she had stashed in the grass. There were no suitable trees to hoist the kill into, so she took the gamble of stashing the kill in a ticket on the ground.

After all her effort she unselfishly allowed the cubs to feed first, also a learning experience as they discovered how to open a carcass by targeting the areas where skin is thin enough break.

Tlangisa then emerged from the thicket. Every muscle was bristling as she anticipated approaching danger, her acute senses alerted her to another predator in the area and she used her sense of smell and the breeze to determine the direction of the approaching danger. The cubs again reacting to mother’s body language scuttled off deeper into the thicket, a few seconds later the leopards’ nemesis arrived. Three spotted hyenas stormed in and luckily focused on the free meal. They ripped into the carcass with far less finesse than the leopards and tore it in half. Tlangisa stayed for a few minutes hoping to salvage some of the carnage, but to no avail. Once the hyena settled, we left the area as extra noises and scents could be detrimental the cubs ability to avoid Hyenas.

Elation quickly turned to concern as we left the area.

For three days there was no sign of Tlangisa and our concern grew every day. On day four we found tracks of the mother heading into a favourite drainage line of hers. With many thickets, outcrops, and a maze of gully’s it provided a perfect refuge for cubs. We had decided that Tlangisa had entered an area that is inaccessible and once again accepted defeat. At this stage, an avid photographer in the vehicle decided to take a time laps and just enjoy the late afternoon sounds. A few minutes into the time laps Tlangisa emerged from the east walked straight past the vehicle and dropped into the drainage line. Once again, we heard her characteristic calls, answered by a chirp. To our utter delight two cubs emerged from the drainage line with Tlangisa, unscathed. They faced many dangerous trials but have emerged wiser and more equipped to survive this wild Eden.

Species feature……

Temmincks Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)

The extremely illusive creature is so rarely encountered in the wild that it has an almost mythical reputation. Very few people are lucky enough to lay eyes on a Pangolin  in the wild. This scaly little mammal moves about on its back legs scouring the ground for ants and at times some termites. If startled it will roll itself into an impenetrable ball of armoured keratinous scales, but if one sits very quietly to gain its trust it will unravel and happily feed whilst being followed.

The Temmincks Ground Pangolin is one of four species that occur in Africa, and the only species that occurs in Southern Africa and at Inyati. They are entirely terrestrial and nocturnal and will take shelter in burrows during daylight hours. The Pangolin is not only rare, but also difficult to spot as it moves low to the ground and in this grassy environment cuts its way through the grassy cover and hardly ever exposes itself. As a result, most Pangolin sightings are on night drives at the end of the dry season when cover is sparse.

Pangolins do not dig their own burrows but make use of abandoned aardvark and warthog burrows. These burrows serve as sleeping quarters in daylight hours and safe havens for little ones. One “pup” will be born after a gestation of approximately 140 days. The mother will keep the pup in the burrow at first and move it from time to time. A few incredibly lucky individuals have found females giving their pups “piggyback” rides between burrows. The little Pangolin is believed to stay on mother’s territory for about a year before venturing out becoming sexually mature at 4-5 years.

Pangolin numbers in Africa are decreasing at an alarmin rate, all the species are on the red list and our Temmincks ground Pangolins are listed as Vulnerable. Unfortunately, Pangolins are one of the most trafficked species of wildlife in the world with conservative estimates being 10 000 pangolins being trafficked every year. Pangolin scales are used as an ingredient in Traditional Asian Medicine fuelling the illegal trade of these slow breeding species. In Africa Pangolin scales are also sought after but the value is not enough to drive huge local trade. In central Africa an estimated 400 000 pangolin are hunted for meat and scales.

There is certainly a silver lining to the cloud though. Many areas in Africa are well protected, and dedicated Conservationists and Anti-poaching operations keep the wilderness free of greed driven poachers. Inyati is situated within one of the best protected areas in Africa and our Pangolins and much larger neighbours are in a safe haven.   

Inyati Game Lodge is excited to announce the launch of our updated website www.inyati.co.za. The new site has a fresh new look and was designed with your safari needs in mind. 

Hope to see you soon!

Keith and the Inyati team

Updates from isolation

Each day on safari brings a new experience.
Each day on safari brings a new experience.

The year 2020 is a year that will never be and should never be forgotten. There are many negative memories of the year, but one would be foolish to ignore the positive lessons that it taught us.

Firstly, we have learnt to love our guests more than ever!

Not having people to share this wonderful environment with has been challenging for all. For months we yearned for the emotions that guest share whilst on game drive at Inyati. The mixed bag of fear and awe of the first Elephant sighting, the amazement of looking up at a towering Giraffe and the surprise of sitting next to a massive male Leopard without even changing his behavior.

We also missed the “evolution” of our guests. The initial reaction in a sighting tends to be confused excitement and grappling with a camera to get the shot before the animal slinks away. Then the realization that most of our animals are happy to stick around, and at times seem to ‘pose’ for that once in a lifetime shot. Slowly but surely the guests emerge themselves into the environment and the bushveld and city clocks start syncing. A calmness that only the bushveld can provide washes over and the frantic pointing, grabbing, and shuffling make room for calm observant viewing. Many guests start noticing behavior and the questions become more challenging, the birds perched on the Rhino become a talking point, trees, flowers and even grasses are noticed and an entire new world that the majestic “Big 5” live in is revealed.

Some guests return to follow their favourite cat and become an extended part of the Inyati family, we dearly missed the connoisseurs.

We also missed the more lighthearted questions that previously may have stirred an internal sigh in the most patient guides. We are happy to stop and look at the sixth lilac breasted roller as the bright aqua blue flash catches every guest’s eye. No longer will we think “ABR”, another bloody roller.

We are happy to clarify that the half-eaten impala hoisted in a Maroela tree is in fact dead.

We enjoy explaining that all the trees you see have been here for hundreds of years and, unlike Central Park, the Kruger Park was not planted but is an actual time capsule.

We missed every single guest, and we now have a new appreciation for the lifeblood that kept the lodges and in turn  conservation efforts afloat, and we are ready with open arms to welcome you all back!

We have learnt to appreciate the little things. The impala grazing on the lawn, a sunset on the river and the crisp starlit winter skies. When you have time you stop and notice many of the small beauties that enhance this magical place even more.

We decided to use this time to be productive. Tending to the run of the mill kind of maintenance like repairing roads and painting decks and gardening. But one very unusual opportunity presented itself during the lockdown.

Herds of Impala settled in camp, the Inyala settled as well and shy Bushbuck made the pool their home. Due to the camp being quiet no man-made noises and smells overwhelmed their acute senses and these animals never left camp.

The predators that have always passed through camp now settled inside the lodge for longer, keeping an eye on potential prey, not being disturbed by vigilant tourists and clicking cameras.

A few leopards started using the buildings and veranda to stalk and catch prey and the Guides that stayed in camp for lockdown got some amazing footage and images.

This was noticed by well-known naturalist and film maker Russel Mac Laughlin and culminated in Inyati featuring in the BBC documentary The Year the Earth Changed, narrated by David Attenborough.

The cameramen and guides spent almost a month filming leopard only inside Inyati camp and the sequence of footage collected is breath taking, as is the rest of the Documentary that aired in April 2021 on Apple TV .

The last rainy season produced some fantastic rain that lasted late into the season and as a result the rivers are flowing, and the bush is still lush and even green in places.

Winter has started a bit later than usual with temperatures only dropping significantly late in May. Crisp dry winter evenings have been great for stargazing and winding down around a log fire.

As a result of the good rains our watering holes are full, and the lush vegetation and grass has attracted numerous browser and grazers to Inyati. A dazzle of Zebra has settled at the pan in front of camp and a journey of Giraffe have made treehouse pan their home.

Large herds of elephant have returned to the river, making full use of the riparian vegetation and the cool waters of the Sand river.

Three new male lions arrived from the north during lockdown. We first noticed their tracks, but they managed to avoid us for almost a month before our first sighting. We named them the Tumbela (to hide) males as a result.

These young guns took no time to take over the Othawa pride and the Old Matimba male was driven off. The young males in the pride broke away out of fear of the Tumbelas and unfortunately their sister followed. For now they are known as ‘the break-away’ but have settled in the south.

Two of the older Lionesses have had cubs. The younger Lioness has had three cubs which we have had brief glimpses of as they are only about three months old and not yet used to the vehicles. We have not yet seen the older females’ cubs as they are still hidden in the den.

The Mungen pride still visits the area, but sadly the Othawa male was killed when he decided to venture too far east and was cornered by a powerful coalition of males called the Birmingham males. The old Birminghams unfortunately killed the Othawa male leaving the Mungen pride without a patriarch for now.

The Leopard dynamics at Inyati has been fluid and fascinating. As the lodge is situated in the highest leopard population on the planet, huge competition and smaller territories are inevitable.

During lockdown we counted no less than seven different male leopards at various times in camp, as well as our resident females. Luckily, Ravenscourt and Nyeleti made short work of some of the young nomads and the dynamics, in camp at least, settled down.

 An over population of male leopards makes it difficult for females to raise their cubs as males that have not mated with females will kill cubs if they find them. Females cleverly confuse paternity by mating with all the males in their territory, and even expanding their territory when they are in estrus, and in so doing, also mating with neighboring males. It is also presumed that females can give birth to litters with multiple fathers further confusing males.

Unfortunately, this intricate process of confusing paternity did not work for Tlangisa, Basile or Khokovela of late. Tlangisa lost a litter in the north, we presume to the male, Euphorbia.  We did see Tlangisa mate with Ravenscourt and saw Ravenscourt with the cub that he had accepted. Sadly, Euphorbia took over the north at the time and we presume he killed the cub when Tlangisa moved it north.

Khokovela has her territory wedged between Ravenscourt and Nyeleti, unfortunately she has had little success with cubs as a result.

Ravenscourt again killed Basiles’ cubs, well within his territory. This is very confusing and unfortunate.

Tlangisa has once again proven herself as the leopard queen of the Western Sabi Sand. She has moved back to her northern domain and settled her territory well within Euphorbias. Euphorbia has proven himself as a formidable male that manages to keep his neighbors at bay. Tlangisa and Euphorbia have mated, and they now have a litter of two in the north west. The two little cubs are now three months old and thriving.

 Let us hope they survive in this challenging environment.

Emerging from lockdown

As we adjust to the world opening post the severe Covid lockdowns, we are delighted to tell you that the lodge is open and ready to receive guests. During the lockdown the lodge, in accordance with WHO guidelines and with the assistance of our onsite medical partner Africa Safe-T, tried and tested Covid 19 protocols to ensure our guests have a safe and carefree stay at Inyati.

Hand sanitizing stations have been placed at every entrance to public areas, a rigid sanitation regime has been implemented and all the staff have been trained and are practicing the protocols today.

Even safari vehicles are sanitized before, and after, every drive and guest are offered hand sanitizer at each stop.

We are fortunate to have roomy open air dining facilities that make social distancing and safety a breeze.

In short, we are ready and waiting and for our repeat guests to return and for new guests to come explore the splendor of the African bush. Hope to see you soon!

Make memories that last a lifetime!


Make memories that last a lifetime!

Inyati Game Lodge Earns 2018 TripAdvisor® Certificate Of Excellence

2018_HOF_Logos_Green-bkg_translations_en-US-UKINYATI GAME LODGE EARNS 2018 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

SABI SAND RESERVE, MPUMALANGA – Thursday, 24 May 2018– Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand reserve today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its eighth year, the achievement celebrates businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s guests. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

 “TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2018 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honour businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travellers identify and confidently book the perfect trip.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

-Ends-

INY Clear LogoSet on the lush banks of the Sand River, Inyati Game Lodge offers the ultimate safari experience combining diverse wildlife with authentic African hospitality. From the warm welcome you receive upon arrival, to our comfortable chalets, hearty home style cuisine and highly experienced guides, every guest departs with unforgettable memories and the imprint of Africa in their soul.

http://www.inyati.co.za email: res@inyati.co.za reservations telephone: +27 11 486 2027

 

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With over 600 million reviews and opinions covering the world’s largest selection of worldwide travel listings – approximately 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, attractions and restaurants – TripAdvisor provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 455 million average monthly unique visitors**, all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.

* Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, November 2017

** Source: TripAdvisor log files, average monthly unique visitors, Q3 2017

 

 

November 2015

Roger one of the Inyati Trackers sharing the shade of a Sjambok pod with Khokovela.

With barely a sprinkle of rain this last month the animals are starting to feel the pinch. Grazing especially is hard, with the pathfinding females of the giant buffalo herds having to really on all their experience to lead their charges to the grass that remains, or two the grass responding to the light intensities turns green in anticipation of rain that never seems to come.Ellies at Sand River show of their new calvesImpala herd Zebra herdMatriarchal elephants lead their families to the river and often three or four herds can be seen munching away on the Phragmites reeds, the newly established sedge grasses and other pioneer species. These plants are taking advantage the newly emerging islands in the river, and as such there are swathes of green all along the river. A mighty elephant bull at Inyati Game LodgeThe crusty old dagga boys are so plentiful along the river, might as well open up a golf course for them.Buffalo herd

Monkey businessThe impalas have started lambing and it is open season for the carnivores. The wild dogs take at least three or four lambs every drive, the strategy is always the same at sunrise and sunset, the adults get up, play with the youngsters a bit and head off all in one direction and spread out. The first animal they see the chase it down and rip it apart in a few minutes, this whole process may only last 15 minutes or so as they are such efficient hunters. All you have to do is hope you are in the right place at the right time. The adults then return to the pups and regurgitate a portion of their meal for the pups. As such the dogs are always full and the pups are growing quickly as they have too; as it is a tough life to be a Painted Wolf.Wild dog posing on the rock.

Wild Dogs playingNot to be out done the leopards are working day and night to keep up with the tally of the dogs. Tlangisa has had cubs but we haven’t found them yet, so she has a few mouths to feed.

Tlangisa taking down Impala lambXhikavi’s little boy is still doing very well, he is still quite shy and takes a while to calm down to his mother’s level. He is ticking all the growth boxes though as she is a terrific hunter.

Dewane - Copy

Magnificent Dewane leopard

Dewane is constantly putting pressure on his neighbors and as such we see him in the north a lot. Torchwood is often seen killing warthogs in the south and Schotia is steadily sailing her ship into her future. The magnificent Dewane male staring at the hyenas — at Inyati Game Lodge.Basile and Khokovela are giving cameos in the north and seem to be embracing their newfound freedom with the grace we have come to expect from Tlangisa.

Basile leopard

Basile (Tlangisa’s adult cub) Her name means the light one and is situated just North of the camp.

Majingilane male lions on a buffalo carcassThe bush is really dry and the river looks like it might run dry this year. So please pray for rain.Water thick-knee, Water dikkop (Burhinus vermiculatus)

 

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

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Khimbini, Keith and MatthewWe have had an unusually dry start to spring and summer

October 2013 Safari Journal

OctoberThe weather: We have had an amazing Nhlangula / October at Inyati. The comfortable September weather is a distant memory and is replaced by the hot, dry days that give October its reputation as the warmest month of the year. We have experienced quite a few warm days with temperatures reaching highs of 44° c. With the heat we had a few sensational afternoon thunder showers which have caused the trees to burst into bloom.

Wildlife: The month of October often brings about change in the African wilderness – Inyati, Sabi Sand game reserve has been no exception. Game viewing has been astonishing. The predators have been all out and entertaining and general game has been excellent , with congregations of giraffe, buffalo, impala, kudus, wildebeests and waterbuck around the reserve.

 Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Dayone male

Dayone leopardIt’s a privilege to be able to watch these animals grow. This male is in great condition and really looking magnificent. He still walks all day covering great distances marking and patrolling his massive territory. He was also seen mating with Hlabankunzi female for few days during the month of this report.

Dayone maleHlabankunzi and cub

Dayone maleThis great mother leopard very seldom interacts with the cub now. She still takes her to the kills she makes every now and then but doesn’t stay there with her. She killed an impala one morning, hoisted it in a tree just off our airstrip and a male lion walked past only about 200 hundred metres away without seeing or smelling the kill.

Xikhavi female

Xikhavi femaleFinally! We get the first glimpse of Xikhavi’s cubs on drive this month. The cubs are very relaxed even approached close to the vehicles; mum did keep them in line and close to the den site. She constantly had to carry these little cubbies back in the den where as they were happy to explore the world.

(Thanks to Mr Frank Maroschek, our long time regular guest for this wonderful picture)

 Tlangisa f emale

This beautiful young leopard  have been scarce of recent month, a few times this month she did however came out of the thick vegetated north-western corner of the reserve but she still refuses to show us her cub or cubs. Tlangisa female

Tlangisa female with EllieLion (Panthera leo)

We have been spoilt with many sightings of the two of our resident pride of lions; they have been found frequently. They have been successful with hunting and our guests have been very lucky to see these lions hunting and feeding on a couple of occasions.

Selati Coalition

Sadly the formidable four – Selati male coalition – known for defeating the Magogo coalition is now down to three. One of the males has passed on after battling for over eight months from the internal damage caused by a buffalo hitting him. He was found dead east of our boundaries, we are not sure how he died but there is a theory that he was finished off by another buffalo.Selati male RIP

Othawa pride

This pride continues to thrive, they have been extremely successful in their hunts and the cubs are growing by day. One of the lionesses was mating again this time she was with the large of the Selati males.

Othawa prideThe lionesses lost few of their kills to the selati male, which we followed hunting on one afternoon. They caught a young male nyala before they could tuck in and eat their kill the dominant selati male was there to claim it.

Othawa eatingOn another occasion Othawa pride had some luck again. The pride was lazing on the banks of the sand river when the wild dogs caught a nyala ewe within earshot. The lions were off in an instant and quickly chased the dogs off the Nyala that was still kicking.
A battle then broke out between the lionesses…. The tug of war lasted into the night. There was a lot of fighting but hardly any eating. These loud growls did not go unnoticed… the Selati male come running into the scene for some share of the carcass, he took no time to steal the kill from the lioness. He was able to keep his two brothers at bay as well. When we left he was still finishing off his spoils. Othawa killOthawa kill 2Othawa kill 3

Ximhungwe pride

We didn’t see much of this pride this month as they spent most of the time to the South and East, but all three females and the six cubs are doing well and are still making regular kills. Every dog has its day! We watched the pride hunting they and they had an amazing opportunity to pull down a wildebeest. As the image depicts the lionesses were on top of the herd before they could sprint off. The wildebeest that was about to have its rump slapped managed kicked the lioness under the jaw and actually stunned the cat long enough to escape.

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride2Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Large breeding herds, bachelor herds and some single bull elephants are a common sighting along and around the sand river. We have enjoyed numerous herds of these gentle beasts and their young ones continuously parading through camp and along the sand river. There are few new add ons to the herd at the moment.  It’s very exciting to see these cute little guys run behind their protective mothers. ElephantCape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The big herds are still visiting the area and bachelor groups were seen all around the property and in the lodge area enjoying the thicker green grass.  Some new big herds of buffalo,  ranging between two hundred and five hundred animals were found along various plains and the river. The lions have been taking advantage of the situation sneaking in catching unsuspecting young and old individuals.Cape buffalo More than the big five…..

Two crocodiles were found fighting close to camp. We suspect it might be a male chasing off an inquisitive intruder from a nest site. A smaller individual that we presume is the female was constantly hovering close to the battle whilst her man had the intruder clasped in his jaws. CrocodylinaeAn ostrich gave us a surprise visit, very exciting! This was one of the only two sightings we had in over 10 years in the western sector of Sabi Sand game reserve. (Thanks to Mr Frank Maroschek, our long time regular guest for this wonderful picture)Struthio camelus

In and around camp

The Camp has also been wonderfully productive, with a steady supply of elephants moving through to drink and play in the river.  Amongst few other animals that visit the lodge was the mother leopard, Xikhavi hunting impala in front of the lodge.

Xikhavi leopard

Xikhavi leopard hunting impala in front of the lodge.

 

 

 

 

September 2013 Safari Journal

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

Inyati cheetah

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

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caf Leopard (Panthera pardus)

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

Dayone male

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

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

We are not amusedTai dam male

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

Tai dam male leopard

Xikhavi female

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

Xikhavi female leopard

 Torchwood male

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

Lion (Panthera leo)

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

Selati Coalition and Othawa pride

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

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

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

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

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

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

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

Inyati cheetah

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

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

 Giraffe babyIn and around camp

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

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

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