Tag Archives: Cheetah

Mawuwani : July 2012 Wildlife Journal

Dayone maleIn July, we experienced typical lowveld (Mpumalanga) winter conditions. The mornings and evenings were chilly, averaging around 5° Celsius and then warming up to 30° Celsius by midday. The ‘bush babies’ or hot water bottles have remained popular with guests clutching onto them during the cold mornings. One of the highlights for the winter months is the amazing night skies experienced on most evenings. The crisp, clear and dark nights were dotted with stars, planets, galaxies, meteors, satellites and the moon – it truly was beautiful! The month has brought excellent game viewing with the colder temperatures and the bush thinning out. The predators have been active longer into the day and we have had some fantastic sightings.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Whilst elephants may have been the most frequently encountered animals over the last few weeks, they have not had a monopoly on magic moments at Inyati. Every area has its special animal, the creature that seems to symbolise a place, to embody its spirit and distinguish it from every other corner of Africa and ours is the beautiful leopard. It’s truly a privilege to have these animals allowing us into their lives.

Dayone male

He is now well established in this prime territory enriched by few female leopards, for most of the month he was kept busy by Dam3 and Shangwa female. We witness mating with Dam3 for about 4 days and about a week after he was mating with Shangwa female again. Just like last month it took a lots persistence and experience for the elderly female to convince him to commit into mating activities.

We found on one afternoon on the bank of Sand River, he was very angry there were clear signs of another male in the area. We even heard some growling by the other cat by never got to see him. Tsutsuma

We think it was the huge yet skittish male becoming known as Tsutsuma (Shangaan word meaning: run) Note on the picture of Dayone salivating, one of the signs of a furious cat.

Hlabankunzi female

Hlabankunzi dominated our Facebook posts during the months of this report but with her spending time in around the lodge were being spoilt with the viewing in the early morning light. On one afternoon we left her hunting impalas in the lodge and the next morning we leant that she killed an impala ewe between the lodge and staff village, making going to work rather interesting for our staff. She hoisted the carcass on the nearby tree which she kept and guarded for five days guarantee us a leopard sighting every drive.

Hlabankunzi in tree

Few days after she finished the kill, she was seen in a different area chased up a tree by one of the Selati males, she won the patience game and he left her unscathed.

Hlabankunzi as seen resting in the jackal berry tree on with an impala kill; a hopeful hyena lurking nearby.

Shangwa and cub

Shangwa and cub

The Shangwa females wound is healing well and she is back to her old habits. Making a bit of a cougar of herself by mating with the young Dayone male.

The Tie dam male (Shangwa young male) was on form, terrorising mice, and even stalking a small crocodile at Tie dam.

The leopard lost his nerve when the croc melted into the water.

Ndevane male and Dam3 female

Ndevane male and Dam3 female

These two shy and skittish individual were seen few times this month. Ndevane is slowly becoming more habituated to vehicles, tolerating our presence a little more each time we see him. After mating with Dayone the Dam3 female was seen mating again this time with Ndlevane male, she had impala carcass hoisted in a tree and had to eat during the 15 minutes breaks between every copulation, while eating she showed concern about the elderly male sneaking away.

A new young male leopard was seen trapped between a larger and older leopard, Ndlevane male in the same tree as him and the Ximhungwe pride of lions at the base of the tree. Talk about a rock and a hard place. We presume the older male stole the kill from the young male and the scuffle attracted the attention of the lions.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

A surprising and extremely exciting sighting for us this month was the first cheetah seen in the traversing area for almost six months. George and Solly noticed a giraffe staring intensely at one spot. Wondering what it was that had so captivated the animal, they decided to investigate and found it looking directly at a cheetah. The high concentration of lion here over the last few years has excluded the far less competitive cheetah. He had killed a bushbuck lamb, but there were three Ottawa females and one Selati male close to the area, he is in for a long night. Unfortunately, we have not seen him since.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati coalition

Selati coalitionFor almost the whole month these male we preoccupied by the mating with tree lionesses of Ximhungwe pride and feeding on a hippo carcass that died at Xikwenga dam. The buffaloes and the Ximhungwe sub-adult even got a little break from these males chasing them around. The cubs are growing fast hopeful they will grow to the age and size where the Selati male will accept them as sub-adult and not kill them.

SelatiThese males have become so comfortable in their territories they are roaring almost every night and are very seldom seen together.

Ottawa pride

The three lionesses of this pride was seen on few occasions hunting up and down along the river possible looking for bushbucks, nyalas and kudus that prefer these kind of habitat. Ottawa prideAll tree Ottawa lionesses look pregnant, we are impatiently waiting for the next generation, the first cubs of Selati males.

Ottawa femaleXimhungwe pride

The lionesses are trying very hard to keep the cubs away from the Selati male, keep them alive. We seen them their strategy from running and hunting to engage entertaining and mate. The one lioness, Queen is left to baby sit and feed the three remaining cubs, hunting without the help of the three sisters (who are busy entertaining the Selati males) have proven little difficult especially because she been limping for a while now but she is managing so far.Ximhungwe

It was much to our relief that the lioness and the 3 sub adults made a kill on one morning. We found them with bulging bellies and still bloodied. The Lioness had fed a bit but had clearly left the lions share to the youngsters. Hope beyond hope, as the Selati males still search for the last of the Mapogo’s cubs. The sad news this month is the lioness that had new litter lost all her cubs, we only got to see one cubs, we saw her carrying this cub to a wildebeest kill and the next day it was dead we are not sure what happened to it.Ximhungwe pride

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)We are seeing many elephants around Inyati Lodge at the moment, mainly to the southern and western part of the reserve.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)Breeding herds are commonly seen and at times, lone bulls are found around the camp. They tend to move through camp towards the western section of the reserve and then return (again through camp) towards the eastern section again following the Sand river, leaving evidence of their visit around camp, with broken branches and large piles of dung in the pathways and large, deep footprints in the mud.

One of the youngsters become very inquisitive he came closer and closer with his truck up in sniffing the air he was determent to find what we were all about.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)The large buffalo herds were scarce for the first half of the month, but were seen daily during the second half of the month. It’s always exciting such large group of animal run to be first at waterhole before the water is stirred into mud by the fellow bovines.

More than the big five…..

We have been really spoilt with lots of hyena sightings this month. We are noticing a growing numbers of hyenas in our section of the reserve, often wrongly referred as just scavengers these adaptable predators do hunt efficiently in areas where they need to. On none morning we witness a clan of 6 hyenas hunt impalas successfully from the start to finish.

hyenaAnother exciting animal seen around Inyati game lodge this month is serval an elusive and beautiful cat which is active mainly from dusk until dawn.serval

lilac-breasted rollerWe have had great birding this month. The lilac-breasted roller has decided to show off its brilliantly coloured feathers as he flew down to catch a grasshopper. Guides have also reported good raptor sightings: a pair of nesting bateleurs, good sightings of the majestic martial eagle, a pair of african hawk-eagles and few sightings of tawny eagles.

In and around camp

Game viewing along the river and around camp has been amazing. Herds of elephant and giraffes are seen as a daily occurrence.

The area is full of elephant, and most water courses are bursting with hippo and crocodile.

Herds of elephant

A few snakes have started to reappear after a cold winter and we witnessed a grey-headed bush shrike attacking a large vine snake. It was interesting to notice how the bird try to destroy the snake’s eye first before kill it.a large vine snake

The resident troop of vevet monkeys constantly visits us at the camp; they are always entertaining, giving us superb close up views.

vevet monkeys

It’s been yet another amazing month here at Inyati, and we hope you’ll come here soon to share in it all…

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Wildlife Journal July 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

Inyati Game Lodge continues to surprise and tantalise us. Situated in arguably one of the best game viewing areas in the Africa, it’s a delight of being part of a park of about 22 OOO km² or approx. 2.2 million ha. There is no doubt that we have an incredible variety of animals and birds in the area, both nocturnal and diurnal. The leopards, hyenas and lion calls that ring so clearly and so close on some nights, and the numerous tracks that await us in the mornings are all testimony to this variety and to a nocturnal world that goes largely unseen. Yes it was very cold this month but every cold morning we had was definitely worth it, animals were all out there.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

LeopardMetsi and cubs, She has been mostly far in the south and west of our traversing area! We have notice that she stays away from her cubs for long time lately some times over two weeks. We think the cubs are already being pushed out by Metsi and will become independent soon. Only one of her cubs has been seen for the last two weeks so we suspect that the other young male, the nervous one has been killed by one of the territorial males, Xhinzele, Babalas or Kashane.

The remaining cub is very relaxed with vehicles we have been seeing on the western boundary possibly to avoid the dominant male leopards are that roam our reserve. Xikhavi female has been seen few time times this month she seems to have moved her territory slightly more west. She was seen mating with Xindzele male. She later killed impala on the afternoon Xindzele male leopard join her filled his belly and then took the carcass up a tree. And the next morning a lioness join them! She chased them off, climbed up the tree and stole the carcass. Hlabankunzi female and Khashane male were chased up two separate trees by the three lionesses from the Ximungwe pride, accompanied by one male of the Mapogo brothers. They spent hours in the trees, staring at lions below. The lions soon lost interest and moved off into the shade, leaving the leopards bare trees.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Inyati Game Lodge

Lion sightings have been great, on one morning we followed up on the noises of lions and buffalo interactions we heard the night before. It was only after a few minutes of followings tracks that we found two male lions (Mapogo) and a lioness from Ximhungwe pride on a buffalo kill. Mapogos are, as always, having some domestic disputes. A quiet afternoon nap at the buffalo carcass erupted into a full on brawl war. The Mapogo are showing signs of a recent battle with a neighbouring coalition. They have deep scratches and bite marks. Three of the Ximungwe lionesses have cubs at present. They range in ages from 2 to 10 months old re

spectively. One of the Ximhungwe lionesses killed an impala and went to collect her two cubs to join her on the feast. The Ottawa pride was seen also this month we watched trying to stalk a very young rhino calf. The calf stuck close to its mother and she protected it and mother rhino charged the pride, they soon lost interest and moved off.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

There were numerous herds of these gentle beasts during the month of this report especially along the Sand River. The river is a great attraction in the winter as most of the water holes are drying up so when animals need to drink we know where to find them. We have been privileged to have number of great sightings from the veranda of the lodge.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large herd entered our traversing area, entertaining us for 3 days. Action packed viewing included mating, play fight and wallowing in Cheetah flat pan. The young adult took advantage of the situation, there were plenty interaction between the young adults and playful calves.

More than the big five…..

Spotted HyenaDen, not so long ago we had wild dogs denning of our property now its hyenas, we have been spoilt here this year with young wildlife.

Spotted Hyena

There seems to be only one female with two 4 month old cubs. Unlike wild dogs all female in a clan will breed but the lower ranking females typically use a den away from the communal den site. Both male and female hyena have very similar sexual organs making it very difficult to tell sex but because there are two cubs and one larger than the other suggest that one is female (larger)and other one male( smaller). If they both male they should be the same size and if two females one would have kill the other before emerging from the den. All members of this little family including the cubs are very relaxed even when the mother is away from the den and we have enjoyed some fantastic viewing of their interaction and curiosity behaviour. We hope she stays around for us to enjoy this interesting animal.

In and around camp

The game viewing from the lodge has been great with sightings of waterbuck, kudu, warthog, impala and giraffes. A journey of 13 Giraffe in front of the lodge at one there were visibly nervous after a male leopard sauntered by a few minutes earlier.

Journey of Giraffe

Wildlife Journal June 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

The last of the rains have 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 waiting in anticipation 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 been enjoyable. Wildlife was on top form, we were well entertained for the whole month of this report.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

We have had some fantastic Leopard sightings again this month. In the last few months there is been numerous male leopard in our area, our dominant male, Xindzele have to be on his toes all the time. The compact sized and handsome male, known as Balabas from the southern Sabi sand is one of Xindzele’s nightmares. Xindzele had couple of territorial standoff with mashiyabanci male who seems to have claimed the vacant territory left by Thekwane north of the Sand River. The standoff lasted for few hours, Xindzele on the southern bank and Mashiyabanci on the northern bank. Xindzele is considerably bigger and more confident than Mashiyabanci he even tried to get across, confrontation may be about to happen soon.

 

 

 

“Curiosity killed the cat”  The ever curious Xindzele almost got trampled when he got too close to a herd of buffalos luckily he only got chased up a tree. He was found later feasting on an Impala kill close to camp.

Lion (Panthera leo)

The three members of the Mapogo coalition, have had a difficult time this month, they have had at least two fights excluding the interaction they had with the Ottawa young males, where the young males were badly wounder and one almost had his spine broken.

Note how alert they become every time the bush moves and look at all the scares on them. A week later after the first fight one of the males, Mr T went to get his face ‘redone’ in another fight.(see claw marks on his face)

Mapogo never cease to amaze me at their age they still managed to bring down a young hippo, it seems the old boys still have it in them.

On one icy morning we headed in search of the Ximhungwe pride and success found three members of lionesses and 2 older cubs they have just killed a waterbuck cow on early hours of the morning on the western boundary.

We are starting to see more of the two new cubs as the mother begin to move den site frequently they are very cute and curious. She almost walked her little cubbies straight into a herd of about 300 buffalo luckily see the buffalos just in time to get the cubs up onto a hill.

We also got to see the southern pride, a pride we very seldom see that consists of 1 adult lioness and 4 sub-adult male they come from south-eastern Sabi sand and we fortunate the killed a buffalo on concession.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

The Sand River has been infested with elephant herds and you can expect to drive into one of these magnificent grey beasts around just about every corner, maybe lucky to watch them play in the water. It’s great to see these astonishing animals spread around our reserve.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Buffalo viewing has been constant in recent months, with a number of small herds of bulls scattered 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 400 buffalo heading towards a waterhole. We had great sighting of these magnificent animals crossing Sand River just upstream from the lodge and we also had great viewing opportunities of the solitary bulls from the lodge.

More than the big five…..

The wild dogs have moved the den site and the pups are very happy with their new home. These little puppies are now relaxed with vehicles around and have become very curious and walked within one meter of the vehicle.

We had some awesome bird sightings this month. Lilac breasted roller hunting insects (note the little bee-eater in front of him)

Lilac breasted roller

In and around camp

It’s dry everywhere in the reserve except the lodge and elephant bulls have been visiting us, pulling down trees. The breeding pair of vultures that often nest in the trees above our lower deck were in and around the lodge this month. Grunting sound of hippos in the sand river is the song we all listen to the whole day long.

Wildlife Journal April 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

At the onset of April it seemed bit cooler than March but did not last long and the temperatures rose quickly. Early morning temperatures have been chilly, down to about 17-20°C but warming up during the day to a pleasant 25-29°C. We have also been having strong blustery winds around midday, Sightings were great, and guests came back with interesting tales from the drive and walking safaris.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

The leopard viewing have been phenomenal again this month, a new young male leopard was seen on our property on numerous occasions. This extremely relaxed male is called Balabas, apparently comes from the south east of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. He is about three and half years old, and relatively young to compete with the males we have on our area so it’s Unlikely that he will stay in the area, he will most likely get chased by larger Xinzele and Khashane males.

We have to mention some sad news that Hlabankunzi’s one remaining sub-adult cub was also killed by the Xinzele male leopard. He had stolen a kill from Hlabankunzi and her cub. The cub was unusually old for a cub to be killed, would have been on few month before it independent. This means that she will come into oestrus and will start mating again hopefully produce a new litter with him as the father. We had already seen her flirting and trying to mate with the Xinzele male. We did follow up the next day and she had followed him down towards the river but then walked into the hippo dam female’s territory, a fight ensued and Hlabankunzi was chased back south to her territory.

Xinzele male leopard killed an impala ram, he fed on four couple of days and he was later join by hippo Dam female. She was tried in vain her to court him but he would have none of it and reacted aggressively towards her, perhaps because he had the kill or she simply was not in full oestrous.

Tlangisa female came upon another leopard’s kill which she dragged it to a tree. The next morning the Mapogo stole the carcass from her. Two of the lion brothers climbed the tree and fought over the carcass before it fell to the ground and the third brother claimed it for himself. Tlangisa moved off and climbed a nearby tree, watching the lions devours her meal and perhaps hoping they might leave some scraps for her.

 Lion (Panthera leo)

Ximungwe Pride is still quite fragmented around the west and we haven’t seen all 5 lionesses together for a very long time. The older lioness with the 8 month old male cubs had killed a huge male kudu by herself providing some good viewing for us, her two male cubs are looking very strong and healthy. The short tail lioness with the 2 four month cubs is also doing well and we have been seeing her regularly. Due to the females being quite disjointed they are vocalising a lot to communicate with each other, impressive to hear from the lodge in the mornings and evenings.

 One of the Mapogo (Mr T) has been mating with one of the females from the Ximungwe pride, the mother of the newest litter, this unfortunately suggest that the cubs are all dead. Two males from the Mapogo coalition, with four females from the Ximungwe pride and both sets of cubs, on a young giraffe kill on the western firebreak. The good news is that Mr T (the male who has killed all the cubs) was at the kill, and seemed to have accepted all the cubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Cheetahs haven’t visited us as frequently as they normally do. This is most likely due to the increasing number of lions we have in our area. However on one morning on our way down to the southern part of the reserve we located Makhamisa, a magnificent specimen of a male cheetah with hanging lip, we spent some time viewing him, he was posing for us classically on top of a termite mound.Elephant (Loxodonta africana)We have had some astounding elephant sighting this month, there are great number of herds with lots of young calves which are always entertaining. We also saw a few of really large bulls around the reserve it’s always great to get an opportunities to view these gentle giants.Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large herd of around 300 – 400 buffalo have been see regularly in the South, spending a lot of time in the open which has offered some amazing viewing. We watched them as they entered the waterhole, and as always, a large number of Red-billed Oxpeckers are close by to feed on the ectoparasites . There are many youngsters in the herd, with some of them only a couple of days old.

 

More than the big five…..

Wild Dogs (Lycaon Pictus) also called: African Wild Dog, African Hunting Dog, Cape Hunting Dog, Painted Dog, Painted Wolf, Painted Hunting Dog.

African Wild Dog,

We are very-very excited! Do you wonder why? Wild dogs are the second most endangered large carnivore in the whole continent of Africa (Simien or Ethiopian wolf being the most endangered) there are less than six thousand of these animals left on planet earth. South Africa’s largest park, the Greater Kruger National Park with size of 2.5 million hectares or 5.6 million acres of natural wilderness accommodate a mere 130 individuals of these very misunderstood extraordinary wolf like creatures . The main contributory factor to the decline in population numbers is persecution by mankind, until recently even within conservation areas. They have not denned on our property for over 13 years and now they have decided to have their pups on our traversing area. We understand how these animal cover massive ranges so to have them on our property is really special.

African Wild Dog

The pack lost a young female recently to a lioness but hopefully they get to raise a few puppies from the new litter. This leaves the two females, Alpha male, older short tail male and two beta male, so only six left. There were 2 females that fell pregnant in the pack, usually it’s just the Alpha female that breeds. And both females have now given birth in two different dens. As you will understand we are extremely sensitive around these animals so the den is closed for another two weeks just to let them settle in their den and to reduce pressure on the pack, after that the sighting will be opened for us to enjoy the new born pups, which is a scene which not many people will be fortunate to see in their life time as these animals may not be on our planet for long. Almost forgot to mention that these animals are intelligent, beautiful, fascinating social behaviour and are the most successful hunters of them all. Yes! You can be fortunate if you come visit us soon. Two weeks will feel like two years for some of us but for now we wait…………

In and around camp

Owing to our location on the bank of sand River, the landscapes around Inyati Lodge are permanently in a state of flux, and this has provided no exception. Xindzele male leopard paid us few visit, entertaining our guests during pre-dinner drinks. Buffalo bulls, nyala, warthog, monkeys and crocodile basking in the sun is one of the regular sightings around the lodge.

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, we are committed to keep you updated.