Tag Archives: Elephant

August Safari Journal2013

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

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

Leopard (Panthera pardus

Dayone Male

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

Dayone male mating

Nyeleti Male

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

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

Hlabankunzi and Cub

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

Xikhavi Female

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

Tlangisa Female

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

Lion (Panthera leo)

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

Selati Coalition

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

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

Othawa Pride

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

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

Ximhungwe Pride

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

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

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

More than the big five…..

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

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

In And Around Camp

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

Giraffe 1

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

Khotavuxika / June 2013 Safari Journal

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.

N’wendzamhala – December 2012 Wildlife Journal

The weather: Nwendzamhala is Shangaan word for December it translates to “the visits of impalas”.  During this month life seems to explode in this part of the world. We have had a good amount of rainfall, interspersed with sunny days, creating that characteristically crisp, clear air that adds an edge of brightness to our world. The bush is infused with the wonderful aroma of the earth stirred to life by rain – a scent that is impossible to describe, yet so evocative of Africa in the rainy season.

Wildlife: The rains have given life to the landscape and the earth and wildlife react to this change with unparalleled vigour. Where the ground was once dusty and bare, rampant green growth bursts from the ground. Fireball lilies add firecrackers of colour to the landscape, other flowers open themselves to the sun, and of course, the antelope drop their young in multitudes, creating a bounty for predators large and small.Lion (Panthera leo)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Dayone male

Dayone maleThe interesting duel between the Dayone and Nyeleti male leopards has continued with the younger Nyeleti male still fancying his chances against the recovering Deyone male. At the beginning of the month the young Nyeleti even managed to take over Dayone’s impala kill. But then the tables have turned, Dayone have bounced back to life his injuries are healing quickly and he has been able to keep the young interloper at bay.

Hlabankunzi and Metsi female

Leopard - Metsi female & cubWe saw had only a couple of sighting of Metsi female and cub as she kept him/her well hidden. Hlabankunzi on the other hand have been seen regularly, the cub had become very relax with vehicles around.   She has been extremely successful on hunting.

Leopard - Hlabankunzi and Metsi female

One evening, while we were following her as she walked down the sandy track, she stopped and listened. We switched off the vehicle so that we could maybe hear what she had picked up. It was silent except for some frog and crickets chirping nearby. What had she heard? We ask ourselves. She continued walking into the bush and we lost sight of her. We waited patiently for her to reappear. Suddenly a single bleat, then another muffled sound. We drove around and found the leopard with an impala fawn firmly clamped in her powerful jaws. With her excellent hearing and eyesight, she had homed in on some hapless impala. And the next morning she caught a young warthog, unfortunately she lost both kills to Khashane male leopard who walked in, took over the carcasses and threatened the little cub up on the highest and smallest branch of tree.

Tlangisa female

We have had more yet still infrequent sightings of Tlangisa female leopard this month, on one afternoon she was found with very skittish male and we never got to identify him. She was certainly interested on mating but we are unsure if they ever did because the pair quickly lost us into the thick woodland.

Tlangisa female

Tai dam male

This is Shangwa’s young male that have been independent for almost a year now. Still residing up in the north, she surfaces very rarely in the dense environment up there but we have not seen Shangwa female for about a month and half now, we fear the elderly female might have passed on.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati coalition and Othawa pride

Selati coalition and Othawa prideThe coalition is still going very strong in defending their territory. During the month of this report we have seen them pushing more towards the eastern section of their territory, possibly following Othawa pride. This pride normally spent only half of their time on our property as about half of its territory is outside our traversing area. During the whole month of this report they were here and provided good viewing for us and our guests. One of the Selati male had a difficult month his condition deteriorated so much that he got too weak to keep up with the rest of the males.  He is believed to be suffering from some kind of trauma, maybe broken rib; possible got hit by buffalo in a hunt. He did how pull it through and he is recovering well.

Selati male Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe prideThe Pride sighting continue to dominate our lion viewing. At the begining of the month the four lionesses killed a large male kudu, one lioness got injured in this hunt but the wound isn’t bad and should heal quickly. We are excited to report that the short-tail lioness has 3 cubs, she have finally brought them out few times and some of us have been lucky to see these fluffy little cats. We have no photos of the cubs yet to share, we will most certainly keep you all updated…….

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

African elephants are the elephants of the genus Loxodonta (Greek for 'oblique-sided tooth'[2]), consisting of two extant species: the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant.
African elephants are the elephants of the genus Loxodonta (Greek for ‘oblique-sided tooth'[2]), consisting of two extant species: the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant.
Breeding herds of elephant were abundant at the beginning of December. On one day guests enjoyed watching the ‘elephant parade’ as over 50 elephants walked in front of lodge, one after the other.

On the afternoon drive, they found them to the west of camp, upstream the sand river enjoying an afternoon swim and playing in the mud, two young bull put a good show for us they were sparing testing each other strength and skill.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Excellent buffalo viewing, with great number of bachelor groups, lonely bulls and the large herd of 500 animals frequenting our traversing area, life was made easy for us to complete the big five.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

More than the big five…..

The sighting of general game has been fantastic with a lots of kudus, nyalas, wildebeest, giraffe and zebras being sighted regularly throughout the month. Hippo action has also been great; on one occasion an adult bull attempted to take over the resident pod, but was disposed of rapidly and sent running back to the safety of the water. It was a very vocal encounter with lots of grunting and honking.Giraffe

The bird activity has been astounding…… building nest, calling and performing beautiful display to attract mates. A Black-bellied Bustard using a small termite mount as a perch from where his distinct “popping” call and distinguished pose should attract a mate.

Black-bellied Bustard

In and around camp

We have had a lot of activity around the lodge, despite the abundant availability of water all round the reserve. Buffalos, waterbuck, warthogs, bushbucks still frequent the lodge area; even zebras came to drinking in the waterhole in front of the lodge.

Zebras are several species of African equids united by their distinctive black and white stripes
Zebras are several species of African equids united by their distinctive black and white stripes

Other wildlife in and around camp are the newborn impalas. They make a perfect picture with their long unstable legs, small body and big ears. They seem to have a curious yet mischievous look on their little faces as they take in the big world around them. Due to the good rainfall we’ve received, there has been ample forage for them too.

An impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized African antelope
An impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized African antelope

That’s all from us this month, we thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, shared our experiences and joined our adventures, and we are committed to keep you updated.

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

A mother’s devotion – Keith Jenkinson

Sand River in floodOn the morning of the 21st of January 2013 the sand river was still flowing with gusto after a downpour of 233mm of rain, Obed Mkhabele the renowned Inyati waiter noticed an elephant calf washing down the Sand river. He also noticed a large elephant cow swimming after her calf. His excited screams summoned all the staff on duty to the veranda to witness the event.

At first there was an eerie silence among the spectators as we realised that any attempt on our side would be futile as the torrent of water could easily sweep away a human, and that the stressed cow would certainly kill anything close to her calf at this stage. One also tends to underestimate the weight and strength of an elephant calf.Milling in the last poolThe calf and cow were washed over the causeway along with two other elephants we had not noticed before as they had remained submerged until then. The family was bullied into the main stream as the river bottle necks downstream from the causeway. The sullen silence was broken as the cow got her head above water and bellowed a frustrated rumble; our spirits dropped as the giant cow seemed helpless against the current.

The family of ellies disappeared momentarily and we expected to see them downstream, but to our amazement the cows back surfaced closer to shore! She had managed to get downstream of her calf and was propping the calf up with her head. She used her tusk and top of her trunk to lift the calf out of the water, the little calf was frantic but still alive and we could hear it gasping for air when the mother lifted it.

The sub adult bull in the party was able to swim across and stood on the lawn rumbling at his family.

The cow then managed to move upstream as she found some purchase on the southern bank; she now only had one more gully to cross before she got her family to safety. The older calf was able to hold onto its mother’s trunk and the cow showed unbelievable strength to pull the older calf whilst wedging the small calf out of the water.

With the bank in sight the family dropped into pool of what seemed to be slow flowing water, but I would guess due to fatigue the family milled and struggled in the pool for some time. As the cow’s strength withered she was only able to lift the calf enough for it to use it trunk as a snorkel to gasp for air.The last tugThe cow emitted a last rumble as if to gather all her strength for the last push and with the small calf still balanced on her trunk and forehead and the older calf clasping to her trunk she made a run for the bank. A few pushes and tugs and the exhausted mother was able to push the calf onto the bank and then pull the older calf to safety.

As the family broke from the water the entire staff erupted into whooping applause, truly one of the most heart warming experiences I have ever had in the bush.A mother’s devotion

After a few gasps of welcome air the family slipped away into the bush to re unite with the herd.

Keith Jenkinson

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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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.

Wildlife Journal September 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

The month of September heralds the change of seasons at Inyati Game Reserve. It is a month of many colours, tones and shades. The ground offers up a tapestried carpet of autumnally coloured fallen leaves, with swathes of tiny purple flowers of the Bolusanthus speciosus trees, bright yellows of the Acacia nigrescens flowers and the electric greens of the kigelias. Everywhere there is life budding out in anticipation of the rains. We are now anxiously scanning the skies for rain, but as yet we only had couple of showers. But while there is still some water there is life, and in abundance. Even by the great standards of Sabi Sand, this last month has been incredibly special.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Tlangisa is still trying to establish a territory she seems to be settling in the centre -western sector of our reserve. She is reaching sexual maturity and she was seen this month introduced herself to Xinzele. He, however, took no interest in as she flirted with him for two days! He totally ignored all her advances apart from for the odd growl for all her hard work.

Hlabankunzi female is been keeping low recently and we hardly ever see her but one morning she was out and very entertaining, hunting.

The two cubs from Metsi female were found one morning but the nervous one soon lost us and the other one couldn’t care less he was just resting on a termite mound.  He been making few kills, he got himself slender mongoose aMetsi cubnd once
with a very unusual kill, a porcu
pine! This has to e one of the difficult kill to make due to the large quills on these animals, even eating it may proves quite tricky to eat.

Xinzelehas been dominating the area around the river and was found lazing in a large jackalberry tree on a warm morning.The tension between him and Mashibanci male continues heating up, they were seen a territorial stand off again. At one stage Xinzele climb up into Tree Tops (our  conference centre) roaring while Mashiabanci sat and glared from the opposite bank of sand river. Some of our guests were even witnesses to a war over dominance on the banks of the Sand River. These two larger male leopards territories shares sand river as the boundary there were seen patrolling their territories in the same area one opposite side of the river.  It was not long before Xinzele approached Mashiabanci deep grow and salivating which often precedes a fight. After several minutes of posturing, they both charged forward with flailing claws in a fury of loud coughing calls.  The battle was over in seconds, leaving each with a new set of scars.  Xinzele was sighted the next day with few small puncture wounds on his chest and scratches on his face.

 The Xikhavi female seem to have expanded he territory further upstream the river pass our lodge has not been seen too often, but it seems she is expanding her territory further west. She one of cause of the fight between the two males as she has been seen mating with both Xinzele and Mashiabanci on opposite banks of the river. 

She is being found more consistently now further west along the Sand River and on one occasion unsuccessfully attempted to hunt some impala.

Yet another new male leopard was found this month, owing to open borders with Kruger national park some new or unknown animals to us cross into our reserve every so often.  This male leopard was initially very skittish but relaxed nicely after some careful approaches.

Xikhavi female stalking

Lion (Panthera leo)

Mopogos has been sticking together a lot lately. Two of the three were limping but they all doing very well, and seem to be holding their own against the threat from the east for now. On one they morning were feeling playful and
affectionate, and shared these great moments of their life with us. They have been venturing east more lately possible inan attempt to re-enforce their eastern boundary. They are obviously feeling a little pressure but are more than holding their own.They currently face the significant threats of the 4 Machingelane males, who have taken already killed two of their brother and take part of their territory. And two other coalitions, one southeast and the other one in the northeast of Sabi sand game reserve.

Ximhungwe Pride of lion has not disappointed us this month. We have had almost daily sightings of the pride, which is expanding. Finally the mother lion bring her cubs out for to see, they are four, 3 males and 1 female cub. These new addition – four tiny chocolate brown cubs – has caused much delight as they emerge from their den to play in
the early evenings
.

Ximhungwe Pride of lion


Unfortunately, before the end of the month the four new cubs had been reduced to two, possibly due to the ongoing
attrition between the other super-predators in the area, the spotted hyena.

We have also been fortunate to see a number of lion sightings with kills. The Ximhungwe pride’s grandmother, the mother of two older cubs has been extremely success despite her age. She killed two adult kudu within a week; these kills provided some great viewing and photographic opportunities. On one night she came through the lodge chased out our resident buffalo bulls and moved on to kill yet another kudu.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant galore

Elephant galore! Lone bulls and vast matriarch herds, often with some  incredibly young elephant with them crash into the Sand River for a drink or to enjoy a cooling swim. One momentous event saw a breeding herd of 25 elephant, spooked by Ximhungwe pride at ” skelem” crossing of sand river, come thundering and splashing through the peace flowing river water of the Sand river; the babies tripping, rolling and sliding through the water as their frantic mothers bellowed and pushed them onwards with their trunks.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The regular buffalo bulls are still hanging around Inyati lodge and we are enjoying great sightings if its day we see them they will rest in the loge at night. As Inyati is completely open, there is nothing stopping these huge herds coming right through camp. Guests have enjoyed sitting on their balconies watching the herds surround their tents as the buffalo and elephant enjoy the vegetation that the river provides.

 

Resident hippo's

More than the big five…..

We were fortunate enough to find few rare nocturnal species. A Serval cat, surprisingly this rodent assassin
allowed us to follow it as it hunted for mice. Note the radar dish like ears it uses to detect and lock onto prey.

 

This Honey badger entertained us for at least an hour yesterday afternoon. It dug out and ate about five Shiny Burrowing Scorpions.

 

Honey badger burrowing for scorpions

 

 

We even got see a Pangolin I have waited a year and half for one of these animals to show themselves out and he was surprisingly relaxed with vehicles around.

 PPangolin

Wild dogThe pack of Wild Dogs made an appearance again this month. The pups are still doing well and growing fast, although there are now only four left. We followed them hunting on one morning we were rewarded later as we witnessed them killing an impala. The pack celebrated a recent impala kill by chasing each other up and down the
airstrip.

 

Grey-headed bush-shrike, An adaptable hunter, it will eat almost any animal that it can catch and kill, ranging from small insects to large one metre long snakes and other bird chicks. We watched him kill and eat
a venomous snake, vine or twig snake.

 

Grey-headed bush-shrike

In and around camp

Our resident hippos continue to amuse all our guests with almost guaranteed viewings in hippo dam. If you are to miss seeing them on your way to camp then you will certainly not miss hearing them in the evenings. On a couple of
occasions, we have heard males fighting in the sand river near our upstream from the lodge in Sand River, sometimes lasting up to a couple of hours. The noises they make can be quite incredible, sometimes giving an impression that
one has been killed.