Tag Archives: Lion

Safety with lions on safari – Written by: Onne Vegter

Safety with lions on safari – Written by: Onne Vegter

Following the unfortunate incident at a lion park in Johannesburg recently where a woman was dragged from her vehicle and killed by a lion, the world’s media has been abuzz.

On social media, concerned tourists are asking whether it is safe to go on safari. Many have criticised the poor woman for leaving her car windows open in spite of the many signs warning her not to do so. However, if an open window is so dangerous, is it safe to go on a safari that uses open vehicles for game drives?

When we posted this photo on our Facebook page a while ago, we received some comments about how crazy and stupid these people were to be sitting in an open vehicle so close to a pride of wild lions.

Wild Wings Safaris

Yet this kind of sighting happens every day all over southern Africa. These concerns about safety stem from a lack of understanding about where the recent tragedy occurred, and how the lion park differs from a regular wildlife safari.

Confusing potential tourists even more, news headlines around the world proclaimed: “Lion kills American tourist at a game park in South Africa”. We’ve seen the words game reserve, game park, nature reserve and safari park all used in connection with this incident. The truth is that this was not an African safari and did not happen in a game reserve. This attack happened at a small lion park, which is very different from a normal African game reserve. It is not the first time an incident like this has occurred in a lion park yet you never hear of lions dragging tourists off open safari vehicles in bigger game reserves like the Kruger National Park. Why is that?

A typical lion park is nothing like a game reserve such as the Sabi Sand Game Reserve or Kruger National Park. It is more like a glorified zoo that is big enough to drive through. The key issue in this case is that these lions are not entirely wild. These lions are kept in enclosures and have been raised in captivity (or in some cases rescued from abusive conditions). As cubs, they have probably been handled and photographed by humans. Lion cub interactions have received increasing criticism in recent times, and rightly so.  However, such activities have traditionally been a key source of income for certain lion parks. When lions are raised like this and fed by humans, they lose their natural fear of humans and they learn to associate humans with food.

This is the critical difference between lions in a lion park and wild lions in a game reserve.  In game reserves, wild lions do not associate human beings with food. They are naturally fearful of humans and, unless you run away, they will not see humans as prey. They also do not associate vehicles with humans or with food.

For this reason, thousands of tourist game drives are conducted every day across Africa in open safari vehicles and involve many close encounters with wild lions and other predators. However, you never hear of tourists being attacked or dragged from their open safari vehicle.

Leopard on safari

A leopard like this can walk right past an open safari vehicle and does not even take a second look at the people in the vehicle – they are not seen as a threat and they are not seen as food. I’ve watched lions and leopards walk so close to the tracker sitting on the front that he could have reached out and touched the animal if he so wished.

The lion park has had similar incidents before, and the management is well aware of the dangerous nature of captive lions. This is why there are clear signs all over the park warning visitors not to alight from their vehicle or even to open their windows. Unfortunately, this tourist did not heed those warnings. Yet in the Kruger National Park, visitors have been driving around with open windows for many decades, and thousands have enjoyed close-up encounters with wild lions from the back of an open safari vehicle. Millions of tourists have safely visited Kruger in their own vehicles, and you never hear of lions dragging people from their cars there. Of course, there are rules in Kruger too. Do not alight from your vehicle. Do not disturb the animals. Do not feed the animals. Do not stand up or hang out of the vehicle. If you heed these rules, you will be perfectly safe.

After a tragic incident like this, misguided and hysterical reporting about the dangers of going on safari does incredible damage to tourism and, by extension, to wildlife conservation as so much of Africa’s conservation effort depends on income from tourism. African safaris have an excellent safety record and millions of people visit Africa every year to go on safari. As long as tourists obey the rules of the park they are visiting, it is absolutely safe to go on an open vehicle safari.

– See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/safety-with-lions-on-safari/#sthash.qg3KMldg.tgIEtPoj.dpuf

August Safari Journal2013

Mhawuri

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

Giraffe

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

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

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

This month’s Leopard viewing has been exceptional….

KHASHANE MALE AND DAYONE MALE

Khashane male and Dayone male

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

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

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

Dayone male

HLABANKUNZI AND CUB

Hlabankunzi and cub

Hlabankunzi and cub

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

Hlabankunzis cub

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

RAVENSCOURT FEMALE

Sadly the great mother has moved on…..

Ravenscourt female

Sadly the great mother has moved on…..

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

Tlangisa female

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

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

SELATI COALITION

Selati Coalition

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

Selati Coalition Buffalo

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

Selati coalition buffalo kill

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

Othawa lioness

OTHAWA PRIDE

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

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

Othawa pride 2

XIMHUNGWE PRIDE

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

Ximhungwe pride cubs

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

lephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

lephant (Loxodonta africana)

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)

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

CHEETAH (ACINONYX JUBATUS)

 

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

 

More than the big five…..

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

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

INY Dagga boy HULKIn and around camp

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

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

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

[Photo] Lion: The King of the Jungle

May 2013 Safari Journal

Meercat leopard!!

Mudyaxihi / May The weather: We can feel the early morning chill as winter is creeping in the back door. The afternoon thunderstorms that were so frequent last month seem to have rumbled and grumbled off elsewhere and we have enjoyed very welcoming blue skies and the warmth of the African sun.  

WildebeestWildlife: Wildlife sightings as usual have been terrific, most game drives have been richly rewarded with large buffalo herds, hippos in large rafts of about twenty, plus cats and birds galore. Large breeding herds of elephant have also moved back into our area along with large numbers of giraffe, both with some young additions to their families.

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

KHASHANE MALE AND DAYONE MALE

Khashane male These two leopards have been giving each other a grief. Dayone had managed to keep way all of the young males that have been encroaching into his territory, the likes of Nyeleti, Mashabeni, and Tai-dam male.

Just like wise man once said “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb” (Nelson Mandela). Just when Dayone male thought he is about to have the whole territory to himself the enormous Khashane male begins to push further west into Dayone’s territory. So far the dispute ends on 24-48 hours of walking parallel and growling at each other. The road ahead is looking rather hard-hitting for both of our beloved male leopards and of course we will keep you updated of the development.

Khashane male (above) is older and larger than Dayone male (below) but he doesn’t seem intimidated by him.

Dayone male HLABANKUNZI AND CUB

Hlabankunzi And CubThese two leopards remain the most viewed in the area even though there are several other relaxed leopards in the reserve. One can understand if you spent few minutes with this mother and cub, they just full of energy and very playful. They also seem to enjoy being photographed as they often perch with a pose on termite mounds, rocks or fallen branches.

Meercat leopard!!  Meercat leopard!!  The two leopards had killed a common duiker; while the cub was feeding a pair of steenbok came pass the area. The mother leopard got up gave us this ‘meercat stance’ to have a better look she then started stalking and killed one of them.

 METSI FEMALE

The seldom seen Metsi and her cub were spotted several times during the month of this report; the cub is becoming confident in her hunting skills.

Metsi and her cub

We witnessed extraordinary sighting, the cub heard something in the grass went to investigate. We then heard some hissing, the cub jumped away and the mother leopard come to rescue. We initially thought it was a rock monitor lizard but soon discovered that it was a huge snake of about 4 metres long – an African rock python. The leopard started attacking the snake it was a big battle that lasted over 20 minutes but finally the leopard overpowered the snake, killed and ate it over a two day period.

Metsi and her LION (PANTHERA LEO)

SELATI COALITION

Selati CoalitionThese males have been very active throughout the month moving great distances covering every corner of their territory. It could because of the recent encounters they had with Manjingelane coalition of  male lions, but it could also be that they have pick up scent of the new pride(southern) frequenting the area.

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

We often seen and heard the males in different areas of the reserve.  We watched this Male roaring in cold misty morning possible looking for other members of his coalition. 

Selati male lionOne of the Selati male lion has fresh wounds, we are not sure what happened. He could have met the Manjingelane males again. The boys may have fought among themselves as there is a lioness of Othawa pride that is in oestrous and they have been taking turns in mating with her.

SOUTHERN PRIDE

Southern PrideThis beautiful pride has 11 members at moment. They are rather nomadic they have been coming more and more into the western sector and every time they come in they stay bit longer in the area. We have seen them trailing the large herd of buffalo, and made few attempts with no success, they did however kill a large kudu eventually.

OTHAWA PRIDE

It’s been long waiting! The pride has finally brought out the cubs for us all to see. We had our first proper sighting of the prides’ new litter at the beginning of the month. There are eight cubs in total, and it looks like two litters of four but we have been unable to sex them thus far.Othawa Pride

The lionesses killed a zebra and brought out the cubs to carcass and the 8 new cubs were very excited to have one of their first hard meal.

We also got to see the little cubbies crossing the sand river which is full crocodile fortunately they all made it across.Cubs crossing the sand river

And a little dispute between two sister lions, the lioness with no cubs have been acting rather strange, she been unfriendly to her two sisters and their cubs. The fight started as play fight of which she initiated and she just went mad started hitting and biting hard and then there was a war. Fortunately the fight only lasted a minute or so with only few minor bleeding wounds on the mother lion.Sisters in battle

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

The elephant viewing this month has not been as great as we are use to, however we have had some great bachelor herd sightings. One morning we were privileged enough to be charged by a baby of about 2 years. He was determined to see our vehicle drive off he put on such a show by flapping the ears, shaking of trunk and even trumpeting. He was disappointed when the Land Rover didn’t move he then ran back to the shelter of mum who thankful was totally ignoring his antics

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)The large buffalo herd have graced us with their visit on number of occasions this month. It’s always a great sight to watch this massive herd of rushing down to a water hole as if they haven’t had a drink for months. We have also had new herd of buffalo consisting of about 300 animals on our traversing area for two weeks. This herd seem to have come from the far east of Kruger national park.

More than the big five…..

 GiraffeOne of the highlights during the month was to watch the a baby giraffe take its first step ever. We arrived just few minutes after the baby was dropped and we watched the mother dry it and encourage it to stand up, it took about 15 minutes then with a wobble the  baby managed to stand up. It was very interesting to watch how the mother used her front legs to support the calf.

We even got see mother giraffe eat her own afterbirth, a behaviour practise by many mammals referred as   placentophagy or placentophagia. There are a few reasons for this behaviour; the placenta is full of nutrients which re-energize the mother after the very taxing ordeal of labor. It eliminates the strong smell of blood which may draw predators from all around to their new baby and If left can become perfect hosts to a wide variety of disease.(note the picture below)GiraffeThe hyena den site have been providing some excellent sightings of late, there are also two new cubs in the clan, very inquisitive and so cute.Hyena pupIN AND AROUND CAMP

African Fish EagleSome of Most of our feathered friends have left for their summer visits Europe and Northern Africa; but our garden is not left empty. The African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) , Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata), the Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) and the Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus), to name but a few that still capture our attention with their awe striking colours.

Southern Yellow-billed HornbillElephants, leopards, nyala and bushbuck are amongst the few animals that one sees as you walk around the lodge area.

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

April 2013 Safari Journal

Hlabankunzi and cub

DzivamusokoThe weather:  April is the month of transformation in the Sabi Sand Reserve – straddling the cusp between the wet and the dry seasons at Inyati. Winter is rolling in at a rapid rate throughout the province, a weather change that brings beautiful developments on our paradise. There is a definite chill in the air making the hot chocolate or coffee and Amarula during morning safari breaks more enjoyable. The days are however still warm and a relaxing lounge by the pool or is a great way to spend the afternoon. Amazing thunder showers are experienced some afternoons; this spectacular display of nature’s tremendous power is a definite treat. The bush is now starting to dry up a bit and the grass is all a golden colour and visibility is now starting to become slightly better. 

Wildlife: Once again, Inyati delivers stunning cats!! During April it was virtually impossible not see lions or leopards!! And the general games were all here in their hundreds.

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

Dayone male and Xikhavi femaleDayone male and Xikhavi female 

It’s been a busy month for the handsome male leopard, the magnificent Khashane male is pushing deeper in the territory, keeping him on his toes. And Xikhavi female came into estrous twice during April month. Just when he thought it can’t get any worst he had to mate with Dam 3 female

Hlabankunzi and cub 

The leopardess had very successful month few kills she made and has been extremely good to us, coming out in areas where we got to see her and young well; they often just pose for the pictures, literally!

Hlabankunzi and cub

One morning the brave mother Hlabankunzi and her cub had quite an exciting start of the day. They were chased up a marula tree by………a herd of Zebra! Every time they attempted to get down the zebra adamantly sent them back up a tree. They learnt their lesson – don’t mess with the strips.

Ravenscourt female  

Ravenscourt female We have had few sightings of this beautiful leopardess this month. Ravenscourt female normal resident the east across our boundary yet she seem to be pushing more and more west of her territory. She has proven to be a successful mother and she is raising another litter now.   

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

Selati maleThe four male lions are recovering well from the battle injuries, the Majingelane coalition of lions have stayed away for a while. The Selati spent good part of the month of trailing behind the three Othawa lionesses.
Selati maleOne of the male lions stole two impala kills from one of the leopards. Given only a few seconds the leopard (Nyeleti male) managed to claim one of his hard earned meal back and quickly put it up a tree.

Persistence pays off! After three days and three nights of following the large herd of buffaloes, making few failed attempts, the four Selati male lions finally pulled down a buffalo cow. The herd came to rescue her several times but the lions had injured her badly that she couldn’t keep up with the rest of the herd it was only a matter of time the big cat knocked her of the feet. It was a hard earnt meal, they were already very-very hungry and the one with injured ribs was looking very weak. Selati coalitionXimhungwe pride 

This pride still provides most of our lion sightings. The lionesses have had a successful month of frequent killings. Ximhungwe cubThe cubs are growing fast and looking very healthy.

Ximhungwe prideHere the cubs were left of top of boulder for few minutes as mothers were trying to hunt the nearby herd of impala. Impalas saw the predators early and all got away.

Southern prideSouthern PrideThis pride resident the far southern section of the reserve but they have been coming across on to our sector more and more frequent. As its great for us to have a new pride coming across it may prove to be a problem for the two prides that resident our section of the reserve, especially because they have small cubs.

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)The elephants also proved to be amazing this month. They came right around the vehicle. One decided to have a dust bath that he, due to the wind direction, shared with my guests. They got covered in dust but enjoyed it even more than what the elephant seemed to enjoy his. The baby elephant, who is just over a year old mock charged my vehicle, quite to our amusement. We followed them down to top dam to watch them drink, ooh what beautiful sighting with awesome light for photographs.

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER) Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) The big herd are here, it’s always great to see the return of these animals in big numbers, some days we had over 700 buffalo in our traversing area scattered in three herds. It was really great watching them crossed into our property early one morning. And we then followed to the water hole where they were joined by large dazzle of zebras giving us fantastic photographic opportunities. We are definitely living up to our lodge name “Inyati” meaning buffalo in Zulu and other Nguni languages. Cape buffaloMore than the big five…..Cape hunting dogsThe cape hunting dogs were here for more than half of the month. It’s always a privilege to spend time with these highly endangered species. They are full on energy and very interesting animals which are fun to watch. The pack seem to have lost the alpha female who was old and looking bit tired, that means were might not see puppies this season. Things will get back to normal as one of the female take over the role of the alpha female.

In and around camp

Hippos basking in the sun have become a common site looking across the sand river from the lodge. Impala, waterbucks, nyala and many more visit the lodge frequently looking for greener grass around the lodge area.Hippos basking in the sun Elephants walking along the edge of the camp were an exciting experience for all the guests, getting their adrenalin going. What can be better than sitting down for breakfast or brunch and watching elephants sauntering past on the bank of Sand river – it was surreal!  

March 2013 Safari Journal

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

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

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Dayone male

Dayone male

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

 Hlabankunzi and cub

Hlabankunzi cub

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

Hlabankunzi and cub

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

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

Hlabankunzi and cub

  Metsi female

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

Metsi female

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

Metsi female

 Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati male

Selati coalition

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

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

 Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride

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

Ximhungwe pride cubsElephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

Elephant

 Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

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

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

 More than the big five…..

Male cheetah

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

Male cheetah

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

 Klipspringer

In and around camp

In and around camp

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

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

This month’s sightings report compiled by Khimbini Hlongwane

 

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

Selati male lions – Sabi Sand Wildtuin

Christmas morning with the Selati male lions.Timeless!

Christmas morning with the Selati male lions.Timeless!

Selati malesThe Selati Males are a coalition of four lions born into the Southern Pride in 2007 and 2008 and sired by the Golf Course males.

For anybody who spends a considerable length of time in an ecosystem such as the Sabi Sand, it is always fascinating to witness the constant state of flux in the dynamics of the lion prides and coalitions within the area.

The buffalo carcass is almost finish and one of the Selati males have already left the area, walked over 8 kilometers last night to find the Othawa lionesses.

The buffalo carcass is almost finish and one of the Selati males have already left the area, walked over 8 kilometers last night to find the Othawa lionesses.

Mhawuri : August 2012 Wildlife Journal

It appeared as if summer had arrived early, the cold weather has left us. As is often the case, August was a windy month with steady breezes cooling things down. The local tribe, Shangaans named the month of August “Mhawuri” – the month of strong winds. They also believe that if the wind doesn’t blow in August we will experience drought and if it blows strong and continuous it foretells of a good rainy season.

The flowering acacia trees are the most prominent indicator of the coming spring. Midday temperatures have reached a comfortable 32 degrees Celsius with evening temperatures cooling to around 15 degrees. The August winds have faded to dusty red sunrises.

Inyati Game LodgeThe wildlife has been spectacular this month at Inyati, incredible variety of species sighted continues as the last of the trees lose their leaves and the dry grasses are now trampled into the dust allowing us to see from big to small animals.

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS) Hlabankunzi female

Hlabankunzi Female

She continues to roam large and large areas, she is heavily pregnant possible expand a territory to have more room to raise her litter arriving soon. She has got into a serious territorial battle with another female leopard, Xikhavi that resulted in big gash on shoulder of Xikhavi female.

She killed an impala ewe on one morning after a good feed she left the carcass in the bushes to rest in the nearby shades. One of the Selati male lion was lying within 400 metres from her; maybe it would have been a good idea to hoist the carcass in a tree. We went back to find her on the afternoon drive only to find that the Selati male had stolen the carcass and she left the area.

Tlangisa Female

Tlangisa femaleShe has settled in her new territory and because of the distance and thick vegetation in that area she is very seldom seen. She was found with an impala carcass hoisted on jackalberry tree. Tlangisa being her usual self, she played with her food until she dropped it accidently and the hyena that was waiting underneath the tree claimed it before she could come down to get it up. All she could do is watch her hard earn meal being devoured by a hungry mother hyena.

Ravenscourt and cubs Ravenscourt with cubs

This female is very seldom seen as her territory is outside our traversing area, this move however she came across to outside killed an impala, went back to fetch the cubs to a kill. We were treated with some mother leopard and cubs interactions this morning for couple of days.

Ravenscourt female and cubsDam3 female

A female leopard, Dam 3 is getting more and more comfortable with us, the game viewers. She has been seen from a distance, resting on a rocky outcrop, upon viewing her for a while we decided to get closer and closer to our surprise she just lay there on the rock allowing for fantastic photography opportunities. Typically this resident female is very elusive, so it is a pleasure to see that this may not always be the case.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Lion sightings have been outstanding over the past month. It is a regular experience to see the lions hunting, with varying degrees of success.

Selati coalition and Ximhungwe pride

The Selati males continue to frequent our area and the Ximhungwe pride seems to have finally accepted this new male coalition. There was more mating for good part of the month. There one female was seen mating with one mate for week and straight after that she was mating with another male this is possible for the protection of the cubs yet to be born but certainly helped to reduce fight between the coalition.Selati coalition

Ottawa pride

Ottawa prideThe three lionesses have been very active this month covering the entire length of our traversing area in search of food and possible den site. We followed them hunting impalas on one morning it was fascinating to watch team work and co-ordinations at play and it yielded good result, they managed to kill sub-adult impala. The lionesses are still carrying; the cubbies are on their way, watch this space….Ottawa lions

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)August has always been the month of the elephant. This year, the number of elephants in our area was astonishing. Day and night the lodge was surrounded by large bulls clearing the dwindling greenery. Hardly an activity passed without an elephant sighting. Lone males, breeding herds and the odd bachelor group were spotted regularly.

It was rather interesting to watch this bull spraying water on the annoying little bird, the fork-tailed drongo. Many of us on the vehicle thought it was funny but not the drongo who was soaking wet and could barely fly.

Only in Africa! From the safety of Sand River‘s high banks, Father and son enjoying an afternoon with a family of elephant.

Father and sonCape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

We have had big herds of buffalo back in the area for the good part of the month and there were also lots of bachelor herds of buffalo bulls all around the reserve at the moment as well as the ever-present herd of old males that live around the camp.

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

On one morning we watched two lioness hunt ,kill and eat an impala and then just when we thought it can’t get better we heard on radio that a new pack of five cape hunting dogs got sighted ,we rushed there see these beautiful painted animals.

Cape hunting dogAnd no description of colours in the bush can be complete without the painted wolves – the wild dogs loping through the brittle stems of winter grass, loping out of every impala’s waking nightmare. Their teeth perfectly adapted for slashing and tearing at impala bellies, carried along on tireless legs. The horror, the horror – the wonder of a wild dog hunt, rocking and rolling effortlessly along…

Cape hunting dogsAnd later into the month august the moment we have been patiently waiting for arrives. Our resident pack return after four months, they been denning outside our traversing area, they brought back with the 6 little puppies of about three months old just old enough to run with the pack. It’s a privilege to watch these interesting animals go on about their lives.

Cape hunting pupsHyena population continues to increase in the area; we are getting great viewing of these adaptable predators. We followed this lactating mother carrying a large piece of meat for long distance hoping she will take us to her den site but we could only follow for so long before we had to get back to the lodge for a delicious breakfast.

Hyena femaleThis elderly and heavily pregnant hyena waited patiently for some pieces of meat to fall out of tree as Tlangisa female leopard was feeding and it was worth it because the entire carcass dropped.

In and around camp

Dayone male leopard walked past room seven just as the afternoon game drive started. Many animals frequent the river Dayone male leopard in campand the lodge from one time to another but watching a leopard walking through the lodge is always a treat for staff that don’t often get to go out on game drives.

And the elephant bulls are forever present in the lodge looking some green plant as it is dry everywhere else in the reserve except our lodge garden.Elephant bull Main lodge

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