Tag Archives: nyati

Congratulations to Khimbini. We are proud of you!

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #2

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #2
Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #2
Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #2

Tourism Indaba Interview

Indaba Interview

We talk to Keith and Pete of Inyati Private Game Reserve in South Africa about the work they are doing to combat rhino poaching. 210 rhino have been shot and they are losing more rhinos than are being born and if it continutes rhinos are probably heading for extinction in the next 3-4 years!
Hear about the amazing work Inyati together with other lodges in the area are doing to trying to combat the situation, but resources are stretched and they say word needs to get out to the international community in order to realise how serious the situation is, so that something can be done before it’s too late.
Published on 18 Jun 2012 by

To find out more via their WEBSITES and SOCIAL MEDIA platforms click here – http://bit.ly/inyatilinks
Share this video – http://bit.ly/inyatigamereserve

Category:   

Travel & Events

Licence:

Standard YouTube Licence

Leave time just to do nothing – to enjoy the peace, sense of space, the colours – the very essence of Africa.

Inyati Game Lodge
Leave time just to do nothing – to enjoy the peace, sense of space, the colours – the very essence of Africa.

“Africa is for the whole family to enjoy”.

Inyati Game Lodge
Inyati Game Lodge

Dzivamusoko : April 2012 Wildlife Journal

The month of April has come and gone, what is left is an unforgettable memories and life experiences.  Autumn is in full swing here in Sabi Sand Reserve and winter is closing in very quickly indeed. Morning and evening temperatures are getting cooler and cooler by the day we can feel the early morning chill is creeping in the back door and the days are getting shorter. 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. With a good rainy season behind us, there is lots of food out there to keep the animals well fed during this coming winter. Wildlife did not disappoint, predators activities were at its peak and there were also lots of general game around.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

The leopard is regarded as the most elusive of all of Africa‘s large cat species and quite often hard to see on safari, an element of luck is involved in encountering this fascinating feline. In the Sabi Sand Game reserve however we are blessed with frequent and fairly regular sightings of these solitary cats. One of the commonly asked questions is: how can one identify individual leopard? Leopards can be uniquely identified by looking at their distinctive facial markings, such as their whisker spot pattern, forehead patterns and eye markings. The most accepted means of leopard identification is by using spot patterns. A spot pattern refers to the upper most row of spots on the leopard’s cheeks. These are the spots above the upper line of whiskers. Other useful methods used are noting notches or tears in their ears and other distinctive marks like scars. 

Shangwa and cub

Shangwa  The leopard mother, Shangwa is doing just great her 2years cub is growing fast and have gain some confident in his hunting capabilities. She does however still feed him, tipical of elderly mother leopards they find it hard to let go of their grown young male. She did killed a common duiker on one night; with the help of her son they devoured the whole antelope in just few hours. And late in the month she was seen with him feeding on an Impala carcass in the marula tree. There were five spotted hyenas hanging around the base of the tree waiting for their share.

watch Shangwa young male on one morning tormenting a group of buffalo. Shangwa - tormenting a group of buffalo. Some of our guests and guides we privileged to watch Shangwa young male on one morning tormenting a group of buffalo. The confidence in his agility bordered arrogance as he darted between the buffalo with total ease. The buffalo did manage to tree the pestering cat on a few occasions. But the leopard was adamant and continued returning. It was extraordinary that on each approach he managed to get closer before the buffalo noticed him, in an hour we noticed his ability to use cover and the wind improving. It’s truly a privilege to witness a future master honing his skills. We can only hope that his choice of training partners will not be the end of him in future. We left the area with six spitting mad buffalo and one leopard relaxing in a tree, looking very proud of himself.

Dayone maleThis male is looking great, everything is going his way at the moment no male is threatening his territory and there are lots of female in it. During the month of this report he rejected at least two females that came for him showing sign of mating. Tlangisa and Dam 3 female followed him for days displaying sign of being in oestrous but the male got just got aggressive and kept walking away.

Hlabankunzi female

Perseverance is a mother of success. After long time trying Hlabankunzi finally get Dayone to mate with her. Even better is that few days later she was seen mating with Khashane male. This means could mean that her new coming cubs will be protected from both male as they will both think they fathered the cubs. 

Hlabankunzi female Hlabankunzi & Dayone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tlangisa female

Tlangisa female

This female has provided some great viewing of late with her been found with more regularity around centre of our traversing area. The young female leopard continues to prosper and stay in excellent health. She has been her usual self, playful and entertaining as she poses for pictures.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati coalition

The new coalition is settling in well in their new territory, they paroling and marking every corner of the territory, their roar can be heard from miles away almost every night. On one morning we had a magnificent start to the day as we woke up to the Selati males calling in camp. We set out at dawn and to track them down, with combing fine work of ranger and trackers they were found just east of camp. They seemed to be moving with intent. A short while after we found them they flushed a group of buffalo bulls and the chaos started. They separated one bull, working as a team one teased on the front as the others attacked from behind. The buffalo fought hard but the four strong lions wear determent to pull him down, at one stage one of the male was riding on his back to add some weight in attempt to weaken him.

 Selati coalitionIt was hard work but they manage to pull him down eventually. One of the males hit the much larger beast with enough force to stop it in its tracks.

Ximhungwe pride

 The new dominate males made few attempts to kill the cubs and the lioness fought hard to protect the cubs and they are the run. We didn’t see much of them this month because they have run east across our boundaries. Only one lioness stay behind, it’s easier for her since she has no cubs and she has interacted with these males before they took over the territory. The pride is doing exceptionally well, the youngsters are growing well and have sufficient energy to play and tackle each other and the rest of the pride, especially on cool afternoons and early evenings. They have begun to help their mothers with the hunting even though they are mostly just getting in the way other than anything, but they will soon learn the tricks of the trade.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

They were few large parade of elephants spread around the reserve with lots of new young babies. Keith and his guests got up-close and personal with large elephant bull in musth, elephant in this condition is normally aggressive as level of testosterone increases by about 50 percent but this bull was surprisingly relax.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

There were few small herds of buffalo bulls scattered around our traversing area. While the large obstinancy has been seen constantly going in and out of our section, it’s always  great to see the return of these big herds and some days we have seen over 600 buffalos  in our in one herds.

More than the big five…..

Impala rut

April is the month of the impala rut. The full-grown males have become ferociously territorial and form temporary territories. Those that win the battle get to spend most of their time herding females into their territories and chasing the loser and the subordinate males out of their territory. The excitement is palpable as they rush to attract mates, letting out loud roaring sounds and splaying their white-tipped tails in display. These distracted bachelors are vulnerable to attack by predators, and those that survive this season will be weak, sporting gashes on their necks that are the scars of fierce battles with their competitors. The dominant rams put all their energy into the rut and spend little time eating. Thus resulting in loosing physical condition and get defeated by the next strong male. Quite a few of these battles do result in one been stabbed to death.

African hawk eagle is one of furious hunter of the African sky. They one of the only bird species that hunt cooperatively; one bird flushes prey which the other strikes, then they both feed on the carcass. They mainly eat birds, using its large feet to tackle and kill animals weighing up to about 4 kg. The nest (see image below) is built by both sexes, consisting of a large platform of sticks and twigs, lined with green leaves and are about 3 meters in diameter. It is typically placed just below the canopy of a tall tree, especially a knob thorn (Acacia nigrescens) about 6-19 metres above ground. The average clutch consists of one or two but normally only one chick is raised to adult as the stronger chick will always kill the weaker to eliminate competition for food.

African hawk eagle
African hawk eagle

In and around camp

Resident elephant bull in campThe resident elephant bulls are constantly ambling though camp, feeding on the vegetation, giving us superb close up views – see picture on below as he take a pick into room seven.

Our lodge sits on the bank of the mighty Sand river  and riverine is the most favourable habitat for leopards and we get see them frequent as they their wonder past through the lodge. This month even Kashane male who normally occupied the southern area of the reserve decided to drop in for an unexpected visit.

Kashane male

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.

RHINO FACT FILE: Rhino Action Group Effort

RHINO FACT FILE

What is the problem?

By the end of October 2011, over 350 rhinos had been killed by poachers. Most of these were in the Kruger National Park. Last year, 333 rhinos were killed illegally by poachers, 10 were black rhinos which are critically endangered. This total death count is nearly three times more than in 2009.

Poaching is being carried out by well-organised criminal networks that are linked to drugs, arms and human-trafficking syndicates. These people have high-tech equipment and automatic weapons. This major increase in poaching is due to an increased demand for rhino horn from Asian markets where it is used for various medicinal purposes. It was apparently claimed recently by a Vietnamese politician that rhino horn could cure cancer despite lack of medical evidence. This claim has helped to popularise rhino horn in Asian markets.

Why should we care?

Rhinos are part of a group of animals known as the Big 5. The other animals in the Big 5 are lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard. These animals have always been part of the wildlife found in South Africa and are part of our heritage as South Africans. South Africa would just not be the same if we no longer had rhinos in our game reserves and to show future generations of our children.

Tourists come from all over the world to see the Big 5 animals, which are considered the most exciting and impressive animals to see in the African bush. Game reserves, game lodges and the supporting industries around the game reserves provide jobs and a large amount of revenue for the South African economy. If there were no longer rhinos, this would affect the tourist industry, which would affect job-creation and directly impact many people’s livelihoods.

Rhinos are not only important for creating jobs and generating money in tourism. Many game farmers breed and sell rhinos for hunting. If rhinos are poached, the value of the rhino will become less and farmers will no longer want to farm rhinos which means that jobs in this sector will also be lost as well as much revenue for the South African economy.

In the early 1980’s, the rhino nearly went extinct but thanks to a project called “Operation Rhino” South Africa was able to save rhinos and since then the numbers of rhino have grown. South Africa became famous for saving the rhinos and for supporting other countries by selling rhinos to them in order for those countries to grow their own populations of rhinos. It would be a sad thing to see the victory of the 20th Century reversed!

What can people do to help?

Intelligence through the public is a key source of information for the police and investigators. Not everyone can contribute financially but anyone can contribute information. It’s our collective responsibility to blow the whistle on rhino poaching. Call a hotline if you see something suspicious or have info 0800 205 005 or 0860 10111.

If you do want to contribute financially, do your homework. There are many fraudulent organizations disguised to look like anti-poaching organisations. If you don’t know which organization to donate to directly, RAGE is a good option.

Its not only about donating money. We all have skills and resources to offer.

Who is RAGE?

Rhino Action Group Effort (RAGE) is part of the LeadSA initiative that was set up last year (2010) when concerned groups from both the public and private sectors put their heads together to harness public support against rhino poaching. Whether in the form of skills, resources or financial donations, RAGE channels support to the places where it’s needed most and in this regard is a fully transparent organisation, audited by KPMG. RAGE also performs a function in creating awareness and informing the public about rhino poaching, helping to dispel myths as well as assimilating and redirecting information back to the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit. After the Minister of Environmental Affairs’ rhino summit in 2010, RAGE was identified as the civil arm of the National rhino strategy.

Other useful information:

Commercial hunting helped to give an economic value to the rhino without which there would probably not currently be as much as 20% of the approximately 18000 rhino in SA on private land. Many private owners have invested in land and breeding rhinos because of their value and contribute hugely to the conservation of the species.

Many people don’t realise that the trade in rhino horn isn’t legal in China or Vietnam either.

The live import/export of rhinos anywhere is not illegal. Live animals can be sold and transported out of SA according to CITIES regulations (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species). This is not considered trade in horn.

SANParks have kept records of its rhino sales over the last few years. They no longer conduct auctions wherein there is no control over who buys the rhino. Now, buyers have to be carefully checked before a sale is made.

A new DNA database called RHODIS, is helping to keep track of the origin of rhino’s and where they come from so if illegal sales take place, these crimes can be addressed. Horns can also be matched to crime scenes which will result in many more prosecutions.

Asian traditions have been around for 1000’s of years. The perception that rhino horn is effective as medicine needs to change urgently but it’s unlikely to be effective coming from the Western front. South Africa needs to lead by example and we can’t tell the Asains not to poach rhinos if our own people still chop off vulture heads and feet to win the lottery!

The financial value of an animal and its conservation status are linked. Little serious international consideration has until recently, been given to legalising trade to undermine illegal trade and slash the value of stockpiles; meeting annual consumption by sustainable production of horn; promoting trade relationships with and sustainable use practices in consumer states; maximising sustainable economic benefits from rhino to support conservation costs and promote rural development; and increasing the number and diversity of stake-holders in rhino survival. These possibilities are being investigated.

Solving the rhino poaching problem is a complex issue which is multifaceted. It involves security and coordination of animals on the ground as much as legislation and policy on a local and international scale. The laws of a country, the natural history of the animal, the traditional beliefs of people involved and the greed that drives criminal industries all need to be understood and addressed at different levels.

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.

R.I.P Mr T

Love him or hate him the infamous short maned male in the Mapogo coalition earned the respect of his harshest critis this morning. True to his caracter he fought alone to protect his territory, an ageing lone male against four bristling new…comers.  Unfortunately the outcome was inevitable and the death of Mr T  all but ends the reighn of the  Mapogo. He went honorably and for that we salute him. Now we need to accept natures brutality and look forward to new beginnings. It was a privilige to have spent six years with these animals. RIP.

Nyenyenyani : February 2012 Wildlife Journal

It was another stunning summer month at Inyati Game Reserve this February. Impressive rains are continuing to sustain the thousands of antelope gathered on the dams and rivers. We have had very varied weather over the month, with wind, quick showers and then sunshine, sometimes we got all in one day. We have also had a few thunderstorms and some good showers Sabi Sand is as green, pristine and beautiful as it gets. In most nights the skies were clear and defined, and this month we were able to see Orion and his canine friend Canus Major. Taurus is moving over the zenith, followed closely by Mars.

Excellent is not the word to describe the wildlife sightings this past month, they were all out to entertain us right trough the month.

 Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Hlabankunzi femaleHlabankunzi female

Hlabankunzi femaleShe was seen often this during the month of this report. Sadly, she seems to have lost her cub again. We spent one evening following her she was in search a male and she did found Dayone male but unfortunately after all her attempts he total rejected mating with her.

We located her on one afternoon she was out on patrolling and marking her territory, she came past right by the vehicle.

Tlangisa female

The one and only forever playful Tlangisa leopardess was out playing delighted us with a very special unexpected sighting during the month. She have grown and have well established her territory now, she made few attempts to convince Dayone male that she is ready to mate and raise cubs and he just ignored her. While viewing her on one late morning she started stalking a small herd of buffalo and went the long grasses between them playing “hide and seek”. The fun and games ended when she decided to leap onto one of the sub adult buffalo, the old buffalo bulls weren’t impressed by that they turned for her aggressively and she was forced to climb on tree.

Tlangisa female

Tlangisa femaleShangwa female and cub

She is the oldest and experienced female in our area, we are seeing more her now than we ever did in the last few years she seemed to have change her territory slightly moving deeper into our traversing area on the northern side of sand river. She had been seen earlier with her 14-month old cub, which is growing fast and started making his own kills. Interestingly he was found on one occasion, with Xikavi female who is Shangwa’s older daughter. There was a bit of tension between them, but they finally lay down quite close to each other, with only few growling infrequently.

 Shangwa female and cub
Lion (Panthera leo)

Mapogo coalition

Mapogo coalition

The elderly boys are looking great, even the one that got injured in battle with Selati males is recovering well. On one morning we found all three members of Mapogo lions trailing on a scent of a small buffalo herd. The buffalo had moved too far out of the range, the boys had to suspend their mission and rest for the day.Mapogo with buffalo kill

We followed up on them the next morning and located them feeding on a buffalo kill. Boys will always be boys! Where there is food or lioness there will be always an argument between the big boys. Mr T and makhulu Mapogo are growling at each other while eating. The injured male is keeping his distance from these squabbles.

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe prideThe pride been seen often this month often in same place for few days they hasn’t been moving around a lot possible because of the new males (Selati male) moving around their territory. They were often found with full bellies, so presumably they made a decent kills in the night, and so did not need to move at all while they digested their food. Interestingly for few days the one lioness was separated from the pride to mating with one of the southern males.
Ottawa pride

One of the exciting news of the month is that one of the lionesses of Ottawa pride has new cubs. After couple of hours of tracking on one morning we managed to find two lionesses and their four brand new cubs on a wildebeest kill. We didn’t get a good picture as we kept a good distance from the mother and cubs.

Ottawa pride

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)After the rain the grazing has become phenomenal, this elephant bull spent his time between feasting on sweet marula fruit and grass.

Are elephants really afraid of mice or is it a myth? Maybe not but this male is very scared of catfish. This male was having a good drink at Sand River when suddenly a catfish splashed the water and our brave elephant bull got startled and ran for his life out the river into the woodland.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large buffalo have remained in our traversing area for the whole month, there were lots of calves born and more are on their way, note the heavily pregnant female one the picture below. It’s always a treat to spend time with the buffalo herd at the waterhole and this month we did lots of that. Buffaloes are very dependant on water they drink at least twice a day. Their feathered friends, the oxpeckers also use the opportunity to get a drink from the backs from the buffalo.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)Anyone who has spent time in the bush has a healthy respect for Cape buffalo, on one afternoon we witness to exactly why. The rangers and guests were spending time with a large herd of buffalo when one old bull lost his temper as a young bull got a bit to frisky to his liking. The young bull decided not to stand down; this led to two massive bodies hurling themselves at each other head first. The speed and power of these animals had us enthralled.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

More than the big five…..

The floods have altered the river courses and our hippos are dispersed into small groups as they explore the new pools along the rivers. This particularly calf was very inquisitive as he approached us the mother had to follow him just in case she needs to protect him.

Hippo

Common SandpiperCommon Sandpiper is often seen at our causeway, these smallish waders like birds are easily identified by their habit of “teetering”: constantly bobbing head and tail while on the ground, particularly when feeding. They migrate in small groups to the northern Eurasia and Central Japan where they breed. The Common Sandpipers (for now) faces no serious threats and are the most widespread and adaptable of shorebirds. Perhaps it is because they can eat a wide range of food.

In and around camp

The floods changed the river in a big way, lots of trees and reeds have been uprooted and taken down stream and deposited lots more sand leaving the area very open. From your breakfast table one is able to see animals cross the river. Elephants and giraffe are amongst their few that are regularly seen.

Journey of GiraffeElephant

There are few crocodiles in our rivers and dams however seeing them in summer can prove to be difficult as they don’t need to come out the water to regulate their temperatures. Visiting Inyati causeway on late evening one stand a good chance of seeing these “flat dogs” fishing.

Flat dog
Visiting Inyati causeway on late evening one stand a good chance of seeing these “flat dogs” fishing.

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

Nsunguti : January 2012 Wildlife Journal

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

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

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

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

Hlabankunzi

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

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

Hlabankunzi hunt

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

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

Hyena

 

Metsi female leopard

Lion (Panthera leo)

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

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

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

 

Ximhungwe lioness

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

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

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

More than the big five…..

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

hyena walking with intent In and around camp

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

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

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