Tag Archives: Ottawa

Mawuwani : July 2012 Wildlife Journal

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

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

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

Dayone male

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

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

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

Hlabankunzi female

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

Hlabankunzi in tree

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

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

Shangwa and cub

Shangwa and cub

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

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

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

Ndevane male and Dam3 female

Ndevane male and Dam3 female

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

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

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

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

Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati coalition

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

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

Ottawa pride

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

Ottawa femaleXimhungwe pride

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

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

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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

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

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

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

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

More than the big five…..

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

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

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

In and around camp

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

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

Herds of elephant

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

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

vevet monkeys

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

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Mudyaxihi: May 2012 – Wildlife Journal

The month of May was a successful one with great sightings and estatic guests, mornings and evenings were little chilly but the days were pleasant. Morning breaks with tea, coffee and hot chocolate are becoming more popular as we get into the winter season. Our dams and many of river systems are fill up we should have enough water to last us through dry winter this year. Surprisingly, Sand River’s water level is low considering the huge floods we had early this year.

We are often ask what differentiates safari destinations, well location must be one of them, pristine wilderness, diversity in habitat, enough resources to support huge numbers of big game….(On picture below) follow the river to the top of the picture and note the green patch on the bank, sits Inyati Game lodge.

Sand river

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Khashane male

Khashane male

Leopard galore! Sightings of these beauties have been outstanding over the past month. Even Khashane male who spent most of his time out of our traversing was here with us for most of the month. We were following him on one morning while on his territory patrol when two impala ram chased each other right passed him. Even though his focused was on a territory marking he couldn’t resist this opportunity of a meal. He followed them for about two hundred metres waited for the two fighting antelopes to lock horn, he then literally run in and took one of them.Khashane male

Shangwa and cub

Dayone maleThe elderly female leopard, Shangwa and her grown cub continue to provide us with the most rewarding experiences – they have been seen with kills couple of times this month. Later in the month she picked up few injuries, one wound on her forehead she is also looking undernourished but she should get better soon. The cub has been seen on his own a lot, have begun to wonder way out of his mother’s territory to explore new areas.

Dayone male

He has grown in size and in confident as seen often patrolling every corner of his prime territory with no fear. They say no one has perfect life, but some come really close, all is seemingly good for this leopard right now.Dayone male

Tlangisa female

The most viewed of our leopard, Tlangisa was little bit scarce this month she had ventured completely out of her territory, we were all very surprised to see her on far north-western corner of the reserve where she spent couple of weeks exploring the area. On her return she got into a little territorial dispute with Dam 3 female who on of their territory boundaries. The dispute was resolved without a physical contact they eventually separated moving back deeper into their own territory. Tlangisa was noticeably very careful of the older and large Dam 3 female.

Tlangisa female Lion (Panthera leo)

Selati coalition and Ottawa pride

Selati coalition and Ottawa prideThe new dominant males, Selati have spent a good part of the month with the three Ottawa lionesses of which two of them were in oestrous. The boys did manage to pull down at least couple of buffaloes this month. While they were feeding on the buffalo, one of the younger male sneak away he was found the next morning in the different area mating with two lionesses at same time. It didn’t take long before the three brothers caught up with him. This was the first time that the bond amongst these males was put to real test, the younger two males have been given so many chances in the past but this time it wasn’t the same there was few serious battle between among themselves and the younger two who initially claimed the lionesses where beaten up and driven off.

One of the male younger male was seriously injured but the next day were found him with the female he lost the night before, this particular male have very strong character of them all. He often separate, he was one driving the group to search for the Mapogos, he was more aggressive when they killed Mr T. He is far less affectionate; often lie separate from the rest of the males. He was the one who continue the chase of Ximhungwe pride ended up in the tough jaws and claws of four Ximhungwe lionesses. This male can be easily identified by the prominent bulge on the right side of his heap and his frown or mean face he wears. (Note second picture blow)

Selati coalition and Ottawa pride
Selati coalition and Ottawa pride

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe prideOur resident pride, Ximhungwe has been out of our traversing area into the eastern section of the reserve this was to obviously avoid the Selati males who will more likely kill the cubs if found. On return they find a corner where the Selati males hardly ever go, they stayed there safely for weeks until the end of the month when were found by the males. We found them in the morning followed as they ran through almost the entire length of our traversing area, we noticed that two lionesses were injured and tree cubs were missing. We feared that the pride might have lost three cubs but few days later two of the missing three were found alive, so only one is killed.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)Elephant sightings were really fantastic. Breeding herds of these grey goliaths were seen all around the traverse area this month. We watched these gentle giants for hours and they seem to enjoy our presence as well. One of the cows was performing all the tricks including “bum scratching” as can be seen on the picture below.

We also had close encounter with one of the youngster, when her decided he was going to drive us away by shaking his head and hold his ears out as he charge at us. His mother seemed not to pay any notice to us or him.Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)The big herd only pay couple of visit this month but we were never short of buffalo there plenty of solitary and bachelor herd along the sand river. In one of the dams the herd visits for a drink is resident by a lone hippo, he doesn’t seem to mind their presence rather fascinated as he often try to get close to the buffalos for a closer look. I guess as lonely bull driven out of the herd he does need little company sometimes, after all friends come in different sizes.Inyati

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than the big five…..

HippoHippos spend most of their daily hours in water and nights on land grazing along, but with the cool weather they can be seen lying on the banks of rivers and dams. We had are great viewing of couple, cow and bull chasing each other around at Inyati causeway.

Steenbok is the smallest of the antelope species we get to see, these little antelope wSteenbokill generally scuttle off but we saw one that was very relaxed and curious she decided to investigate the game drive vehicle instead.

In and around camp

The resident sounder of warthogs constantly visits us at the camp, feeding on the green grass, giving us superb close up views. The piglets are growing fast they have become accustomed to people walking around the lodge, very entertaining as they roll in the mud wallows to cool off at mid day temperatures.

WarthogAs winter’s cold dries the vegetation elephants follow the rivers in search of greenery and our lodge is just in perfect place, guests are able view these animals as they flock up and down the river.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

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.