Tag Archives: Shangwa

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…

http://www.inyati.co.za | http://www.facebook.com/InyatiGL | BLOG http://inyatigamelodge.com

Khotavuxika: June 2012 – Wildlife Journal

At the onset of June it seemed bit cooler than May but this did not last long and the temperatures rose quickly. Early morning temperatures have been a chilly 10-13°C but warming up during the day to a pleasant 25-27°C. We have also been having strong blistery winds around midday. The sightings have been great with guests retruning from drives with interesting tales.

The sunsets have been spectacular with the dust in the air adding some beautiful colours in the sky.

The sunsets have been spectacular with the dust in the air adding some beautiful colours in the sky.LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

The felines have been performing spectacularly for our guests this month.

The felines have been performing spectacularly for our guests this month.

SHANGWA AND CUB

This elderly female have recently shifted her territory more west of her normal range, she was seen hung bushbucks along the sand river with a big open wound on her leg this is possible from a territorial fight with another female leopard or injured by warthog in the hunt.

It’s incredible how quickly these animals heal only couple of weeks late the wound is looking much better.

Her sub adult male is fully independent now and she is coming into heat again now. She was seen way out of her territory south of the Sand River following Dayone male around. It took a while for her to convince him to mate but after few days her persistence work and experience he finally gave in.

ShangwaShangwa NDLEVANA MALE

Leopard (Panthera Pardus) - Ndlevana male This illusive and aggressive male come out few times this month, he was more tolerant to game viewer vehicles, not run away and not charging asking us to leave like he often does. In one of the sighting we saw him with unidentified young male feeding on carcass in the tree.

Dayone maleDAYONE MALE

He been the luckiest and busiest boy ever, with few of the female that their territory are within his come into oestrous during the month of this report. Some of the female he was seen mating with includes Xikhavi, Shangwa, Hlabankunzi and Dam 3 female. We even got to have a good view of the shy Dam 3 female, the lure of the new male and hormones clouding her usual fear of vehicles allowed us to view this generally skittish leopardess. The look in her eye is a sure sign of her temperament.

HLABANKUNZI FEMALE

Hlabankunzi femaleShe is slowly gaining back her status as the most viewed leopard in our area. She is still covering her large territory she grew when she was trying to keep her cubs away from new territorial male, Xindzele a year ago. She seen very busy mating with Dayone male but after about 5 days has since separated from him and went back to patrolling and securing her own territory, such a large territory have required her to move over 17 kilometres a day.

TLANGISA FEMALE

Tlangisa femaleWe have seldom seen this female lately, she used to be the most consistently viewed leopard in our area until couple of months ago when she moved her territory to a far densely vegetated area up by the north-western the reserve. She felt the pressure from the older and large female, Metsi who is push more and more north of her territory. We were privileged to see her on one afternoon perched on a termites mound in the last light just before she set out for her hunting pursuit.

LION (PANTHERA LEO)

SELATI COALITION AND XIMHUNGWE PRIDE

Selati coalition and Ximhungwe prideThese male are certainly making their presence known around the area as they constantly making, vocalising and mating with lionesses that roam within their territory. They are often seen in separate areas as they search for female in heat only get together to hunt. Yet another buffalo was killed this month as a result of the team work by the Selati boys. If all four are seen together it’s almost a given that a buffalo is coming down soon. Soon after the buffalo carcass finished the Selati male lions and Ottawa lionesses have moved little further away and the mating has resumed.

SelatiXimhungwe pride ran into one of Selati male lion on one morning, two lionesses took the cubs out the area when the other two stayed with him, interestingly the short tail female, mother of the two older cubs tried to seduce him to mate. It took few days for the male to allow mating but eventually two lionesses were mating with the Selati boys.

These seventeen months old cubs are looking very nervous after the confrontation with Selati males, their mothers have done exception work to keep the sub adults away the Selati Coalition and keep them alive.

Latter in the month we witness the Selati male lions mating, one mating with Ximhungwe lioness and the other one was mating with two of the Othawa lionesses. Yes! he was mating with two lionesses at same time.

OTTAWA PRIDE

The three lionesses are looking their best moment and confident, they seem to have accepted Selati male entirely and much easier compared to the Ximhungwe pride. One of them was seen mating again with one of the Selati males by the river side after feeding on a buffalo kill.The Ottawa pride moved back north and they too bumped into the males with the kill and got pretty amorous as well!

The African Elephant is the largest living land mammal, and one of the 'Big 5' group of animals

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

June saw a marked increase in elephant activity along the river in the vicinity of camp. This is probably linked to the fact that most of the greenery disappeared else accept the along river and some dams have dried up and the animals are forced to congregate around the Sand River in order to meet their water requirements.

CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)

The large resident herd of buffalo have been out of our traversing area for most of the month but there been no shorted of buffalo sighting as there we few bachelor herds around the property including one group of about 20 bulls.

MORE THAN THE BIG FIVE…..

This month’s special sightings included, a honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel, which is a species of mustelid native to Africa. These creatures are mostly active by night and are seldom seen. The honey badger is a tenacious small carnivore that has a reputation for being, pound for pound, Africa’s most fearless animal despite its small size.

It is even listed as the “most fearless animal in the world” in the Guinness Book of Records.

Simply Amazing! Honey badgers do appear to have some immunity to snake venoms. A honey badger bitten on the face by the highly cytotoxic puff adder will show signs of severe pain but recovered fully within five hours. This immunity may develop over the life time of the honey badgers due to regular contact with small amounts of venom in snakes, scorpions and bees.

And our feathered friends have been around too!

Red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) feasting on termites. An early breakfast on a beautiful and cold African winter morning!Red-billed Hornbill is a relatively small species of hornbill found in savanna and woodland of sub-Saharan Africa

A lilac breasted roller using a game viewer driving by to find a meal, as the vehicle disturbs insects the colourful fly in to catch them.The average size is 14.5 inches. The washed green head is large, the neck is short, the greenish yellow legs are rather short and the feet are small

In and around camp

Our guests have been enjoying sightings of zebra, giraffes, impala and many more from the comfort the comfort of their breakfast table or pool beds.

The hippopotamus, or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse", is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan AfricaEven for hippo, water has been little bit too cold to spend the whole day in it. They can be see from the lodge basking in the sun. Did you know? Recent DNA evidence suggests that the hippopotamus is more closely related to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) than it is to any other artiodactyls (even-toed hoofed mammal)”

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.