Tag Archives: sub-Saharan lions

February 2013 Safari Journal

Othawa Pride

The weather: Nyenyenyani / February in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve has been a month of sudden showers and spectacular sunsets, of stalking lions and stealthy leopards.  Early mornings are concealed by heavy drapes of rolling mist, which gradually unfurl to reveal magical apparitions of silver cobwebs, crystal drenched grasses, dazzling zebra strips and angelic giraffes floating against the foreground of a captivated white horizon.

Nyenyenyani skies

The mornings are warm and build up during the course of the day to allow for exquisitely timed afternoon thundershowers.

 African equids

Wildlife:

February has been an active month for predators in the Sabi sand in which Inyati Game lodge is situated. Sightings of wild dog were frequent at the beginning of the month, lions, leopards and hyenas.

General game, as always seems to be this case in this scenically attractive and productive area has been good with large herds of elephant, zebra and giraffe seen, often in mixed herds. Impala, wildebeest, warthog and waterbuck as well as a number of other species have of course been seen regularly.

LEOPARD (PANTHERA PARDUS)

Dayone Male

This male has provided some great viewing of late with her been found with more regularity as he m move great distances covering every corner of his territory. He is reaching his prime and continues to prosper and stay in excellent health.

Hlabankunzi And Metsi Female

 Hlabankunzi And Metsi Female

We hardly saw Metsi and her cub during the month of this report.

Hlabankunzi female and her cub providing the most rewarding experiences – they have been seen with kills twice this month. The cub has also taken up the habit of approaching vehicles for a closer look, and has been the subject of some pretty interesting photographs! They had a close call at one of the kill sight as the new male leopard, Nyeleti surprised them, luckily the mother managed to warn the cub it run and hide. Latter in that day he met up with the formidable Dayone who drove out of the territory.

Xikhavi Female

The illusive Xikhavi killed a young impala ram and hoisted it into a Marula tree west of camp. Dayone leopard arrived the morning after and in true male leopard fashion bullied her off her hard earned meal. Luckily she had fed quite a bit prior to the theft.

Xikhavi Female

 LION (PANTHERA LEO)

LION (PANTHERA LEO)Selati Coalition

The 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 resulted in a territorial battle with the Manjingelane males, a coalition of four males that denominate the north-eastern of the Sabi sand game reserve. Two of the Selati males were injured in this fight, one had his bottom lip split and the other got his eye badly injured. Sadly the Selati male who got injured by buffalo who was recovering his condition have change direction, he now deteriorated, looking thin again.

Othawa Pride

After anxiously following the movements of this pride, we know that two of the three lionesses were pregnant and now believe that they both have given birth. We have yet to see the tiny scrap of spotted fur that a lion cub is during its first few days of life, but it appears from our most recent sightings that they are both lactating, a sure sign that there is a small mouth out there hungry for milk. We are waiting patiently for the mothers to introduce to cubs; hopefully we will photos to share with on the next report.

  Othawa Pride

Othawa Pride

Ximhungwe pride

Ximhungwe pride

This resident pride has provided us with lots of great lion sightings during the course of the month. Having young cubs meant that they need to stay in a relatively smaller area making it easy to find them. We have had some regular sightings of them at their favourite spot where they relaxed on a large boulder, surreptitiously monitoring the movements of waterbucks who had come to the waterhole to drink.

ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA)

Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)

Elephants are still present in significant numbers much to the delight of guests on almost every drive. George and his guest were treated with some up close and personal experience by the relaxed herd of elephant. It all started when the young teenage boy become inquisitive approached the vehicle with his trunk raised trying to pick up our scent. The young calves become interested and also came close and of course the protective mothers had to follow their young to make sure everything was fine. At one stage the vehicle was surrounded by about 15 of these beasts. None of them showed any sign of aggression so it was wise for George not to start the engine and disturb them but rather let them satisfy their curiosity.

We also had awesome sighting of two young bulls play fighting  as the other animals were drinking. As the one gave up the fight the other mounted him as a sign of showing dominance.

 CAPE BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER)

During February our resident herd of buffalo was seen only couple of occasions. This herd numbers approximately 500 animals has spent most of this month in central Sabi Sand out of our traversing area, moving little, probably because the herd has been calving and food, water availability.

Groups of “dagga boy” old buffalo bulls have always been there to help our guest completing the big five.

 Cape Buffalo (Syncerus Caffer)

 More than the big five…..

 Cape hunting dogs

The pack of cape hunting dogs was back in our traversing area again. They spent a few days in the south and to our astonishment swam across the Sand River to the north where they spent another week providing us with some fantastic viewing.

 

 Hyena

Few hyenas and over 800 vultures came out to scavenge on wildebeest carcass the Selati males killed on one morning. It was awesome to see the interaction between these animals, interesting to see the packing order within these different species of vulture.

 Vulture

 

IN AND AROUND CAMP

The resident hippo family have been forever entertaining by the causeway, their grunting, honking and snorting sounds is heard the whole day and night.

  Hipopotamus

The camp is kept alive by bird’s songs with mocking squawks of Arrow-marked Babblers and raucous calls of Lilac-breasted Rollers engaged in a heated debate as they tumble through the air. And shrill alarm calls of Blacksmith lapwing shriek out from the water hole.

Wildlife Journal July 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

Inyati Game Lodge continues to surprise and tantalise us. Situated in arguably one of the best game viewing areas in the Africa, it’s a delight of being part of a park of about 22 OOO km² or approx. 2.2 million ha. There is no doubt that we have an incredible variety of animals and birds in the area, both nocturnal and diurnal. The leopards, hyenas and lion calls that ring so clearly and so close on some nights, and the numerous tracks that await us in the mornings are all testimony to this variety and to a nocturnal world that goes largely unseen. Yes it was very cold this month but every cold morning we had was definitely worth it, animals were all out there.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

LeopardMetsi and cubs, She has been mostly far in the south and west of our traversing area! We have notice that she stays away from her cubs for long time lately some times over two weeks. We think the cubs are already being pushed out by Metsi and will become independent soon. Only one of her cubs has been seen for the last two weeks so we suspect that the other young male, the nervous one has been killed by one of the territorial males, Xhinzele, Babalas or Kashane.

The remaining cub is very relaxed with vehicles we have been seeing on the western boundary possibly to avoid the dominant male leopards are that roam our reserve. Xikhavi female has been seen few time times this month she seems to have moved her territory slightly more west. She was seen mating with Xindzele male. She later killed impala on the afternoon Xindzele male leopard join her filled his belly and then took the carcass up a tree. And the next morning a lioness join them! She chased them off, climbed up the tree and stole the carcass. Hlabankunzi female and Khashane male were chased up two separate trees by the three lionesses from the Ximungwe pride, accompanied by one male of the Mapogo brothers. They spent hours in the trees, staring at lions below. The lions soon lost interest and moved off into the shade, leaving the leopards bare trees.

Lion (Panthera leo)

Inyati Game Lodge

Lion sightings have been great, on one morning we followed up on the noises of lions and buffalo interactions we heard the night before. It was only after a few minutes of followings tracks that we found two male lions (Mapogo) and a lioness from Ximhungwe pride on a buffalo kill. Mapogos are, as always, having some domestic disputes. A quiet afternoon nap at the buffalo carcass erupted into a full on brawl war. The Mapogo are showing signs of a recent battle with a neighbouring coalition. They have deep scratches and bite marks. Three of the Ximungwe lionesses have cubs at present. They range in ages from 2 to 10 months old re

spectively. One of the Ximhungwe lionesses killed an impala and went to collect her two cubs to join her on the feast. The Ottawa pride was seen also this month we watched trying to stalk a very young rhino calf. The calf stuck close to its mother and she protected it and mother rhino charged the pride, they soon lost interest and moved off.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

There were numerous herds of these gentle beasts during the month of this report especially along the Sand River. The river is a great attraction in the winter as most of the water holes are drying up so when animals need to drink we know where to find them. We have been privileged to have number of great sightings from the veranda of the lodge.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The large herd entered our traversing area, entertaining us for 3 days. Action packed viewing included mating, play fight and wallowing in Cheetah flat pan. The young adult took advantage of the situation, there were plenty interaction between the young adults and playful calves.

More than the big five…..

Spotted HyenaDen, not so long ago we had wild dogs denning of our property now its hyenas, we have been spoilt here this year with young wildlife.

Spotted Hyena

There seems to be only one female with two 4 month old cubs. Unlike wild dogs all female in a clan will breed but the lower ranking females typically use a den away from the communal den site. Both male and female hyena have very similar sexual organs making it very difficult to tell sex but because there are two cubs and one larger than the other suggest that one is female (larger)and other one male( smaller). If they both male they should be the same size and if two females one would have kill the other before emerging from the den. All members of this little family including the cubs are very relaxed even when the mother is away from the den and we have enjoyed some fantastic viewing of their interaction and curiosity behaviour. We hope she stays around for us to enjoy this interesting animal.

In and around camp

The game viewing from the lodge has been great with sightings of waterbuck, kudu, warthog, impala and giraffes. A journey of 13 Giraffe in front of the lodge at one there were visibly nervous after a male leopard sauntered by a few minutes earlier.

Journey of Giraffe

Wildlife Journal June 2011 by Khimbini Hlongwane

The last of the rains have 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 waiting in anticipation 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 been enjoyable. Wildlife was on top form, we were well entertained for the whole month of this report.

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

We have had some fantastic Leopard sightings again this month. In the last few months there is been numerous male leopard in our area, our dominant male, Xindzele have to be on his toes all the time. The compact sized and handsome male, known as Balabas from the southern Sabi sand is one of Xindzele’s nightmares. Xindzele had couple of territorial standoff with mashiyabanci male who seems to have claimed the vacant territory left by Thekwane north of the Sand River. The standoff lasted for few hours, Xindzele on the southern bank and Mashiyabanci on the northern bank. Xindzele is considerably bigger and more confident than Mashiyabanci he even tried to get across, confrontation may be about to happen soon.

 

 

 

“Curiosity killed the cat”  The ever curious Xindzele almost got trampled when he got too close to a herd of buffalos luckily he only got chased up a tree. He was found later feasting on an Impala kill close to camp.

Lion (Panthera leo)

The three members of the Mapogo coalition, have had a difficult time this month, they have had at least two fights excluding the interaction they had with the Ottawa young males, where the young males were badly wounder and one almost had his spine broken.

Note how alert they become every time the bush moves and look at all the scares on them. A week later after the first fight one of the males, Mr T went to get his face ‘redone’ in another fight.(see claw marks on his face)

Mapogo never cease to amaze me at their age they still managed to bring down a young hippo, it seems the old boys still have it in them.

On one icy morning we headed in search of the Ximhungwe pride and success found three members of lionesses and 2 older cubs they have just killed a waterbuck cow on early hours of the morning on the western boundary.

We are starting to see more of the two new cubs as the mother begin to move den site frequently they are very cute and curious. She almost walked her little cubbies straight into a herd of about 300 buffalo luckily see the buffalos just in time to get the cubs up onto a hill.

We also got to see the southern pride, a pride we very seldom see that consists of 1 adult lioness and 4 sub-adult male they come from south-eastern Sabi sand and we fortunate the killed a buffalo on concession.

Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

The Sand River has been infested with elephant herds and you can expect to drive into one of these magnificent grey beasts around just about every corner, maybe lucky to watch them play in the water. It’s great to see these astonishing animals spread around our reserve.

Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Buffalo viewing has been constant in recent months, with a number of small herds of bulls scattered 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 400 buffalo heading towards a waterhole. We had great sighting of these magnificent animals crossing Sand River just upstream from the lodge and we also had great viewing opportunities of the solitary bulls from the lodge.

More than the big five…..

The wild dogs have moved the den site and the pups are very happy with their new home. These little puppies are now relaxed with vehicles around and have become very curious and walked within one meter of the vehicle.

We had some awesome bird sightings this month. Lilac breasted roller hunting insects (note the little bee-eater in front of him)

Lilac breasted roller

In and around camp

It’s dry everywhere in the reserve except the lodge and elephant bulls have been visiting us, pulling down trees. The breeding pair of vultures that often nest in the trees above our lower deck were in and around the lodge this month. Grunting sound of hippos in the sand river is the song we all listen to the whole day long.