18-21 September 2016 - The Thanda impi consolidate their power, and we had our first decent rains.

Lion (5) -Mbiri pride (3)

Our resident pride were quite busy, and are definitely having a very successful period. They started off by killing a buffalo on Catwalk west, and by the next morning they had moved across the drainage line and killed another two buffalo on Windi Windi. The Thanda Impi males seemed in complete control of the pride and joined them for the feast. The Mbiri pride then moved south and killed another buffalo on Tamboti road. The Mbiri's seem to be thriving under the protection of the Thanda Impi males, and hopefully we will see some brand new cubs in the not to distant future.

Thanda Impi male Lions

The two big guys of the central Manyeleti have been consolidating their control over the Mbiri pride and as a result have been spending their time with these efficient females. Being excellent huntresses, the Mbiri pride have gifted the Thanda Impi's with four buffalo kills over this period. The boys however, will still be boys, and were consistently testing the waters withthe Mbiri pride, looking for any opportunity to mate with their newly acquired pride.

Mohlawareng pride (1)

We only had one sighting of the nervous northern pride. The two sub-adults were found on Civet road, with no sign of their mothers. This pride still presents us with a lot of questions. They pitched up out of the blue from the Kruger National Park, but seen to have settled down quite nicely in the north, taking a portion of the Mbiri prides territory in the process.

Avoca sub-adult males (1)

On the morning of the 21st, a new coalition of 3 young male Lions were discovered on Civet road. After some research and some help from our friends in the Timbavati, they were identified as the Avoca pride sub-adult males, the sons of the huge males that terrorized the north. Like their fathers, they are sizable males for their age, with one of the males having very distinct orange eyes. The arrival of these males naturally gets all the guides chatting. Are they going to stay? Will they take the north of the Manyeleti? Only time will tell!

Leopard (1)

Beacon male (1)

On the morning of the 18th, we had our first big rain with a total of 32mm falling. As much as we needed it, it does mean that there are several parts of the reserve that we can't access. On the 19th, our maintenance manager told us there was a male leopard feeding on a nyala close to Panicum road. Murphy's law! We had to wait for Panicum to dry out first. On the morning of the 20th, we woke to a male leopard rasping from Panicum. After a very short search we found the Beacon male leopard emerging from the thickets on Panicum. His kill was in the drainage line, and it was still far to wet to get in there.

Other views from the bush

As I mentioned before we had some good rain during this period, and it changed the complexion of the bush overnight. It just looked different! Almost as if the bush sighed a breath of relief. The general game was great though, with two big Buffalo herds moving around the reserve, including a herd of about 1000 members that were enjoying the fresh new water around Khoka Moya dam. All the other suspects were around as well, except the Elephants. Besides a few bulls, they were few and far between.

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