Mbiri pride (1)
We only had one sighting of the Mbiri Lions. They were seen with the Skorro Thanda impi male Lion on Reservoir road. There was really not much to report, it was one of those standard lazy lion safari sightings.
Nharhu pride (1)
We also had one sighting of the Nharhu pride over the last few days. They were seen while on safari on Leadwood link, close to the drainage line. The cubs are still the biggest source of entertainment, and their antics are good fun to watch, the constant playing, with whatever they can find. This time it was a leopard tortoise shell that proved a good prop for some serious fun. It changed ownership on several occasions, and the competition for its possession was intense.
Mohlawareng pride (1)
We found the Mohlawareng pride with 2 Buffalo kills at koppies. Typically, they had already lost one of their carcasses to the hyena’s, and the oldest female was guarding the other. After dark, the Hyena’s made a play for that carcass as well. This pride often loses carcasses to hyena’s, but seem to be competent killers. The reason that they lose out to the Hyena’s is probably because they don’t have a fully grown pride male, and therefore they don’t want to attract too much attention to themselves. The two sub-adults are offspring of the Northern Matimba male lions, who are long gone. The adult females will keep quiet, until the sub-adults reach a level of maturity, and then the Lionesses will actively try and attract males. For now it seems they are happy to fly under the radar.
Thanda impi male Lions (2)
We only had two safari sightings. Both males were seen on Vulture pan, close to the Mbiri pride. Skorro made his way across to join them on Reservoir road. The next day, the Skorro male was seen on catwalk west, constantly calling for the Sizanani male and the Mbiri pride, who were nowhere to be found. He stayed on the open area calling for a while, before making his way north again.
Rhulani male Leopard
The Rhulani male was the only Leopard sighting we had. He was found on rhino run on the morning of the 19th, where we left him on a termite mound. By the afternoon, he was relocated in the same place, this time with a Warthog kill. We didn’t know it, but he must have been waiting for the Warthog to emerge from its burrow. He tree’d the carcass that night, and created a great leopard sighting for a few days. He was looking a bit skinny, so the meal was something he needed badly. There has been a lot of speculation between the guides, about why he is so skinny. My theory is that his territory is far too large. We have been getting the info from the predator ecologist on the reserve about his movements, which he gets from the collar. Rhulani’s territory is about 12000 ha in extent. This is double the normal size in this area. His territory is so large, that 3 Lion prides territories fit into his territory. He has to patrol that territory, and that need to patrol a large area, would require a lot of energy. That’s my theory anyway!
We had one Cheetah sighting. A female Cheetah was found on Nkhoro pan road! She was on a large Termite mound, and that is where she spent the entire sighting. She was eyeing a herd of Impala, about 100 meters away, but didn’t make a move for them. She wasn’t found again in the afternoon.
African Wild dog (1)
We also had one surprise visit from three African Wild dogs. They were found at Mantobeni pan, where they had a drink. They then moved west, and luckily, bypassed the Mbiri pride on Reservoir road. They eventually killed an impala on catwalk west. As quickly as they came on, they went off and disappeared into the Timbavati to the north.
Other views from the bush
The general game was good again, with the Hyena pups probably stealing the show at the moment. The den has been very active, and a real highlight. The interaction between the Hyena’s and the Mohlawareng pride was also very good to watch. The south has been the place to find elephant herds and buffalo herds.
Until the next blog,
Darren and the Tintswalo Safari team.