2 Feb

19-20 December 2016 – Rhulani is a very lucky Leopard



Mbiri pride



We had one sighting of the 3 young females. We were with Rhulani and Beacon, who were having a disagreement close to the airstrip, and out of the blue the Mbiri females launched an attack, and Rhulani , who was closest, narrowly escaped a horrible and violent death. With the adult females, spending the majority of their time with the new cubs, the 3 young Lionesses have been moving on their own and seem to be enjoying the new independence as well. They moved into one of their favorite area’s after the ambush, and went towards Manor house and eventually went to sleep in the riverine thickets.


Thanda Impi male Lions



We also had one sighting of the thanda impi’s. They were found sleeping on catwalk west, which seems to have become a favorite area, since they’ve taken over the Mbiri pride. This is in the center of Mbiri pride territory, and a favored area for the older Lionesses to den their cubs. So it makes complete sense that the males are spending a lot of time in this specific area. Touching base with the lionesses, and defending the new cubs. Good fathers!



Talamati pride and Selati males



The largest pride in the manyeleti, now numbering over 20 lions, excluding the males. They’ve still been moving around the extreme south of the reserve, and again they were found on Bateleur open area. The new cubs, who are now about 4 months old, have adjusted well to pride life and seem to be enjoying the company of their older cousins, who are making great playmates. We only saw then Selati male, with the injured male only being seen from time to time. The pride looks in good health and well fed.




Beacon male



The Beacon male was seen once, and it was an incredible sighting! We found him and Rhulani seated about 15 meters away from one another, growling at each other. After about 10 minutes, Rhulani got up and started walking to the north, Beacon didn’t hesitate and made his way towards Rhulani. At this point, the bush erupted and 3 of the Mbiri Lionesses exploded out of the bush. Beacon took off and quickly climbed a Marula about 50 meters away. He stayed in the Marula for about 10 minutes again, watching the Lionesses move away, but as soon as rhulani came down from his tree, Beacon was down and following through on his challenge.


Beacon male watching his arch nemesis, the Rhulani male Leopard. ISO 500, f7.1, 1/640sec

One last look, to see if the Lions were gone. ISO 800, f8, 1/1250sec


Rhulani male Leopard



We managed to see Rhulani twice in the 2 days. The first sighting, was his very lucky escape. As mentioned before, the Mbiri’s erupted out of the bush, I’m not exaggerating if I say that he was millimeters from death. He some how managed to squeeze between 2 of the Lionesses and shoot up a knob-thorn. When the dust had settled, I expected to find them killing him, but both Lionesses had a confused look on their faces, and Rhulani was in a very uncomfortable but safe spot. The day after his near death experience we was found again on Sable east. Still in the area, so I’m sure the territorial stand off with Beacon is going to continue, with no male giving in.

2 Lionesses still at the base of the tree, but safe none the less. ISO 500, f7.1, 1/640sec


Tekwane male



The new male in the north has been giving us some fantastic sightings. Again he didn’t disappoint! He was found on old chiefs kaia, north of Khoka Moya Dam. He crossed the drainage line and was startled by an African civet. He then lay down on a sonic area, and spent a few minutes rolling in the dust. We followed him for well over an hour, as he moved to the east, where he settled on a termite mound, exciting the guests as he stalked some Impala for a short while.



Other views of the bush


A Hippo carcass on Old Pump, ensured some memorable Hyena and vulture sightings for a few days. ISO 1000, f7.1, 1/250sec


Until the next blog


Darren and the Tintswalo Safari Team.