Ranger’s Blog

A Safari With Soul
8 Jan

29-31 October 2016 – all of the magnificent seven seen, as well as 4 of the 6 cats

Lion

 

Mbiri pride

 

The Thanda impi male Lions have been spending more and more time with the Mbiri’s. On the 29th, we had a sighting with one of the younger mating with the Sizanani male on Catwalk west. The Mbiri pride then disappeared for a day, and then found one of the younger lionesses with a Buffalo kill on Lomfane road. It seems like the older Lionesses are spending less and less time with the pride, and are hanging around the Catwalk west area. This is an area that they like to den cubs in.

 

Nharhu pride

 

The Nharhu’s have been spending their time close to Main Dam, which seems to be the core of their territory. They killed 2 Buffalo on Ndlulamiti road, just to the west of Main Dam and spent a day feeding on their prized meal. The cubs are now approaching a year old, so we’ll soon be referring to them as sub-adults. From the kill they moved north to Leadwood link, where they met up with both of the Thanda Impi male Lions.

 

Thanda Impi male Lions

 

The most unlikely successful coalition of Lions, continues to dominate the central Manyeleti. Over the 3 days of this blog, they met up with both of their prides, and definitely have been enjoying the company of the young Mbiri girls. It seems like their might be some more cubs coming for the Thanda Impi’s as well, with the Mbiri Lionesses scouting out some denning areas. Good news for the Lion dynamics in the central Manyeleti. These males have had a very positive influence on the area, and have fought off some stiff competition from the Selati males initially, and recently from the Avoca males.

 

Selati male and Talamati pride

 

Our pride in the south has been quite divided recently, with their numbers swelling to around 21 members, excluding the Selati males. The sighting that we had of them was around the Buffelshoek plains area. Both males were in the area as well. Good news for the Selati male Lion fans, is that the weaker male is staying close to the pride. While he’s not looking great, he’s holding on. It’s going to be tough time going forward for the Selati males, with one of the males not at his best. With a bit of luck, these cubs might make it through their first year.

 

 

Leopard

 

Rhulani male leopard

 

The area to the south of the lodge still seems to be hotel contested by the Rhulani and Beacon male leopards. This time it was the Rhulani male leopard we found on Foot road. He seems to be spending a lot of time in the area, dealing with a real threat to his dominance. However, he’s neglecting the northern parts of his territory, and we’ve already seen 2 males moving into that area…The Ntsuntsu male and Kwatile male. What impact these males are going to have in our northern Leopard dynamics is going to be interesting to watch. Rhulani is going to have to start watching his territory a little more closely!

 

Sasseka female leopard

 

One of the 2 Sable bridge cubs we’ve decided to call Sasseka, which means beautiful in Shangaan. She seems to be setting up shot around the lodge, inheriting her portion of her mothers territory. She killed a Bushbuck at our Presidential suite, and spent a little over a day just outside the room. At just over a year old, this is a great feat for a young Leopard. We are looking forward to many good sightings of her, and her sister , in the years to come.

 

Cheetah

 

We had 2 Cheetah sightings over the 3 days! And interestingly it was 2 separate Cheetah. The first one was a female and the next day a male showed up in almost exactly the same place. Both were seen in the Marula ridge/Reedbuck plains area in the eastern part of the reserve.

 

African Wild dog

 

We found a pack of African Wild dogs as well over the 3 days. What an incredible 3 days for game viewing! After picking up signs of an Impala kill. close to the Sabi Sands boundary, we quickly managed to find a large pack, resting in the open woodland of the south. We managed to watch them as the last rays of light, dipped behind the northern Drakensberg. The pack then moved south into the Sabi Sands.

 

Other views of the bush

 

The general game sightings were really good again. We’re desperately in need of some decent rain though. The Hyena den in the north has been producing some classic safari moments. A large hippo bull made some rare appearances at Mantobeni pan. The drought has hit the Buffalo population very hard, and a number of old Bulls have started dying around the lodge area. The amount of carcasses is so numerous, that the scavengers are struggling to deal with them. The days have been incredibly hot, just to add some insult to the misery of the Buffalo. The elephants however, have been displaying some incredible water works and muddy displays. Some fantastic general sightings were seen in the south of the reserve, with some Sable Antelope seen as well as African Wild cat.

 

Until the next blog

 

Darren and the Tintswalo Safari team.

 

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