16-19 July 2016 – The Thanda impi males chase Mbiri male lions

December 6, 2016

Lion – Mbiri pride (2)

We had two sightings of the Mbiri’s in the four days of this blog. We didn’t see them for the first two days, but after some serious tracking, we eventually found them with two Buffalo kills, just off Rhino Run. They were also in the company of one of the Avoca male Lions. He was about 200 meters away from the pride, with one of the Buffalo carcasses. The next morning, they were found on Lomfane, and moved west from there. They continued west, and then the three young Lionesses took a sub-adult Buffalo down, just off Red Road. This pride is really taking advantage of the drought at the moment.

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Nharhu pride (1)

We only had one sighting of the Nharhu pride! They killed a sub-adult Buffalo on Piva Path Road. When we arrived, two of the cubs were having a serious disagreement over their positions at the carcass. They left the carcass shortly after we left, and moved west into the drainage line.

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Thanda Impi Male Lions (2)

 We had two sightings of the Thanda Impi’s. They were only seen on the 16th, but it started off with a bang. They were seen early in the morning at Mantobeni pan, moving north. We relocated them on Wilderness, still steadily moving north, in and out of the drainage line. They were looking for someone! We thought that it must be the Mbiri pride that they are looking for, but how wrong we were. Shortly after I left the sighting, all hell broke loose. The Thanda impi’s had found who they were looking for…..The three young Mbiri males. By the accounts I heard, the two big males managed to isolate one of the youngsters, leaving the other two to run for their lives. They had him on his back, and completely defensive, he was in trouble! But somehow, they allowed him to escape. They then moved back south, after roaring and then hearing the calls of another male to the north, who responded to their calls. We relocated on them in the afternoon on Vulture pan road.

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Young Mbiri males (2)

As mentioned before, these three had a run-in with the Thanda impi males on Wilderness road on the 16th. I managed to relocate one of the them, to the north of Khoka Moya dam, and followed him as he tried to find his brothers. He continued moving north, contact calling all the way. We found them again on the 18th, all the way north at Skybeds dam. All three together, and you wouldn’t had believed that they had a major engagement with larger males, only two days before. They were looking very confident, and in familiar territory.

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Avoca males (3)

We had three sightings of the one of the massive Avoca males while on game drive. He was the male that was responsible for the Thanda Impi male lions moving south after their attack on the young Mbiri males. We first heard his roars far to the north west, on the Orpen road. Within half an hour, he was just to the north of Khoka Moya dam. He was definitely looking for fight, roaring back at the Thanda impi males, and continued for some time. He is a massive males, and incredibly confident! Two days later, he was on Rhino run with the Mbiri pride, deep in Thanda Impi males territory. The other male that was injured by the Thanda Impi males a few weeks back, was also seen at Khoka Moya dam. He was chasing the Mohlawareng pride to the north. These males are still going to have a major impact on the Lion dynamics in the area.

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Sable bridge cubs (1)

The leopard cubs were seen in the same place on Catwalk west, for several days. As is true to their form, they performed beautifully, for our game drive guests. Playing in the tree’s and lying on termite mounds. Classic leopard behavior!

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Rhulani male Leopard (1)

Rhulani was seen once, and quite by accident. He walked past the Avoca male Lion, and continued east into the Kruger National Park. He didn’t feel much like posing for us, and disappeared before we could get our lenses on him.

Other views from the bush

The general game has once again been outstanding, with several large Buffalo herds frequenting the north of the reserve, seeking out the sweet grazing of the gabbro plains. Numerous Elephant herds have been around the reserve as well, making for many memorable sightings. The Hyena den in the south of the reserve has also been active once or twice. All in all a great four days.

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