2-5 December 2016 – Rhulani has an uncomfortable morning.

January 26, 2017

Lions – Mbiri pride

We first had a sighting with 3 of the Lionesses on Vulture pan road, a day later one of the older Lionesses was found with 4 cubs, close to Catwalk west again. We now believe that they have 6 cubs, as the last cub sighting was definitely 2 cubs. So probably 2 from one Lioness and 4 from the other! We have kept a strict viewing protocol with the cubs, and slowly but surely they’ll become very relaxed with the vehicles. It was great to watch the interaction between the mother and the cubs! The next day, the 2 mothers were found on Catwalk west, and it was evident that they’d eaten. They took some time to enjoy each others company, before returning to the racing job of motherhood.

One of the mother Mbiri’s, keeping a close eye on us, while we were enjoying her cubs for the first time. ISO 2000, f8, 1/160sec
The 2 mother Mbiri’s keeping each other company, before returning to their cubs. ISO 2000, f8, 1/320sec

Nharhu pride

We only had one sighting of the pride of 13. They killed a Buffalo on the morning of the 2nd on madache open area. They have done incredibly well rearing all 10 cubs, who consist of 6 males and 4 females, and are now over the critical first year. What impact are these males going to have in the area, in the next few years? The sons of the most unlikely successful coalition, could have a serious impact on the Manyeleti and surrounding area’s, but they will need a bit of luck. Somehow the thanda impi’s must hold the area for another year, to give these males a chance at survival. If that happens, the possibilities are incredible.

Talamati pride and Selati males

We managed to find both Selati males, in the company of the old, one-eyed Talamati Lioness. They were roaring on the edge of Buffelshoek plains, in the extreme south of the reserve. The sick Selati male, is looking very thin and unwell, but he has been like this for ages and seems to be hanging in there somehow. How much time is left for these legend killers is uncertain. They do have some breathing space in the northern parts of their territory, with few males in the area, but the threat could possibly come from the south. Are the Birmingham males listening to their roars, waiting for the slightest signs of weakness?


Rhulani male Leopard

We only had one sighting of Rhulani, and it was an interesting one. He was lying in an erosion doing on Wilderness road, and was extremely agitated. A troop of Baboons were harassing him, and he had himself in a defensive position with the sharp end pointed at the baboons. We left the scene as he started to relax and the Baboons had lost interest in pestering the big male leopard.

Ntsuntsu Young female Leopard

This is an extremely relaxed female leopard, that sadly we rarely see. He seems to move between the manyeleti and the southern timbavati. She is the sister to the Ntsuntsu male Leopard, and has the same father and mother as Rhulani. In the past we have seen her as far east as Koppies, but lately we only see in the Wilderness/Civet road area. This time was no exception, and she was found on Civet road moving north, and was left on Wilderness still moving north.

African Wild dogs

We had 2 sightings of a large pack of African Wild dogs. Some of the guides suggested that they counted 21 Wild dogs. The first time they were seen was on Ngala loop, they moved north from there to Civet road, where they spent the day. They were then seen a few days later at mantobeni pan. They had just finished a Bushbuck kill, and were enjoying some slightly cooler weather. The pups began some serious play, and we had almost 10 percent of the greater KNP’s Wild dog population frolicking around the vehicles. An amazing moment!

Other views from the bush

A big elephant bull watching us from the top of Mohlawareng Koppies. ISO 500, f7.1, 1/640sec
One of the baboons keeping an eye on the Rhulani male Leopard. ISO 640, f7.1, 1/500sec


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