24-28 November 2016 – New additions to the Mbiri pride

January 25, 2017

Lions – Thanda Impi male Lions

We had 2 sightings of the Thanda Impi males, over the 4 days. They were initially found on Windi Windi, lying low under a Guarri bush, whilst it softly rained on the afternoon of the 24th. We found their tracks a lot in the days that followed, but only found them again on the morning of the 27th, close to Zebra pan. Its interesting that they are staying in the general area that the Mbiri pride has their cubs hidden.

A wind swept Skorro Thanda Impi male Lion, sheltering from the light rain. ISO 2000, f8, 1/60sec

Mbiri pride

It’s been difficult finding the Mbiri pride lately! We eventually managed to track them on the morning of the 27th, and luckily all the way to their den site, between Catwalk west and Windi Windi. We found 2 of the Lionesses in the drainage line, and then quite by accident, we found another Lioness with 2 cubs of about 2 weeks old. There was no way of knowing if the other Lionesses also have cubs, but at least we know of these 2. Lets hope the Thanda Impi males can keep these little guys safe for their first year.

Our first glimpse of the future of the Mbiri pride! ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/400sec


Beacon male Leopard

We’re still finding the Beacon male moving around his newly reclaimed territory around the lodge. He was found on the afternoon of the 24th on panic loop, and moved west to river road. He was tricky to follow in the rain. On river road, he found and chased the 2 Sable bridge Leopard cubs, who luckily escaped in the thick Spikethorn thickets. At around 10 years old, I think that Beacons time is nearing the end as a potential territorial male. His meetings with Rhulani are well documented, but there are 3 new males coming in from the north. Who’ll be the territorial male of this area in a year?

Sable bridge cubs- Nandi female

This is the young female, that we all thought was a male initially. She is much larger than her sister, but closer inspection showed no sign of the necessary genitals to be male. We’ve decided to call her the Nandi female, named after the mother of the legendary Zulu king Shaka’s mother. We found her with her sister at our presidential suite on the afternoon of the 27th. She is also the more relaxed of the 2 with the vehicles, so her confidence and size are the reason we decided on Nandi as a name.

Sable bridge cubs – Sasseka female

The shyer of the 2 Sable bridge cubs. Sasseka means beautiful in the local Shangaan language, and she is a petite and beautiful young female Leopard. She was with her sister at our presidential suite on the afternoon of the 26th. She seems to be hanging around the area close to the lodge, more than her sister and so we think she’ll inherit this part of her mother s territory.

Sable bridge female

The incredibly shy mother of the cubs was briefly seen on Windi Windi, also on the afternoon of the 26th. She was lying on a termite mound, but soon moved to the south east when she became aware that we had seen her.

New male Leopard – Tekwane male

On the morning of the 25th, there was a lot of excitement on the reserve, as a new male leopard was found in the north. He was initially found on Red road, moved south to Sable bridge and then went north again. We had a bit of help, but eventually identified him as the Tekwane male Leopard from the Timbavati. He was clearly moving around, picking up on all the scents in the area, which probably included the Sable bridge female, Kwatile male and the Ntsuntsu male. This is now the third young male in this particular area. The dynamic in this part of the reserve is going to be interesting to watch. We managed to relocate him in the afternoon, but this time on Wilderness, quite far to the north of where he was in the morning.

A new male on the block. Just to add a bit of spice to the current Leopard dynamics, enter the Tekwane male. ISO 1250, f7.1, 1/500sec

Other views of the bush

Coloured red by the soil around the Mohlawareng Koppies on our eastern boundary, this Elephant bull uses a Marula tree as a scratching post. ISO 500, f8, 1/640sec
A Senegal lapwing guarding its nest. ISO 500, f8, 1/500sec

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