3-5 Oct 2016 – The drought is becoming a crippling one

December 23, 2016

Lion (7) – Nharhu pride (2)

It was a bit strange, but Lions sightings were quite rare over the 3 days of the blog. We did however find the Nharhu pride on the morning of the 3rd, with a Buffalo on Ndlulamiti road. The cubs were feeding on the carcass, and the Lionesses were resting nearby, content in their ability to secure food for the 10 hungry and growing cubs. On the 4th, they were found again, to the north of Main Dam. We found them in some thicker bush, but managed to enjoy a sighting of them grooming each other before setting off for the night.

Thanda Impi males (3)

The big guys were seen for the first time on Jackals Plains on the 4th, with an unknown Lioness, presumably from the KNP. Jackals plains is only a few hundred maters from the KNP boundary, so sometimes we find Lions we don’t know there. Sizanani was found the next morning, helping himself to a dead Buffalo on catwalk west, which is on the other side of the reserve. On the afternoon of the 5th, both males were found with the Mbiri pride on Windi Windi. These boys are getting around the reserve these days. But they have 2 prides to look after now, so get moving boys!

Mbiri pride (1)

We only had one sighting of the Mbiri’s this time. They were seen on the 5th on Windi Windi, with the Thanda Impi male Lions.

Mbiri sub-adult males (1)

We also only had one sighting of the young Mbiri males, who were seen close to Sable bridge, just resting in the shade.


Rhulani male Leopard (2)

We had 2 sightings of the Rhulani male Leopard over the 3 days. He was spending most of his time in the area around Main Dam, probably trying to secure territory in the area, after what recently happened with the Beacon male leopard. All in all, not much to report, besides its seems he’s moving around a fair bit.

Young Ntsuntsu female Leopard (1)

We had one sighting of the young female leopard. She’s a nice relaxed female, but crosses north of our boundary quite a lot, so seeing her is a real surprise. She was to the west of Sable bridge, and moved to the east towards Sable bridge itself. Her lineage is exactly the same as Rhulani, coming from the same mother and father as Rhulani. It’ going to be interesting to see if she sets up a territory in the northern Manyeleti.

Investigating the area, and finding the scent of another Leopard. Young Ntsuntsu female Leopard. ISO 1000, F7.1, 1/400sec

Unidentified Leopard (1)

There was a sighting of an unidentified female leopard in the east of the reserve, on Nzaka loop.

Other views from the bush

One of the disturbing things we starting noticing during this period, were Buffalo just dropping dead. A Buffalo died on Buffalo plains which made for some great Vulture viewing. My theory is that the Buffalo use their tongues to graze, and with the current drought, the grass isn’t long enough for the Buffalo to graze effectively. And as a result, there’s a lack of nutrition and their access to the available food is restricted. There was also good general game sightings, and several elephant sightings, but mostly bulls.

Incoming! A White-backed Vulture descending on a Buffalo carcass. ISO 200, f7.1, 1/1000sec

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