30 September -2 October 2016 – The first decent rains, but too late for some of the struggling Buffalo.

December 22, 2016

Lion (6) – Mbiri pride (2)

The Mbiri pride were found with a Buffalo kill on the morning of the 30th, but seemed to be under a bit of pressure with the 3 Avoca sub-adults lying only a few hundred meters away. The 2 older females are formidable lionesses, and I suppose that might be enough to dissuade them. They did however abandon the kill during the night We then found them much further west, almost on our doorstep, again with yet another Buffalo kill. The thanda Impi male Lions were with them, but the older females were holding their own with the big males. It was a very tense sighting!

Nharhu pride (1)

The Nharhu’s were not be outdone on the Buffalo kills, and also killed Buffalo on the 1st of October. It was quite amazing watching the cubs squabbling and growling for the favorite cuts of meat. This pride is still going to be a force to be reckoned with, but we anticipate that they’ll probably increase their territory to the south rather than north. There have already been a few meetings between the Nharhu’s and Mbiri’s, but there is till a lot of space between the Nharhu’s and Talamati’s to the south. As the cubs get bigger, so we’ll start to see them increasing their territory.

Talamati pride (1)

We only had one sighting of our southern pride, and still only a portion of the pride. This pride has blossomed under the protection of the Selati males, and several females have young cubs. We saw 8 members of the Talamati pride, with the old female with the blind eye at Sarabanga reservoir. They had managed to steal an Impala kill from the Makhambo male Leopard. One of the Selati male Lions was with the pride, and while we didn’t see it, he probably enjoyed the Impala carcass by himself.

Thanda Impi male Lions

We only had one sighting of the Thanda Impi’s, and that was with the Mbiri pride close to the lodge. The Mbiri’s had killed a Buffalo and the 2 big males looked very torn between trying to feed or take advantage of the Lionesses and try and mate. An interesting dynamic was observed between them! The Sizanani male seems to dominate Skorro around food, whilst Skorro tends to dominate Sizanani when it comes to the females. Sizanani had his fill, and took the opportunity to check some of the younger females, whilst Skorro was trying to establish dominance over a very determined older Mbiri lioness. She wasn’t having any of his rubbish!

Mbiri sub-adult males (1)

We had one sighting of the Mbiri males, and they too had killed a Buffalo close to old pump in the north. They seem to be moving just out of reach of the Thanda Impi males territory, but still close to the Mbiri pride. Interestingly they didn’t team up with the Avoca sub-adults, but were still about a kilometer from them, so anything could still happen. I think the one thing that is probably standing in the way of them joining, could be a dominance issue between the 2 larger males from either coalition. Usually coalitions have a dominant, larger male, but in this case the 2 bigger males from the 2 coalitions are about the same size, and it might just be easier to not join forces and avoid the potential bloodshed at the moment.

Avoca sub-adult males (1)

They were seen once, on Nyathi drive, close to where the Mbiri pride had a Buffalo kill. They were just peacefully lying in an open area, but there presence in the area probably didn’t go unnoticed by the Mbiri’s. They abandoned their kill during the night, probably as a result of these upstarts being so close. What impact they are going to have in the area, is still to be seen.

Leopard (2)

Beacon male Leopard (1)

There was one sighting of the the “come back kid” of the Manyeleti. After being chased out of his territory by the rhulani male, he made a come back and seems to have taken a portion of his old territory back. And that portion is the area around the lodge. We responded to a calling Leopard at Manor house, and found Beacon advertising his presence, probably looking for a female. He disappeared into some thick bush, east of Manor house.

Makhambo male leopard (1)

He is a young male that we see in the south quite a lot. We had one sighting of him, where it was reported by the guides in the south that he had an Impala kill on Sarabanga, on the morning of the 2nd. We arrived in the afternoon, to find the talamati pride had taken his Impala kill and he was relegated to a marula tree to watch his hard work disappear. He seems to be comfortable in the south, and doesn’t have much male competition down there. So maybe, just maybe, he’ll establish his territory down there.

Other views from the bush

There was a little bit of rain that fell during these few days, and some characters that we haven’t seen in a while reappeared. The first dung beetle sighting caused a stir! The Buffalo are struggling though, and as mentioned before, the Lions are taking full advantage of their condition.

A rare White-headed Vulture enjoying a bit of much needed rain.
A young Wildebeest bull getting a valuable lesson, from the territorial Bull. Behave yourself, or else.

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