Bush Bulletin: September 2023

Posted on October 12, 2023

With spring creeping its way into the Southern Hemisphere, it’s been an exciting month here in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. It has definitely been the month of babies. We were finally introduced to the 10th Mhangene cub. The Ximungwe Pride are growing with both females giving birth and we were blessed to see our resident pack of Wild Dogs and their new litters.

Ximungwe Pride by Johan

In life, there are moments that will stay with you forever. Johan had one of those moments a few days back with the Ximungwe Pride. Johan has been guiding in the Western Sector for over 19 years and there are still times that take his breath away.

The younger female gave birth to 2 cubs early last month and we have only recently started viewing them now. We give any new mother time to settle in before we start viewing the cubs.

While Johan and his guests were viewing the lioness at a distance, a troop of baboons spotted the lions and started barking. The mother proceeded to stand up and carry one of the cubs to a thicker part of the den site. This provided Johan and his guests with a sighting of a lifetime. She carried the cub straight to the back end of Johan’s vehicle and casually walked past.

This is the lioness’ second-ever litter, and we are hoping with the strong presence of the Plains Camp Males that she can raise them to adulthood.

While writing this we have just been informed that the older female has also given birth, also in a similar area.

Patience is key by Stuart

Our resident Wild dog pack gave birth in an area where we couldn’t drive. Our excitement slowly started building as we were told that the pack were starting to move with the pups.

A few days back tracks were found in the North East of our traversing and it was game time. After a tough tracking session, we were rewarded with days full of activity and adrenaline filled sightings. The adults introduced us to 18 energy filled pups. One of the largest litters ever seen by most guides.

We sat and watched while the pups sat and waited for the adults to come back from a hunt. Squeals and chirps were heard in the distance and you could feel the excitement in the air. The pups started getting edgy and the bush irrupted with chaos once the adults ran in. Chunks of meat were delivered and it was a scramble as pups grabbed a piece and ran, but were closely followed by 17 other pups whiling to fight for a piece.

Pups ran under vehicles, into thickets and even up termite mounds trying to escape the mobbing. Guests had no idea where to look with the amount of activity that surrounded us.

A Leap of Leopards by Justin

After finding Boulders and her ever growing young daughter, Rixaka, with their impala kill during morning drive, we decided to head back into the area to see how these two beautiful resident females were progressing with their kill.

Upon arrival we noticed, not only that the kill was finished, but there was another leopard present, and not just any leopard but rather the large and dominant figure if Rixaka’s father, Ravenscourt.

Watching this rare coming together of leopards, known as a leap of leopards, walk through the clearings together is a sighting that took away the collective breath of both our guides and guides alike.

While this sort of collective will not stay together very long, it is incredible to witness the interaction of animals that would otherwise be solitary and not very friendly towards other individuals found in their territory.

Protective Mother by Mowell

The Mhangene Pride have finally introduced us to all 10 cubs. The youngest is only a couple of months old.

After finishing up on a young buffalo kill the pride started moving towards water but bumped into something along the way. Bellies were beyond full and they were just looking for a shady spot near water to rest up for the day.

A female white rhino and her calf were in between the pride and a small dam. White rhinos are known for their docile stature but as we all know, never get between a mother and its young.

While having poor eyesight, rhinos smell is in incredible. As soon as the female rhino got whiff of the lions, she quickly curled her tail and started charging towards the lions. Mowell and his guests were positioned perfectly to sit back and watch as a pride of 15 lions were screaming through the clearing while having two rhinos quickly closing in on them.

The Pride quickly escaped to a nearby drainage line and hid. Luckily for them the female rhino couldn’t get down the bank to reach the lions.

Hidden in Plain Sight by Cal

Trying to spot animals while out on a safari drive is half of the fun. Most of the animal’s blend in incredibly well and depending on the season, some blend in more than others. When one of our trackers, Ronald, signaled to stop the vehicle and pointed at a dead tree asking nonchalantly “can you see it”, everyone seemed completely puzzled. Ronald made his way over to a leafless, brown branch and pointed saying “look here, a chameleon”. The guests on the safari vehicle could not believe their eyes. They focused in on the seemingly dead bush willow branch and right in front of them was their well camouflaged chameleon.

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