Another two months have flown by, and with it Winter has set in, as all the guests are utilising the fleece ponchos and warm water bottles to the fullest! One of the benefits of Winter is that the bush is very open and the skies are spectacular. Making it worth facing the cold mornings!
Dayone is surely recovering from whatever caused the injury to his left front leg. He is starting to do more of his usual patrols and seems to slowly be taking back parts of his old territory. Recovering from that injury and being able to keep his condition during that time just adds to his unbelievable character.
Over these two months we haven’t seen much of Kashane. When he was seen it wasn’t for more than a couple of hours.
With Dayone reclaiming territory, Nyeleti did not always come as far West as he used to. It also seems that there is another male Leopard in the same territory as Nyeleti, with which he has been in a couple of fights with. Nyeleti picked up a couple of injuries, but mostly superficial. Xikavi has also been following him around, enticing him to mate with her.
We have been seeing a lot more of the handsome Torchwood male. He still hasn’t completely established himself. Hopefully he will find some territory that he can occupy in the West. On a couple of occasions we followed him from termite mound to termite mound, looking for some unsuspecting Warthogs.
The Ravenscourt male has turned into a beautiful boy, just like his mother. His territory is further to the East, but every now and again in wanders into the West.
Over the last two months we were all eagerly awaiting Hlaba Nkunzi’s reveal of her two cubs to the Western Sector. It wasn’t too long before she brought both of them to the Lodge, where she kept them close to Suite 1! This was all very exciting for us. Unfortunately she did not keep them there very long as she made a kill somewhere else, and took them for a good feed. Recently it seems that Hlaba Nkunzi was in a fight of some kind, as she is limping and has only been seen with one cub…
The ever playful Thlangisa and her two equally playful cubs have been providing us with hours of entertainment. She only just started introducing them to meat, and has been either taking them to the kill site, or bringing the kill back to the den site. These cubs are estimated to be about 11 weeks old.
Xikavi was not seen very often as she spends most of her time in the thicker vegetation. She has been enticing Nyeleti to mate with her. Once again we are hoping that if she falls pregnant, that this time she will be able to raise the cubs successfully.
The Selati males seem to have been defeated by the Majingilane, as we have not seen them for a long time. We have had reports that two of them have been seen further North East of us.
The Majingilane are still busy with their takeover of the Western Sector. With the big territory that they occupy now, we have not seen them too much, as they patrol their whole territory. For the prides this is a good thing, as it gives them time to raise their cubs. There have been reports that some of the cubs have already been killed by the Majingilane. Every time they do however come into the West, they seek out the one Othawa female, without cubs, to mate with her.
The Othawa pride seems to have suffered a couple of losses. Some of the cubs have been killed by Hyenas, and it seems some by the Majingilane. One of the male cubs somehow in all the confusion ended up with the Ximhungwe pride for a while. He has since separated from them. At the moment only two cubs are seen with the three females.
With all the chaos in the West with the Majingilane takeover, the Ximhungwe pride seems to be the ones that have been able to hide the best. Unfortunately one of the female cubs got separated and ended up with the Othawa pride. They did however not accept her, and she was beaten up quite badly.
We had a couple of sightings of the Mangheni pride from the East. This is a spectacular pride with 14 individuals. They are one of the Majingilane prides.
Cheetah sightings have been amazing over the last two months. We have been very lucky with, mostly the two sub adults. They have now split up and both are looking to establish territory on their own.
The Wild Dogs only came in a couple of times. They started to dig, giving us hope that they would once again den in the West. Unfortunately they moved on and found another den site. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they start moving with the new born puppies to come and introduce them to us.
With a lot of kills happening, the Hyenas have also been having a good time. Every now and again they managed to chase a Lioness off a kill, but most of the time they had to wait it out to get there share. Wonderful thing about the bush, nothing goes to waste.
And a little treat for our birders out there.
Although the blog focuses on the big cats we do not disregard all the other animals. Some of our most special sightings come from the general game. Sightings like a herd of Elephants all having a mud bath, some Dwarf Mongoose sunning themselves or even a Zebra rolling in the dust, are the things that make the whole safari experience special.
Looking back we can’t believe that half of the year has already passed. How does the all too familiar phrase go? “Time flies when you’re having fun”. And that is definitely the case out in the bush and at Leopard Hills!
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Music from The Lion King – Circle of Life
Written and composed by Hugo Breed, Johan de la Rey and Reece Verdoorn.