So spring is here…….
With temperatures rising, the first rain and sight of migrant birds returning back to familiar nesting sites, we know that summer is near and baby season is around the corner.
The Ximhungwe pride spent most of the time this month to the South and East, thus we did not see them much, but all three females and the six cubs are doing well and are still making regular kills.
The Othawa pride is going from strength to strength, with three of the Selati males spending most of their times with them, even sharing a Buffalo kill on one occasion this month. All eight cubs are still accounted for and are growing up fast and thus eating mom out of the house, so to say.
The Selati males are doing well with three of them being together most of the time. The fourth one is still alive and spends his time alone. The reason for the boys spending a lot of time with the Othawa pride is due to the fact that the third Othawa female is still coming in to eustress every now and then. We saw them on numerous Buffalo kills this month.
Kashane was not seen often, as his territory reaches more to the east. On one occasion we did see him staking out a warthog burrow, but left soon after as he realised that there were no warthogs in the burrow any more.
The Dayone male is still the traveler, as he covers most of the Western sector South of the river. On one morning he gave us quite a show as he stalked and caught a warthog coming out of its burrow. He is in good condition and still in control of his territory.
Nyeleti male is still showing himself to us on occasions mostly to the Eastern parts and close to the river.
The Torch-wood male Leopard is a young male that came from the far North. He is still young but very beautiful. Luckily he is also very relaxed and we are getting great viewing of him.
We have also had the odd sighting of the Sand River male Leopard coming in from the South East. He has been pushed out of his territory and continues on a nomadic lifestyle. Reports are that this male Leopard was the one that sired Dayone. After following the Wild Dogs one afternoon, we came across the Sand River male mating with an unknown female. Both of them quickly got into a tree as the dogs came by.
Thlangisa is still up in the North West of the reserve. It seemed that she did have some cubs, as we were able to see suckle marks. But unfortunately on the latest sighting we had of her there were no more suckle marks.
Xikavi has been seen a lot this month, as she has also given birth along the river, but we are still waiting to get a glimpse of her cubs. The reports that are coming in are that there are two little balls of fur waiting to be revealed to the big world.
Metsi was seen in the South sharing a kill with an unknown young male Leopard, but for most of the month she managed to avoid us. Unfortunately still no sighting of her cub this month.
Hlaba Nkunzi gave us great viewing as usual this month with numerous kills that she shared with her ever playful cub. Both of them are looking in good condition.
The female Cheetah and her two cubs gave us real good viewing this month by spending almost a week in the Western sector and making Impala kills in view of the vehicles on wide open clearings and then resting up on termite mounds.
The Hyena den site is still active giving us good viewing of the pups, and we also had glimpses of individual adults dashing across the road on drive and the destined calling setting the ambiance in the African bush.
We’ve been having great sightings with big herds of Elephant and Buffalo and most of the general game this month.
This month was one of those special months were we had the incredibly rare sighting of a Pangolin! Everyone in the West was very excited about this, and for some it was their first Pangolin ever.
We are starting to see the migratory birds returning for the summer nesting season. Birds like the Yellow Billed Kite are some of the first to return and indicate the season is changing. We also had very good sightings of the more common and all year round birds as well.
Looking at the horizon and the month ahead, we can see the clouds building that will bring the much anticipated and needed rain for all the animals and especially the new babies.
Written and compiled by Hugo Breed and Johan de la Rey