November 2018 has been another lovely wildlife viewing month. We have continued to experience great numbers of migratory wildebeest and zebra on the concession for the majority of the month, and resident topi and buffalo herds filled the plains. Elephant numbers have again been fantastic with breeding herds utilising many regions of the concession, and our resident predator numbers have remained consistently high.
Rainfall was very low for the month, and despite daily cloud build up, strong winds seemed to push the rain away in a westerly direction toward Lake Victoria. Sasakwa hill and the surrounding areas experienced only one heavy downpour, but apart from that, very few thundershowers occurred.
Migratory numbers dropped slightly toward the end of the month, but smallish herds continued to trickle into the Ikorongo Game Reserve from the northern Serengeti. For this time of the year though, migration numbers were still incredibly high and wildlife on the concession remained an amazing spectacle.
The sightings have been excellent, and once again these incredible predators lived up to their fierce reputation.
Kimaro witnessed two large male lions reach in and extract a full grown female warthog from her burrow – traumatizing for the guests, but showing the males’ ability to hunt and kill in a different manner.
Kimaro was able catch the action from start to finish and his photos show the sheer raw power of these great cats as they pull the pig from her burrow.
Unfortunately, after the death of this sow, the likelihood of her piglets surviving is very low as they may still have been suckling, and then the extremely high density of predators on the concession will also capitalise on any orphaned youngsters.
Anicet experienced more drama on the plains when he and his guests witnessed a mating pair of lions successfully catch an unsuspecting zebra foal who had fallen into a deep sleep and had been left by the mother.
The big cats will sometimes go for days without eating when mating, but will certainly take advantage if a situation presents itself.
The lions continue to spend long periods in the heat of the day up shady trees, escaping the biting flies that move with the large numbers of wildebeest and zebra.
The highlight for the team this month happened during the walking training, when the guides crept up on an unsuspecting male lying up in a sycamore fig along the Grumeti River. In the next photo you can see the sheer joy on George’s face at the encounter.
Anicet was once again on the plains to witness a fantastic few minutes of fascinating leopard behaviour. Having found and then followed a female moving through the thickets, scent marking as she moved (perhaps in the early stages of oestrus) she detected another leopard lying up in the shade of a bush. Approaching cautiously, she made contact and immediately the two engaged in a few seconds of ferocious fighting.
The other leopard, a young male, had stashed a carcass under a tree nearby and, after the altercation, moved back to his kill as the disgruntled female gradually moved off.
Bernard located a beautiful male leopard lying up in a desert date tree on the Nyasirori Dam wall. He had been feeding on a zebra foal for a day or so and had stashed his kill at the top of the tree.
A total of 15 sightings were recorded in November. The abundance of wildebeest on the concession can intimidate these nervous cats into seeking calmer areas of less herd activity.
A herd of well over 150 were a regular sighting on the Komre/Airstrip areas, and another herd was often seen in and around Sasakwa Dam.
The large herd was often see on the open plains feeding on the small saplings.