July brought mainly clear mornings, with some misty starts. The game drives tended to leave at around 07:00, returning mid-morning. Daytime temperatures took a while to warm up and, after sunset, we enjoyed amazing clear night skies and stargazing. This month we had what is known as a blue moon, when there are two full moons in one month. A full moon occurs roughly every 29,5 days, so it is rare but possible to have a full moon at the very beginning and end of one month. The next blue moon will only happen in January 2018! Wildlife updates
Leopards: The Ndlovu male leopard was seen six times and stole an impala kill from the Xhikelengane female. He appeared to have an injury to his foot, but recovered towards the end of the month. The N’wanetsi male was seen five times, and is now completely relaxed with the vehicles. Tingala was seen twice, and the Xhikelengane female was seen on ten occasions. There were also three unknown leopards seen on the concession, one adult male establishing territory around the Sticky Thorn area, and then a young male and female are being seen in various places.
Lions: As the Shish pride cubs continue to grow, so do their appetites. They are taking down larger prey items such as zebra and giraffe. The white lion male cub, although sometimes looking a little scratched, is still doing well.
Cheetah: Seen most frequently in July were the ‘mother and one’. The cub is growing well and should learn to hunt when the next impala lambing season comes around in the first third of 2016.
Hyena: The hyena den is still very active, with the three cubs venturing towards the vehicles most afternoons. The female nursing the cubs is very relaxed and her cubs are likely to be the most relaxed generation of hyenas on the concession.
Elephants: Anywhere on the concession where there is water, there are elephants. The total number of sightings per drive can be around four different herds. Mid-morning at the water is generally the best, as they come down to drink. There are often very good interactions between the elephants and the crocodiles and hippos wishing to bask in the sun on the riverbanks.
A newly born elephant calf was seen, still finding its feet.
Buffalo: A herd of roughly 40 is being seen fairly regularly, feeding in last year’s burnt areas and moving back and forth to water daily.