In August we experienced predominantly blue skies with temperatures steadily on the increase. We had a few misty mornings that cleared away as soon as the sun came up. There was no rainfall and the waterholes continue to dry up, attracting game from the far reaches of the concession.
Leopards: The Ndlovu male was seen on five different occasions this month. He has recovered from his injury and was seen waiting in ambush of some Impala. There have been a few sightings of the shy, young Chava male, including a view of him feeding on a kudu carcass. We had great views of the Mhlangulene female hunting and killing impala. She was also seen on one occasion feeding on an impala, joined by her male offspring (the young Mhlangulene male). The Tingala female put an impala kill up in a weeping boerbean tree near camp, and was also spotted walking on the road towards Sweni camp.The Xinkelengane female has been seen frequently this month and is faring well. We were fortunate to see the Xhikova female walking and marking her territory. There was great excitement when the guides found an unknown female leopard and young cub. We had great views of them playing in a tree before the mother climbed down and stalked some guineafowl nearby.
Cheetah: We have been fortunate this month and have had frequent cheetah sightings within the concession. The highlights were seeing the coalition of three cheetah again this month, a mother and cub seen on two different occasions, as well as a single female hunting impala in the far north.
Hyena: The Nyokene clan are still faring well and we had great views of the cubs nursing, playing outside the den’s entrance and chewing on some bones. The cubs are growing fast, becoming more and more adventurous and venturing further away from the safety of the den.
Elephants: We have had spectacular elephant viewing this month. The elephants have been concentrated around the waterholes to drink and to cool off by splashing themselves. Due to the dry conditions, we see them feeding more on tree roots and bark in order for them to get their daily nutrients. One of the month’s highlights was viewing a newly born elephant calf trying to stand and take his first steps.
Buffalo: A group of eleven buffalo bulls have been seen on a regular basis, including a breeding herd of around forty individuals. The buffalo herd has typically been seen walking in single file towards water in the morning, followed by flocks of red-billed oxpeckers looking for a meal. In the late afternoons, we have watched them walking back to feed on the nutritious grass growing in the hills.
Lion: Three adult female lionesses with seven cubs from the Shishangaan pride, were seen on a few occasions this month, feeding. The cubs gorged themselves and could hardly walk to keep up as their mothers led them away from the kill sites after feeding, in order to keep them safe. The Shishangaan males have been exploring further north, and seem to be extending the range of their territory. In the beginning of the month, we saw a total of thirty-two Shishangaan pride members feeding on the remains of a Cape buffalo. The Mountain pride lionesses have been seen on a few occasions this month, and we have also had a sighting of the Xhirombe pride. Three unknown adult male lions made an appearance not far away from camp. We followed them for a short while as they were walking along the N’wanetsi River.