Many of these photographs still show a green flush and although we’ve had a sprinkling of rain the land has really dried considerably and is looking more like late autumn than summer at the moment. This has resulted in excellent game viewing – we’ve even got lions smiling for the camera! Here’s a summary of what’s been happening:
Elephants: There have been very good sightings of bulls and breeding herds.
On one occasion, while watching a bull, we heard a young elephant scream in the distance allowing us to quickly locate a breeding herd of about sixty elephants. Guests enjoyed a spectacular view of these animals, feeding, playing, bathing and drinking at close quarters.
Lions: There’ve been some terrific sightings, like this one: As we left the lodge we drove straight to where we got word of a possible lion sighting. We found two female lions and two males lying down doing nothing. After a while we saw them react to a sound and they all jumped and advanced towards it. We followed and found a group of buffalo boys sleeping in the open. The lions wasted no time in launching a surprise attack and soon were on top of the buffalo and battling to bring one down. The other buffaloes rallied and came to help their comrade and chased the lions away. Later that week a buffalo was not so lucky – it was killed and feasted upon by three lionesses and three males.
Hyenas: Individuals have been spotted all over the reserve, but 16 gathered and fought over the above buffalo carcass once the lions left it to drink water from the Mahande stream.
Wild dogs: The wild dogs are back on the property, nine of them were on a hunt in the south eastern area, and later in the month they put on a terrific show fighting with crocodiles in the Chiredzi River!
Leopards: Two leopard sightings really stand out for the month. The first was when a leopard killed an impala and took it up a tree. The scent of blood drew two crocodiles from the river and they lay at the tree base trying to reach the kill. The second was while we watched some elephants, we heard a troop of baboons going berserk in the background. A quick search found us watching a troop of baboons mob a large male leopard that they’d trapped up a tree.
Cheetah: The two males have been seen. Guide Bulisani Mathe reported this after some new arrivals’ first afternoon drive, “Wow! It blew us away. We were greeted by a lot of plains game – giraffes, impalas and lots of zebra. Just as we thought this was enough we were entertained by wildebeest chasing two male cheetahs away from their young calves. While watching this and following the action a few elephant bulls came to drink.”
Buffalo: Herds of up to 150 buffalo have been seen at the water sources.
Rhinos: Excellent daily sightings of white rhinos abound. Highlights were two bulls having a shoving match and eight white rhinos, including a baby, which guests were able to photograph really well. The more elusive black rhinos have been seen too. On one occasion a large black rhino bull come right up to the vehicle and posed beautifully for guests. At the same time three hyenas stood nearby watching the rhino and two sable antelope walked across the plains in the distance.