With the promise of rains on the horizon we have been waiting patiently for the heavens to open up. Unfortunately the little rain that has arrived has only dampened the soil. The temperatures had been scorching on a few days, but with the early game drive times and the later afternoon departures this has not had any adverse affect on game viewing – it’s actually improved with the large amount of elephants gathering along the Sand River. We’ve recorded 229 species of birds this month – many are visitors here to enjoy our summer and all it offers.
Here’s a highlights package of the month’s sightings:
Cheetahs: It is most pleasing to note the high number of cheetah sightings in November. These primarily diurnal super-predators provided guests with some excellent viewing.
Lions: On the lion front, the Mangheni pride continued to be seen frequently, and there were also fine sightings of the Othawa pride, which seems to be thriving. The three Othawa pride cubs are doing well, and it was good to see them with all three lionesses and all four Majingilane males. While the Majingilane males are undoubtedly ageing, together they still control a very large chunk of territory. Great news is that one of the Mangheni pride lionesses has recently produced no fewer than five cubs, while another member of the pride is expected to give birth very soon, if she has not already done so.
Leopards: It was yet another great month, with the ‘regulars’ continuing to contribute to most sightings. The Hlabankunzi female and her male cub are spending more and more time apart, although the leopardess is still sharing some kills with her boisterous son, who has a huge appetite. The Kashane male and Mobeni female were seen mating, and it is good to see that the Mobeni female’s previous offspring, now named the Mawelawela male and the Ntoma female, are doing well for themselves although both are still rather shy. Occasional sightings of another adult female leopard, who is definitely lactating, suggest that she may have hidden her cubs somewhere in the general vicinity of the confluence of the Mobeni drainage and the Sand River. Exciting times indeed, and we look forward to being able to report on sightings of cubs in the near future.
Buffalos: Large herds have been active moving towards the remaining waterholes on a daily basis. With the Mhangeni pride active in the area, they have been preying upon the weaker individuals. On one occasion the pride managed to catch a record four buffalos in one sighting! See the full story below…
Elephants: Elephants continue to move actively during the midday along the Sand River.
Wild dogs: A pack of twenty-one wild dogs have been seen on occasion, however they are spending a great deal of the time in the west of the private reserve. With the amount of lion activity in the central area it could very well be the reason that the pack remains scarce in this part.