Green, green, green! The bush is alive with the vivid hues of green and the ever-fresh smells of a dampened earth. Butterflies, dung beetles, grasshoppers and flying termites fill the air with a breath-taking energy that calls for curiosity in even the smallest of creatures. As we move into the final month of 2020, a warmth over the wilderness envelopes us with ever soaring temperatures and large clouds filled with rumbling thunder. New life in all aspects brings us hope for the future year ahead in knowing that brand new beginnings are gifted to us with every full turn of Earth. It is magnificent, a wonder in which we are privileged to observe and share with each of our wonderful guests.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for November:
The Mhangene Pride continue to be our most viewed pride with the full complement seen on a blue wildebeest kill just south of the Sand River on the eastern side of the property. Sadly one of the middle cubs was lost (unknown reason) and the pride composition now stands at two older cubs, one middle cub and one small cub (introduced this month to the rest of the pride). We look forward to watching the progress of these youngsters and their mothers.
The Matimba male lion and young Nkuhuma male lion were sighted with a blue wildebeest kill in the north, late November. Both lions had a few wounds around their faces. The Nkuhuma male especially had a large gash in his jaw which we believe was acquired during the wildebeest hunt.
Very exciting to see the Styx male lion on the property, heading from east to west and looking in very good condition.
A magical moment to witness several different large breeding herds of elephants join together to share in the delight of a mud bath on a hot summer’s day. This month we’ve seen very large numbers of elephants passing through the property, with several very large bulls following their lead.
Scraping mud off the banks with their tusks and wallowing in the shallows, the squelching and splashing mixed with trumpeting is a delight to hear.
The Othawa Pack have been moving all over the Sabi Sand Reserve, giving us brief glimpses of them before moving away. We had an incredible sighting of the pack playing in the Sand River, interacting with hyenas and elephants.
The Schotia female has rewarded us with some amazing game viewing this month, actively seen close to the lodges marking her territory after the rains, stalking and hunting the newborn impala lambs.
The Schotia’s cub is nearly one year old and with a curious and inquisitive nature, he’s always a delight to see. We’ve seen him alone, wandering his mother’s territory and with the Schotia female, learning the skills he needs to capture and secure his prey.
The Nyeleti male, the resident dominant male leopard has also been seen frequently patrolling the areas close the Sand River.
The Serengeti female leopard has been seen a few times north and south of the river, just east of Ebony lodge. A more shy and skittish personality and a gem to see, even if just for a few seconds.
The dominant male leopard Xipuku continues to reside in the central areas, having been seen quite frequently, although only for brief periods due to his shy nature.
A male cheetah has been seen a handful of times on the property, never staying for too long in the same spot.
The bird list for November includes three new bird species, bringing our yearly total to 283 so far. Special bird species include: Cape sparrow and booted eagle.