Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
The big cat action continued this week and as usual, the Lion politics stole the show. The general game species have been spending most of their time on the burnt sections, but most of our Elephant sightings have taken place in the parts of the reserve that have not been burnt this year. The result is a resting period for the grazing, as the animal’s resident on the reserve are enjoying the fresh green shoots and staying off the unburnt sections. The exceptions are the Elephants and large herds of Buffalo, who seem to prefer these areas. This meant that the predators stayed close to the burnt areas in search of prey.
The big males have been busy this week and we have had a few descent sightings of them. The week started off where it left off last week, with the two dark maned males moving off with the Koppies females from S6 pan. The females moved and the males followed, with no attempt to hide their presence. They started roaring and the Koppies girls followed suit.
We then had a few sightings of single Matimba’s, one at Main dam wall with one of the Mbiri females and another at Vulture Pan Road.
Towards the end of the week, we found three Matimba’s on a Giraffe kill with the Mbiri pride close to Zebra pan. The two young males were present and these two young males are the oldest of the Matimba cubs. Their relation with their fathers seems to be heading towards the inevitable pushing out stage. The males are starting to show more and more aggression and they are tolerating their cubs less and less. They spent three days on the kill with the Mbiri pride.
There was only one sighting of these females this week. They were with the two dark maned Matimba’s on Mantaan Mphisi moving west towards Tamboti drive. As is their way, we can go for several days without seeing these females and then they just turn up out of the blue. Hopefully next week proves this theory true!
It’s been almost a year since the tragedy of the cub killing Matimba’s. A quick recap: Last year the Matimba’s were found killing the Mbiri cubs on Bee-eater road. The sad part of it all was, these were Matimba cubs! However the two surviving cubs have thrived ever since and have turned into males that are full of character and always good to watch. The Matimba’s have accepted the young Mbiri’s and they are tolerated by the big guys.
This week was no different and the Mbiri pride managed to take down a fully grown female Giraffe close to Zebra pan. Luckily for the Mbiri’s, Giraffe carcasses are big and they can all feed in relative peace. The big guys did however let the youngsters know who was boss and the young males approached the kill with care whenever they wanted to feed. They were very submissive to the Matimba’s, but that is the way of Lions. Males just don’t tolerate competition in any form!
The good Cheetah viewing has continued this week. The female with the cub was once again seen close to the western boundary, which is an area that provides a lot of our Cheetah sightings. This area has very little Lion activity and this probably why the Cheetah prefer the area. Lately the Cheetah have hugged the western boundary and utilised the open bush in the area.
Other views from the bush
We hope you enjoyed the blog!
Darren the Safari Team
All photographs edited by Darren Roberts-York
Saturday, 27 July 2013
This week we have seen the fantastic Cheetah viewing continue in the central Manyeleti. The two males moved east in the Kruger National Park, but were replaced by a female and her cub. The Lion and Hyena density in the Manyeleti is fairly low and this is an attractive proposition to the Cheetah population. This could be the reason we are seeing a fair amount of Cheetah in comparison to our neighbors.
Even though the Lion density is fairly low, the residents have definitely put up a good show. The big males have been around and we've had three Matimba’s in the central Manyeleti this week. To start off with, we found them at Zebra pan after dark. Having three huge male Lions roaring together, makes finding them just that little bit easier. This was a massive show of power and the combined vocal capabilities would have told all other Lions exactly who the bosses are of the area.
A few days later we once again heard the Lions roaring east of Buffalo plains and decided to follow up. Between Eric and myself, we thought the best place to look would be Tamboti road. We drove around looking for the fresh signs to start tracking, however found absolutely nothing. We decided to move west and try Madache in an easterly direction, however it was further than we thought, and still no results. We were very confused as to where the lions could be, but the show had to go on. We decided to leave the Lions and see what else we could find. We moved to the western side of Main Dam and as we approached S6 pan, we bumped into the Lions we had heard roaring earlier on! They were about double the distance we initially thought, almost seven kilometers away. Two Matimba’s were at the pan itself, each with a Koppies female. Sometimes you create your own luck!
The week started off with these females on a Nyala kill, far out of their normal territory. They were just to the south of Bee-eater road in the far east of the reserve. We have noticed that the Koppies and Mbiri females tolerate each other in their core territories. This area is core Mbiri area! But they are related females from the Orpen super pride and there is still some sort of relationship remembered by both groups.
Later on in the week we found them with two of the Matimba’s at S6 pan. The area around S6 seems to be a favourite area for these females and we often find them here.
We had one sighting of the young male at Panicum Bridge, south east of the Lodge in the riverine bush along the Nwasisontso dry river. This area has been a favourite with this youngster, as there is lots of prey and plenty of cover for him. With the politics that seems to be happening with the Beacon male and this new male, only time will tell what effect it will have on him.
We were thrilled to find a mother with her cub, who we think is probably about six months old now. She was first seen by Patrick, very close to the northern gate. She started hunting but ran onto a burnt area and he could not follow.
A few days later, Patrick found them again, but they were very close to the south gate. They were lying up in an open area, which gave us some gorgeous photographic opportunities. She stayed in the area for a while and the next morning Eric found her close to Scratches plain, to the south of Main dam. He stayed with her for most of the morning and witnessed her hunt a young Impala ram. As the bush was too thick, he could not get any good photo’s or video.
The next morning I found them on Skankaan road, west of Scratches plain. They seemed to be moving towards the Gabbro plains around the lodge, an area known as a Cheetah hotspot. It will be great to follow up on these Cheetahs and follow the progress of the youngster.
Other views from the bush
We hope you have enjoyed the update!
Darren and the Safari team
All photographs edited by Darren Roberts-York