3 August to 10 August 2009
This week has seen another strange bout of rainfall during the winter period here in the lowveld. We received a substantial downpour on Saturday evening. The rainfall is very unseasonal albeit not unwelcome as it has settled the large amount of dust that is so prevalent during our "usually" dry winter months. The temperatures have been very pleasant and cool mornings soon warm up into lovely warm clear days.
Game viewing has been good, with a number of leopard sightings, Salayexe and her two cubs providing us with a three day sighting as they fed on an impala kill. We have also had the Styx Pride feeding on a buffalo kill.
As previously mentioned Salayexe, the resident female leopardess has been seen regularly this week. Salayexe and both of the cubs were found early on in the week with a large impala kill. The kill had been placed in a large Marula tree and was fed on for three days by the trio. There were a number of Spotted Hyena present but this did not seem to bother the leopards who sat nonchalantly staring at the Hyena from the upper branches of the tree.
Salayexe was then seen moving through the western part of her territory alone. We followed as she wound her way back to the area of the previous impala kill; there she collected a cub that had been left in the safety of a large termite mound. Once she had safely located the cub she moved it further west and out of our traversing. This was a worrying time for us as on the same morning the two Mapogo male lions were seen in the exact same area and having only seen one cub we feared the worse. However, on closer inspection we found sets of tracks for both cubs and the female leopard moving out of the area. Salayexe, being the superb mother that she is had sensed the danger and had moved one cub and then hidden the second cub, only returning back to collect it once the lion threat had moved away.
The sound of a lion roaring is one of the most evocative sounds in the African bush and it was the sound we woke to early on Thursday morning. The two Mapogo males had been patrolling their territory and were announcing to anyone who would listen that they were the rightful owners of the northern Sabi Sands.
We quickly finished our coffee and headed out finding them as they made their way purposefully towards the western boundary of the concession. They approached a large waterhole known as Rhino Pan, and here they spent the rest of day resting in the shade of the thickets around the waterhole.
The Styx pride, still numbering nine individuals, four lionesses and five cubs were found in the eastern half of our concession. The lionesses had managed to kill an adult bull buffalo and the pride spent the remaining two days of the week either sleeping or trying to force another mouthful of buffalo down. They then moved off and spent the following day full bellied and fast asleep on the edge of a large waterhole.
Large herds of elephant have been seen daily as they move between the large remaining water sources through the reserve. The largest herds have numbered close of sixty animals ranging in size from the massive six tonne bulls all the way down to the tiniest calf of approximately one hundred and fifty kilograms.
Buffalo and more buffalo and even more buffalo have been the order of the week here at Simbambili. We have had as many as four herds ranging in size from twenty individuals up a massive herd of over three hundred animals, moving through the concession. We have been lucky enough to have two of these herds drink at the waterhole in front of camp. Rhinoceros have been seen regularly, with crashes of up to six being seen.
That's all for this week, speak to you soon......
The Simbambili Guiding Team