A WEEK OF BRILLIANT TRACKING

It’s Friday, so that means that you are all getting spoilt with another instalment of the latest collection of wildlife images straight from the heart of the Timbavati

Having been off doing some training in the Greater Kruger last week, I was most disappointed to have missed out on a week of lion cubs and lots of leopards, but returned excited to drive this week and see how all of these animals were doing. Some great news during my absence was that our tracker Steven had seen the two newest cubs of the Mayambula Pride. Knowing where this lionesses den site was now gave us the highlight of the week when we were able to spend time watching her and her two little cubs playing around the Machaton riverbed. It is such a wonderful treat to have this group of lion cubs in our area, despite the other three lionesses and their eight cubs being largely AWOL during the week, we still got our weekly dose of cuteness. With all of these small cubs around, we feel sorry for the two cubs from the Zebenine Pride; it wasn’t long ago that they were our pride and joy, receiving all of the “oooh’s” and “aaah’s” from our guests. Now with ten even cuter recruits, these guys just seem soooo much bigger! These two lion cubs are now eight months old and are looking incredibly healthy. Accompanied by their mother and aunt they provided some great lion viewing this week, especially when they were found finishing off an impala kill early one morning. 

The Mbiri males could be heard roaring most nights, but they only showed up towards the end of the week. The hope is that they have been spending time with the Mayambula Pride, but there have been no confirmed sightings of them with their new cubs. Elsewhere on the lion front, the River Pride spent a day in the far west of our concession and continue to roam over great distances in search of food for the eight adult lions. Encouragingly, the fact that they are remaining in the general area means that we may soon be able to stop looking at them as a nomadic pride, as their presence seems to be coming more residential in nature.

Sadly, the week was not as red-hot for leopard viewing as last week was. Driving around and seeing just how lush and long the grass is, it is no surprise that they are able to hide so well. We got a first-hand account of this whilst following Nthombi (my first sighting of her in about two months!) one morning. She was walking through a grassy clearing when she unwittingly got spotted by the local baboon troop of the area that began barking in disapproval of her presence. She simply turned around, slunk behind my vehicle and flopped own in the grass no less than 4m away from us and all but disappeared from view in an instant! Luckily, she had treated us to a good sighting prior to her Houdini act. Marula and her cubs were seen earlier in the week before my return to drives, so I yet again missed out on them, as did Madzinyo and Thumbela’s now-independent daughter. Sunset leopardess also made a return to our blog when she was found on the western boundary one afternoon, but she soon moved off and out of view. It is however pleasing to see that despite the tough viewing conditions, we are still able to spend some good times with these stunning cats.

On the other big game front, it appears as if the large numbers of elephants are giving the central region some down time, and although the herds are still seen daily, they are in no way near as abundant as they will be when winter starts approaching. The fruiting Marula trees seem to still be drawing in a larger number of elephant bulls than normal, as has been the trend for the past few weeks. Although the buffalo herds remain scarce other than in the western part of the concession, there has been regular viewings of a few groups of buffalo bulls within the central region over the past week which has made our lives a great deal easier in terms of showing guests at Tanda Tula Safari Camp the Big 5.

I will be heading off on leave for two weeks, so based on recent patterns, you must check out the next couple of “Week In Pictures” blogs. I am sure that Luke and the team will no doubt be seeing some stellar sightings of lion cubs, leopard cubs and possibly even dancing pangolins, as I am starting to feel that these animals always put on the best shows when I am not around!

So be sure to enjoy those updates, until next time!
Chad

 

Lion cub

Elephant

Buffalo

Buffalo calf

Lion cubs

Giraffe

Warthog

Rhino

Bird in flight

Lioness

 


 

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