The Cat Report 11th – 18th March
Friday the 11th of March
Roaring week lay ahead for the crew at safariLIVE! It all kicked off the sunset safari with the long missed Styx pride, they were found on the southern boundary of Djuma. Fat and flat they lazed in the wake of a newly deceased buffalo. An impressive feat for the 3 lionesses, who then fed until the point of bursting.
(Styx Lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Saturday the 12th of March
The kill was made short work of and when safari guide Brent, returned the next morning on the sunrise safari only the stomach contents and rib cage remained at the scene. He followed the tracks carefully until eventually he came upon the 3 Styx ladies looking rounder than ever on Arathusa. It became quite clear from their spherical appearance that all 3 could indeed be eating for two! The presence of some extra mammary swelling on their fluffy white underbellies was also a clear indication that lactation will soon begin and the pitter-patter of lion cub paws could soon fill the bush.
(Styx lionesses, Screenshot Credit: Roy Smith, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Sunday the 13th of March
Early on the sunrise drive safari guide Jamie managed to relocate the Styx pride yet again, this time on the boundary between Djuma and Arathusa. However, they were not alone, an incredibly brave little reptile defied all the odds by fearlessly maneuvering between the sleeping lions before performing a stunt of epic proportion. This tiny Speke’s hinge tortoise managed to wedge in between a lionesses front paws with no detection. Tortoise then spent some time there, no doubt contemplating the reckless life choice before scampering away at top speed when the lioness next rolled over (watch video here)
Brent returned to the lovely ladies later on that afternoon, the spent the remainder of the daylight hours fast asleep. Once the sun had set and the day cooled off the got up and slowly meandered their way off into the darkness.
(Styx lioness, Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger, safariLIVE, Djuma)
On the other side of the reserve Brent had managed to catch up with the Queen of Djuma Karula. Looking more beautiful than ever in the radiant rising sun she stalked her way through the bush looking for any hunting opportunity. She’s moved her den away from the drainage culvert on one of the busy main access roads, much to the relief of the WE crew. It’s proposed that she has moved them to the south away from the ever increasing hyaena activity on Djuma over the past weeks.
(Karula female leopard, Screenshot Credit: Ann Del Tredici, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Wednesday the 16th of March
The safariLIVE crew is often up in the early hours of the morning, and there is no better way to wake up than to the sound of roaring lions right outside your camp! James managed to catch up with the Nkuhuma ladies, wide awake and hunting on quarantine clearings. One of the lionesses made a spectacular dash after some wildebeest and after a cheetah like sprint and some high pace driving we managed to catch up with her as she collapsed in exhaustion. She remained static until the rest of her pride mates had caught up. The 4 lionesses then stalked, pounced and gambled about playing freely until eventually going flat in some thick bush (watch video here)
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The ladies were then relocated later on during the sunset safari. Still looking a little on the lean side but flat as ever. We stayed with the magnificent lionesses until the final moments of the evening drive when they eventually decided to get up and move off.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Hélène van Dijk, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Thursday the 17th of March
As the sunrise safari opened on this cloudy morning WE came across the still skinny Nkuhuma pride. They lazed about for the first part of the live drive before rising up and slowly moving along the road. Unlike with the Styx lionesses the other day, when these ladies came across two unlucky tortoises the game was on. Yet after playing, what can only be described as a bit of lion soccer, both reptiles were left unscathed.
(Nkuhuma pride, Screenshot Credit: Linda McCaslin, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Later on that evening WE found them again in the exact same place. After some lazing about the ever increasing hunger took over and they proceeded to make their way carefully through the bush for the remainder of the sunset safari. Brent followed them closely until they eventually worked their way into a very thick block on Arathusa after numerous stalks. It was decided to allow the ladies their space in the hopes they will make a kill soon.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 18th of March
Of course the week couldn’t end on a better note with the return of the 5th Nkuhuma lioness in the company of one of the Birmingham males. The amorous pair were found not far from the WE camp and between bouts of mating focussed mainly on hunting. They made their way slowly east chasing anything that came across their paths before eventually going flat and resting from a particularly energetic evening.
(Birmingham male lion [front] & Nkuhuma lioness [back], Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger, safariLIVE, Djuma)
That however, was by no means the peak of the action this morning. Shortly before the end of the sunrise safari pandemonium broke loose with the return of the Investec pack of wild dogs. Already covered in blood and looking rather drenched after the morning rain they bounded through the reserve giving everyone a run for the money, after much entertainment giving all the guides the run around Jamie was finally able to catch up with them. They trotted along the road playing with each other and bounding through as many puddles as possible before eventually making their way out of our traverse as the morning drive came to a close.
(Investec pack of Wild dog, Screenshot Credit: Roy Smith, safariLIVE, Djuma)