Saturday the 15th of October
A Saturday-caterday kicked off in the best way possible. Jamie returned to the scene of Karula’s latest victim to discover the royal family reclining in all their spotted grace. Karula was up a large marula tree feeding. Xongile and Hosana played with the reckless abandon of youth. They made great leaps at each other culminating in spectacular aerial collisions, tails and claws flailed wildly before loud thuds reminded the young cubs that gravity does indeed exists. Jamie left the sighting to allow other eager safari-goers a chance to spend sometime with the royal family. Later on that afternoon when WE returned to the scene we found the spotted felines up and on the move. They soon crossed south, out of our traverse and WE moved on in search of Africa’s other amazing animals.
(Young Hosana feeding on the fallen carcass, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Sunday the 16th of October
Booming roars ripped the silence of the night apart at one Nkuhuma lioness and two of the newly named Birmingham males made a nighttime appearance at the Djuma dam. By the time the sun rose however, there was no sight of them, but clear signs in the form of large paw prints told us they had crossed out of our traverse. All hope was not lost, reports on the radio soon came in that the Nkuhuma pride was on Buffelshoek. Luckily WE had a very long distance view of the stunning lionesses from Djuma’s northern boundary. Only one lioness was visible, she looked both relaxed and well fed. One of the cubs soon came over to greet her before he disappeared behind a thick clump of verdant leaves. With such a limited view, Jamie did not stay for long yet high hopes of the lionesses imminent return turned the air rife with expectation.
(Nkuhuma lioness resting on Buffelshoek, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The Tsalala pride are back and they looked better than ever! Tayla made her way west to the Arathusa airstrip where the five felines had been resting up during the hottest part of the day. Lions are not known for standing on ceremony and despite the cooler temperature of the afternoon they remain flat and immobile. Three lionesses accompanied by their handsome subadult males lazed away the day while WE watched on. Eventually Tayla moved on from the less that action packed sighting.
(Subadult male of the Tsalala pride, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Monday the 17th of October
Lions tracks littered the northern boundary of Djuma during the sunrise safari as steely grey clouds rolled across the African sky. The Nkuhuma pride were back on Djuma and all WE needed to do was find them. This was far easier said than done and after three hours of tracking and with Rexon’s expert help we eventually managed to find the covert cats. James raced to the sighting and managed to make it with just five short minutes left of the sunrise drive. WE didn’t get a view of the whole pride but we did manage to see the eight ever growing little Nkuhuma fuzz balls. The Nkuhumas are sterling huntresses and today was no different, they had made yet another buffalo kill between game drives this morning. When we caught up with them on the sunset safari the cats were well tucked into their beefy meal. That was until another safariLIVE favourite character showed up. The short trunk elephant and her precious little herd trumpeted through the scene chasing all 13 lions from the carcass. Eventually the elephants moved off and the clever cats circled round and continued to enjoy their well deserved lunch for the rest of the afternoon.
(The Nkuhuma pride, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Tuesday the 18th of October
The day kicked off with high action antics and nail-biting intensity. The royal family who had been discovered still enjoying the remains of their impala kill when all of a sudden breakfast was gate crashed by a rambunctious troop of baboons. The peaceful scene exploded into mass panic as the predatory primates chased the slender rosetted cats. One of the cubs shot up a tall nearby tree followed by what seemed to be the alpha male of the troop. The troop soon moved on and WE were able to get a glimpse of Karula and Hosana, yet Xongile was nowhere to be found. Eventually WE left the sighting hoping against hope, that the little princess was alright. WE got the answer soon enough. That afternoon the royal family was discovered in completion, both cubs had survived the ordeal as did the great queen. They spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and finishing off mom’s hard earned meal.
(Queen Karula with the little chief Hosana, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The lions on the other hand had a far more relaxing start to their day. They were found in the same location finishing off what was left of the buffalo kill. Most of the cats were fat, flat and fast asleep. The cubs, energetic as ever, scampered around and made the general nonsense associated with toddlers. The lions remained in this state of peaceful bliss for the entirety of the day.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Wednesday the 19th of October
Another day filled with spotted luck! WE kicked off with a royal visit at Karula’s kill site. All three leopards were most relaxed despite the intensity of the baboon ordeal. Xongile kept her distance while she peered down her nose at her playful brother greedily consuming as much impala as possible. Karula, the great queen, rested nearby and groomed bits of impala flesh and fur from her mucky paws. Soon every morsel of the kill had been consumed and the Djuma royal family moved off into a thick drainage line.
(Young Hosana, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Later that afternoon reports came in that Tingana had been found on a kill in Arathusa. Jamie meandered her way over and sure enough the big dominant leopard was found sprawled on the cool dusty ground next to red dam. The general size and shape of his stomach seemed to indicate that he had swallowed a beachball-shaped warthog! Soon he was up, he labored away at carrying his fully belly and eventually (and with great effort) he made it to the water’s edge. He drank deeply for quite some time before waddling a few meters aways and laying down in a state of absolute gluttony. Then, out of nowhere, Shadow appeared! She cast a sultry look in the direction of her most favourite male leopard before slinking into a nearby donga (no doubt hoping to sneak up on Tingana without him noticing.) Jamie then had to leave the sighting to give others a chance to enjoy the elusive spotted cats.
(Tingana resting after a large meal, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Thursday the 20th of October
Another regal morning was in store for the safariLIVE crew. Karula had been found resting her gorgeous head upon the crest of a huge termite mound. She surveyed her kingdom with slight interest before a big stretch and a slow amble into the bush. Tayla did a sterling job of keeping up with the great queen and she wove her way through a somewhat thick block of bush. Anyone familiar with Karula knows that is no easy feat! Eventually the queen came to rest on the side of the road. She watched a hapless herd of impala for some time before she decided this was not the moment to pounce. Eventually she disappeared once again into the thickets.
(Karula, the Queen of Djuma, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The sunset safari kicked off with an absolutely heart stopping sighting. Stef with the aid of the incredible Herberth, had managed to find the Nkuhuma pride on foot! There were low growls of warning emanating from the lionesses as they ushered their cubs away from the threat of humans on foot. Stef stayed with the pride until Jamie was eventually able to move into the sighting. It seemed the Birmingham male known as Tinyo was romantically involved with Amber Eyes, yet the stunning lioness did not really reciprocate his feelings. He followed her around like a shadow while she tried to maneuver past to rejoin her pride. As with all good things however, the sunset safari came to an end and we left the amorous pair to their evening activities.
(Tinyo and Amber Eyes, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 21st of October
Another action packed sunrise safari! An unawares buffalo herd had accidentally walked straight into the Nkuhuma pride. This was a sure recipe for buffalo disaster as the cats immediately jumped into action. Tayla arrived just as the lions had singled out one scared and lonely subadult buffalo. One lioness and the Birmingham male known as Mfumo had the buffalo trapped. The brave bovid charged and Mfumo jumped as if an electric current had passed through his paws. The buffalo managed to run into the road, but out of nowhere a second lioness pounced and took down the buffalo in a manner that would impress most professional wrestlers! The pride along with Mfumo pinned the buffalo down and began the slow and upsetting process of killing. Eventually the buffalo took it’s last breath and the whole pride, complete with cubs tucked into yet another hard earned meal.
(Nkuhuma lioness leaps on buffalo, safariLIVE, Djuma)