Friday the 13th of January
This week’s Cat Report limped into action with Nsuku, one of the Birmingham males. The large male lion spent his day resting in the relative shelter of a small bush near the Vuyatela dam, his walk was labored but there was no obvious injury to any of his legs. Every now and then he’d call forlornly to his fellow coalition mates then gaze hopefully into the wilderness straining his ears for a response. Eventually we left him to his evening business and later reports indicated he had hobbled his way east to Torchwood.
(A forlorn and injured Nsuku gazes into the wilderness, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Djuma)
To the south a spotted surprise lay in store. Hosana and Xongile had been found resting up on a termite mound to the south of our boundary. The visual of the cats was not great, and the cubs lay in abject laziness and barely moved as the afternoon wore on.
(Hosana wakes for a brief moment before turning over, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Saturday the 14th of January
The next morning the royal family returned to Djuma and settled into a small breakfast of freshly killed grey duiker. The kill had been stashed in the high boughs of a large tree, the cubs took turns ascending the tree to feed while Karula fussed over her dirty paws and slept in the relative peace of another day in the wild. Later on that afternoon the cubs were found, flat as pancakes, near to the nearly-finished carcass.
(Xongile resting in the tree tops, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
To the east, the ever-growing and extremely handsome Quarantine had been found on a massive kill. Quarantine spent the morning feasting to his heart’s delight, the kill itself was too big for him to gracefully hoist into a tree so instead he stashed it as best he could under a nearby bush. Once he had eaten his fill he spent the rest of the day relaxing on a termite mound.
(Quarantine male leopard resting under a bush, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Sunday the 15th of January
Morning arrived with a symphony of roars echoing through the bush. Tinyo had been found meandering along Twin Dams road slowly making his way north. Tinyo took a brief nap, but soon after he was up and at it again. By the time the afternoon rains fell he was making his way past the Djuma pan. He called a few more times before the rain hid him from sight.
(Tinyo calling out to his brothers in the early light, Screenshot Credit: Linda McCaslin, safariLIVE, Djuma)
On the eastern boundary however Karula was found with intent gleaming in her golden eyes. Like a laser, she was focused on a herd of hapless impala. Her initial stalk was foiled and she then lay out in the middle of a wide clearing. But soon the wind and rain picked up and she seized her opportunity to kill once again. After a heart pounding stalk that seemed to last an age she made her move, yet the nervous impala were just a hair faster than her and she slunk off into the undergrowth.
(Karula carefully watching a nearby herd of impala, Screenshot Credit: Karen Gilliam, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Monday the 16th of January
The morning day dawned in a haze of pouring rain yet this did not deter the exuberant antics of Karula’s cubs Hosana and Xongile. The little leopards dashed through the bush as spotted streaks as they played relentlessly, they clambered up trees and pounced on each other in the cool weather. Eventually the cats calmed themselves and settled down for a morning nap. Later that afternoon only young Hosana could be found. He spent the entire afternoon sleeping soundly on the top of a termite mound.
(Young Hosana clambers up a thin branch, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Further to the east Amber Eyes, of the Nkuhuma pride, had been found being tailed closely by Mfumo. The lions wandered through the misty rain looking less than impressed in their soggy state. Mfumo made a few hopeful attempts at seducing Amber Eyes, yet these were met with a growl of aggression and the odd swat of a clawed paw. Eventually the cats made their way east and out of our traverse.
(A damp and grumpy Amber Eyes walks through the rain with Mfumo, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Wednesday the 18th of January
Two slender spotted lumps lay in wait for the safariLIVE crew today just across the boundary of Mala Mala and Cheetah Plains. The two cheetah brothers had been found making their way across the open plains, yet by the time we got there they were as flat as pancakes. Every now and then one of the brothers would poke his head up to survey his surroundings before slowly drifting back to sleep.
(Flat cat cheetah pokes his head up to have a look around, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
A little further to the north of the two cheetah brothers, Thandi and her six month old cub had been found resting in the high boughs of a large tree. Thandi spent most of the blustery afternoon sleeping soundly while her little cub swatted at his tail, trying his best to avoid boredom. Eventually the clouds cleared and the cats were bathed in golden African sunlight. WE eventually left the sighting when it became too dark for a clear view.
(Thandi’s young cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Thursday the 19th of January
A spectacular dawn poured bright sunlight over the Sabi Sand as an equally spectacular trio of spotted cats weaved through the southern section of Djuma. Karula and her cubs had finally returned from the south and were found meandering their way about near Treehouse Dam and back to a fresh impala kill Karula had made. Out of nowhere young Hosana appeared with a large and very dead water monitor lizard. It is unclear as to whether he made the kill himself or stumbled upon the giant reptile. He carried the carcass with his head held high and delighted us all with his antics. That afternoon the cats rested in the cooling shade, taking refuge from the blazing sun. Once the day had cooled off the royal family began to wake up, but soon the darkness enveloped them and WE left them to their evening business.
(Young Xongile rests in the shade twirling tails with Karula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 20th of January
The royal family had been found once again frolicking in the ethereal mist that diffused the dawn light. The family appeared to have been enjoying breakfast when we arrived on the scene and each of them took turns nibbling on what was left. Once their tummies were full the cubs played in the long green grass as Karula groomed and kept a motherly eye on them.
(Karula resting in the long grass keeping a motherly eye on her two cubs, Screenshot Credit: Sandy NY, safariLIVE, Djuma)