As the day started to cool on the Sunset safari, WE visited the Styx pride and their cubs
who were finishing off the last of their buffalo kill. The cubs were feisty, scrapping amongst themselves for the last of the tender bits – the lionesses tolerant but occasionally administering some disciplinary growls.
We had heard reports that a male lion was in the area and it was unsurprising when Ale found it to be Nsuku (one of the Birmingham Boys that often hangs around the Styx pride). He had chosen an area near the river where he could look down onto what was happening on the other side. Ale commented how, being near him, one gets the feeling that you are in the presence of royalty or a very fierce warrior.
Saturday 3 June
After hearing news of a leopard moving between Little Gowrie and Djuma, Tayla and Ale worked together to connect the spots and succeeded in tracking down the evasive cat to Gowrie Main drainage line. There was some confusion as to who this young male perched regally on the embankment was, but with help from our viewers WE confidently identified him as Thamba, the big-eared and green-eyed grandson of Karula.
Sunday 4 June
After a mad race to Gowrie Gate, Tayla caught up with Shadow missioning through the grass with great purpose. In her mouth she carefully carried a scrub hare, presumably with the intention of taking it back to her still nursing cub.
Territorial male leopard Tingana patrolled the Buffelshoek Cutline, brushing his face against the plants and the bushes as he scent-marked his way north of Mvubu Road, causing Ale to wonder if any other leopards would come around and try to challenge him before coming to the conclusion that no, not anytime soon – it’s only us he is challenging, by making us look so very hard for him.
Tuesday 6 June
On the sunrise safari Ale found Birmingham Boy Mfumo and the Nkuhuma Pride lying on the road near Pangolin track. We looked at the scars that crossed this male lion’s face and were reminded of the battle’s he must have fought – these old injuries a sign of how he has managed to survive and dominate this area.
As we sat with the pride, WE were ecstatic to discover a new member of the Nkuhumas – a tiny still spotted cub only a few weeks old and whom the pride were busy introducing to it’s older siblings.
More good news appeared on the sunset safari, in the form of our little princess Xongile with a hoisted duiker kill.
Wednesday 7 June
Having finished her kill and left the Marula tree in which it was hoisted it, it was pure luck (and Tayla’s intuition) that WE returned to the old sighting near the end of sunrise safari and found Xongile well fed and looking regal on top of a nearby termite mound – following in her father’s footsteps as #lastminuteleopard
On sunset safari. WE sat with Tingana, who was on top of another termite mount – this one the den of an unfortunate family of warthog. In the last half hour of the drive he made his move – pouncing on one of the larger warthogs and ending it’s life with a slow suffocation before hoisting it high up in a tree.
Thursday 8 June
Thursday was a congress of leopards, beginning with Tingana enjoying a warthog breakfast.
Xongile and Thamba were found together, surprisingly, with Thamba balanced high on the branch of a tree and the little princess pacing in the thickets beneath, making sounds similar (but not) to that of a mating call (being still too young for this to be her intention).
WE also had Shadow and her cub for a brief moment on the road, before losing them in the yellow of the grass as mother and young moved off.