This week has been rather quiet on the cat front especially during the first few days where it seemed as if all the cats had disappeared off the reserve.

Slowly but surely, as the week progressed, more and more tracks and signs of leopard began to emerge and then once into the middle of the week we saw a lot more spots and could breathe a collective sigh of relief! It’s only when they aren’t there that we realise how much we appreciate having these characters…

Hukumuri was the only leopard spotted in the early part of the week near Vuyatela lodge where he was stalking impala but without any success…and he has not been seen since!

‘The little chief of leopards’ – Hosana – killed a scrub hare east of the Mlwamati River, north of Treehouse Dam and later moved south east to the Chitwa Dam area and is doing very well.

Tingana was briefly seen on Weaver’s Nest Road and is obviously also doing well even if he remains rather elusive.

Thandi and Tlalamba have not allowed us to find them easily and are really testing all of our tracking skills. We initially thought that they had left the property only to find their tracks on the northern side of the Mlwamati towards Buffelshoek Dam, where they briefly allowed us a view into their secret lives.

Xidulu I found to be a most amazingly beautiful female leopard however she does seem to constantly be on the move. I watched her hunting impala on the northern boundary before she moved off into Arathusa.

There were also more and more sightings of hyena, with their presence being felt around our base camp at Djuma. Early morning whooping has now become our trusty alarm clock once more and after some good rain towards the end of the week which probably reactivated a lot of the smell at the elephant carcass near Twin Dams there was no shortage of these alternative beasts…

Let’s see what next week brings…

Written by Ralph Kirsten