Sunday, 29 March 2009

21st - 23rd March: Great Sightings Continue, Leopards vs Python!

The rain has stopped, and we have stayed dry for the last few afternoons, and the game viewing has been great!!!

The afternoon of the 21st saw the sohebele pride being relocated sleeping in the sharalumi riverbed, as well as the big buffalo herd being seen before they crossed off of our traversing area.

Yesterday, 22nd March, started with the whole sohebele pride still together, and right up in the north of the reserve close to camp. they spent the morning sleeping - something the elephants werent doing. Herald found a large breeding herd of elephants drawing a lot of attention from the big males, one female clearly in estrous causing all the excitement. Our camp regular, Floppy, the relaxed old male with a floppy ear was there too, and apparently was seen mating with the female later in the morning.
Mangadjane male leopard was found in the morning with a young waterbuck he had killed. Herald went to see him feeding on the kill in the afternoon, but the bush was quite thick so it was difficult to get a good visual. Herald also managed to see a large herd of elephant at one of the waterholes, a male white rhino, and then a bit later, the same three lions that i saw 2 days back. This time they were quite deep into our reserve, and although the youngsters were still a bit nervous, a cautious approach allowed for a nice sighting of them drinking at one of the waterholes before they were left sleeping.
I had yesterday afternoon without guests, so decided to go and spend time with the Sohebele pride who lay at the end of an open area watching the impalas in the distance. on the same clearing and adjacent riverbed, i saw 2 small herds of elephant and alone male buffalo. after watching the elephants disappear, i returned to the 7 lions as they were getting active and set off into the sunset. after a kilometer or so, they decided that was it for a while and lay on the road (maybe enjoying the sunset???) before it got dark and i left them to it. On the way home there was a group of 9 buffalo where the lions had been earlier - it would have been interesting to have seen what would have happened if they were an hour earlier! Also got to spend some time photographing a beautiful Chameleon i found on the way home.

Then this morning, 23rd March, produced what sounds like the sighting of the month - 2 leopards (Mbali and her 17 month old daughter, Kuhanya) attacking a 3m long african rock python!!! Herald was the only one on drive (much to my dismay - would have loved to have seen that sighting), and together with our self-catering camp vehicles spent almost the entire morning watching the scene unfold. Mbali seemingly went into the bush and bit the python that started fighting back - Mbali then moved off and Kuhanya spent some time challenging the snake and whacking it with her paws - being very careful to avoid the lunging jaws of a python that was big enough to turn the tables and end up eating the young leopard!!! i have asked the guests to send me some pics, which i will post on our websire if i receive them...

News from this afternoons drive is that Kuhanya is still in the area, but the python has moved off....exactly how serious the wounds inflicted by Mbali are remains to be seen - but who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Such interactions are quite uncommon - based more on the scarcity of the 'prey' species involved. I have seen shots of leopards eating pythons before, and in fact, Mangadjane male leopard has twice (in my time at Motswari) been seen eating large rock pythons...Have a great day, and i will give you guys another update in a few days.


Chad Cocking
Motswari Guide

1 comment:

  1. What is Motswari green on this moment?? Wow, totally different then the end of november/ start of december!!
    Love to read all the story's AND to see your beautyfull pictures.
    Go on!
    x Jozien x