Sunday, 5 April 2009

04th April - Our Cats looking Well Fed!

We had another good morning for the big cats of the Timbavati. We picked up tracks for the two Sohebele female lions early on in the drive, and set the tracks on foot to try and locate them. The guests were then taken to see Mbali and Kuhanya leopards; Mbali had surprisingly taken her impala kill from yesterday up a tree, although there was not much meat left. Mbali and Kuhanya were resting on the ground nearby, but soon Kuhanya got a bit more active and wandered up to the front of my vehicle, and approached even closer – it was to pick up a piece of meat that must have fallen off when Mbali was dragging the kill. She picked it up and went and diligently dropped it under the cover a bush before going and investigating Herald’s cooler box! We left when Kuhanya climbed up a large weeping boer-bean and went to sleep.

In the mean time, our trackers had found the two lionesses, so we headed over to see them. Some baboons alarm calling on the way alerted us to another predator – it was one of the Sohebele young males; the skinny one. Unfortunately he was looking in a poor state, very lethargic just lying on a termite mound, we didn’t spend much time with him – the only good news being that he seemed to survive the altercation with the other lions last night. The three young males were picked up again this morning, but down south near Elephant dam; as was Nthombi female leopard – but will all the action up north we didn’t head down there.

We arrived at the Sohebele females and realized that they had an impala kill! That went someway to explaining why they charged at the trackers when they approached. The one female was absolutely stuffed, and together with her heavily pregnant belly, looked like she was ready to pop. The other female lay feeding amongst a Mopane thicket. I would have a guess that they caught the male impala around dawn.

There were also a number of elephant herds picked up in the morning, including one drinking at Mbali dam that Godfrey saw.

The afternoon was set up nicely for the new guests that arrived. The two lionesses had no reason to move, and were located at Francolin pan in the early afternoon, and when I drove past after dark, they were still unmoved and looking like they ate too much!

Mbali and Kuhanya spent the day around the kill, and Kuhanya was up the tree feeding when Giyani went past. I headed down south, and saw a few male elephant, as well as a small breeding herd of elephant. I also managed to relocate on a large herd of buffalo as they were out and about grazing slowly towards Makulu dam. As we had our sundowners at the large waterhole, the herd appeared slowly at the waters edge to slake their thirst.

That ended another pleasing day at Motswari – we just hope that the other four young Sohebele lions got to feed as well as all the other cats we saw today!

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