Scanning through the sightings book and chatting to some of the guides, there were some interesting sightings. Palence struck it lucky one morning when he was following Nkateko female leopard when she stalked, caught and killed a duiker in front of his vehicle! A few days later Rockfig female leopard was also found not from that area with her own kill; a large impala that she had hung safely up a marula tree out of reach of the scavenging hyenas. I was actually doing a drive that afternoon and got to see her feeding on the kill with three hyenas waiting below the tree for any scraps that fell – it was very close to the new den site that he Rockfig clan of hyenas has set up, and while I haven’t seen the new cubs yet, our other guides have been enjoying some great viewing of the youngsters as they come out of the den to play most afternoons!
Other leopards included regular viewing of Mbali and Kuhanya up north, as well as sightings of Shongile and her brothers in the area around camp. Shongile was seen one night sitting on the window sill of my neighbour’s house! Her brother was found with a kill on the riverbank a few hundred meters from Motswari, and Elliot also saw the second brother in the area in the morning. In fact, on the one afternoon drive I did take last week, there were three leopard kills found in one afternoon!
On the lion front, the Mahlathini males finished their giraffe kill and parted company with the other intruding male, now confirmed to be an intruder and not one of the Timbavati males, despite being seen feeding on a buffalo kill of the Machaton pride in July. Nobody picked him up as an outsider then! The Sohebele pride thankfully reunited last week after spend most of the month apart, and while they all looked skinny the day they reunited, they soon managed to kill a large kudu south of Makulu dam. They fed well, but it didn’t last long as the Machaton pride arrived to chase them off their kill! The three females their two cubs, as well as two of the Timbavati males came charging in and chased the five Sohebele lions all the way to Jaydee airstrip! Luckily there was no physical contact between the prides, but I just feel sorry for the Sohebele’s being chased off a kill in their own territory! Apparently the two cubs of the Machaton pride went running after their mothers but couldn’t keep up, and then started calling frantically until eventually mom answered and they went bolting off to meet her. One of the Timbavati males stayed on the kudu kill while his pride did all the work chasing off the other lions! The Machaton lions then spent two days in our southern section before heading back to further south.
There were also regular sightings of two rhinos in the central part of the reserve, and Palence also came across a white rhino chasing off hyenas at our Trade Entrance pan when he was returning to camp one evening! As it the reserve policy, he didn’t bother the rhino with the spotlight, and left him in peace, whether the hyenas did the same we are not sure!
The elephants and buffalos apparently also showed a continuous presence over the last week and a half, and by all accounts, the general game was also pretty good!
And that is a brief update, I will be back to normal from toworrow, so keep checking up on our blog for some regular updates!
Cheers for now, from a very warm Motswari! (Spring seems to have been forgotten about, as we have moved straight from winter into summer, with temperatures over the last week averaging close to 35 degrees Celsius!)
Motswari Field Guide