20 April to 26 April 2009
Winter is definitely starting to creep up on us here at Simbambili, with some very cool mornings and evenings experienced throughout the week. The bush has swapped its green summer coat for the dappled yellows, browns and tans that are so distinctve of autumn.
The game viewing has been phenomenal this week, with lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant being seen regularly. However, the highlight of the week belonged to a much rarer predator in our reserve, the African Wild Dog! A pack of twelve dogs moved onto our property from the southern part of the reserve and provided us with some fantastic sightings over the last couple of days!!
The pack was first spotted around Safari Airstrip, where they attempted to hunt the large herds of impala that congregate there during the late afternoon. This led to some rather interesting viewing and even more interesting driving as we followed the dogs through the bush trying to keep up with the hunt. Although unsuccesful in the hunts that we witnessed they are the most successful hunters of all the predators.
This week we have been lucky to have two prides of lion on the property. There is a territorial dispute occurring further south in the reserve, with two of the Mapogo Males, trying to take over the territory of the Roller-coaster Male. This has led to the resident prides that are protected by the Roller-coaster Male to scatter and take their cubs, of which the Styx Pride has nine, into hiding. That hiding place has been the northern part of the Sabi Sands where we have seen the pride regularly for the past week, one of these times was on a large zebra stallion kill as the lions lay around with full bellies.
The leopard sightings have increased as the bush thins out and on one particular morning game drive no fewer than five individual leopards were seen. The young female leopard, Mbilo, has now become fully independant from her mother, Nyeleti, who appears to be pregnant and if her last mating was succesful then we should expect to see her new cubs around the end of May. The territorial male, Tyson, has definitely started to push Mafufunyane, further east and was seen scent marking early one morning in what used to be a central area of Mafufunyane's territory.
We came across a very intersting sighting on one of the night drives during the week, a large Mozambiquean Spitting Cobra, had overpowered a smaller Puff-Adder, and we watched as the large cobra manouvered and bit into the adder to immobilise it further. Spitting cobras are known to feed on other snakes and to watch this take place was very interesting.
The Simbambili Team