Rangers Report August 2009
Rangers Report August 2009
The guiding team has had a fantastic month, with the number of lion sightings being the highlight of the month. We have had some great weather and our first thunder shower for the year on Friday the 28th August.
The seasons are definitely changing and there are a few Acacias sporting their new green leaves while the Bushwillows are all in bud and should start showing new leaves by the middle of September.
The bush is seasonally dry and the dams and waterholes that have not dried up are considerably smaller and are being utilised by the large numbers of buffalo and elephant that have been present in the Reserve for the entire month
The highlight of the month was having a choice of lion sightings o choose from with as many as three different groups being present within our immediate vacinity. We have had the Styx Pride,theXuhuma Prode, Tsalala Females and their eight cubs, the Sandy Patch Female and her six month old cub and the two Mapogo Males throughout the month.
The arrival of six new young males from the Manyeleti Reserve was a pleasant surprise. These males all range in age between three and four years and could be a future coalition to rival the infamous Mapogo Males! There have also been two new adult male lions moving in to our area from the north and are thought to be the territorial males in the southern Manyeleti.
The Tsalala Females were seen on three different kills, an adult kudu which was killed just prior to Al and Mumpsfinding the lions feeding on the carcass. They then killed an adult wildebeest and three days later an adult zebra. Needless to say the cubs are doing ext remely well and all were in good health when they were last seen.
The Sandy Patch Female and her six month old cub where seen almost daily as they moved through the northern part of the Reserve. This female has survived from a pride that was decimated by the arrival of the Mapogo Males.
The family moved west out of us and unfortunately met up with the resident pride, who sadly killed two of her cubs. The remaining cub, a young male is doing well and his mother is providing well for him. They were seen on one kill, an adult wildebeest which the lioness expertly concealed from both vultures and hyena.
The Xuhuma Pride and Mapogo Males, were seen for brief periods both sets of lions moving off the property within two or three days of arriving.
The leopard viewing throughout the month has been nothing short of superb!!We have been able to show every one of our guests a spotted cat during their stay at Simbambili. Al and Mumps really outdid themselves one night with no fewer than five different leopard, all in the same game drive!!! We have also had the return of a young male leopard who used to be resident around Simbambili dam before he was chased away by Tyson the territorial male in the western section of the Reserve. Mvula has been seen on a number of occasions, one of which he was mating, in the far eastern half of the Reserve.
Salayexe is still doing very well and has managed to bring her cubs through some very tight scrapes the closest of which was a run in with the Styx Pride. Matt and Doc had followed tracks Salayexe and we hoped that she was alone, this was not to be as the third guide to join the lion sighting found the young male cub sitting up another tree not far from the lions!!
Elephants thankfully chased the lion pride and Salayexe was able to reunite with her cub. The young female cub however was not seen and we feared the worst when she still had not returned to her mother when we ended the morning drive. It was with great relief that the trio was seen the next morning all alive and well.
Mbilo, Mafufunyane, Safari, Nyeleti, Shadow and Thandi were all seen throughout the month. We await the return of Nyeleti who is reported to have three new cubs. These have been kept in a den to the south of Simbambili. She has however been seen making regular forays into the area and was seen yesterday moving from prospective den site to the next before moving back to her cubs late in the afternoon.
Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino
The big herbivores have been very regular sightings this month with elephant being seen everyday this month! We have a large herd of buffalo moving within the Reserve, the herd numbers in excess of one hundred and fifty animals. The regular group of buffalo bulls has been utilising camp as their nightly refuge.
Elephant herds have been feeding almost exclusively in the large Acacia thickets, with herds in excess of sixty animals being recorded. These pachyderms are constantly on the move and it has been interesting to note that we seem to be an area favoured solely by elephant herds. When elephant bulls are seen they are in the company of a herd and usually have remained with the herd due to the presence of a cow which is in oestrus.
We have had two different cheetah sightings this month which has been great. Wild dogs were spotted on two occasions this month with the highlight being watching them as they fed on a recently caught impala. The pack is made up of two females and a male dog.
The Simbambili Guiding Team