A day on safari at MalaMala

Eyrefield pride sub-adult

As we realise that many of you are very far away, we thought we would share with you a day on safari at MalaMala, as experienced by our rangers and guests on the 27th July 2013.

Predator-wise we saw:

Have a look at the sequence of events from sunrise coffee to dinner time.

Morning Drive

Sighting 1: An active bull hippopotamis at Mlowathi Dam.

Bull Hippo at Mlowathi Dam

Sighting 2: The Gowrie male leopard at Mlowathi Dam. Moments later, two other leopards were spotted close by. They were assumed to be the Ostrich Koppies female and her cub, now seven months old.

The Gowrie Male at Mlowathi Dam

Sighting 3: As the action continued in the north, seven Cape Hunting dogs were found killing a male bushbuck directly in front of Rattray’s Camp. Five minutes after take down, half the large male bushbuck was already devoured in typical wild dog fashion.

Cape Hunting dogs tearing into the bushbuck

Almost half the meal gone

Brendan Cole and his lucky guests got to enjoy a really close sighting of the dogs as they took advantage of the shade of the vehicle.

Brendan Cole and his lucky guests

The Cape Hunting Dogs continuously scouted the area for the possible approach of threatening predators. Their high level of awareness served them well, as the Eyrefield lion pride advanced from the river bank.

Walking away after the meal

A bateleur flying over the scene of the the Cape Hunting Dog kill which had just been claimed by the lions.

A bateleur flying over the scene

Sighting 4: A Slender Mongoose, completely unphased by our presence. A rare sighting, as these animals are generally very secretive.

Slender Mongoose

Afternoon Drive

Sighting 5: In the afternoon we followed up on the Eyrefield pride, which was found lying in the same area of the bushbuck carcass. The sub-adults played with the left over bones as the sunlight faded. Seen here is an Eyrefield male lion claiming the last of the bushbuck.

Eyrefield sub adult male

While the others simply basked in the light of the afternoon sun.

Eyrefield pride sub adult male

Eyrefield pride sub adult

The West Street male leopard was found relaxing in a Jackalberry tree, watching over the Eyrefield pride. Earlier on in the day, he lay on the sand bank beneath the dappled shade of a sausage tree, and watched the Eyrefield Pride chase the Cape Hunting dogs off the bushbuck kill. He showed confidence in his camouflage, with the knowledge that his rosettes would keep him undetectable. What a sighting to have three different predators in the same place!

West Street male

Sighting 6: This mother cheetah and her four cubs were first seen on MalaMala on December 19th, 2012. They were seen on numerous accounts over the following months, but when two cubs were killed by lions, the cheetah moved off MalaMala.

We were absolutely thrilled to find them again, with the adult female and her two cubs in this first sighting on MalaMala in many months. The three animals were found on the airstrip at sunset.

Cheetah mother and cubs

All in all, not a bad day in the bush!

Hope to share one of these days with you in the not-too-distant-future.

The MalaMala Ranger Team

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