MalaMala highlights of the week

Photo by ranger Brendon Cole @brendcoley

Photo by ranger Brendon Cole @brendcoley

17 January: Buffalo just can’t catch a break. We witnessed 3 lion vs buffalo kills as well a male leopard running in several times on a herd. Lions: 5 members of the Marthly pride battled for over 90minutes to bring down a large buffalo bull. It came at a cost though as one of the young males got gored. 2 Styx lionesses were in the north. The Eyrefield pride and 2 Matshapiri males caught a young buffalo this morning in front of Rattray’s Camp- then later in the day another herd came to drink- the male with the mohawk ran in again and caught a calf. Leopards: the Bicycle Crossing male provided us with a very special sighting as he made several attempts at catching buffalo calves. The Treehouse male watched the lions kill the first young buffalo in front of Rattray’s Camp before moving west. The DOKF 3:3 was also seen. Many elephants were viewed as well. 

16 January: Lions: it appears the numerous (yet unsuccessful) attempts at capturing buffalo yesterday for the Gowrie males and Styx pride, eventually worked out for them as two of the lionesses and one of the males were seen feeding on a buffalo in wild dog rocks open area. Additionally, the five members of the Marthly pride we have been seeing recently, killed a buffalo in the Sand River downstream from main camp. No leopards were viewed today, however four large herds of buffalo were seen as well as multiple herds of elephants, all along the river. We were also fortunate to see an elusive honey badger!

15 January: Lions: We definitely got our moneys worth out of the 5 Gowrie males and Styx pride today as they ran in numerous times on a large herd of buffalo- there also seems to be tension in the ranks of the young coalition as 2 of the males went toe to toe! The 2 Matshapiri males and the Eyrefield pride along with 2 cubs were north of Dudley Crossing. 5 members of the Marthly pride were seen- the tailless lioness and the 4 sub adults. Leopards: the Airstrip male was hunting klipspringers on Campbell Koppies. 3 herds of buffalo were viewed as well as many elephant herds and lone bulls.

13 January: Lions: The Eyrefield pride and cubs are on a buffalo kill. 4 members of the Marthly pride are south of Main Camp. Leopards: the 1:1 spot pattern young male leopard was at West Street Bridge. The Island female is south of the causeway still feeding off her impala kill. The Bicycle Crossing male is at Kapen rocks with a fresh steenbok kill. Cape hunting dogs: the pack of 3 was viewed at Emsagwen waterhole. 3 herds of buffalo were seen as well as many elephant sightings.

12 January: Lions: 2 Matshapiri males and the Eyrefield lioness with the youngest litter were seen south of Rattray’s Camp. The other 2 Eyrefield lionesses with the 2 youngest cubs were viewed south of Dudley Crossing. Leopards: the young male (1:1) who we often see along the Matshapiri River was seen along the southern reaches of that river. He will be named shortly. 3 different large herds of buffalo were viewed. Elephants were everywhere. A sable antelope bull at Clarendon. A male reedbuck at Matshapiri Dam. Some rare birds: a Dwarf Bittern, a Bat Hawk, Ground Hornbills and Pennant-Winged Nightjars were also seen.

Yet another buffalo kill was witnessed today as the drought is taking its toll on the herbivores. Lions: 1 of the Eyrefield lionesses brought down a young buffalo this morning. Later in the day all 3 Eyrefield lionesses and their 4 cubs were with the 2 Matshapiri males just south of Rattray’s Camp. Leopards: the Bicycle Crossing male has a duiker kill and the Island female killed an impala ewe. Cape hunting dogs: the pack of 3 was seen at Wild Dog Rocks Open Area. 3 buffalo herds were viewed as well as many elephant sightings.

11 January: Lions: The Marthly pride has partially reunited as the tailless lioness was seen with the 4 sub adults close to Main Camp. Leopards: the Kikilezi female was seen as well as the Emsagweni female. Many elephants were recorded. A herd of buffalo as well as half a dozen bachelor groups were viewed. General game was in abundance as usual with multiple sightings of giraffe, zebra, kudu and many of the smaller antelope species.

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