MalaMala highlights of the week

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January 31st. Lions: the 5 members of the Marthly pride were found close to Main Camp again this morning- they killed an impala in the Sand River around noon. The other 2 lionesses from the Marthly pride were seen about 700m away. 2 Matshapiri males, 3 Eyrefield lionesses and 4 cubs were in front of Rattray’s Camp. 1 Gowrie male was seen in the north east. Leopards: the Treehouse male had an impala kill up a tree directly above the Ngoboswaan Breakfast Spot. The Kikilezi female was north of West Street Bridge. The Tamboti female walked in front of Main Camp. The Son of the Ostrich Koppies female was at Matshapiri Dam. Cape Hunting Dogs: a pack of 12 was seen along Sibuye Drive. Many elephants- over 100 along Sibuye Drive alone.

January 30th. Lions: the 5 members of the Marthly pride were found close to Main Camp this morning and they ran in on a large herd of buffalo that came down to drink- the tailless lioness jumped on the back of a bull but it managed to escape. 2 Eyrefield lionesses were seen with all 4 cubs. 3 Gowrie males have finished off their buffalo kill. Another Gowrie male was seen further north and in poor condition. Leopards: the Kikilezi female was seen and looks to have recovered from her scrap with the Tamboti female. The DOKF 3:3 was also viewed. Cape hunting dogs: the pack of 3 was in the Kapen River. Many elephants were viewed.

January 29th. Lions: 3 Gowrie males are on a buffalo kill. 2 Matshapiri males were seen with the Matshapiri lioness. 1 of Eyrefield lionesses was viewed with her cubs. 5 members of the Marthly pride were also found again. Leopards: The Tamboti female was hunting impala in front of room 20! Both daughters of the Kikilezi female were seen separately. Cheetah: the 2 brothers were seen in the north and are well fed. There was a large herd of buffalo in the central parts of MalaMala. Many elephant sightings. We enjoyed a special sighting of a genet with her kittens as well as a large African Rock Python.

January 28th. Lions: 5 members of the Marthly pride were seen along the Sand River south of the causeway. 3 Eyrefield lionesses and 3 cubs were close to Rattray’s Camp- the fourth cub was probably in a thicket nearby. Leopards: The DOKF 3:3 was chased up a tree by the Marthly pride. A young unidentified male (probably the son of the Ostrich Koppies female) was viewed at Wild Dog Rocks. Many elephants were seen as well as many buffalo bulls.

January 27th. Lions: the 3 Eyrefield lionesses and 4 cubs were opposite Rattray’s Camp. The 5 members of the Marthly pride treated us to a spectacular sighting as played in Sand River- running and tackling each other. No leopards were seen but a kill was spotted up in a tree. We’ll follow up there tomorrow. Numerous elephants were seen as well as buffalo bulls.

January 26th. Lions: the Matshapiri males, and two Eyrefield lionesses were seen alongside the Sand River, some ways downstream from Rattray’s camp – with the two eldest cubs present. The Marthly pride were lazing about in the shade of an acacia thicket, close to main camp. Leopards: the Tamboti female was spotted today, not too far from the Marthly pride. This female leopard was seen in a Jackalberry tree, with the remains of an impala lamb. There were a number of herds of elephants and male buffalo encountered close to the river, as well as three cape hunting dogs in the central parts of the reserve. One of the highlights amongst animals and staff alike was the Sand River starting to flow again after we had 14mm (0.5″) of some much needed rain last night.

January 25th. Finally we’re receiving some much needed rain!!! 60mm predicted tonight with another 25mm expected tomorrow. Lions: the 2 Matshapiri males, 3 Eyrefield lionesses and 2 cubs were opposite Rattray’s Camp still feeding off their buffalo kill. 1 Gowrie male and 3 Styx lionesses are in the southern parts of the Matshapiri River- this is the furthest south we’ve seen any of the Gowrie males and he’s not too far away from the afore mentioned lions. 5 members of the Marthly pride are still south of the causeway. Leopards: the soon to be named 1:1 spot pattern young male was seen around Emsagwen. A large herd of buffalo drank at West Street and another herd was seen at Clarendon. A couple elephant herds were also viewed.

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