MalaMala weekly highlights

Highlights of the week

September 24th. 2 lion sightings: the 6 lionesses of the Marthly Breakaway pride spent the day in the Sand River north of Dudley Crossing. The Eryefield pride and both Mathsapiri males were also in the Sand River- they spent the day south of West Street Bridge. 6 leopards, 5 of which were a stones throw away from Main Camp: the Island female killed a bushbuck in front of Main Camp. The Piccadilly female is still on her impala kill northeast of Main Camp. The Kikilezi female and both her cubs were just west of the Camp. The Tamboti female was viewed north of West Street. A new hyena den has been discovered close to Ostrich Koppies. 3 herds of buffalo and many elephants were also viewed today.

September 23rd. 2 lion sightings: the 6 lionesses of the Marthly Breakaway pride spent most of the day in front of Rattray’s Camp before killing a waterbuck a little further south. The Eyrefield pride and both Matshapiri males finished off their buffalo kill from yesterday and moved into the Sand River near West Street Bridge- the youngest lioness has been mating with both males. 6 leopards: the newly named Piccadilly female (previously DOKF 3:3) has an impala kill opposite Main Camp. A huge unidentified and skittish male leopard (nicknamed ‘the ghost’ by rangers) was viewed north of the Ngoboswaan Donga. The Treehouse male was close to the Eyrefield pride. The Bicycle Crossing male was viewed feeding off an impala kill before another male leopard approached and the two spent some time sizing each other up. The Calabash female is feeding off of a hippo carcass in the south. Many elephants and buffalo bulls were viewed as well as 2 honey badgers and an ostrich in eastern Flockfield. The highlight of ranger Brendan Cole’s day was finding and photographing a very rare leucistic elephant

September 22nd. Lions: we watched the Eyrefield pride and both Matshapiri males bring down a buffalo cow just south of our Airtstrip late in the morning. 6 leopards: the Split Rock male was found early in the morning trailing behind a large herd of buffalo near Emsagwen Open Area. The Kikilezi female and both her cubs were viewed west of Main Camp. The Island female was hunting bushbuck just south of Main Camp. The Bicycle Crossing male was seen at Charleston North. 2 cheetah sightings: the 2 brothers were viewed hunting zebra in Clarendon Open Area- they managed to jump on the back of a foal before the rest of the herd came to the rescue. Another male cheetah was viewed in Emsagwen Open Area this afternoon. A large herd of about 500 buffalo was seen- the same herd that had interactions with the Split Rock male and the lions. Countless elephant sightings were also recorded today.

September 20th. 3 lion sightings: the Fourways pride were found in north eastern Charleston with 2 adult buffalo kills. The Eyrefield pride and both Matshapiri males were in central Flockfield, also on a buffalo kill. 4 unidentified male lions were viewed in the south, also on a buffalo kill. 6 leopards: the Kikilezi female and both her cubs were seen west of Main Camp. The Island female was just south of Main Camp. The Accipiter male was at Buffalo Pans. An unidentified young male leopard was seen in front of Rattray’s Camp. Cheetah: the 2 brothers were viewed in the north. 2 sable antelope sightings, a honey badger, many elephants and buffalo bulls were also viewed today.

September 18th. 9mm of rejuvenating (psychologically at least) rain fell overnight as we received a welcomed reprieve from the current drought. The temperature was a chilly 16*C, quite a contrast from Friday’s 36*C. Lions: the 2 Matshapiri males were moving eastward along the Charleston Flockfield boundary with a massive herd of +-1500 buffalo just to their north. Leopards: an unidentified female was viewed in Marthly. 2 Sable antelope sightings: both were in Flockfield, 2 herds of 2 and 4 animals. Many elephant sightings were recorded as well as an African wild cat, a honey badger and several hyena.

September 17th. Lions: both Matshapiri males, the 3 Eyrefield lioness and their cubs are still feeding off their buffalo cow kill from yesterday. 4 leopards: the newly named Split Rock male (son of the Ostrich Koppies female) was viewed with the Emsagweni female. The Treehouse male was seen at Flockfield Tower. The Island female spent the afternoon in front of Main Camp. Many many elephant herds were viewed as well as buffalo bulls.

September 16th. A hot and windy day here in the Lowveld with some great game viewing. 3 lion sightings: we watched the Eyrefield pride and both Matshapiri bring down a buffalo cow near West Street Bridge in the midday heat! The 6 lionesses of the Marthly Breakaway pride (Mhangeni) were viewed in the Sand River in front of Sable Camp. 5 members of the Marthly pride spent the day just north of Main Camp. 3 leopards: The Treehouse male was viewed moving south along Bushbuck Drive. The Calabash female was at Charleston North. An unidentified female leopard was viewed in the Hogvaal Donga. Countless elephants and buffalo bulls were also seen today.