MALA-MALA-GERALD-FEB2016-(26)

Highlights of the week

December 1st. Dawn this morning was heralded by the reverberations of lions roaring, emanating from 4 different locations. The distance between 2 of these points was decreasingly rapidly and what followed was but a chapter in the book of lion warfare. 3 lion sightings (2 of which became 1): the Clarendon males, Matshapiri males and 1 lioness from the Marthly Breakaway pride where involved in a tense drawn out altercation. Who won? It’s not clear. Both coalitions had their moments. What was the role of the lioness? This is also open to interpretation but she ended up fighting and then mating with the Matshapiri males. We will share more on this sighting as soon as we can. The Eyrefield pride were also found today and they were seen with a zebra kill. 2 leopards: the Senegal Bush male has a treed impala kill in the north. The Island female was viewed near Maurice’s Pan. Cheetah: a new and young individual was seen hunting zebra in Wild Dog Rocks Open Area. Many elephant and buffalo sightings were also recorded today.

November 29th. 3 lion sightings: the 2 Clarendon males and 3 of the 6 lionesses who broke away from the Marthly Breakaway pride were found early this morning north of Piccadilly Pans- they brought down a buffalo cow around midday. The tailless lioness lioness of the Marthly pride was initially found in front of Main Camp- later in the day she approached the aforementioned lions only to be chased away. The 2 Matshapiri males spent the day south of Rattrays’s Camp. 4 leopards: the Piccadilly female was viewed near Campbell Koppies. The Emsagweni female was seen close to Matshapiri Open Area- her right eye seems to be recovering, miraculously. 2 unidentified leopards were seen separately in the south, a female on Martial Loop and a large male with a 2:2 spot pattern north of Jakkalsdraai Open Area. Cheetah: 2 males were seen in the northeast together with 2 herds of buffalo. Many elephant sightings were recorded and a honey badger but the highlight of the day was witnessing a wildebeest giving birth. 

November 27th. 2 lion sightings: the 2 Clarendon males joined up with the Marthly pride. They finished off what remained of their buffalo kill and spent the rest of the day on Euphorbia Drive. The 2 Matshapiri males provided us with a great sighting as they moved westwards patrolling their territory and roaring frequently. 5 leopards: the Tamboti female was roaring and scent marking east of our Airstrip- she does look to be pregnant. The Island female was viewed south of Main Camp. The Kikilezi female and her 2 cubs were seen with an impala kill near Matumi Rocks. Many elephant herds and big bulls were also viewed today.

November 25th. 4 lion sightings: we watched the 3 lionesses from the Marthly pride bring down a buffalo buffalo- it was a remarkable display of strength, skill and fearlessness from the tailless lionesses as she tackled the beast head on. 5 of the 6 lionesses who broke away from the Marthly Breakaway pride spent the day at Sandpit Crossing. The Eyrefield pride were found near the Hogvaal Donga. The 2 Matshapiri males were viewed in Emsagwen Open Area. 4 leopards: the Kikilezi female and both her cubs were viewed just west of Main Camp. The Piccadilly female was viewed opposite Main Camp. Cape hunting dogs: the pack of 22 was seen in the south. Many elephant and buffalo sightings were recorded.

November 24th. A beautiful day with warm blue morning skies and late afternoon showers. Lions: the Marthly pride spent most of the day in the Sand River south of Elephant Rock- as the rain came down this afternoon they moved north and began hunting. 4 leopards: the Piccadilly female was seen at Piccadilly Pans. The Island female was hunting impala near our Airstrip. An old unidentified female viewed in Flockfield and another unidentified female was seen in the south. Cheetah: the two brothers were found in Clarendon Open Area along with 2 ostriches. Many elephant, zebra and giraffe sightings were also recorded.