MALA-MALA-GERALD-FEB2016-(13)

Highlights of the week

January 10th. 4 lion sightings: The 2 Matshapiri males were found early this morning, mating with one of the breakaway lionesses. Later in the afternoon 4 of the lionesses were seen hunting impala on our airstrip when the 2 males burst onto the scene roaring and chased after the lionesses. The Eyrefield pride were viewed in the Tamboti Thickets and they were chased by a herd of disgruntled elephants. 3 male lions were seen in the south. 2 leopards: the Piccadilly female has an adult male impala kill in a marula tree south of Campbell Koppies. The West Street male was viewed in the south. Many elephant sightings were recorded and the hyena den in Charleston was a hub of activity.

January 5th. 3 lion sightings: the Marthly pride and both Clarendon males brought down a buffalo this morning near Stwise. The 2 Matshapiri males are mating with 2 of the breakaway lionesses on our airstrip. The other 4 breakaway lionesses were viewed along Steenbok Drive. 2 leopards: the Bicycle Crossing male was found in western Charleston hunting impala. The Island female provided us with a spectacular sighting which saw her swimming across the Sand River. Cape hunting dogs: the pack of 3 was viewed moving south along the Sand River from West Street Bridge. Many elephants were also seen today.

January 3rd. Another riveting MalaMala 7 day during which we witnessed 3 take downs. 2 lion sightings: 3 of the breakaway lionesses spent most of the day at their den on Campbell Koppies- later in the afternoon we were privy to a remarkable display of speed and agility as one of the lionesses caught a male duiker. The other 3 Breakaway lionesses were found hunting impala at the old airstrip during the early evening hours. 4 leopards: the Tamboti female killed a young male impala north of Rattray’s Camp. The Island female was viewed moving westwards from Maxim’s Lookout. The Split Rock male was seen along the Matshapiri River near Matshapiri Open Area. A new and nervous leopard was discovered with an impala kill in the lower reaches of the Kapen River. Cheetah: the 2 brothers were viewed at Clarendon for a 3rd consecutive day. Cape hunting dogs: we found a pack of 3 and watched them bring down an impala in the Sand River south of Main Camp. Many elephant and buffalo sightings were recorded as well as 2 honey badgers. 

January 1st. 2017 got off to a roaring start. Yes, the pun was intended… 4 lion sightings: the Matshapiri males and the Clarendon males were at it again! The Matshapiri males clearly dominated the 3 hour long sighting and chased the Clarendon males a long ways north. The roaring was incessant during the high speed persuits and the older males were lucky to a avoid a physical 2 on 1 confrontation as both were found and chased separately. 3 of the breakaway lionesses we found nearby and they later made their way to Campbell Koppies. The Marthly pride were seen south of Elephant Rock. Leopards: the Treehouse male was found at Maurice’s Pan after a lengthy absence- he seemed to be searching for the Island female in the area where we believe her den is. Countless elephants were viewed today as well as a herd of buffalo. 

December 31st. We said goodbye to 2016, fittingly with a MalaMala 7 day! 3 lion sightings: The 2 Matshapiri males were found near West Street Bridge. The 2 Clarendon males are still with 2 of the 6 breakaway lionesses just southeast of Main Camp. The Eyrefield pride were seen near Lion Waterhole and they chased 2 mating leopards up a tree. 5 leopards: the West Street male and an unidentified female were the aforementioned leopards- it’s been a long time since we last saw the male this far north. The Senegal Bush male is still finishing off his impala kill south of Mlowathi Dam. Another leopard was viewed at Clarendon. An unidentified male leopard was also chased up a tree on Sibuye Drive but not by lions but by a pack of 3 cape hunting dogs. Cheetah: the 2 brothers were seen in the northeast. Many elephant and buffalo sightings were recorded.

December 30th. The 130+mm of rain that fell 2 nights ago has reinvigorated the bush. A cool, overcast day today with scattered showers ensured that more of water will be used up by the bush before the sunshine and evaporation expected tomorrow. 2 lion sightings: The 2 Clarendon males and 2 of the lionesses from the Marthly Breakaway pride were found separately early this morning and joined forces later in the day north of Maxim’s Lookout. 3 leopards: the Senegal Bush male has a impala ram kill and 2 hyena for company south and west of Mlowathi Dam. The Island female is lactating and was seen roaring and scent marking near Maxim’s Lookout before swimming eastwards across the Sand River. An unidentified leopard was seen on Ridge Road. Cape hunting dogs: we followed the pack of 3 as they moved eastwards through the northern parts of our reserve. Many elephant and buffalo sightings were recorded.