Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Week That Was....(3)

This past week has been an exciting one here at Idube, the guest numbers have been high - people and animals! there were a couple of nocturnal visits from a big elephant bull who found a way to bypass the electric fence system (by opening the gate!) and this kept us busy, both trying to persuade him to leave and cleaning up the debris. There were often hippo tracks found through the lodge grounds in the morning but luckily nobody came face to face with the animal itself. Lions came through the lodge more than once - first the Tsalala pride of 9 animals on the way to the giraffe carcass, then a Ximunghwe lioness chasing the resident Nyala past room 5 before the morning walk and now as I write this the 5 sub-adult females of the Tsalala pride are at the hide at Shadulu dam, by our dining area!
Ranger Promise and his tracker Elliot returned from a break to relieve Andries and Titus, great sightings awaited out on drive....
  • This week saw a total of 18 different leopards recorded: Tegwaan male and Hippo Dam female (mating); Xikavi female, Xindlevhana male and Mashiabanj male together with a kill!; Ravenscourt female, Xinzele male (her son) and Ravenscourt young male (her younger son) together with a Nyala kill; Mabirri and Daughter with an impala kill, Hlabnkunzi and 2 cubs with an impala kill; Dam 3 youngster running into the river; a new shy female in the south and most importantly the first confirmation of Metsi female's litter - 2 approx 9wk old cubs found with mum at a duiker kill, very shy though. I will try to upload our Western sector ID kit in the coming days so you can get an idea of who is who! For now check out the facebook page Sabi Sand Leopard Identification for pictures
  • The Tsalala pride killed a wildebeest just south of the lodge.
  • The four Mapogo male lions finally made their way to the giraffe carcass just north of the lodge where they were joined by the Tsalala pride, there was some agression and confusion between the lions as the younger members of Tsalala had not seen their fathers for a long time, it all ended well with Makulu Mapogo and two of the older lionesses finishing off the last scraps before leaving the carcass to the vultures
  • The Ximungwhe lionesses who have lost their cubs were back in oestrus and two of them were seen mating with the Mapogo males during the week.
  • Big herds of elephants were widespread in the area, as were rhinos.
  • Buffalo bulls were spotted in small groups in many places across the traversing area and it was a lot easier to find them this week!
  • The Ottawa lion pride returned from the east and this morning killed a huge kudu bull just on the northern edge of Idube property
  • A Ximungwe lioness killed a young waterbuck close to the lodge and was chased off by one of the Mapogo males, she was the lioness who ended up chasing the Nyala in the lodge later the same day!
  • Some of the leopard interactions in that first list of sightings were unusual: Xindlevhana male and Mashiabanj male did not fight or even growl at one another, there was more interaction between them and Xikavi - who made the kill. the Ravenscourt family continue to amaze, Xinzele is almost 3 years old but continues to be welcomed by his mother and younger brother, something that I cannot remember having happened in any other leopard family on record!

There were also some eventful morning nature walks, an activity that we usually point out as not being about the larger animals Despite this elephants, hippo and lions were encountered on more than one occasion!

Look out for the next update, this time next week,

Stay well,


The Idube Team

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