Our owners, Louis and Marilyn Marais, came up to visit this week with family. For them it was as much a holiday as it was a check up on the building progress.
There was not too much animal activity inside the lodge this week other than the usual warthogs (making a mess of the lawn), nyala and squirrels. There was a visit by a big hippo, feeding by the breakfast deck, during the day and we had a mating lion pair move through the staff quarters one morning. there were also lions roaring close to the lodge on Wednesday night.
During drives we had the usual high quality sightings, these included:
- Lions (Snip-Tail/Dreadlocked Mapogo and short-tail Ximunghwe lioness) mating just to the south of the lodge (the same pair that came through the staff area later in the day). This after Mapogo MrT had been mating with the same lioness last week
- Mabirri female leopard and daughter with an impala kill, they were joined by the Metsi female leopard (also Mabirri's Daughter) and there was some animosity between the three. By Tuesday night Metsi had left and we saw MrT arrive and steal the kill scattering the two leopards to the tops of the nearby marula trees
- The Metsi female leopard returned to her cubs on top of one of the granite hills and we got our first good look at the new youngsters, by now approx three months old - it was a view through binoculars and powerful zooms so not good for pictures or Id's
- The Ximunghwe pride's remaining cubs were safely under the watchful eye of their mother and the Makulu Mapogo male for most of the week.
- Hlabnkunzi female leopard was seen regularly trying to get food for her two cubs which we also saw regularly. She seems to have had little success in the hunting stakes although we saw her trying a couple of times
- The Ottawa lion pride were seen regularly. On Thursday they killed a nyala bull which upset a nearby elephant herd, we arrived to scenes of chaos as the lions were trying to eat and the eles were chasing them off!
- The Tai Dam female leopard was seen up in the north, it seems she had made a kill and was looking to find her son and take him back there. Whilst we watched she gave the full range of vocalisations right next to us. Later in the drive whilst we were having drinks we heard her calling again.
- The four Mapogo male lions had some disagreements about who would get to mate with the various Ximunghwe lionesses, one such disagreement saw MrT and the male with the bite marks on the back were so engrossed in one another's movements that the lioness got up and left them to it, both males roared to see if she would reply and when she did they decided she was too far and made up before going to sleep...
- Xikavi female leopard had an impala kill that we watched her feed on down in a steep drainage line, by morning she had lost it to hyenas
- There was a small breeding herd of buffalo in the area for a day or two, they were harassed by the Ximunghwe females and some of the Mapogo, judging by the tracks. No kill was made though.
The bout of flu that was going around the staff seems to have passed which made the week even better, Andries has returned from leave to take over from rob which means that the videos taken out in the bush will be appearing on the Internet soon -enjoy!
Until next week
The Idube Team