Sunday the 10th of April
Yet another sensational start to the week, WE are now able to traverse on Cheetah Plains Private Reserve after a heroic effort from the incredible safariLIVE tech team (watch video here)! As the sun was rising in the east, so Brent and Bryan headed out to explore the new traverse. Shortly after their arrival they were alerted to the presence of 3 big male lions and unsurprisingly, it turned out to be the Birmingham coalition visiting the eastern section of their territory. It was a mystery as to the whereabouts of the other 2 members of the dominant coalition, they could have perhaps been mating with lionesses or patrolling elsewhere in the reserve.
(Birmingham males, Screenshot Credit: Kim Powers Blackley, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
To the west of Djuma, Jamie and Jeandre made their way around the reserve with sharp eyes. Sure enough, after some patience WE experienced our second big cat sighting for the morning. Tingana, the dominant male leopard, was making his way through the core of his territory.
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)
More in store later in the morning as WE were treated to an incredible and previously rare sighting. One of the dominant cheetah brothers was spotted on Cheetah Plains, he is sometimes seen on Djuma, but not regularly. The impressively sleek and muscled cat kept a keen eye out for any hunting opportunities as he made his way through the core part of his territory. This sighting makes for a purr-fect trifecta of African big cats, all in a single morning!
(Cheetah male, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij, safariLIVE, Cheetah Pains)
But the action doesn’t stop there, later that afternoon Jamie and Jeandre had a double dose of big cat action! At first they returned to where Tingana had gone flat earlier that day, and after some well spent quality time with the handsome cat they decided to move off. Soon after they found themselves with all 5 of the Nkuhuma ladies. What a way to end a truly magnificent day!
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Kim Powers Blackley, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Monday the 11th of April
More spotty speedsters were found again this morning on Cheetah plains. James and Bryan caught up with both members of the coalition as they patrolled through their core territory. They happily scent marked and kept an eye for for any opportunity to hunt.
(Cheetah male, Screenshot Credit: Dave Holm, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
More lions in the west as Jamie and Bryan caught up with the Nkuhuma pride flat and content in the shade of a nearby bush. The 5 ladies slept happily, although not full to bursting they were certainly looking rather well fed.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Jamie then decided to move on and soon came upon one of the Birmingham males. It seems to be one of the missing two from the 5 male strong coalition. Although not looking particularly regal he was still appeared healthy and fighting fit. He spent most of the day wandering slowly and collapsing from exhaustion in nearby patches of shade.
(Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
After another fantastic morning James and Jamie traded lions for cheetahs and cheetahs for lions. This time is was Jamie who ventured to the east and onto cheetah plains and spent time with the dominant cheetah coalition while James made his way west to Arathusa and great lion sighting with the Birmingham males.
(Cheetah male, Screenshot Credit: Madeleine Skeoch, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Tuesday the 12th of April
Who needs cheetahs and lions when you could spend time with the Queen of Djuma, Karula! After the magnificent sighting on Saturday with her two gorgeous cubs, Sam and Jeandre found her hiding in the boughs of a large tree. She was carefully protecting and feeding on her kill while one of the resident hyaenas’ sniffed around at the base of the trunk for any fallen morsels. Her cubs, much to everyone’s relief, were not present at the sighting as hyaena are notorious for killing leopard cubs.
(Karula, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)
On the other side of the reserve, Brent and Bryan found themselves with 1 of the Birmingham males. He spent the afternoon flat as a pancake and remained that way as the sunset safari came to a close.
(Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Joshua Gross, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Thursday the 14th of April
More lovely lady lionesses! The Nkuhuma pride has been spotted and all five of the stunning lionesses are present and accounted for. They spent the afternoon lazing in the cooling shade, upon closer inspection, Brent proposed that one of the girls is most definitely pregnant! A truly exciting prospect for the future of this pride! As the last embers of light burnt out to the west the lions yawned, stretched and headed off into the night on the hunt.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 15th of April
The Queen has made another appearance! She was found lying gracefully, cradled in the limbs of a large marula tree. Again her cubs are nowhere to be seen, a sure sign that she has hidden them away safe and sound. The queen made her royal self very comfortable and spent the afternoon relaxing and cat napping in the gentle wind of the changing seasons.
(Karula, Screenshot Credit: Roy Smith, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Later on 3 of the Nkuhuma lionesses are spotted again. It doesn’t seem as though their hunt attempts the night before were successful and after lazing around during the heat of the day, they eventually arose, stretched out their powerful bodies and ventured off into the opaque folds of the falling darkness. It remained a mystery as to the location of the other 2 Nkuhuma pride members.
(Nkuhuma pride, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Saturday the 16th of April
More lions today with both Sam and Jamie. Initially it was Sam who spotted one of the Nkuhuma lioness lazing in some long grass. But soon after being found she was up and east bound, towards cheetah cutline. Unfortunately Sam and Dave were forced to give up on the trail as the camera encountered an incident with an aggressive branch. Jamie and Bryan moved into the area to pick up where Sam had left off. Unfortunately all she could find was the tracks of the lions crossing the eastern boundary and soon after, reports from Torchwood confirmed the pride had moved east.
Sunday the 17th of April
Another great start to the morning. In the final minutes of the sunrise safari James and Dave managed to catch up with Tingana, this time lazing about on Arathusa. Although the sighting was short lived there was relief as it seemed he had recovered from the injuries to his back legs. James left the powerful leopard sleeping soundly as the sunrise safari ticked away it’s final seconds.
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Awesome blog! WE has had incredible sightings and we are loving it! Thanks so much for everything & thanks for these beautifully written blogs & photos. Great job, Louise!
Thank you Louise! How wonderful to read and see what the Safari and crew has brought us in the past week.. All the work of the WE Team is very much appreciated.