Thursday the 19th of May
The week couldn’t have begun better. Inkanyeni, the beautiful and dominant female leopard on Cheetah Plains had been found. This time however, her two cubs were in attendance and WE were able to see them for the very first time on safariLIVE. It was clear to resident leopard whisperer Brent, that she was on the run from a threat to her five month old cubs. Reports indicated that she had a kill stolen from her during the night by an adult male leopard. She marched her cubs across the wide open plains, constantly keeping watch over her shoulder. She eventually moved off across our boundary, still determined to put as much distance between her and the thief as possible (watch video here). Later on WE discovered that the kill thief was none other than Quarantine Male, one of Karulas now adult and independent sons.
(Inkanyeni & male cub, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
It seemed all the cats had come out to play this morning. Minutes before the close of the sunrise safari Brent stumbled upon two of the sub-adult Tsalala Pride males. The two lanky teenage lions were as flat as ever near Sydney’s Dam just north of Djuma’s boundary with Buffelshoek. They remained in this state of immobility for the entirety of the day. Later in the afternoon Sam went through to check on the young males, they had not moved one single inch. Nevertheless, as the temperature cooled and darkness settled the young males moved slowly, deeper into Buffelshoek until WE lost our view of them.
(Sub-adult Tsalala male lion, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Saturday the 21st of May
After an exceptionally noisy night, courtesy of the lions, Brent managed to catch up with a mating pair of lions shortly after the start of the sunrise safari. The lions in love comprised of one Nkuhuma lioness as well as one of the Birmingham males. After having a short rest in the warmth of the sun they moved off into a very thick drainage line. Brent followed their trail as best he could and after a valiant search eventually decided to give the mating pair their privacy.
(Birmingham male [left] & Nkuhuma lioness [right], Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Further roars to the north indicated that these weren’t the only lions on the property. With the help of a few others it wasn’t long before WE had our second lion sighting for the morning. Another one of the Birmingham males, a rather forlorn sight as he called out to his brothers. Once the dominant male stood it became clear as to why he was looking sorry for himself. A large gash had been revealed on his front left paw, he limped a short distance before collapsing, as only a male lion can, in the shady undergrowth. Later, on the sunset safari Sam managed to catch up with him for a second time. He lay in rest for the most part but as the full moon began to rise in the east, he arose and made his way deeper into Djuma. He called out again in an attempt to locate his coalition members and eventually decided to rest up in the still warm sandy road until the final moments of the sunset safari.
(Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Sunday the 22nd of May
WE could never have imagined a more spectacular and special start to the sunrise safari. Minutes after safariLIVE kicked off Jamie spotted one of the most secretive small cats around. An African Wild Cat peered out of the autumnal brush, it’s eyes glowing eerily in the predawn darkness. Once the sun had ascended into the great blue sky the cat moved out into the glowing warmth. From there an extraordinary sighting unfolded as the wild cat stalked an unsuspecting scrub hare over the next 2 hours. Inch by inch the cat crept closer to it’s target, after what seemed an age in slow motion it eventually made it’s pounce and dashed off into the wild, the hares ears flopping as it bounded.
(African Wild Cat, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Meanwhile in the centre of the reserve the lions had been found again. Brent managed to catch up with two of the Nkuhuma lionesses and one of The Birmingham Boys. Eventually one of the lionesses left and WE stayed with the mating pair not wanting to miss any of the action. The cats were highly mobile. Eventually they made their way to Buffelshoek Dam for a drinks pitstop. After frightening off a particularly cantankerous hippo the pair continued on their way eastward before the safariLIVE vehicle pulled out of the sighting to allow more guest vehicles to get a view of the king and queen of the beasts.
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Monday the 23rd of May
The Nkuhuma Pride have always spoilt us with amazing sightings filled with jovial bounding and playing. This morning was no different as all five lionesses motored their way west along Buffelshoek cutline. The pride it seemed was rather concerned about an ever approaching elephant herd, a good thing too as elephants in general are not fans of any of the big cats. Yet elephant avoidance does not mean no fun at all and the lionesses pounced on each other as they moved. Just when WE thought the sighting couldn’t get any better one of the Birmingham males managed to sneak in out of nowhere. The lions spent a few more minutes on Djuma before making their way across our northern boundary and into Buffelshoek. Although the lions never made an appearance on the sunset safari, wonderful news comes in over the radio. The first litter of Nkuhuma cubs had been located on Torchwood near First Rock. With any luck, WE will hopefully be able to bring these cubs to you over the coming weeks!
(Nkuhuma lionesses, Screenshot Credit: John Gerry, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Tuesday the 24th of May
Some safariLIVE favourites returned to the screen during the sunrise safari. The Tsalala Pride have been located deep in Arathusa. The Pride did seem to look a little rough around the edges during their prolonged sojourn in the north. Brent caught up with the tailless lioness and a few of the sub-adults just as they engaged stalk mode. The lions crept through the bush with perfectly focussed stealth. Unfortunately the intended giraffe target was not fooled and soon began to stare down the lions. Eventually the big, hungry cats decided a nap would just have to for the time being.
(Tailless Tsalala lioness with sub-adult, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
And another week comes to a close in Paradise! Thank you for all you do!