Friday 21 April
After presumably picking up on Xongile’s scent, we listened to Hosana calling out on Baboon Pan before he ducked and disappeared – was he looking for his little sister?
WE then raced off to find Tingana before the end of the sunset safari, having been notified of his presence at the corner of Vuyatela Access and Impala Road. Find him we did, lying down but alert and getting ready for his nightly vigil.
Saturday 22 April
Hosana found little sister Xongile at her favourite haunt, Twin Dams. He joined her briefly in her hunt for terrapins and then together they moved off north into Djuma.
Nearby, three unidentified wild dogs (possibly a breakaway from the Sands Pack) investigated, perhaps picking up on the scent of the Royal siblings (which may have been the reason the cats ran off) before disappearing south into Little Gowrie.
Less active, were two of the Styx lionesses and two cubs, flat on their backs on Chitwa Chitwa, having killed a waterbuck the night before. However, Jamie caught them on the move when day turned to night, drinking from a pan of water, full from the kill and the cubs looking like walking bellies with legs.
Sunday 23 April
WE finally managed a sighting of The two Styx lionesses with all six of their cubs, also in the company of one of the Birmingham Boys. Four of the cubs could not have been much older than two months and there was much squealing and suckling, initiating big hugs from their proud mother.
On foot in front of Galago Pan, James and Herbie found a hungry Xongile moving nervously down the drainage system as birds’ alarm calling gave her away to a herd of elephants. After dissolving into the dense bush, she left us to look for something smaller to eat.
In the last hour of the sunrise safari, her more confident brother Hosana went into full stalk mode, having spied a scrub hare moving guilelessly through the thickets. Aided by our infra red lights, WE had hoped to witness him make a small successful kill, but he missed his chance and the scrub hare lived to see another day.
Monday 24 April
The shift from summer to winter has begun and Vutomi did not live up to his name this morning – showing us little signs of life as he huddled against the cold on Cheetah Plains.
Tayla found us some viewing time with the popular Styx pride and their adorable cubs, who have stolen all our hearts. The youngest cubs were furiously nursing from their mother (the lionesses having just returned from a short attempt at catching an impala) while the older ones were much more playful – more interested in finding sticks to chew than cuddling up to mom.
Most active of the apex predators today was the Sands Pack and in the last of the golden light, WE followed them on a hunt and then watched them polish off an nyala kill. There was some play fighting amongst the dogs for dominance – but the rest of the bush went silent, as if mourning the loss of a fellow animal.
Tuesday 25 April
Having been so inactive the day before, we caught a brief glimpse of Vutomi before he pulled a vanishing act from Cheetah Plains, possibly in search of someplace warmer. Later on the evening drive however, it was revealed he had not warmth but nourishment on his mind when Jamie discovered him diving for terrapins. While the water must have been quite chilly, it was a successful end to the day for little Vutomi with his terrapin supper.
Tingana was also on the prowl this evening, creeping up on herds of zebra and impala as he
scent marked his crossing from Djuma into Chitwa. We lost him as he moved off into the night, his saws growing softer as he treaded out of Chitwa alerting others of his territory.
Wednesday 26 April
After a lonely week apart, Xongile and Hosana were found walking down Gowrie Main before giving us the royal slip.
Thursday 27 April
Today WE celebrated the birth of safariLIVE 10 years ago. How fitting then that our cat sighting of the day was Vutomi, whose name means ‘life’ in Shangaane – the morning sun turning his still fluffy coat to gold as day broke on Cheetah Pans and Wild Earth welcomed in another year of live safari drives.