Originally posted on Umlani Bushcamp's blog, Umlani captured in photos - May 2018, these pictures highlight the wild beauty of the camp. See below the images that truly encapsulate an African adventure.
“When you have acquired a taste for the dust, and the scent of our first rain, you’re hooked for life on Africa, and you will not be right again. Until you can watch the setting moon and hear the jackals bark, and know they are around you waiting in the dark. When you long to see the elephants or hear the coucal’s song, when the moonrise sets your blood on fire, then you have been away too long.
It is time to cut the traces loose, and let your go free, beyond that far horizon where your spirit yearns to be.
Africa is waiting…come! Since you have touched the open sky and learned to love the rustling grass and the wild fish eagles cry. You’ll always hunger for the bush; for the lions rasping roar, to camp at last beneath the stars and to be at peace once more”
Introducing Nyeleti's 6 month old cub, the little one is already extremely relaxed with vehicles given its young age . Leopard cubs face a lot of challenges around this age so the odds are stacked up against this cub, but it has survived the toughest part of its life as a helpless new born so fingers are crossed that it makes it.
Tusks and ears
Here are two of the magnificent elephant bulls that we have seen out on game drives. Being in their presence commands respect and is certainly a humble experience.
The buffalo have been present but not as common as they have been in the past. We have had to work a little harder at finding them. When the area experienced the drought at the beginning of last year, the greater Kruger Park lost roughly 20 000 buffalo. Due to the drought, the buffalo who used to be a more common sight have become a bit harder to find. They will bounce back though, as nature will always find a way to balance out.
Nthombi was seen a handful of times last month. Here she feeds on one of two kills that she had...at the same time. Leopards are opportunistic and won't pass up a chance to make a kill even if they already have one.
A fathers pride
The Mbiri males are here to stay. They have been mating with the last two Ross lionesses and have now become fathers to cubs from the two young lionesses that came in from the North West. This is the beginning of a new pride in our area? Time will tell and exciting times lie ahead for our lion viewing at Umlani.
Marula female can't seem to catch a break when it comes to raising cubs. She has now lost three litters in a row. There was hope that the last litter would survive, until we found her mating with one of our resident males about a week ago. Sadly, she no longer showed signs of suckling cubs. Let's hope she has luck with the next litter.
There are a number of reasons why the cubs aren't surviving. Our number one suspect is the large population of hyena in Marula's territory at the moment. However, with the presence of the lions in the area this will affect the hyena numbers and hopefully in turn allow Marula to get some cubs to adulthood.
There is some amazing bird life around at the moment, even though all the migratory species have left us for the winter.
We saw all four of our dominant male leopards this last month. Nstogwaan was seen a couple of times each time with a kill. The northern male was seen and he seems to be relaxing more and more around the vehicles, even during the day. Mazinyo was found one morning perched on top of a termite mound waiting for warthogs to leave their burrow. Sadly, a herd of buffalo moved into the area and forced the leopard to rethink his breakfast plans.
Rothsay, male as mentioned, was found mating with Marula. He too is becoming very relaxed with the vehicles, especially at night. It's been the first time in a long while that he has been seen and he has really become a huge male leopard. He is easily the biggest of the males in our area. Due to him mating in the dark, it was an extremely difficult sighting to get photos from. We will have to wait until the next time we see him in order to get a picture or two and show off his immense size.
That is all for this highlights blog, lets see what this month as in store for us.
Until next time...