30 September: Umlani Monthly Update
Spring has arrived and the flowers are releasing sweet scents all over the bush!
Sightings over this period in general is very good as the grass is still low and most of the trees have not grown leaves back again, making for slightly ‘easier’ viewing. The browsers are attracted by the flowers and the fresh buds of leaves about to grow back and this surely helps to maintain good quality sightings when looking for the predators as they keep an eye out where potential prey congregates.
Giraffe, Zebra’s, Wildebeest, Kudu, Baboon and Impala were the most common visitors at our waterhole and good numbers of general game frequented our traversing.
The spotted beauties kept our guides and guests so very well entertained during the month and some special moments were shared with these secretive cats.
‘Rockfig Jr.’ and her cub spent a lot of time on Umlani’s land to the East. The youngster is growing up beautifully and seems to have no problem at all to pose for the clicking cameras.
The ‘Marula’ female and her two youngsters also assisted with maintaining regular leopard sightings. The cubs are now about 4months old and are not shy in the presence of vehicles viewing them at all. This family unit spends most of their time toward the North and West of Umlani and was found frequently close to the camp. Like their mother these cubs seem to enjoy being in trees and love chasing each other all over with some acrobatic flair!
‘Ntsongwaan’ male was seen a few times and one sighting stands out as highlight.
He killed a Common Duiker and the pray was hoisted into a tree to keep it out of reach from unwanted visitors like Spotted hyenas. One of these creatures showed up but was very soon on his merry way after being told off by a very upset Leopard spitting and hissing.
The ‘Mbhande’ coalition and one ‘Machaton’ lioness spent a lot of time around Marco’s dam. We are hoping that the lioness is seeking a spot in the Nhlaralumi riverbed close to the dam to have her cubs. After 3 months of pregnancy she should be very close now. We will keep you updated.
Part of the ‘Ross’ pride spent some time around the area further west from us toward Kambaku. We regularly saw 3 adult lionesses and 4 youngsters of about 15months old.
Cape buffalo and Elephant:
Also regular visitors to our waterhole at camp.
Numerous herds of elephants moved through our traversing and there was no shortage of spending quality time with one of Africa’s greatest animal species!
Apart of a massive group of bachelor Buffalo or ‘Dagga Boys’ that was around camp almost daily, the guides and their guests were entertained on a few occasions by a herd of Cape Buffalo exceeding 1000+ in number.
A female Cheetah showed herself twice during the month and this is almost certainly a highlight for all involved. Cheetah visiting our area is rare and we always make the best of an opportunity when it comes along. Numbers are estimated at about 300 in the Greater Kruger.
The pack of Wild dogs that denned on our property has moved on, but they were found again on a property not far west of us and we had another amazing opportunity to visit the den for another week or two before they headed out again. This was the first time in 16 years since an active Wild dog den was found on our traversing area and we are grateful to have spent some quality time with Africa’s second most endangered predator…
Thanks for reading and we hope to meet you on a visit soon!
Morné and the Umlani guiding team.