Safari Lodges

Yet again there has been some exciting times at Umlani! It is always fascinating to witness the dynamics among the animals – not only with the changing season but also between themselves – in particular the territorial animals – and especially the lions. 738 At the end of the July blog I was talking about the single Machaton cub that had become separated from the pride during the trespassing of two new male lions. Now it seems he has decided to remain alone for the time being as he has been close to his natal pride on a  few occasions and we all naturally assumed that he would link up again – but he didn’t! He actually drank out of our waterhole and swimming pool in camp while his pride members were less than a kilometer away – and they never met up as far as we can tell. He is still roaming alone – but clearly fending for himself successfully as he is looking in great condition. In the meantime the two males are clearly looking for a pride takeover. The Machatons have not totally split with the old female and younger lioness with two cubs on and around Umlani property, while the other lioness with two cubs has gone way up north. The future is not looking great for this group. As for the two males – they have started to assert themselves and are currently mating with a Ross pride female – we don’t know what has happened to the Ross males but suspect that they have been intimidated by the new males and scarpered!

Our guests have had some incredible experiences during July with sightings in and around camp. Buffalo and lion featured highly amongst the highlights but there are some other notable sightings!

The hyena pups at the den on Umlani are growing fast and have just started to lose their black coats and have started to develop the spots characteristic of the spotted hyena.
The spots first start to develop around the neck like a very fashionable scarf! It looks like one has succumbed as three are now seen regularly rather than four, and they are spending an increasing amount of time outside the den even with game vehicles close by. As they get older this familiarisation at an early age will be great for the future viewing  as they develop into adults. The den has become such a popular place for other camps to visit that we have had to cordon off parts of the area to reduce the environmental impact of so much traffic. The hyenas continue to make their presence felt in camp with regular nightly visits, sometimes vocal and other times only detected by their tracks in the morning!

May has seen huge activity on the game viewing front with several highlights. Most notable was the witnessing by some of our guests of lions killing a female buffalo – unfortunately the lions did not wait for the buffalo to die – much to the consternation of some of our guests – no – it is not the same as a national geographic documentary! 370