Umlani guests were treated to some incredible sightings this month. The bush is getting progressively dryer as the winter months pass by. This resulted in the animals gathering around various watering holes in the area. The Zebinine pride and the Ross pride were seen trailing after large herds of buffalo visiting Marcos dam.
Sightings of the Zebinine pride cubs have been far more prominent this month, be it from a distance however. The little cubs have been extremely active. The recent relocation of the den site down the river bed has definitely helped. As a result, it has enabled better access to the site. The new location is far easier to enter than the previous one, therefore allowing better viewings. It is believed that the cubs are approximately two months old now. The Zebinine females continue to show their impressive hunting skills by consistently taking down large prey. Guests at Umlani were even able to witness them fighting off hyena from one of their kills.
The leopard sightings have been fantastic this month. Marula was extremely successful, making two kills in only three days. The first being a steenbok and the second a large male Impala. After placing the impala kill in a tree, it’s believed to have been stolen by a male leopard which was later seen feeding on it.
Ntombi has been treating the guests to weekly sightings. On one particular sighting she was seen in a tree with a duiker kill. Shortly after she strolled around the game viewer within arms reach. Hopefully come next month, guests will be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of her cubs which are somewhere in the area.
Apollo, the large male bull elephant has been frequenting the area fairly regularly this month. We don’t often see such relaxed bulls, especially one of his size. His hungry appetite for marula bark however, is having a sizeable impact on the marula tree population in the area.
The dry winter has resulted in water and lush grass being rather scarce. This has led to large numbers of buffalo congregating around watering holes. On numerous occasions, numbers have reached over 300 at one point in time.
This month was pretty remarkable in terms of out of the ordinary sightings for Umlani guests. A four meter rock python was spotted up in a tree. It appeared to have made its way there in an attempt to avoid becoming prey to hyena’s in the area.
With water being so scarce, several watering holes have turned to mud. This proved very unfortunate for one buffalo in particular. He sadly got trapped in the mud making him an extremely easy target. Come nightfall, he was set upon by a cackle of hyenas. It was a chaotic scene of hungry hyenas fighting over their kill.
Any sighting of wild dog is very special, however a fight between wild dogs and hyenas is quite something. This particular pack of wild dog had been running for sometime before it finally became apparent that they were heading to assist an injured dog from their pack. A fight soon broke out between them and hyenas in the vicinity. The wild dogs appeared to dominate the situation. This resulted in the hyenas withdrawing to the water's edge and the wild dogs heading off in the opposite direction.
What a fantastic month it was with the Timbavati treating the Umlani guests to some truly memorable sightings. For further reading and pictures continue to Jordan’s blog post on the Umlani website.