Welcome one and all to another account of all the happenings on the beautiful Mluwati concession in the Kruger National park. It has been another exciting month of extraordinary sightings for all of our guests. From the first-time safari goers to those who have been in this wonderful part of the world before. As we await the summer rains to kick-start the growing season, grasses and trees have burst into life bringing new food and nutrients to all the herbivores and all the new Impala lambs, which now abound everywhere. It was very hot this month with temperatures going into the 40’s a couple of times. However, this did not affect the magical sightings we had during the month. We have had many unknown Lions all over the concession and we can only but assume there has been another pride taken over somewhere and these Lions are now nomadic. This is common practise in Lions as the males get around 3 to 4 years old they are chased away to go find their own territory. So, during this time they become nomadic and stay away from dominant males and prides until; the time is right for them to claim an area or pride of their own.
As stated above it was a month of surprises in the Lion department and with all the new faces we could hardly keep up with the identification of the individuals on the property. We found three nice big males just coming into their prime one morning patrolling close to one of the lodges and after some research found they came from an area to the far north east of us, so we can only assume they where chased out by other dominant males. We also had a strange sighting of 7 sub adult males and females all varying ages who just appeared out of nowhere. Our Imbali pride was seen a couple of times and the sub-adults are getting bigger by the day. The Hamiltons pride appears to have split up for a while but when they are together they now number 23 individuals. In the coming months it will be interesting to see how the dynamics of the Lion population might change if some of these new arrivals stick around.
It was a good month for sightings of these beautiful cats always high up on the list of what all our guests want to see. It would seem that Wabayiza, our dominant male around Hamiltons has not yet chased off Shidulu, his son. We had an amazing sighting of both Leopards on an Impala kill high up in a Marula tree with the usual entourage of Hyenas waiting at the bottom in the vain hope that the kill might fall out the tree so they could scavenge the scraps. With the lack of rain there have been numerous sightings of the dominant female, Fihla at Imbali waterhole. We also had two different sightings of Nkanye around Hamiltons and we suspect that she will be having cubs soon. The unknown big Male that we have seen around Big Pan made a couple of appearances but he is still not very relaxed with the vehicles. He is entering Wabayiza’s territory and it will be interesting to see if there will be a showdown between the two.
This master of speed is always a special sighting and always gets everyone, including the guides excited. We had two sightings of the males that normally patrol our southern boundary. Also, the female that frequents our northern section was spotted around Imbali lodge and the waterhole. She was looking heavily pregnant then a couple of weeks later we found her again with fresh suckle marks which is a clear indication she has had her cubs. She will keep them hidden for at least 4 – 6 weeks before they will start following her around. We have seen her twice since then, in the same area, so her cubs must be stashed close by. We wait in eager anticipation to get a first glimpse of them when they are old enough to move around with her.