After a lengthy break from the bush it is wonderful to be back. I have returned to a very different landscape having missed the monumental floods nearly two weeks ago. I drove around yesterday and am simply amazed by how the area along the river has changed so dramatically. Over the next few days whilst out on drive I will try capture some images that will show the full extent of the floods. I do not view it as damage but rather as change.
On arrival back at camp I too, like many of you, was salivating to hear how the lions have shaped up since the mayhem. Below is a very brief summary that I have been able to gleam from the rangers who have been here over the last three weeks.
The day prior to the floods the two Tsalala Sisters were seen on a wildebeest kill near Fluffies Pan. The next day the river came day in flood. Tracks of the two females headed down to the Causeway but they were not able to cross so they returned back to the wildebeest kill-site. The next day there were tracks of the Sisters again heading to the river. It was obvious that they were trying to cross the raging torrent.
They managed to do so near to Plaque Rock. The worry is that when the pride was seen again it was only the two Sisters, the eight month old cub and two of the one year youngsters. This meant that two of the older youngsters were not with the pride. Twelve days later and this is still the case. Whilst the possibility does exist that they were washed away by the floods we are all holding thumbs that this is not the case and that they will rejoin at some stage. We will keep you posted!
An update from reserves north of us suggests that the Original Tailless Female is fine and with three of the sub-adults from the Breakaway Tsalalas. We have not yet been able to cross north over the Sand River since the floods, as all three crossing points were washed away and are temporarily unusable. There is thus a lot we do not know at this time.
The Rangers have been seeing this pride along our eastern boundary in the area around Gert’s Clearing and Tamboti Donga. Apparently we have mainly been seeing the mother lioness with the two four month old youngsters. There have been no sightings of the lioness with the three tiny cubs that were born around Christmas time but reports from our eastern neighbours suggest that these lions are still in good shape. The three remaining females from the pride are being seen intermitantly by the team.
From the sounds of things it has been fascinating over the last two weeks with all three big coalitions being seen; that being the four Majingilane, three Mapogo and the four South Pride males. It sounds as though the area in the south west of Sparta/Londolozi around our Repeater Station has been the scene of much of this activity. In my opinion this has, for a long time, been a very vague boundary between the three male groupings. No actual encounters have been observed. Of late the Majingilanes have apparently been spending lots of time together as a complete unit of four. They are exceptionally vocal at the moment which again suggests that there may be some territory clashes in the pipeline, if they have not already happened.
I hope that that will serve for the time being to quench all your thirsts. I can reassure you that once I am back out in the bush I will continue with more comprehensive updates.
Once again it is great to be back and I look forward to an exciting next stint at Londolozi
Written by Adam Bannister