This week has been incredibly fruitful with a wide array of sightings, from the big to the small, the cute, the ugly and the outright beautiful. With the amount of rain we have had recently the landscape is showing off its colour. There has been a hive of activity around waterholes and small pools in particular; water is everywhere on the reserve.
There have been a number of incredible leopard sightings over the past week, including the Flat Rock male and Xinzele female who have been mating for a few days now. The female cheetah and her two cubs – or should I say sub -adults as they are now almost the same size as their mother – have been very active, hunting around the open grasslands and providing some sensational viewing. The Ntsevu pride still remain fragmented and have not shown any signs of regrouping while the Mhangeni pride’s cubs are thriving and doing well.
Stay safe out there and enjoy this Week in Pictures….
The Senegal Bush male was walking through a field of soft green grass when a herd of impala spotted him and came rushing towards him, sounding the alarm all the time, which caused him to pause momentarily.
Along with the rains has come a flurry of new life and one of those are wildebeest calves which are now all over the reserve. Its such a special time of the year watching the newborns exploring their new habitat. This calve was suckled for a few minutes then carried on running around the herd.
Chameleons spend most of their life in the branches and canopies of trees and its only when they set off in search for a mate or to find a place to lay their eggs that one would see one on the ground. We were fortunate enough to see this one crossing the road to hopefully find a mate.
We had a massive downpour last week which has filled all of the waterholes as well as any depressions. This herd of elephants made use of one of these waterholes to cool off in the heat of the day. It was wonderful to watch them play and splash around as if they were children at a birthday party.
We had stopped to look at leopard tracks when we spotted a Chinspot Batis fluttering about, then we saw the female on the nest. This species will use lichen as well as other materials to make their nest incredibly well camouflaged. We returned a few days later and saw two chicks in the nest who will hopefully start flying for the first time in the coming days.
We have been seeing this female cheetah and her cubs more often in the last week. They have been moving around the open grasslands in the south-western parts of the reserve hunting. This time they stopped at a water hole to drink just before things got too hot.
The impressive Birmingham male stopped and looked straight at the guests on the vehicle before he carried on following the rest of the pride who had just walked past us.
Of late I’ve been looking to get shots of something that’s not the ordinary and felt this explains leopards in its own way.
An impressive buffalo bull lay to rest in some grass with the rest of the herd, while they chewed their cud and ensured all nutrients have been absorbed. The boss of a buffalo bull explains a lot as this is what they use in combat while fighting for territory or protection.
The Tavangumi male leopard has been seen more and more frequently in the central parts of the property, north of the river. He is not yet territorial but has been nomadic now for a few months. It will be awesome if he does manage to establish a territory somewhere in the north, although he will have to fend off the Flat Rock male.
This is the second time we have seen this pair together. The Flat Rock male has been mating with the Xinzele female who was born in 2017 so if the mating results is successful, this will be the first time she will have cubs.
The sly and dead tree in the background almost make this photograph for me. This young male rhino is still very impressive and they seem to compliment each other to create a great scene.
With the amount of water around the property at the moment, the foam nest frogs have been hard at work. The female (on the bottom) froths up a very foamy clump in which she deposits her eggs and the male(s) then externally fertilises them. The tadpoles then develop in the foam until heavy enough to drop out into the water beneath.
The Ntsevu pride are still very much fragmented. The sub-adults have been spending time with four of the females while the other two adult lionesses have been moving around on their own. Here a young female lay down in front of our vehicle blocking our way along the road.
We spent a fair amount of time with the Senegal Bush male who has been expanding his territory further north; we even saw him on our airstrip just outside of camp. This could mean the Flat Rock male is vacating some of his territory.