And just like that, the first month of 2023 is already something of the past. To wrap up the end of January, the bush has provided us with some incredible sightings this week.
Following on from the exciting news from last week, we were thrilled to find that one of the Ntsevu Females had introduced her five cubs to the rest of the pride in an open clearing. We spent time with the cubs and their mothers while they suckled and milled about, with two of the Ndzhenga Males laying close by. It was amazing to see these cubs away from the den and hopefully begin their journey with the rest of the pride.
On the leopard front, with the long grass in the peak of summer, we find that they often frequent trees and termite mounds to further scan their surroundings, as seen by many of the images this week. The Ntomi Male is still around and providing some fantastic game viewing. His youthful nature often leads him to stalk prey much larger than him as he hones in hunting techniques.
The Three Rivers Young Male was also found resting in a large Jackalberry scanning the horizon whilst he waited for his mother to return. The Three Rivers Female was spotted contact calling in the Maxabene Riverbed in search of reuniting with her cub. And lastly, the elusive Mawelawela Male also makes an appearance for an afternoon.
In addition to the cats, the rainy season and hot days have drawn many animals to the water holes in the afternoons surrounded by lush hues of green. It is amazing to see the new life that comes with a change in season and we look forward to what’s to come.
The Ranger has also recently been out to experiment with the new telescope photographing the night sky.
Let us know your favourites in the comments section below.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Amazing to see the claws of this little lion cub as its mother lay unphased as the cub played around her head.
This cub unable to suckle as the rest of the siblings left him no space, lay on its mother’s head instead.
Sightings of lion cubs dont get much better than this as the young ones play around in the open with the view of them unobstructed.
One of the five cubs decided to climb on top of its mother as some of its other litter mates were suckling.
Kirst and I spent time watching these five cubs suckle from their mother and playfully mill about between the two lionesses lying out in the open.
A face of playful innocence and ferocious potential.
A curious cub ventured a few steps away from its mother and in our direction before stopping to eye out the vehicles. It gave us a big (little) yawn before resting its head on its paws.
The full-bellied Ndzhenga lies in the shade of a guarri tree as the rest of the pride and the five cubs play nearby.
The Three Rivers Young Male rests in a tall jackalberry as he scans his surroundings.
One of two cubs to survive, the sister lost at five months. Still dependent on his mother, but is growing into an impressive young male.
The Ntomi Male spots a bachelor herd of male kudu up ahead and even though the prey is way out of his league, his tail swings with excitement as he stares one of the males down.
A single cub of the Ximungwe Female's second litter. Initially rather skittish but is very relaxed now. Birth mark in his left eye.
Predator in sight. Two male kudus watch intently as the Ntomi Male moves through the area.
The perfect pose by the Ntomi Male as something catches his attention in the distance.
After being constantly alarmed at the Ntomi Male took refuge in the leaves of a Marula tree
The Three Rivers Female was seen contact calling in the Maxabene in the afternoon shade.
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.
The Three Rivers Female was framed perfectly by the surrounding branches as she walks across a small branch of a fallen over marula tree.
A rare sighting of the elusive Mawelawela Male as he scent-marked in the open grasslands before resting on top of a termite mound. This area has long grass and can be difficult to find this leopard.
Began as a fairly unrelaxed leopard in the southwestern parts of the reserve. Now providing great viewing in the open grasslands
A klipspringer poses on top of some prominent boulders in the northern parts of our reserve.
While watching a giraffe drink at a waterhole these Red-billed Oxpeckers continued to groom the giraffe. As the giraffe went down to drink and flicked his head to shadow the water, it surprised the Oxpecker who flew off the giraffe.
The Plaque Rock female used the marula tree as a vantage point. The moody rainy skies and fading light created an unforgettable backdrop as she began to descend the tree.
A pretty young playful female found along the river to the east of camp
After following two lionesses they lay down in an open area to rest. Distant zebra caught her attention as she crouched down to the ground and lowered her head as she stared directly at them. She remained unmoved for at least a minute as she worked out what she was going to do next.
As we headed out on our search for lions, we paused to watch a herd of elephants satisfy their morning thirst at a lush water hole in a small leadwood forest. The early morning’s golden rays illuminate the scene.
After searching for the Wild Dogs for a couple of days they appeared on our airstrip having covered a large portion of the reserve in their morning hunt. The pack began to play as the rest of the dogs joined to soak up the morning sun before moving into the shade for the remainder of the day.
After getting the new telescope we headed out one evening to star gaze and do some ightsky photography. Using a slow shutter speed captured the silhouette of a dead Knobthorn Tree with the back drop of our beautiful night sku.