Some highlights of our sightings during the month of March 2011:
1 March – We saw 4 female lions of the Olifants west pride feeding on a giraffe kill on Sausage Tree. The big lioness called Kokwana were also seen digging at a warthog burrow trying to excavate some warthogs.
2 March – The 4 young lionesses of the Olifants west pride were now joined by 2 males of the Singwe pride at the giraffe carcass.
4 March – Rul one of our guides saw the 2 dominant males of the Olifants west pride, Big Boy and Mazinyo, arriving at the kill the previous afternoon and they immediately tried to chase the Singwe males away. A huge fight erupted and the older males emerged the victors. I arrived early the next morning to find Big Boy and Mazinyo feeding while the 3 Singwe males were lying close by. When Big Boy had enough he slowly got up, stretched his battle scarred legs and burst into action with an evil growl. The younger Singwe males ran off as we followed the action with our Landcruiser in hot pursuit. We spent an exhilarating few minutes trying to keep up with Big Boy and Mazinyo as they ran after the other males while their roars reverberated across the plains.
23 March – We saw the 3 Singwe males early in the morning on Impalabos west on lodges road. They seemed to be looking for something as they were walking in circles while sniffing the ground. After a while they got going in a southerly direction and we soon saw tracks of the Olifants west pride which they seemed to be following. It looked like they were eager for a fight, but when they caught up with the Olifants west pride the 2 big males were missing and the rest of the pride made a dash for it and are probably still running. The Singwe males are now definitely pushing into the Olifants west males’ territory and they are not hiding in the northwestern corner as they used to do. I suspect that the outcome to this struggle will come to a bloody conclusion within the next 6 months.
25 March – A very sad day! Kokwana, matriach of the Olifants west pride, died today. She started to loose condition about 2 months ago and never recovered. She was one of my favorite lions and I spent many happy moments with her. She was a huge lioness and excellent hunter and mother. Noengu mafazi, her daughter, will probably take over leadership duties and ensure that her genes survive.
This is only highlights of our lion sightings and we enjoyed many more lion sightings during the month.
Leopard sightings have increased tenfold over the past 6 months and this month was no exception with the elusive spotted cat seen nearly every 2nd day during the past month. The big male, Watsakile Madoda, were seen regularly and Cheeky boy seem to like the area around Pondoro. The young mother and subadult cubs were also seen on occasion.
Elephants are abundant and breeding herds were seen almost on a daily basis.
The herd of about 300 buffaloes are still roaming around our concession area while rhinos are seen every 2-3 days.