Some highlights of our sightings during the month of May:
Game viewing during May was fantastic as always. There were several outstanding sightings and it is difficult to highlight only a few. Most guests going on a safari want to see a kill and on the 5th of May this became reality for a group of guests on Ryno’s vehicle when they saw how a group of lions stalked and caught an impala ram. They pulled the impala apart and devoured it in a matter of minutes. Certainly a sighting that is not for the fainthearted.
We had a 72% success rate in our lion sightings this month which when put in perspective means that we saw lions at a better rate than two days out of every three. A lot of our success is due to the excellent rangers and trackers working at Pondoro namely Ryno, Rul, Eric, Remson and Andries.
A mother cheetah and 2 cubs were seen on the 6th of May. They have been around for about a year now. Cheetahs prefer open savannah which suit their hunting style of chasing after their prey at speeds of up to 100km/h. Recent studies done in East Africa shows that the mortality rate of cubs in this open areas are very high due mainly to lion predation and that numbers in this open savannah areas are actually supported by cheetah cubs growing up in the thicker surrounding woodland areas which provide better cover for the cubs. This seems true for us as well as a lot of our sightings of cheetah are of females raising their cubs in our thicker woodlands.
We had some quality leopard sightings and the young male that came from the south is still around. He eventually got a name, Chavaluthu which means the fearless one. We now have 3 males patrolling our concession area and the sight of a huge male leopard is always something to behold.
Elephants were seen daily. In fact we had a 94% success rate in our elephant sightings meaning that we saw elephants for nine out of every ten days of game drives. Breeding herds were seen almost every day and the sight of elephant calves and their antics will light up anyone’s day. A big collared bull called Shoshangaan also blessed us with a visit after roaming far and wide. He was collared by the Save the Elephant Foundation in Timbavati Reserve as part of their research in elephant movement throughout Kruger Park.
Big herds of buffaloes and rhinos were also seen regularly.