Saturday, 18 February 2017

That’s A Wrap!

There’s been hairies and scaries, creepies and crawlies, and not to forget leopards, leopards, leopards! WE have had a memorable and thrilling TV series over the past eight weeks. WE want to thank all the viewers for their amazing support and enjoying the incredible ride with us. WE could not have done it without YOU!

The crew has worked tirelessly over the past months to bring to you the magic of the African bush, and will be having a brief but well deserved break on Monday the 20th February, after the last episode of the series. WE will be cancelling the sunset safari that afternoon to rest and recover, but will be jumping straight back onto the vehicle’s for the sunrise safari on the 21st of February. There are exciting things around the next corner, so stay tuned…

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Cat Report 10 - 17 February

Thandi Resting. Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

Friday the 10th of February

Jamie spent her Friday afternoon with two special felines. We started off with Thandi lying comfortably in a tree and then travelled to Cheetah Plains, where little Vutomi was having a lot of fun by Buffalo pan. Vutomi surprised us all by diving face first into the water and catching himself a terrapin to eat. He slinked off into the tall grass to eat his prize in peace.

Saturday 11th of February

Unknown Male Cheetah. Screenshot Credit: Dave Holm safariLIVE, Djuma

During the sunset drive, the young princess Xongile concealed herself in the verdant thickets of grass surrounding twin dams. The was warm and the cat was interested in little other than spending the rest of the daylight hours napping out of site.

To the west however a newcomer made an appearance on the Arathusa airstrip. An unknown and young male cheetah was found reclining on an open clearing. He dozed periodically between checking over his shoulder for approaching threats. Eventually he sauntered elegantly over to a nearby pan for a long and refreshing drink. 

Sunday the 12th of February

Lady Xongile. Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

The morning began with our favourite spotted lady, young Xongile exploring her surrounding and playfully bounding through the bush after anything that moved. Later that afternoon Karula was found resting near a muddy pan. She called to her cubs and soon Hosana came bounding out of the bush for a snuggle with mom. The mother and son duo then got up and walked off into the wilderness.

To the south on Chitwa Chitwa, Thandi and her young unnamed cub had been found resting in a tall marula. Both cats were full to bursting and had clearly devoured whatever kill Thandi had made in the days prior. Thandi slept off her fat belly while her young male cub gazed about the wilderness in total boredom. Eventually as the sun set we left the pair to their evening business.

Monday the 13th Of February

Another royal welcome to the day from Karula, Hosana and Xongile. The slender spotted cats were enjoying a relatively cool morning relaxing near Treehouse dam. Karula was once again unimpressed with Hosana’s continued nagging for attention. She hissed and moved off leaving the cubs to their own devices. Soon they clambered up a nearby tree and fought over the most comfortable spot. 

Back on Chitwa Thandi and her cub were found once again. Still tucked away safely in the large boughs of their chosen marula tree. Once again Thandi slept off her still hugely swollen belly white her young cub tried everything to remain occupied. He swatted at insects, and played with his tail before eventually drifting off to sleep in the muggy heat of another African day.

Thandi's cub fighting boredom. Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

Tristan spent the afternoon with Hosana, who had a few visitors stop by his local waterhole spot. First a small herd of elephants and then a hyena who decided Hosana’s shady spot was the place to be. Hosana watched from a distance as the Hyena wallowed in the shallow water. 

The Nkuhuma’s finally graced us with their presence again. Amber Eyes and the youngest lioness were found walking along the road in the dusk, we closed the drive with the lovely lionesses lying on the road. 

The Nkuhuma's come out of the shadows. Screenshot Credit: Lellovlev safariLIVE, Djuma
Tuesday the 14th of February

WE spent our Valentine’s Day with the loving Royal Family. In the sunrise safari, Hosana and Xongile spent their morning together, playing and practising their hunting skills. 

That afternoon, Karula came to collect the cubs. Hosana was in a playful mood, Xongile wandered a bit too far and lost her royal kin but eventually found them again as they moved off into the evening. 

Xongile searching. Screenshot credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

Wednesday the 15th of February

One of the Cheetah brothers' chase of impala was disturbed by a mischievous troop of baboon on Cheetah Plains. He stopped sulking and posed with pride on top of a log as the sun was rising, a beautiful moment for the morning safari. 

Cheetah brother posing. Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

Towards the end of the day Hosana and Xongile were spotted near Treehouse dam, lazing around in the unbearable heat and having the occasional sip of water.  
Karula on the other hand was found on her own, and too lethargic to even bat an eyelid. 

A highlight scene of one of the cheetah brothers as he roamed the plain with a satisfied belly & a blood-stained mouth. He stood still as Dineo the tropical storm approached in the background, framed by a vibrant rainbow. 

As nightfall approached and the hunger set in, two of the Nkuhuma’s, Amber Eyes and the youngest lioness attempted to hunt a kudu, impala and a warthog - all unfortunately unsuccessful for the cats. 

Nkuhuma lioness. Screenshot Credit: Anges Zsiga safariLIVE, Djuma

Friday the 17th of February

Our grey and wet morning was brightened up by the Nkuhuma pride as they shared a waterbuck as a family meal. The cubs were looking healthy, and there is no longer any sign of their mange. A very happy family with their red stained smiles. 

A satisfied Nkuhuma pride. Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma

Monday, 13 February 2017

Wild Weather Headed For The Sabi Sands

If weather predictions are anything to go by, WE are in for a very wet week. A huge tropical storm system has been building over the Mozambique channel and has just been classified as tropical cyclone "05S Dineo". It is expected to make landfall over Mozambique before continuing on to the north-eastern part of South Africa.

The paths of these cyclones are notoriously difficult to predict, but some models have it passing right over the Sabi Sands. So WE had better be prepared. While wind speeds are likely to have dropped from cyclone to storm level (small mercies), if it hits, we might get 200mm of rain within 24 hours. And while the bush desperately needs water, this much, this quickly will create all kinds of havoc.

All the little drainage lines and dips will start flowing, from the Milwati to Philemon's dip, and dams might go from empty to full overnight, roads will wash away, garages and room may flood, etc.

As always we will do our utmost to not let 'a bit of weather' stop our shows but there might be a point where we have to cancel or shorten a drive in order to protect people and equipment and hunker down for a bit. We are making our preparations - checking that everything is tied down, filling sand bags, stocking up on generator fuel. We'll batten down the hatches so that the storm has a minimal effect on operations once it passes.

We are following the system closely to see how it moves and grows and will provide regular updates on drives and our social media accounts.

For more information on the forecast ahead for 'Dineo', and a closer look at the map below, visit Tropical Tidbits.

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Cat Report: 3rd February - 10th February

Friday, 03 February

This week's cat report started out with excitement as Brent relocated the Investec Pack of Wild Dogs. But the afternoon quickly turned tragic when out of the bushes burst a Styx lioness. She sent the pack scrambling but not before she'd snagged one of the juveniles and all too quickly it’s life was over. 
It was a deeply emotional experience for all of us, but a true reminder that life in Africa is hinged on survival and anything can happen, around any corner, at any time. 

(Lioness and Wild dog Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday, 04 February

The sun dawned and with the previous night's events still in mind, Brent set out to find signs of the wild dogs again, but all that was found on Djuma were the last remains of an impala kill. While it wasn’t as good as seeing the Investec Pack, it was at least a sign that they had had a good meal for the night.

James stopped in at the Styx pride but only 2 lionesses were there, no cubs around and the forlorn carcass of the wild dog remained untouched. 

(Investec pack getting ready to go on the hunt, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
That afternoon the dogs had been found once again. The painted wolves rested in the shade until the blazing sun had begun to set. Then they were off and on the hunt, within minutes they had already killed a small duiker and a scrub hare. As WE began to lose light the dogs bounded off after a terrified nyala ewe before slipping into the growing shadows of the day and out of sight.

Sunday, 05 February

A royal beginning to the day with Queen Karula and the cubs taking a walk near twin dams despite the threat of a large crocodile that had taken up residence in the slowly filling dam. The cats kept their distance as they edged around the murky water. All three cats then disappeared. 
Later that afternoon Hosana and Xongile were found once again taking refuge from the sun under some dappled shade. A large elephant was bathing in the dam near by and soon came over to investigate the curious youngsters. The cubs dashed off into thick green grass and WE lost sight of them. A little further east Karula was found on the hunt. Yet it seemed the heat of the day was indeed taking it’s toll and she soon lay down in a dense thicket trying to stay cool.

(Hosana and Xongile relaxing near twin dams, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)

In the heart of Djuma the dogs were at it yet again, they tore around in the morning mist killing more scrub hares and duikers before eventually coming to a rest near Vuyatela dam. That afternoon the dogs remained as painted logs while they slept off their early morning antics in the sweltering heat of another African day. Eventually it became too dark for us to spend any more time with them and WE headed off in search of other creatures of the night.

Monday, 06 February

(The duke of Djuma, Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Another regal dawn to the day with the young prince and princess, Hosana and Xongile. The cubs were once again located at their favourite haunt, Twin Dams. They played and bounded in the early morning light before scampering across the southern boundary.

A little further north the dominant male leopard of the area, Tingana, was found looking hungry and on the hunt! He stalked antelope after antelope, all of his attempts were however foiled at the last minute. He the resigned himself to marking his territory and sleeping on various termite mounds until eventually the heat of the day drove him into shady hiding.

(Crocodile and cats, Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Never smile at a crocodile, well Karula certainly showed her teeth to the huge crocodile at Twin dams on the sunset safari. The royal family investigated the reptile with hesitation and intrigue by the water’s edge but smartly moved off to find a more suitable dinner. 

Tristan found Tingana on Arathusa on the sunset safari, sleeping away the heat of the afternoon. 

Tuesday 7th Feb
(Brent and Xongile sitting in a tree, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The cats hit the snooze button on the morning drive and all WE found was a few cat tracks but the afternoon proved to be feline-filled. Brent had a spectacular sighting with Xongile on foot, who was very relaxed with his presence. 

James spent time with her majesty, Queen Karula who seemed to be on the hunt. 
Tristan trailed the lone Cheetah brother, who is still separated from his sibling. 

Wednesday 8th Feb

(Mfumo and his battle wounds, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Jamie stumbled upon Hosana on foot, unlike his sister he was not as relaxed with the bipedal figure. Brent was called into the sighting and we enjoyed some time with the sleepy cat. 

The Tsalala pride were seen on Arathusa, Tristan commented that the cats were looking healthy and strong but could do with a meal.

Shadow finally returned to the screens of safariLIVE. Tristan followed Shadow as she did her evening patrol but shortly left as it got darker. There was lots of speculation as to the whereabout of her cubs.

Brent ended the drive with three of the Birminghams. Elephants chased them off Mala Mala and conveniently gave us a better look at Mfumo’s nasty new battle wounds. 

Thursday 9th Feb

(Thirsty Thursdays, Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Djuma)

It was Tristan’s turn to have a leopard sighting on bushwalk. It seems like all the presenters had a feline on foot this week. Tristan found little Xongile sitting in a tree with a lurking hyena down below. Jamie took over the sighting as Xongile curiously investigated a possible hyena den before finding her brother, Hosana. 

Tristan spent time with Hosana and Xongile that afternoon, Karula came to fetch her offspring to escort them to their evening meal, however, Hosana was not interested in following mother and sister. Karula called for Hosana to join them, but sunset drive ended without any reunion resolution. It was reported that Karula had caught a young kudu after drive. 

Friday 10th Feb

(Shadow’s latest additions, Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

It was a cat catch up during the sunrise safari, Brent found the Nkuhuma’s briefly before they disappeared into Simbambili, they were looking a little anxious which may be due to the various lion coalitions movements recently. 

The royal family also graced us with their presence. Karula has a wound on her neck which we think may have happened during the night, we can only speculate it occurred from a fight or a hunting injury. 

And most importantly, WE had the pleasure of meeting Shadow’s two new adorable cubs on Arathusa. James suggests the cubs should be about 6 or 7 weeks old. WE were thrilled to finally meet them. 

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Cat Report: 27 January - 03 February

Saturday, 28 January Princess Xongile kicked off Caturday in a less than royal way - she had found her way to Hosana’s week-old monitor lizard kill and set about playing with it. It amused her for a while, but not long enough to keep her from a day of cat napping.

[Screenshot: @Lily Brown]

Sunday, 29 January AM Xongile was found looking rather forlorn as she munched on grass, trying to appease some feelings of unease but luckily it wasn’t long before Karula and Hosana arrived to rescue her. Karula set off with cubs in tow, and eventually they lead us to our backyard, Quarantine Clearings, where Karula had an impala kill ready and waiting. The royal family set about for their Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner.

[Screenshot: @Lily Brown]

Monday, 30 January Once again, The Royal Family were ready and waiting for another installment of TV stardom. Karula did a great job at showing off, as she spied on a large nyala bull from the boughs of a marula tree; but eventually she decided she would rather settle for a nap in the tree instead. Hosana decided he needed some alone time and wandered off; while his sister Xongile simply disappeared amongst the long SUmmer grasses. By the afternoon, not much had changed with the royal family - Karula was still snoozing under a marula tree, and Hosana was still lazily resplendent upon a termite mound.

[Screenshot: @Lily Brown]

Back on safari with us and straight into the action, Tristan caught up with cheetah on Cheetah Plains but only one part of the cheetah brother coalition was lazing up in the afternoon sunshine. And there he remained for the afternoon, awaiting the return of his brother.

[Screenshot: @B37Monica]

Tuesday, 31 January A cloudy morning broke and Jamie was spoiled with playful entertainment from Hosana and Xongile. Hosana was found by himself sleeping comfortably until his sister arrived on the scene and refused to let the sleeping cat lie. She eventually convinced him to join in her games but with a niggling limp, he failed at her games of climbing trees. Both royal babies were chased up trees when a young hyena arrived on scene, but the passer-by let them be and continued with his morning stroll.

[Screenshot: @maryann944]

By sunset safari, we were dealt a double leopard whammy with Inkanyeni, resplendent but deeply asleep in the boughs of a tree. As well as a territorial patrol march with Tingana, the newly dubbed ‘Duke of Djuma’.

[Screenshot: @DianaHill15]

[Screenshot: @SaaraHups]

01 February Only one more day until their birthday, Brent was delighted to find Hosana and Xongile at a favourite spot of theirs - Twin Dams, where they were up to their usual antics. Xongile napped under a tree, while Hosana terrorised a terrapin until it managed to dash for safety in the water. The afternoon held much of the same for the royal siblings; with mom still not on the scene it was only each other for company and the anticipation of their upcoming birthday.

[Screenshot: @etbuch]

Thursday, 02 February As luck would have it, the day of the royal birthday dawned and there were no royal cubs to celebrate with! Turned out that Karula caught their birthday dinner in Little Gowrie and there they remained for their feast. We did however, luck out with a catch up with Styx ladies, accompanied by one Birmingham Boy. They spent their very balmy afternoon at the Arathusa airstrip, digesting what must have been a hearty meal. There were no cubs in sight, but they were likely hidden in some shade nearby.

[Screenshot: @SaaraHupps]