Friday, 21 April 2017

The Cat Report: 14 April - 21 April

Friday, 14 April

Xongile was found stalking impala on Gowrie Main. Darkness fell quickly and WE didn’t see her make a kill but left her hunting in the rain. 

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Saturday, 15 April

Just past Cheetah Plains, camouflaged in long, long grass, Thandi and Thamba had hidden an impala kill (possibly from the day before). Keeping a watchful eye, Thandi and Thamba ate their fill.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Sunday 16 April

WE witnessed a very playful mother and cub interaction between Thamba and Thandi around a termite mound, in the same area we had found them the day before.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

On the appropriately named Cheetah Plains, the Cheetah Brothers were stalking impala. After being spotted by the impala they gave chase anyway then sat down and simply watched them.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Leopardess Shadow was found with her new cub on Philemon’s cutline, with Shadow giving the most heartwarming display of a mother’s love. At one point Shadow sensed danger, and gave a snarl to warn her cub into hiding. 

[Screenshot: Anna McDougald]

Love was in the air this evening between a Nkuhuma lioness and Birmingham Boy Tinyo. Having paired off and been flat cats for most of the afternoon there was a brief display of mating at the end of the sunset drive.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Monday 17 April

The mating pair from last night, Birmingham Boy Tinyo and the Nkuhuma lioness, were found having satisfied the two main interests of a lion’s life - that of food and that of procreation - with not one but two kills on Tripple M South. While lions do not often hunt during periods of courtship, they are opportunistic creatures and the sight of a sub adult zebra with foal must have been too good a circumstance to let slip by.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Xongile, having been harassed by a troop of baboons on Djuma Dam on the sunrise safari, had to leave her fresh supply of terrapin in search of another food source. On the sunset drive, Jamie followed her intuition as to where Xongile might go and WE had the most amazing glimpse of the young leopardess leaping from tree to tree in hot pursuit of an agile bushbaby. It was a lost battle but what a sight!

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Tuesday 18 April

WE were treated to an incredible sighting of a pack of Wild dogs feeding off a fresh nyala kill. James estimated the dogs couldn’t have brought it down more than fifteen minutes earlier but already most of the antelope had been devoured. A pack of 3-4 adults and some youngsters, they displayed some of intense social interactions typical amongst these tight-knit pack animals, with much sniffing and muzzle licking as well as some playful mating behaviour between two of the yearlings.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Further north, impala alarm calling interrupted Birmingham Boy Mfumo’s afternoon catnap.  

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Wednesday 19 April

The lions roared last night and sunrise began with the good news that Xongile had caught a duiker and hoisted her fine kill up a tree.

Tingana, in his spectacular camouflage, was discovered in repose in the long grasses of Vessels, at that time of day when a leopard begins his territorial patrol. There was a bit of yawning, followed by some sawing - vocalizing his sovereignty with the utmost of confidence. 

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

On the sunset Safari, WE sat for a bit with a Birmingham Boy who was flat but awake. He gave some smooth roars, provoking James into calling him the Cliff Richard of lions. It didn’t look like he was hungry, or preparing for a night on the hunt - but more that he was calling out and waiting for some answers. 

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Thursday 20 April

Dawn broke with the sad news that Xongile lost her duiker kill to one of the Birmingham Boys.

Later, on the low in the lowveld, Jamie spied on the Cheetah Brothers passing through Cheetah Plains.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Friday 21 April

South of the dam on Chitwa Dams, WE spent some time sitting with the lonesome Thamba who lay curled up in a ball while waiting for his hunting mother.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Saturday, 15 April 2017

WE are Expanding into the Mara

WE are Expanding into the Mara

safariLIVE is expanding and in the next month or two. You will be able to follow the animal characters of the Masai Mara in Kenya as well as your favourites in the Sabi Sands in South Africa.
Some of the team are packing up their binoculars, spot lights, cameras and toothbrushes, polishing their East African wildlife knowledge, getting on a plane and making the great migration to the Masai Mara in Kenya. James, Jamie, Stef and Brent along with some other crew members are embarking on a new adventure.

Tayla, Tristan, Byron and Ale along with many others will remain at Djuma initially but they too will be going to the Mara later on. This means that your daily LIVE safari’s will now be brought to you from not just one but two of the best wilderness areas in the world.

The Maasai Mara can be found in the southwestern parts of Kenya.  The savannah wilderness is not constricted by fences or boundaries allowing the animals to wander wildly and freely. This is not only good for the wildlife but it also allows people to respectfully roam freely.

Millions of wildebeest, Thomson's gazelles and zebras move in mass herds from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the Maasai Mara and back again throughout the year. WE think that this is a spectacular, not-to-be-missed experience and want to share it with you - after all it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

safariLIVE has been preparing to launch its new operations in the Mara for a while. We are nearly ready to start broadcasting and tests should start in early May.
Just remember that nothing will change for you. There will still be two three hour LIVE safari’s everyday but instead of them only coming from the Sabi Sands now they will come from the Masai Mara as well.

This means a plethora of new animals to meet and a whole new ecosystem to learn about. It’s going to be a real adventure and we are excited to bring it to you LIVE and daily.
Below is a checklist of things to remember for the upcoming Migration! Get your pens out and start ticking!

Things to Remember:

  1. Start an East African  Mammal / Bird / Butterfly / Tracks list
  2. Start new Animal Character folders
  3. The Annual Great Migration happens from early June - Mid October
  4. Broadcasts from Kenya start in early June
  5. Djuma will be broadcasting as usual twice daily, every day and from early June we will add the Mara.
  6. Most of all, have fun!

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Cat Report: 07 April - 14 April

Friday, 07 April

WE paid another visit to the Nkuhuma pride to see how they had gotten on with their meal. Having spent most of the day feasting on the diminishing buffalo kill they were stretched out contentedly, stomachs expanded to the maximum, breathing heavily to release the excess heat generated from another scorching day in Sabi Sands.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Saturday, 08 April

Two spots on Gowrie Cutline gave away the stealthy Mvula on the Sunrise Safari. Having surreptitiously concealed his impala kill in the long grass, the tired old chap had taken his chances on a morning nap.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Meanwhile our dominant male leopard, Tingana, sought his own victory on Arathusa. Flat on his stomach in hunting posture, he had watched a herd of impala until they spotted him. Undeterred, Tignana moved on - expressing both disdain and declaring dominance with a low deep saw.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Saturday ended with the Nkuhumas who had all but finished their buffalo kill. After being thoroughly amused by the cubs being scrappy as to who should get the leftovers, we left them bonding and grooming under a waxing moon.

 [Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Sunday, 09 April

Xongile’s search for her mother led her to Ribbon’s den on Sunday morning. A potentially dangerous place to be, the clever girl avoided risk by climbing up a nearby tree.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

There was much excitement when, less than a kilometre away, WE chanced upon her brother Hosana, who was distressing a family of warthog on their way to wallow in some water. It was clear from his robust appearance that he had been successful in feeding off the smaller offerings of the bush following his mother’s disappearance.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Tingana was caught red handed in a tree with Mvula’s stolen impala, with two opportunistic hyenas parked off in the shade below hoping for some meaty droppings.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Monday, 10 April

On the sunrise safari WE were treated to a magnificent sighting of Thandi and her cub Thamba posing together on a fallen tree, with a recent kill of theirs stashed nearby.  Like most of Thandi’s offspring, Thamba has grown into an absolutely beautiful young male leopard.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]  

Xongile was spotted in the morning on Vuyatela Dam, looking like she was on the hunt for more terrapin. Later she demonstrated her improving hunting skills by successfully catching a water monitor lizard.
[Screenshot: Ann Del Tredici‏]

The day ended with Tingana (who had napped and cleaned for most of the afternoon) out on patrol of his large territory.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Tuesday, 11 April

WE had an exciting start to the day when James discovered lion tracks belonging to BB Boys Nhenha and Mfumo.

Thandi and her not so little cub Thamba were found again on Chitwa, still with their kill. Thamba was not as playful as he had been the day before and Thandi got irritated by the flies and snarling when they nipped her nose and ears.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Leopard tracks were also discovered. WE suspected them to belong to Xongile following in Tingana’s footprints from a distance.

[Screenshot: James Richard]

Byron found Nhenha and Mfumo fast asleep near Galago Waterhole. They must have been tired from their evening patrol and barely stirred when a young elephant bull passed by.

 [Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Wednesday, 12 April

Leopards Inkanyeni and her son Vutomi were found hiding up two trees, having been chased by a pack of wild dogs. While the chances of a vicious conflict had been high, the wild dogs moved on and the cats climbed down from their trees. Both cats appeared to be suffering from crushing fatigue, as common in the aftermath of a huge shock. Vutomi especially looked exhausted by the incident.

[Screenshot: Jennifer ]

Hosana was found at Twin Dams, looking like he might be hunting terrapins. In uncharacteristic leopard hunting technique,  he made a run at a herd of impala who were all too big for him.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown ]

Thursday, 13 April

Brent started the day with good news and bad news. Good news being that the royal siblings Xongile and Hosana have reunited and the bad news that  they had crossed out of our area and we would not be seeing them.

Tingana, who had been on the move a lot this week, appeared to be taking it easy after a busy night patrolling and marking his territory.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]  

We spent some time following the Nkuhuma pride along the main road MMM before they gave us the slip and disappeared with the fading of light into long grass.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]  

Friday, 14 April

Thandi and Thamba were found on Chitwa finishing off a steenbok kill.  They shared a tender moment post meal before crossing over into Milwanini.

[Screenshot: Sherrie ]

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Cat Report: 31 March - 07 April

Saturday, 01 April
Another Cat-urday and the luck was on our side. First up, in the sunrise safari, we spent time catching up with the ever-gorgeous Mr Quarantine.

[Screenshot: @DianaHill15]
The sunset safari also held a spotted cat in store, and it was none other than Xongile. The royal princess was striding down the boundary, all alone, but looking healthy and beautiful as always.Unfortunately she didn’t stay with us long enough to lead us to her naughty brother or doting mother.

[Screenshot: @heygecko]

Sunday, 02 April
On a cloudy Sunday morning, WE caught up with a Royal Family member… Not Queen Karula or the cubs, but her eldest daughter Shadow. It was wonderful to see Shadow looking healthy, as she missioned and marched on a boundary patrol. Tristan was hopeful she’d lead him to her den for a check up on the cubs, but instead she disappeared into the thick, long grass.

[Screenshot: Gail Murphy]

Later that afternoon the little princess Xongile was found on the road, looking defeated and quite a bit thinner than the last time WE saw her.  Though old enough to survive for an extended period without her mother, it was difficult to see her so lost and alone and we wished her luck on her journey to find her mother.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Monday, 03 April
Xongile caught a terrapin! All that time spent practicing and playing with brother Hosana had paid off and while it wasn’t the easiest meal to ‘get into’ she would have been sustained until reunited with Karula.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Tuesday, 04 April
As darkness set in on the Sunset Safari, alarm calls of impalas alerted us to a lioness on Quarantine Clearings. It was a member of the Nkuhuma pride and she intent on a hunt. She was however unsuccessful in her attempts.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Wednesday, 05 April
Coalition mates Tinyo and Mfumo of the Birmingham Boys were caught out catnapping on Gowrie main cutline. Jamie stopped in for a catch up - it had been a while since WE last saw them - but she did leave them to make the most of their slumber hours.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Brent caught up with them later that day in the hope that WE could catch them on the hunt. Instead, all WE got was a display of brotherly love and then straight back to dreamland they sank.

[Screenshot: Bobbi Donaldson]

Thursday, 06 April
Jamie braved the risk of a rainstorm and raced to Cheetah Plain to catch up with Tingana. It had to be a brief visit, but it was an entertaining one - a passing hyena was quickly warned off by a deep growl from Tingana before WE had to bid him farewell and head back to shelter.

[Screenshot: Sherrie]

Friday, 07 April
Hot in pursuit of her next meal, we spied Xongile in the dense thickets of Twin Dams drooling over a family of ducks. No leap was made but it was good to see her displaying one  
of the most important leopard hunting traits - patience.

[Screenshot: PatriciaScott]

With better luck on their side, the entire Nkuhuma pride was found in Arathusa, gorging themselves on a recent buffalo kill. It was great to catch up with the pride and their wonderful cubs, whose dirty little faces were panting hard from their morning of breakfast over-indulgence.

[Screenshot: Sherrie]

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Cat Report 24 - 31 March

25 March

Lions on the landingstrip greeted the safariLIVE crew as an autumnal carpet of marbled cloud shielded the bush from an unrelenting sun.. The Styx pride complete with two healthy cubs and three of the Birmingham males lay full bellied and in the open. The lionesses huddled with an impressive Nsuku while Tinyo and Mfumo lay further apart and tucked away in long grass. The cubs appear to be making a recovery from their mangy state. The lions remained tucked and huddled together for the majority of the day and well into the darkest hours of the night.

(Mfumo stretches out while his brother and the Styx sleep, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

Far removed from the sleeping lions was an explosion of excitement on Cheetah Plains. A caracal had been spotted streaking off into the undergrowth. But being the ever determined team WE are it was soon discovered again, if even only for a moment. This is only the second time WE have been able to put one of these small, mysterious cats on camera. It’s rust coloured pelt disappeared flawlessly into the verdant ocean of grass and it was decided to leave the tufty eared caracal to it’s evening business.

(An elusive caracal watches us carefully before slinking off, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

26 March

Another roaring start to the day with one of the Styx lionesses and an amorous Birmingham male. The lions were once again located on the Arathusa airstrip. Nsuku, the male in attendance, faffed and fawned over his female counterpart relentlessly. Later on that afternoon she finally gave in to his numerous advances and the pair mated at least twice before the sun sank over the western horizon and it was time to say goodbye.

(Loving lions cuddle up for a prolonged day of napping, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa.)

Back on Djuma an old safariLIVE favourite popped his spotted head out to say hello. Mvula had been found resting up on the northern boundary. He spent most of the afternoon fast asleep in golden grass. Once the sun had set and the heat had dissipated he stretched out his aging bones and began to slowly make his way north east. Interestingly he stopped on occasion to take in a whiff of something intriguing and scent mark over it, behaviour that is not usually associated with a leopard beyond his prime. Eventually he slunk off across the northern boundary and melted into darkness.

(Mvula out, about and on the prowl, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

27 March

The morning was off to a speedy start with Africa’s fastest land mammal. The cheetah brothers had been found on Cheetah Plains slowly ambling their way south to Mala Mala. The brothers walked regally through the blazing sun and swaying sea of long grass before eventually they became nothing more than two black specs in the distance.

(One of the cheetah brother casually glances over his shoulder at all the commotion following him down the road, Screenshot Credit: Louise Pavid, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains.)

28 March

Another warm afternoon was spent with the Styx pride lulling about in their new favourite spot on Arathusa airstrip. The tawny cats had managed to catch themselves a warthog earlier in the day and once their appetites had been satiated they spent the rest of the afternoon lying flat and fat in the sun. The cubs looked to be doing well and every now and then they would gently greet mom or a sibling before flopping down and back to sleep.

29 March

The Styx it seemed had finally digested enough of their porky meal, from the day before, to entertain the thought of moving about. The cubs waddled about, their swollen bellies swinging from side to side. They fluff balls played and pounced as the adults rested out if the unrelenting heat. Later that afternoon the scene had calmed substantially and all members of the pride plus their Birmingham male consort spent the rest of the afternoon dozing in the shade.

(Fluffy Styx cub lays next to one of the Birmingham males, Screenshot: Kaarina Pietiäinen, safariLIVE, Arathusa)‎

30 March

A spotted surprise lay in wait for the safariLIVE crew on this cool and cloudy morning. Tingana had been found patrolling his territory along the northern boundary of Djuma. He paced with purpose taking every opportunity to sniff around for the potential presence of intruders, once the investigation of each green bushel was complete he turned his back, lifted his tail and scent marked thoroughly. Eventually the toll of constant territory maintenance began to show and he flopped down in a heap of rosettes tucked well out of sight in the centre of large green bush. Later that evening after hours of searching he finally popped out of his chosen castle of greenery. The impressive male paced intently down a dark and dusty road scent marking as he went. Eventually WE left the dominant male to his evening business.

(Tingana, in infrared, taking a brief reprise from his territorial patrol, Screenshot Credit: Sandy NY, safariLIVE, Djuma)

31 March

The morning began still and quiet, blood red skies gave way to washed out blues as the sun traced a fiery line on its journey from east to west. Reports of a big male leopard kept the game drive radios chattering constantly as guides scanned the north western corner of Djuma looking for any sign of the prince of cats. Out of nowhere, he appeared on a white sandy road before quickly moving off into an ocean of drying grass. Eventually WE caught up and found ourselves in the presence of Tingana. Again, he was determined to refresh his territorial boundaries and paced intently through the veld sniffing and scent marking as he went. After spending some quality time with the large male WE left the sighting to allow other excited safari goers a chance to spend some time with, what is often considered, the most elusive of big cats.

(Tingana out on patrol, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)