Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Cat Report 9 - 16 July

Saturday the 9th of July

The leopard luck continues as the Karula the queen of Djuma made herself present yet again. This time the gorgeous leopardess is hungry and on the move. Brent managed to catch up with her as she moved intently west along the southern boundary. The intention in each step clearly visible, Brent began to ponder what she may have been up to. Hopes were that she had made a successful kill and that she was on her way to fetch young Hosana and Xongile for dinner. Soon the graceful queen crossed south and out of view leaving us with only guess work. Later on as the sun dipped behind the Drakensburg mountains bathing the Sabi Sand in glorious golden light Brent yet again bumped into the elusive queen. Upon closer inspection it seemed our best wishes had come true. Karula, Hosana and Xongile were feasting on a fresh impala kill, Hosana’s ferocious appetite became apparent as he glanced at our live cameras with a face covered in blood. This was a somewhat comical sight as it almost looked as though he had found a stash of mom’s lipstick, yet lacked the experience to apply it properly. Soon it became too dark to safely view Djuma’s royal family and WE left the leopards to their much deserved meal.

hosana 9 july PM.jpg
(Hosana, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)

To the north east a carpet of lions was laid out next to Buffelshoek dam. Four of the Nkuhuma pride lionesses and one Birmingham male were taking it easy on the shores of the rapidly evaporating dam. The lions, as lazy as ever, barely moved as James made his way gently into the sighting. The cats remained flat for the duration of the sunset safari. The only effortful movements that were made by the cats were simple ear flicks to rid themselves of those pesky biting flies. Eventually once the darkness had begun to settle did one lioness decide it was time for a drink. She lumbered her way slowly to the water's edge and once her thirst was quenched barely made is two meters before collapsing in a heap of exhaustion.


nkuhuma pride 9 july pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma pride lionesses, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

Sunday the 10th of July

A special treat for the safariLIVE crew today Cheetah Plains. One of Karula’s daughter’s Thandi has been found. The leopardess was highly mobile and on the hunt, her empty belly as testament to her intentions. WE stuck with her for as long as possible before she crossed north into Torchwood. An interesting update then came through confirming what WE had all hoped for. Thandi has given birth and is the proud mom to one beautiful new cub. WE have not yet had the privilege of meeting Karula’s newest grandchild but hopes remain high that the cub will survive and we’ll soon get a look at this latest addition to the leopards of the northern Sabi Sand.


Thandi 10 july.jpg
(Thandi, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Back on Djuma one of the Birmingham males has been located by Jamie. The dominant male was highly mobile, busily scent marking as he strode through his territory. He then managed to work himself into the dense heart of a very overgrown block. However, the lion luck continues in the afternoon with a spectacular sighting on Djuma’s northern boundary. The Nkuhuma pride have been looking a little lean of late. Who could blame them with all the amorous attentions of the Birmingham males and three little lion lunatics scampering around? Jamie came upon the pride as they strode down buffelshoek cutline with murderous intention in their eyes. Before long this intention turned into execution as the pride seamlessly engaged in the hunt. Some unfortunate buffalo were the chosen target as the pride exploded into motion. Thunderous hooves and columns of dust rose as the buffalo stampeded in a panic. The lions came close, yet not quite close enough, their potential dinner having managed to escape and charge off in a haze.

nkuhuma pride hunt 10 jul pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma pride, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 11th of July

Monday’s are renowned for being the least favourite day of the week, yet James found a surprise that was sure to cure and work week blues. The Nkuhuma pride has welcome yet another litter of 3 tiny new cubs. This confirms suspicions that a second Nkuhuma lioness has chosen to den on Djuma. These tiny little cubs are so young that their little lion ears have yet to stand up. It agreed the cubs are approximately 10 days old and barely larger than your favourite slipper! The proud new Nkuhuma mom was not present so WE only spent a few short minutes with the squirming balls of fluff before moving on. Yet it is still fantastic new for the Nkuhuma lionesses as their numbers strengthen and their pride expands.


tiny nkuhuma cub 11 july am.jpg
(Nkuhuma cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The missing mom mystery was soon solved however. The Nkuhuma’s have made a large buffalo kill on Arathusa. It took the whole pride plus one of the Birmingham males to bring down the daring old dugga boy, his thunderous bellows eventually silenced after a struggle of epic proportion. This is also the first time WE have seen all five of the Nkuhuma pride reunited in quite some time. The lionesses fed insatiably on the carcass until their bloated bellies could take no more. Yet the ruckus caused by the demise of the buffalo had not gone unnoticed. Tingana, the dominant male leopard on Djuma and Arathusa, had his interest piqued. He slunk by the kill site, no doubt carefully examining the situation should an opportunity to make off with a quick scrap present itself. No such luck however and one male leopard is certainly no match for six hunger lions.

tingana 11 july AM.jpg
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

The day pursued hot and bright under a white washed sky saturated with dust. Upon returning to the kill on the sunset safari only four of the five pride members are present, still feeding gluttonously. Number five, the lioness known as “Spotty-nose,” is slowly making her way across Quarantine clearings with her three trouble makers in tow. It seemed the time had arrived to introduce these 8 week old cubs to the pride. “Spotty-nose” strode elegantly across the clearings in the orange tint of the setting sun as her 3 cubs tried to keep up. The cubs stubby little legs worked furiously to keep up with mom as they chased and pounced on each other. Mom was required to take regular breaks allowing the cubs time to catch-up and eventually the happy family wandered into the darkness making their way steadily west.

nkuhuma lioness and cubs 11 july pm.jpg
(Spotty-nose Nkuhuma & 3 cubs, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tuesday the 12th of July

The dawn breaks with anticipation and excitement. James made his way out early with hopes of getting an early spot at the Nkuhuma buffalo kill on Arathusa. Upon arrival action is high as one of the Nkuhuma lionesses exploded out of a nearby bush growling aggressively at an intrusive and most unwelcome hyaena. Immediately tensions are increased, have the cubs made it through the night on a kill? As WE arrived at the kill site all eyes were peeled and examining every inch of the surrounding bush, scanning for any sign of the cubs. On cue, Spotty-nose ambled onto the scent with three hyperactive fluffs scrambling around her paws. Play time ensued for quite the duration. The cubs bounded and leaped clumsily in the soft sand occasionally attacking the odd stick. Eventually WE left the sighting affording other excited safari goers an opportunity to experience their cubs firsthand.

nkuhuma lioness and cub 12 july AM.jpg
(Spotty-nose Nkuhuma & cub, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Arathsua)

Meanwhile in the heart of Djuma the Queen has been found stealthily making her way through her favourite hunting ground. As evasive as ever, Karula zigzagged her way through a steep drainage as Jamie wound along behind her trying to keep up. Eventually Karula came to a halt at one of the old hyaena dens off Zoe’s road. The leopardess rested her rosetted body in the shade of the massive old termite mound surveying her territory carefully before nodding off for a mid-morning cat nap.

karula 12 july am.jpg
(Karula, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

No far from where the queen was resting our expert tracker found her two spotted bundles of joy. Hosana and Xongile had been stashed safely away atop a densely vegetated termite mound. Their spotted coats once again demonstrating the fine perfection of a leopard’s camouflage. The cubs were flat and sleepy, barely lifting an eyelid and sunning themselves in the radiant morning light. Another hot day followed as the winter sun beat down on the dry sandy earth of the Sabi Sand. Karula had pulled her usual disappearing act on the sunset safari yet it did not seem as though she had returned to her cubs. The young royals were still ensconced firmly in their hiding spots, gazing with innocent boredom at the frustrating birds chirping out disgruntled alarm calls. WE stayed with the cubs for as long as possible before the dying light of the day forced us to leave.

hosana 12 july am.jpg
(Hosana, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 13th of July

The royal cubs are up and about as the early morning light begins to creep through the crisp and yellowing winter leaves. Hosana and Xongile made the most of this with playful high antics. This is one of the first time WE have seen the cubs actually playing with each other. Each took turns to hunt the other before making the fatal pounce. Inevitably every successful pounce resulted in writhing wrestling match between the two cubs before one would dash off to concealment and then game began anew. Eventually the cubs managed to stalk each other into exhaustion, finally they went flat in the cosy comfort of the winter sun. The cubs remained once again on the sunset safari yet a more subdue sighting was in store. Clearly fatigued from their earlier escapades the two cubs kept a low profile snoozing in safety.

hosana and xongile playing 13 july am.jpg
(Hosana & Xongile, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Far to the east on the great open plains of the Cheetah one of the Birmingham males has been found. The large dominant cat was putting on a performance that could only epitomise lion behaviour, extreme sleeping. One must remember it is important to get a regular 22 hours of beauty sleep and as it would seem WE had interrupted this particular Birmingham’s beauty ritual. The cat remained as flat as a pancake, barely moving save for the disgruntled looks he would occasionally throw at the vehicle. Needless to say WE didn’t hang around knowing by now that a lion that comfortable is unlikely to doing anything of interest any time soon. Of course the morning would not be complete without the daily check in at the lion den on Djuma. To everyone’s delight the three tiniest Nkuhuma’s are alive and well. Still only capable of squeaking, yawning and squirming over each other the cubs wriggled to move out of the sunlight and into an ever denser part of their drainage line den. Yet again mom was not present so after ten minutes of “oohhing” and “aahhhing” over the tiny cubs WE made our way out.

nkuhuma cubs 13 july am.jpg
(Nkuhuma cubs, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

After the lazy leopards the afternoon takes a slight down swing in pace. James and Brent bumbled around keeping a keen eye out for any potential action. Game drive radios then explode after a brief glimpse of 3 adult wild dogs crossing into Djuma on the western boundary. Brent was first in the area and found smoking fresh tracks. The game is now on, will Brent find the dogs or will the dogs find Brent? As fate would have it, James was first to find the dogs despite the tremendous effort put in by Brent. The dogs were sniffing furiously at the ground and continuously scent marked while zigzagging back and forth across the road. Once the 3 adults had convinced themselves they had left enough of a territorial message behind they bounded off through the bush. James managed to keep up right until the Sands pack crossed north into Buffelshoek at Sydneys dam. It was at this moment Brent was finally able to join in the excitement yet pressure from a large amount of vehicles meant he could only stay for a single precious minute. The dogs coursed across the open area next to Sydney’s dam until eventually melting into the bush in the evening half light.

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(Sands pack wild dog, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Thursday the 14th of July

The morning kicks off with another fantastic sighting of Hosana and Xongile, Karula’s two 5 month old cubs. She’s been absent from the cubs for almost two days and everyone is starting to wonder where she may be. Soon after the start of the sunrise safari Karula accomplishes yet another impressive and well timed step into frame. She had so far managed to avoid detection by any other game drive vehicle or expert tracker and instead popped up right behind Brent. She made her way straight to the cubs who greeted her with exuberant enthusiasm. Both scampered up and jumped with glee wrapping their little paws fast around her neck. The greeting was returned in kind and soon the spotted trio were off to the south. It was later confirmed that Karula had made a duiker kill beyond the southern boundary.  

hosana 14 jul am.jpg
(Hosana, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Not a day goes by where WE don’t do a quick check in at the lion den to see how the tiniest Nkuhuma’s are getting along. Upon arrival there is a collective breath of relief as mom is there and all three little lumps are suckling noisily. Every now and then mom would cast a wary eye over to make sure WE were keeping an acceptable distance and soon she had nodded off, her cubs still firmly attached. James didn’t spend too much more time in the sighting as he simply wanted to check on the new fuzzy lumps of lion. Mom had been so obliging to our presence up until now it was only polite to leave her to her maternal duties.

nkuhuma lioness and cub 14 july pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness & 3 cubs, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

To the north near buffelshoek cutline the lions have been found. Three of the gorgeous Nkuhuma lionesses and one of the Birmingham males are working on their winter tan dozing in the comforting sun.  This is pretty much the lion’s order for the day as they barely move from sunrise until seconds before the sunset. Amber-eyes was of course the first to stand and stretch out her lean strong body. The other two lionesses soon joined and within minutes they were north bound. The Birmingham male however was not as enthused about the idea of physical effort and remained motionless until he suddenly found he was alone. He then hurried after the lionesses who had long since crossed the northern boundary. Eventually he staggered off in the right direction as the sunset safari came to a close.

nkuhuma lionesses 14 july pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma lionesses, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Friday the 15th of July

A spot more luck for the safariLIVE crew this morning. An old favourite Mvula is back and doing better than ever, so good in fact he is in the company of a young and beautiful leopardess named Xiluva. Mvula hides his age exceptionally well as he is able to keep up with the high energy requirements of a leopardess in oestrus! The pair mate on a regular basis over a 2 hour period, taking short naps in between copulations. Eventually the sunrise safari came to an end and we left the amorous felines to hopefully be found again later. As luck would have it, WE would have no such luck. In between game drives it seemed Xiluva and Mvula got into something of a domestic spat. Mvula had apparently chased the young leopardess up a tree, yet the commotion of the fight had drawn some unwanted attention from a beautiful and territorial male in his prime, Gijima. According to eyewitness account Gijima and Mvula then went for a round the younger and fitter Gijima emerging the victor. Mvula and Xiluva were the found again later in the evening mating once again but this time on Buffelshoek.


Xiluva 15 july am.jpg
(Xiluva, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The unfortunate luck of Xiluva and Mvula crossing north was soon remedied on the sunset safari. Another special treat came in the form of Salayexe, a tall, lean and strong leopardess generally found further to the west. She was intently striding across Arathusa sniffing and scent marking as she went. This rather aggressive assault into what was always known as Shadow’s territory came as a surprise. Yet in recent history Shadow has been concentrating much of her activity south of her normal range. Clearly this is something that had not gone unnoticed by Salayexe. The leopardess walked at a brisk pace as the light of the setting sun filtered by centuries of dust cast a red glow across the bush. Eventually Brent pulled out of the sighting as she crossed out of our traverse.

salayexe 15 july pm.jpg
(Salayexe, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 16th of July

The posing prince of cats is back and showing off his stunning looks in the golden afternoon light. Quarantine has always been a leopard renowned for his habit of striking the most exceptional of stances in the most of exceptional places. This afternoon was no different as the young male leopard roamed from termite mound to termite mound, always looking for the next best view. The trials of adult leopard life are starting to make themselves clear, a few more scratches to his muzzle and the odd knick out of his ear prove he is now Karula’s son, fully mature. Quarantine eventually decided all the walking and posing on termite mounds had taken it’s toll and eventually he dozed off in the warming winter afternoon light.

quarantine 16 jul pm.jpg
(Quarantine, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Sunday the 17th of July

The day kicks off with another brief check in at the lion den. All three of the tiniest Nkuhuma’s are present and accounted for as is mom. Once again each cub is latched onto mom suckling egearly while the proud lioness snoozes lightly in the morning sun. The cubs have now been moved out of the deepest and thickest part of the den to a grassy termite mound on the edge of the drainage line. The cubs spots and fluffy tawny coats make them near impossible to locate among the yellowing grasses. WE spent a few precious minutes watching the happy family before leaving them in privacy for the day.

nkuhuma lioness 17 july am.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

A special treat lay in store for the safariLIVE crew on the sunset safari. Shadow and her spunky little cub have been found on Djuma. The pair walked briskly from spot to spot, every now and then Shadow would leave her cub at a shady tree or sunny termite mound and venture forth alone. This was no problem for her little rascal who wasted no time in climbing every tree she could. Or perch regally on the top of each termite mound and swat playfully at long blades of grass swaying in the afternoon breeze. Such were her antics that she even managed to get herself stuck in the high limbs of small tree, so much so that she even called out to mom for a little assistance. Eventually after a less than graceful descent the little cub met up with mom and immediately pounced on her, showing those fine and well trained hunting reflexes. Eventually the pair wandered into a somewhat thick block and Jamie decided to let the pair continue with their business.

shadows cub 17 july pm.jpg
(Shadow’s cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 18th of July

Monday roars into life with a sighting on the Nkuhuma pride and one of the Birmingham males at Buffelshoek dam. Initially Jamie discovered only one Nkuhuma lioness gently lapping at the shores of the drying dam accompanied by a single Birmingham male. Every so often the lioness would raise her head and stare intently in the direction of the dam wall. Soon the reason was made clear, two more of the Nkuhuma lionesses accompanied by three rolling balls of fluff rounded the corner and descended to the water’s edge. The cubs watched with curiosity as the lioness began to drink and eventually they followed suit, lying prone with their fat little bellies in the mud. Eventually all seven cats flopped in a dense patch of shade against wall of sand left by the shrinking volume of water. Buffelshoek dam however is still one of the only areas on Djuma to still contain at least some water. Evidence of this was proved later on the sunset safari as both Brent and the lions enjoyed a lovely elephant sighting. Luckily for the lions the elephants failed to notice their presence and the cubs watched with eager interest as the great grey giants drunk, mud bathed and filled the air with trunk-fulls of dust. WE eventually left the lions as darkness crept over the Sabi Sands and hoped for the chance to find them the next day.

nkuhuma cub 18 july pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma cub, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tuesday the 19th of July

A chorus of roars filled the electric morning air on Djuma. Jamie and Brent head out as the sky turns from lilac to pale orange and before long the lions have been found. Brent has caught up with one of the Nkuhuma lionesses in the throws of passion with a Birmingham male. The pair mate frequently with each copulation ending in a ferocious growl and swat from the lioness. The Birmingham male is not in good shape however, it seems the coalition members had a disagreement in the night and this individual has come away missing half of his upper lip. His face twitched in pain every few minutes and he could barely open his mouth to yawn.

birmingham male 19 july am.jpg
(Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Not far from the lion love shack the rest of the pride was on the hunt, Jamie caught up with the lionesses as they slunk stealthily ever closer to a herd of buffalo. Every hunt instinct was engaged as the lionesses expertly stalked their quarry with each step taking them closer. Right at the back was a young lioness who had clearly been designated the role of “babysitter.” The three Nkuhuma cubs weren’t exactly making her life easy as they would attempt to scamper off after the hunting party at frequent intervals. Back at the front of the attack unit Amber-Eyes was creeping ever closer and eventually exploded from her hiding spot. Two more of the Nkuhuma’s joined her but alas all the buffalo lived to see another sunset. The lions eventually went flat in a rather tricky part of the block, so tricky that even Brent had to pull out of the sighting to attend to a flat tire.

nkuhuma lioness 19 july AM.jpg
(Amber-Eyes Nkuhuma, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Leaping lions were not the only order of the day however. Everyone’s favourite underdog Sindile is back! He’s been doing well for himself as he’s managed to bring down a fully grown impala ram, there is one catch however. Mvula, the former dominant male of the area, has stumble across the scene and stolen the kill from Sindile. The leopards sat meters from each other as Mvula fed on Sindile’s hard work. Eventually Sindile made his way into the high branches of a young tamboti and settled directly above the feeding Mvula. Although Sindile’s nose was certainly out of joint at the older male’s audacity both cats managed to keep tempers in check and seemed comfortable enough in each other's presence.

mvula 19 july pm.jpg
(Mvula, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The lions did very little moving during the heat of the day and were found with ease on the sunset safari. Brent headed back to the Sydney’s dam area to catch up with the mating pair while Jamie headed back to the flat Nkuhuma pride sure they were going to hunt again that evening. The mating lions spent the majority of the afternoon napping between copulations. The Birmingham male not letting the lioness out of his sight for a second. The most interesting aspect to this sighting was the fact that the lioness had clear suckle marks despite being in the height of an oestrous cycle. Unfortunately the suckle marks indicate that she did have cubs, but her mating behaviour indicates that those cubs may have more than likely been killed.

nkuhuma lioness 19 july pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Once the sun had set behind the western mountains the Nkuhuma pride were up and on the hunt yet again. The lionesses strode out and across Quarantine clearings and made a beeline straight towards the Vuyatela pan. Sure enough the lions had only hunting on their minds, Amber-Eyes along with another lioness flattened themselves against all available cover before leaping out and chasing a large bull giraffe. The chancy hunt however didn’t payoff and before long they had joined up with the rest of the pride. The cubs scampered around the open area pouncing on pieces of elephant dung and tumbling over dead branches. Eventually the sighting became too dark to remain and the safariLIVE crew headed home after an amazing day of action packed cats.


nkuhuma lioness and 3 cubs 19 july pm.jpg
(Spotty-Nose Nkuhuma & cubs, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 20th of July

Spectacular spots flew this morning as Sindile and Mvula came to blows over the stolen impala carcass. When Brent initially arrived at the singting both cats were flat but carefully keeping a close eye on each other. The only difference in this scenario is that one of the leopards had managed to hoist the kill into the high branches of the same tamboti Sindile had been peering out of the day before. Mvula was found sunning himself on an open patch of sand next to the dropoff of the drainage line, while Sindile huddled himself next to the elegant trunk of the tamboti. Mvula tossed curious glances at the impala carcass and eventually stood and took a few stiff and limping steps towards the tree. In the blink of an eye Sindile had swiftly ascended the tree and stood over the carcass hissing an aggressive warning to Mvula. Mvula being slightly larger and more experience showed no fear or hesitation in following Sindile up into the high limbs. The tree then exploded with furious growling and hissing, paws swatting left right and centre. Mvula eventually pushed past Sindile who made a hasty exit and concealed himself under a nearby bush. Mvula then spent the rest of the morning feeding ravenously until almost no meat was left. Mvula then descended and made himself comfortable in the sun while Sindile tended to his bruised ego.

mvula 20 july am.jpg
(Mvula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Later on the sunset safari Jamie managed to catch up with a very flat Mvula, no longer interested in feeding. The old male spent the afternoon napping peacefully, eventually Jamie decided to head back and check the kill site just to make sure young Sindile hadn’t returned. Her instincts proved right, the young male was sleeping soundly mere meters away from the kill in a haphazard fashion amongst skinny tamboti branches. Clearly the earlier spat had taken it’s toll, as Sindile barely bothered an ear flick until the sun had set. He then arose from his slumber and began to finish off what little of the impala carcass was left.   

sindile 20 july pm.jpg
(Sindile, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Thursday the 21st of July

The weather is warming again at Djuma, summer like days are the order of the week and so is the daily lion den check. It appears several of the Nkuhuma lionesses are at the den this morning including a harassed looking mom. The cubs are starting to show signs of increasing activity. Stubby legs moved the fluffy sausage shaped cubs further afield than ever before. Eventually mom had enough and carefully lifted her cubs in her powerful jaws and placed them carefully back in the thick tuft of grass atop her chosen termite mound. Eventually the cubs got the message and soon fell asleep, resting their rapidly developing bodies.

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(Nkuhuma lioness moving her cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Of course no “caturday” could be complete without a sighting of Karula, the leopardess queen of Djuma. Despite following her tracks for most of the morning, Jamie manages to bump into her just south of the Djuma boundary. She spent a brief time sunning herself a termite mound before disappearing off beyond our view. The good news is it seemed as though she had stashed her cubs on Djuma and Jamie went off in search of the little leopards yet no luck was had.

karula 21 july am.jpg
(Karula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Sunday the 24th of July

After two silent days on Djuma, Arathusa and Cheetah plains Stef eventually manages to catch up with another mating pair of lions. Closer inspection revealed the same Nkuhuma lioness but this time accompanied by a different Birmingham male. This is most notable by the fact that this male lion has an intact upper lip. The pair mated every so often, the female less enthusiastic about each copulation as the morning wore on. She is most likely nearing the end of her oestrous cycle yet still giving off pheromones that only served to increase the amorous affections of the Birmingham male. The pair eventually went flat for the day and WE made our way out of the sighting and homeward bound at the end of the sunrise safari.

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(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Later on the sunset safari one last surprise lay in store for the safariLIVE crew in the form of Salayexe and her gorgeous cub Tiyani. This sighting confirms that Salayexe is indeed making inroads into Shadow’s old territory on Arathusa. The mother and daughter pair spent the darkening hours grooming and stretching  but not making much of an effort to head out on the prowl. Eventually WE left the sighting as the leopards melted into the darkness and the final seconds of the sunset safari ticked to a close.


Tiyani 24 july pm.jpg
(Tiyani, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

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