Friday, 30 September 2016

The Cat Report 25 - 30 September

Sunday the 25th of September

Sunday lunch was the order of the day for the Nkuhuma pride lionesses, their eight cubs and one amorous Birmingham male. The exertions of the hunt had clearly been responsible for large lion appetites. By the time WE arrived on the scene a great quantity of the carcass had already been consumed. The cubs played with ever growing enthusiasm as the adults attempted to sleep off the beefy beach balls they had each swallowed. The cubs nagged at their moms and aunts for some time and once bored of this, they then engaged in a tree climbing competition which resulted in a beautiful scene with four fluffy little bums all perched upon an Apple Leaf branch.

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(Four little Nkuhuma cubs perched in a tree, Screenshot Credit: Hélène van Dijk‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The Birmingham male in attendance was still recovering from his facial wound. It appeared to be on the mend as most of the swelling had gone down, yet the gaping wound still wept with red-tinged plasma. However, his injury did not seem to put him off his constant affectionate attentions being paid to the youngest of the Nkuhuma pride. The pair mated a few times with the young lioness showing less and less interest as each copulation came to an end. The sighting continued in vein until the sun had set and the darkness grew in long dim fangs across the Sabi Sand.

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

Monday the 26th of September

The day dawned fresh and damp with a blanket of cloud shielding the slowly greening landscape from the harsh African sun. Seeing as it was a cooler start to the day this meant the lions were up and about. When WE arrived back at the scene where four of the five incredible Nkuhuma pride had brought down a massive buffalo bull, the cubs, as per usual, were up and about in all their terrorising playfulness. They nagged the lionesses continually either demanding some loving attention or access to a nutritious milk-filled mammary. Eventually the cubs managed to rouse the lionesses and it was back to feeding on the now less than appetising, fly-covered buffalo carcass. Two day old meat had absolutely no impact on the lions whatsoever, they’ve eaten worse in the past after all and even still, rotting internal organ make great cub toys! The cubs fought over and wrestled with a long piece of the buffalo’s trachea.

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(Nkuhuma cub with the best toy ever, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Once the pride and cubs had sufficiently gorged themselves on buffalo they slowly ambled their way down to a muddy wallow for a morning drink. There we found the fifth Nkuhuma lioness accompanied by one of the Birmingham males, made distinct by his weeping and slowly swelling facial wound. The injury appeared to be getting worse once again. He rubbed it constantly and flicked his tail in painful frustration. Every now and then he would shake his head no doubt causing himself great agony. Yet the gaping wound did not distract him from his amorous affections. Every time the young Nkuhuma lioness moved he was at her side, he nudged gently and enticed her to mate with him. Eventually she gave in, yet with each passing copulation she became less and less interested in his advances. This culminated in a particularly vicious swat right across his infected nose!

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(Injured Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

A short distance away WE discovered yet another Birmingham male. He was immaculate, with very little facial scarring and a gorgeous thick golden mane; he embodied the king of the beasts in all his glory. He slowly strode towards the pride as his windswept mane flicked in a light breeze and eventually came to a stop within the direct eyeline of his injured brother and his beautiful Nkuhuma consort. The lioness seemed quite taken with this new arrival and tried several time to move towards him. But the injured Birmingham would have none of this traitorous behaviour and continually growled his disapproving warnings. Eventually the cats came to a stalemate, the brothers lay some distance from each other while the Nkuhuma lioness rested in between them looking bored.

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(Beautiful Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Later on the sunset safari the lions had moved away from the kill into a thick shady drainage line. The blazing sun had evaporated the clouds and the sky shone a crystal clear blue. When WE arrived at the sighting all the lions were flat, fat and content. The cubs suckled while the lionesses growled in sleepy agitation. The lions were somewhat spread out over the scene and it took some serious navigation skills to find the mating pair. But eventually the cats were found resting a short distance away from the rest of the pride. Two brave little cubs decided to hang out with the grumpy injured Birmingham and their beautiful young aunt. Once the sun had set and the crepuscular rays slowly faded to the west romantic action took place. The lioness now simply submitting more out impatience than biological need. WE eventually left the sighting as night fell while the lions enjoyed a late evening drink at Buffelshoek dam.

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(Stunning Nkuhuma cub, Screenshot Credit: Hélène van Dijk‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Tuesday the 27th of September

The morning began with one of the Birmingham males resting up on Djuma’s northern most boundary. As the Birmingham reign continues each lion is becoming easier and easier to identify. The large impressive male with his distinctive split lip groomed casually as low contact calls echoed from across Buffelshoek cutline. The Nkuhuma pride had reportedly made yet another buffalo kill in the area. Soon the male stood, stretched out his muscular body and waltzed, as only the king of the jungle can, across the northern boundary.

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(Split lip Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Paula Ross, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The Nkuhuma pride are known for their veracious appetites and what ever kill they had in Buffelshoek was soon finished. They were found relaxing near Chele pan on the sunset safari. The cubs grow in boldness everyday and when WE arrived a few lone fluff balls had ventured forth for a drink. The lionesses lay tucked away behind some thick trees, their tawny shapes just visible through the fresh new flush of green. The cubs were up to their usual tricks, not a stick or piece of dung was safe. Eventually the lionesses came for a drink and flopped right next to the water's edge. Eventually WE had to leave as the final moments of the sunset safari ticked away.  

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(Four brave Nkuhuma cubs go for a drink, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

All hail, the Queen of Djuma has returned. Once again, the amazing Herberth had managed to track down Karula and her two cubs on a fresh bushbuck kill near the Galago pan. The Queen was found hunkered down in a thick deep dry river bed lined with Tamboti trees. She fed on the carcass for a while before she moved off, quietly chuffing to her two gorgeous cubs. Hosana was first on the scene and he made his way to the kill quickly. He fed greedily for most of the afternoon while his stunning mother sunned herself on the edge of the drainage line. Eventually the sky began to darken as the sun once again slipped away beyond the western horizon and it was time to leave the lovely leopard family to their nightly activities.

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(Young Hosana arrives at the site of the kill, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 28th of September

The morning burst into action at the sighting with Karula. When Jamie arrived the Queen was feeding happily with the kill now hoisted up a skew Tamboti. Out of nowhere an entire herd of Nyala rushed past, they paid the leopard absolutely no mind whatsoever, and interestingly Karula ignored one of her favourite prey species as they dashed beneath her. There are few animals in the bush that elicit terror in such a way. Soon we had the answer, the Sabi Sand Half Tail pack was back! Puppy pandemonium turned into absolute carnage as they wild dogs killed a young Nyala lamb. Within record time the dogs had finished their meal and were gone just as fast as they had appeared!

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(Sabi Sand Half Tail pack of wild dog make quick work of a nyala kill, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Once Karula was satisfied that the scene was safe she darted out of the tree and quickly gathered up the remains of the dog kill showing off the opportunistic nature of the big cats. Once safely hoisted she called out to her cubs to come and enjoy the spoils. This time Xongile was the cub that arrived. She turned her little royal nose up at the doggy nyala and was content to feed on what remained of the bushbuck kill. Hosana on the other hand didn't budge from his very lofty hiding place and instead watched carefully for the rest of the morning. The beautiful spotted cats were found again later on the sunset safari. This time Hosana had traded places with Xongile and he gobbled up what little scraps remained on the kill. Karula helped of course and eventually all was gone. The beautiful spotted cats then groomed themselves meticulously for the rest of the afternoon.

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(Xongile feeding on the bushbuck kill, Screenshot Credit: Jennifer Baird, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Of course a day could never be complete without a sighting of at least some of the Nkuhuma pride. Brent managed to catch up with the youngest Nkuhuma lioness and the injured Birmingham male on both the sunrise and sunset safari’s. The big tawny cats remained flat and content for the majority of the day upon the Buffelshoek dam wall. It looked like bad news for the Birmingham male however, his nose had once again swollen like a giant balloon and a closer inspection of the wound revealed yet another maggot infestation. He nagged the weeping wound constantly and shook his head in frustration. His paw was stained red with blood from constant rubbing. The lioness eventually stood and wandered off into the thicket of tree and maze of drainage lines behind the dam wall and after a roar or two, the male followed.

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(Injured Birmingham male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Thursday the 29th of September

More lovely lions kicked off the morning with a high action giraffe chase. Amber Eyes, who was looking a little thin around the waist, stayed hot on the heels of the female giraffe as she tried to herd Africa’s tallest land mammal on to unsteady ground. The giraffe however maintained superb balance and soon galloped away into the distance. Amber Eyes then returned to the rest of the pride and the walked a short distance before going very flat indeed. The cubs however had other things on their mind, mainly suckling from the adults. Yet after a failed hunt and a few days without food, the lionesses usual patient demeanour turned very quickly into irate frustration. After a few growls and swats the cubs eventually got the message and soon all was calm and sleepy. Later that afternoon Jamie caught up with the lazy lions once again. Not much happened as the lions, clearly exhausted, spent the afternoon with their eyes closed tight against the white overcast light.

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(Amber-Eyes Nkuhuma getting impatient with playful cubs, Screenshot Credit: Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Jamie eventually decided to move on from the sighting as rumour had it Tingana and Shadow were spotted together on Arathusa. Jamie raced over and sure enough Tingana and Shadow were indeed together once again. But this time there was an uninvited guest, another spotted predator in the form of a large spotted hyaena. Tingana was perched high and safe in the boughs of a massive Marula tree with his fresh impala carcass. Both Shadow and the hyaena waiting from him patiently at it’s base. Popularity for the sighting eventually forced Jamie to move on just as the sun had set.   

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(Tingana feeding happily, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

Friday the 30th of September

The morning kicked off once again with the stunning Nkuhuma pride. All five lionesses and the eight cubs were resting peacefully on the side of the road. It seemed they had finally managed to give the Birmingham males the slip and soon after Tayla found them they were up and moving. The lead us through some rather tricky bush before eventually coming to a halt in a shady thicket. The cubs explored for a while before joining their mothers and aunts for a morning nap. Later in the morning Brent returned to check up on the happy family, as luck would have it a herd of zebra passed near by and the lionesses were off. Yet their murderous attempt was unsuccessful and thundering hooves complemented by panicked alarm calls brought the sunrise safari to a close.

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(Nkuhuma cub, Screenshot Credit: Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Cat Report 18 - 24 September

Sunday the 18th of September

Heavy grey clouds had begun to crowd the white hot skies of the Sabi Sands. Cold winds blew in vicious gusts as the heavens opened and the first rains of the season landed on the parched cracked earth. The safariLIVE crew and animals alike could hardly believe that some rainy relief had finally arrived! The night was loud as cracks of thunder drowned the roars of lions and flashes of lightning tore apart the darkness. Once the morning dawned the rain had relented to a light and persistent drizzle. The lions had an absolutely astounding night of success, two kills split between a total of 15 lions! Of course the Nkuhuma pride had been responsible for most of the slaughter as their hunting prowess only seem to increase with intensity. Tayla discovered the first kill just across our southern boundary. Muddy little cubs clambered over the adult buffalo cow and feasted under the new dazzling sensation of rain, an environmental element that was previously unfamiliar to them. Only four of the Nkuhuma pride were present along with two of the Birmingham males. The lionesses were getting some much needed and well deserved rest under a clump of damp and dripping bushes while one of the males fed, keeping a wary eye on the muddy little monsters. The second male was lying a short distance away and looking rather sorry for himself. He had a large bite wound on his face that had swollen excessively over night. His features were distorted and his lip twitched with each pulse of pain that accompanied every inhalation and exhalation of breath. Tayla eventually made her way out of the sighting as various other safari goers clammed for their chance to see the incredible predators.

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(Grubby Nkuhuma cub feeding on buffalo, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE Djuma)

A short distance away Jamie was making her way around the reserve with the goal of visiting all the various dams on Djuma to see how much they had been able to fill overnight. When all of a sudden the fifth Nkuhuma lioness popped up out of nowhere. Her belly swung from side to side and she waddled slowly back towards her pride contact calling softly. The second kill was nearby as evidenced by the fresh crimson blood dripping off her once white and fluffy chin. Yet no one had been able to locate. This all changed on the sunset safari, reports flooded in confirming that the swollen-faced Birmingham male had been found on a fresh buffalo calf carcass not far from where the Nkuhuma pride had been on the adult buffalo kill. The male lion was looking more forlorn than ever, his puffy snout had quite literally taken on a life of it’s own. Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that a fly of some description had laid eggs in the gaping wound and maggots could be seen squirming in the depths of the wound. This was definitely not a scene for sensitive viewer, yet cases of this type of infestation parasitic infestation have never been recorded in the wild. He was soon joined by another one of his coalition mates as well as the youngest of the Nkuhuma lionesses. Eventually it was time to leave as the darkness turned dim overcast light into an inky twilight gloom.

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(Puffy faced Birmingham male lion, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 19th of September

Light drizzle was still coating the northern Sabi Sand in fresh gleaming droplets as the safariLIVE crew set out in soft grey morning light. Leopard and lion alike, were belting out their booming rasps and roars! Tayla made her way onto Quarantine clearings and quickly caught up with one of the Birmingham males. This individual had not been seen on either carcass from the day before. He walked determinedly towards the site of the buffalo calf kill roaring and contact calling as he did so. Eventually the big male went flat, staring in the direction his coalition mates. Tayla decided to leave the big male and make her way back to the buffalo calf carcass.

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(Birmingham male lion, Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Not far Jamie was hot on the tail of Tingana who was equally as vocal. Eventually Jamie managed to catch up with him as he began to stalk a nearby herd of impala. He melted into the undergrowth, his spotted pelage camouflaging him perfectly in the dull morning light. He was within meters of the antelope before loud snorts of alarm gave him up, frustrated he stood and continued on his way. Suddenly a burst of lean tawny muscle exploded out of nowhere, Tingana barely had time to react as the young Nkuhuma lioness bounded towards him. A brief yet nail-biting chase ensued, Tingana barely made it up the slender trunk of an extremely conveniently place Marula tree, the lioness had missed the leopard by a tail hair! She waited at the base of the Marula as Tingana peered at her indignantly from the highest boughs of the tree. She soon became bored however, and slowly moved off towards the buffalo calf kill.

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(Tingana keeping a lookout after being chased up a tree by a lioness, Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tingana, thoroughly shaken from his already eventful morning huddled in the tree top looking rather sorry for himself. Eventually he made a clumsy descent, only to be surprised by Shadow who bolted into the sighting out of nowhere! She bounded in playfully rolling in piles of damp leaves. Tingana by this stage seemed rather fed up with the intensity of his morning so far and quietly tried to slink away, but not much escapes the attention of Shadow, especially not Tingana. She followed him closely while constantly trying to seduce him. Tingana did his best to ignore her advances, yet a leopardess in oestrous is both persistent and persuasive. The pair crossed west into Arathusa, Tingana eventually gave into to Shadow and the pair mated before eventually crossing north into Simbambili.

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(Shadow waiting for Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tayla had now made it to the lions, the puffy maggot-infested Birmingham was lying some distance away from the kill while his Birmingham coalition mate and the young Nkuhuma lioness lay nearby the kill. It must’ve been by some magic that this lioness had managed to get back to the two male and the carcass so quickly after the thrilling leopard chase! She was clearly tired and hungered by her morning burst of energy and every so often would attempt to take a morsel of meat. But the Large and somewhat selfish Birmingham male growled fiercely each time she tried. Eventually she was able to position herself on the opposite side of the kill and he finally gave in and allowed her to feed while he lay dozing, his rotund belly rising and falling in time with his deep breaths.

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(Nkuhuma lioness waiting for a chance to feed after chasing Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE Djuma)

Later that afternoon Jamie returned to the kill site to find very little meat left on the carcass and hungry winged scavengers lining the leafless tree tops waiting patiently for their chance to clean up the scraps. The young Nkuhuma lioness and her overly possessive male counterpart were lying a short distance away while the puffy-faced Birmingham continued to sleep off his infection. As with sightings WE have had before with this particular male, every time the lioness even looked like she may move he was up and at her side, shepherding her movement. Eventually she would give up on her ambitions to relocate her pride and simply lay down shortly followed by the heavy flop of the over eager male. The cats remained in this comatose state for most of the afternoon and early evening hours.

Tuesday the 20th of September

The Nkuhuma pride have been on a roll of late, another kill was made in the darkest hours of the night. Whatever it was however was small as most of it had been consumed by the time Jamie caught up with them on the seven hour special sunset safari. The lions were all flat and full, contented stomachs protruded onto the still damp ground as the lions panted away the afternoon heat. Three of the Birmingham males were now present with the lionesses. The male with the maggot infection in his nose was doing much better, the swelling has gone down completely, it appears there is no longer and infection there and there was no sign of the writhing white worms creating the extreme inflammation. Although the wound did seem to be creating a small amount of discomfort, he flicked his tail constantly and nagged at the wound with his paw. Although, aside from this and the now gaping pink hole in his snout, he appears to be doing just fine.

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(Nkuhuma cub peering over mom, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The possessive Birmingham, affectionately known as “Mo,” however was still up to his old tricks. One of the lionesses had made the decision to move from one sleeping spot to another, he incorrectly interpreted this as a romantic invitation. His advance was met with indignant snarl and swat, all hell then broke loose! Mo had clearly had enough of his over enthusiastic advances constantly being declined, he growled back and rushed forward only to be stopped by five bared sets of Nkuhuma lioness teeth, just waiting to sink themselves into some Birmingham flesh. Frustrated, Mo turned on his brother who had simply been minding his own business, worrying at his injured muzzle. The antagonised Mo rushed the recovering lion for no apparent reason, his brother simply rolled over submissively, clearly not wanting to do any further damage to his already mangled nose. Mo then strutted his way back to the pride, feeling better after asserting his dominance. The lionesses however greeted him less than enthusiastically by ignoring him, one brave cub even curled his upper lip while a braver one still, pounced on the male aggressively and bit out chunks of his mane. One lioness then approached him sternly, raised her paw and gave him a smart slap on the nose before turning on her heel and stalking off. This however, is of no concern to a fully grown male lion however and he simply shrugged them off and flopped in a great tawny heap under the nearest guarri bush.

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(Unpopular “Mo” nurses his ego as Nkuhuma cubs play, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Jamie then left the sighting to investigate the thrid Birmingham male lying a short distance away. He lay in glorious splendor, spread eagle on his back, eyes closed tight with content and paws dangling lazily in mid air. It very quickly became clear her was not about to go anywhere or do anything, at least not while the sun was still up.

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(Birmingham male lion, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

That all changed when the sun set over the western horizon. Armed with infrared lights and camera equipment the safariLIVE crew embarked on their first true night drive. Jamie returned to the Nkuhuma pride and sat in sheer amazement as the night came alive with the sound of booming roars. Jamie was unable to see the lions with her naked eye but the physical sensation of a lion's roar only a few meters from the vehicle is definitely something that needs to be felt and heard, not seen. The Nkuhuma pride called long and load into the night, the cubs even got in on the action and mimicked the adults despite still sounding like strangled house cats. The pride then moved off into thick bush. Jamie made the decision to let walking lions walk, and promptly headed out in search of other fascinating nocturnal animals. The lions however had other ideas and soon Jamie found herself with the pride again, this time they had gone flat on a termite mound some distance away from where they were originally found. The cubs and lionesses slept soundly and deeply, Jamie soon moved on this time hoping to leave the lions for good. But no, the third Birmingham male was now up and popped out on the road ahead approximately 30 seconds after Jamie had left the Nkuhuma pride. The large and impressive male walked southwards scent marking as he went. Eventually he crossed out of Djuma and Jamie was finally free to explore the night!

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(The Nkuhuma pride under the cover of darkness in infrared, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tayla had her own spot of luck this evening. As the last rays of sunlight faded to the west Tingana could be heard doing his nightly territorial rasping saw. Tayla soon caught up with him and followed as he marked his territory while calling out to all other males in the area, letting them know that he was the top formidable feline in the area. Following leopards at night through thick bush is easier said than done, he soon gave us the slip and not long after his tracks were found crossing out of our traverse.  

Wednesday the 21st of September

The safariLIVE final control team was inundated with reports from the Djuma dam cam. Apparently the lions had been heard taking down yet another buffalo. This was later confirmed on the sunset safari however, the Nkuhuma pride had made the kill just north of Djuma and out of our traverse. After the disappointing news that our favourite lion pride was not around Jamie decided to head down to Cheetah Plains. Upon arrival the radio crackled into life once again with rumors of one of the Birmingham males. Jamie made her way to the sighting to discover the same male WE had seen the previous day. Once again he was reclined in absolute tranquility, paws skyward and head resting on the cool damp earth. As with the day before Jamie decided to leave the sleeping lion to explore the open plains before heading back under the cover of darkness. Sure enough once the blazing spring sun had set, the lion lifted his head. It took a little longer for him to eventually stand, stretch out the stiffness from sleeping all day and eventually head out. He didn’t stay active for long, he walked a short distance before eventually flopping down and getting stuck into a grooming session. With little to no indication that he intended to do anything, other than meticulously clean his massive front paws, Jamie eventually left in search of some more nighttime action.

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(Flat cat Birmingham male lion, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Friday the 23rd of September

Over the past two days reports had indicated that the Nkuhuma pride had been firmly ensconced on a buffalo kill in Buffelshoek. That all changed when our incredible tracker Heuberth managed to relocate the lions back on Djuma and still resting up in their new favourite spot. The beautiful tawny lionesses and their eight little bundles of terror rested soundly in the slowly-greening bush. The effects of the rain earlier in the week had created a bright verdant flush that covered the dry dusty land in a carpet of green velvet. The lions had taken full advantage of this, nestled down in the soft new shoots, they slept away the sunlit hours of the day. Yet once the land was shrouded in darkness and it was time for our cameras to switch into infrared mode, the cats were up. Surprisingly they were not looking as full as you may expect after their reported beefy meal. So hunting was definitely on the cards, the lionesses ambled around the reserve and kept a sharp eye out for anything delicious looking. But this was to no avail, eventually they retreated to the steep, dense drainage line where they had left their cubs and settled in the pressing darkness for the night.  

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(Nkuhuma cubs resting among fresh green shoots, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 24th of September

A frenzy of feline action lay in store for the safariLIVE crew. First up was Tingana, the dominant male leopard of Djuma and Arathusa. He had been spotted with the ever energetic Shadow still hounding him for his affections. By the time Jamie had arrived in the sighting Tingana was already off at top speed clearly in search of a much needed break and a well deserved meal. Shadow, it seemed, had kept Tingana busy over the past few days and he looked skinnier than ever. He kept up quite the pace as he determinedly made his way through the reserve and took only short breaks to scent mark or call out his rasping roar. Eventually he came upon a herd of unawares impala and lay in patience, waiting for the right moment to strike. Unfortunately this moment never arrived. He then slowly ambled off into a particularly impenetrable block and his perfect spotted pelt quickly melted into the inky evening blackness.

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(Tingana sporting a frh new scratch to his nose, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

In the heart of Djuma four Nkuhuma pride lionesses had been lazing about during the daytime hours. Yet once darkness fell it was time to get up and head out. Their bellies were empty and their eyes filled with determination. Brent managed to keep a close eye on the famished felines as they prowled the night in search of their next victim. After walking for quite some time their body language suddenly changed and the chase was on. Thundering hooves wrenched the silence of the night air as a bachelor group of buffalo stormed past the vehicle with four hungry lions hot on their heals. A few seconds later the lionesses had singled out their target and the epic battle for life or death had begun. One lioness leapt onto the back of the buffalo bull with extreme agility while the others set to work on pulling out his back legs. The buffalo bellowed into the night and swung his massive hooked horns from side to side on the off chance that he might give one of the lionesses a flying lesson. But the Nkuhuma pride are far too wise and experienced to be caught off guard. He bucked and flailed vigorously and succeeded in unseating the lioness on his back, yet the lions’ reflexes and sense of teamwork was unshakable and just as soon as one fell, the next one was on top! The valiant old buffalo eventually fell to the ground, three of the Nkuhuma pride held down his hindquarters while the fourth braved the sharp end and went for the fatal nose hold. The battle lasted about 50 minutes from start to finish and eventually the lionesses walked away victorious. All four were exhausted from the hunt and took a brief reprieve to catch their breath before three of them set out in the direction of the cubs.  Amber-Eyes remained at the kill site panting heavily while she licked at pooling blood next to the great buff behemoth. Eventually the other three lionesses returned with the eight little furballs. All the cubs wanted to do was play with their moms and aunts, while all the adults wanted to do was recover from the intense battle. Once at the kill the cubs immediately jumped upon the fallen buffalo and practiced their killing techniques with ferocity. Some time later the adults joined the cubs at the feast and WE eventually left the happy lion family to their well deserved dinner.

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(Nkuhuma pride battling an old buffalo bull, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday, 24 September 2016

safariLIVE Time Changes for September

Well safarians it’s that time of the year yet again! The great African sun is rising earlier and setting later meaning it’s time for a change to our live safari drive times. WE always want you to be out at the right time of the day to ensure all the best animal action!

After a wonderful week in The Mara, WE will be resting for one more morning on 25th September and the Sunrise safari will still be cancelled. But, for Sunset Drive on the 25th of September WE will be starting safari 30 minutes later. Thereafter, both the sunrise and sunset safaris will follow the following schedule:

safariLIVE Time
Sunrise safari
23:30 pm - 02:30 am
20:30 pm - 23:30 pm
03:30 am - 06:30 am
05:30 am - 08:30 am
Sunset safari
09:30 am - 12:30 pm
06:30 am - 09:30 am
13:30 pm - 16:30 pm
15:30 pm - 18:30 pm

It’s time to break out the sunscreen, ice cold slushies and broad rimmed hats for the wonderfully warm spring weather!


(A Djuma sunset, Image Credit: Louise Pavid, Djuma Private Game Reserve)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

World Rhino Day - 22 September 2016

World Rhino Day - 22 September 2016

In Southern Africa we find the commonly called ‘White’ and ‘Black’ Rhino. Their actual names are the ‘Square lipped’ and ‘Hook lipped’ Rhino. Their names are derived from the shape of their mouths and lips. You may be wondering then if there are Rhino in Southern Africa, why have you not seen them grazing on the screens of safariLIVE?

The answer is of a solidarity nature. WE have taken a stand against poaching. WE will discuss them, however WE do not show these beautiful ungulates. The reasoning behind this is to secure the safety of the rhino.

This year on World Rhino Day WE are celebrating these highly endangered animals. As usual WE will not be showing any Rhinos but WE would love to answer as many questions about rhino as possible. Our presenters will be ready to give you any answers you need to bring more awareness to the species.

Here are three quick facts to get your grey matter into gear for Rhino day!

Fact 1 : Thick skins aren’t always hard!
Although a rhino has very thick skin, it is very sensitive. In fact, Rhinos can get sunburnt and bitten by insects, they are also incapable of sweating. This is why, similarly to the Elephant they will cover themselves in mud. Much like our ‘mud spas’, the mud offers the rhino protection and cools them down.

Fact 2 : A Midden of conversations
A pile of rhino dung is called a midden and  it holds valuable information for other rhinos. Upon finding a midden, a rhino will smell it, walk through it and then add their own dung to the mix. Through olfaction a rhino will be  able to communicate its age , its sex and its territory : This comes in handy when looking for a mate or avoiding a territorial battle.

Fact 3 : A family that laughs together, stays together
Rhino are territorial animals and although solitary, preferring to roam on their own, the White Rhino can be found to be living in family groups, especially the females and the calves. The calves are very playful and make a ‘mmmwonk’ sound when they are happy.

The greatest harm to the Rhino is not the natural predators in the wild, but rather humans. As marvelous and as healing as it is for the soul to watch a rhino, be it solo or in a crash, these animals do not have any medicinal attributes that would help humans in any manner whatsoever.

One of our greatest rhino protectors are the anti-poaching units. Pro-active and reactive anti-poaching ranger patrols reduce the level of poaching and increase the chances of catching rhino poachers. The poaching of rhino has subsequently reduced because of the fantastic and work that these units are doing.The official release from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs states that there have been 363 Rhino Poached so far in 2016, compared to 404 this time last year.

The Rhino is highly endangered, but with the efforts from all of us we can make a difference. As there is no reason for poaching to occur,  there is too no need for this animal to become extinct and WE would like to celebrate this animal more openly in the future.