Friday the 6th of January
This weeks Cat Report couldn’t get off to a more exciting start. Just minutes before the sunrise safari kicked off Karula caught an impala lamb just meters from the vehicle. Once she had caught her breath she promptly hoisted the kill and went in search of her two hungry cubs. By the time the sunset safari was coming to a close, young Hosana was feeding hungrily on the carcass.
(Karula preparing to hoist her fresh impala lamb kill, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The Styx pride had also made a return to Djuma on this warm afternoon. WE caught up with the mobile cats as they walked into a dense thicket to take refuge from the blazing sun. All three lionesses were present with their two tiny new cubs. The lions made slow progress to the west throughout the afternoon, stopping every now and then to allow their noisy little fluff balls a chance to suckle.
(Little Styx cub walks up to mom for a cuddle, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Saturday the 7th of January
Karula, Hosana and Xongile were once again found in the early hours of the morning. They were mobile south and as they walked so the cubs bounded and played with each other. Eventually they made their way through a rather dense thicket and we lost sight of them. Later that afternoon both the young princess and prince were found resting near treehouse dam. Xongile was restless and after a short drink set about exploring her surrounding from the tops of various termite mounds.
(A bored looking Xongile resting on a termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Further to the west the Nkuhuma pride had been found once again on a buffalo carcass. Although only scraps remained the lions still squabbled over meaty bits of bone. Only three lionesses were present with the six naughty lion cubs. One Birmingham male, Tinyo, was also present and created havoc as he chased lionesses off what little of the carcass remained. There was also one brave little female jackal who seized her opportunity to steal from the king of the beasts while all the cats napped off their swollen beefy bellies.
(Nkuhuma lioness takes a break from feeding and fighting for a drink, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
WE were fortunate enough to have one more stroke of spotted luck for the day. Thandi had been found resting up on the southern boundary with her young cub feeding on a small nyala kill. Thandi slept peacefully atop a termite mound while her little ball of spotted fluff fed hungrily on what remained of the carcass. Eventually WE left the sighting as these two cats were in popular demand by other eager safari goers.
Sunday the 8th of January
Hosana and Xongile were still knocking about where the Queen had left them. Clearly bored they played and explored until faint contact calls could be heard. Sure enough Karula had returned to fetch her two quickly growing youngsters. Within minutes they had been safely shepherded across the southern boundary and out of sight.
(Hosana and Xongile waiting patiently for Karula to return, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)
On the western boundary of Djuma and Arathusa the three Styx lionesses and their cubs had been found on a fresh kudu kill. The lionesses fed hungrily and filled their bellies to the point of bursting before dozing off. The cubs rested and took the opportunity for a nibble at the carcass and a chance to suckle whenever they could.
(Styx lioness, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Monday the 9th of January
A roaring start to the morning with the Nkuhuma pride on a fresh buffalo kill. Only three of the lionesses were present with their six little trouble makers. The lions fed greedily on the carcass before eventually flopping over for a good day nap with full-to-bursting stomachs! Later that afternoon the cats were much the same and WE left them in search of something a little more active.
(Fat little Nkuhuma cub resting after eating all night, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
To the far east WE managed to locate young Vutomi on a tiny little tortoise kill. Once he had finished he moved about in search of yet more morning snacks like any other young and quickly growing man. He eventually found an old buffalo carcass and munched away happily at the hard and dry remains.
(Young Vutomi cleaning some tortoise out of his tooth, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Later that afternoon WE were treated to a sighting of Kuchava, Thandi’s oldest independent cub. She was found resting up on Cheetah Plains, soon she became bored and decided to go on a little adventure that lead her straight into trouble. A small rock monitor lizard caught her attention and she swatted at it playfully, the monitor however did not take as kindly to her and with one cracking lash of its powerful tail, Kuchava was sent in the opposite direction. She then spent the rest of the afternoon playing on termite mound and in the tops of trees.
(Young Kuchava exploring the tops boughs of a marula tree, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Tuesday the 10th of January
Some more lion action lay in store for the safariLIVE crew today, well, perhaps “action” is a strong term. The lions were still feeding on their buffalo carcass, not much remained and the only evidence that a buffalo was even there was in the low, round and swinging bellies of the lionesses and the equally as rotund cubs. The cats then flopped in a tawny heap under some thick and shady bushes, sleeping off the remainder of the beefy feast.
(Nkuhuma lioness licking her rather large chops, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Wednesday the 11th of January
The sun broke the horizon, crisp and clear as roars of the Birmingham males echoed across the lowveld. WE eventually caught up with three of the dominant males shortly after they went flat on Arathusa. Tinyo, Mfumo and Nenha were all present and looked rather fetching with their salon quality manes gleaming in the morning light. They then spent the majority of the day motionless and asleep, when WE caught up with the big cats later that afternoon they seemed to have barely moved at all!
(Nenha looking particularly fetching in the morning light, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Thursday the 12th of January
The morning brought with it an incredible golden sunrise and what better way to appreciate it than with a sighting of Hosana and Xongile moving through the verdant grass in a golden halo. The two cubs stalked and pounced on each other before some unwelcome guests sent them dashing into the tree tops. A group of three spotted hyaena trotted through the area no doubt looking for a few scraps. The two cubs peered down at them curiously before we eventually had to leave the sighting.
(Young Hosana relaxes on a small termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Later that afternoon WE were treated to a sighting of the Queen herself. Karula was first found on foot and soon a vehicle was called in for a closer look. The Queen sat, regal as ever, in the warm light of yet another hot African day. Yet soon she was up and on the hunt, she wove through the bush trying every which way she could to lose us and eventually she was successful.
(Queen Karula on the hunt, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 13th of January
Roars broke the pre-dawn silence as Nsuku, one of the Birmingham males called out to his brothers from the Djuma dam this morning. WE rushed to the scene just in time for him to begin his day-long cat nap. The big and impressive male lion lay in all his splendor across the cool sandy road. Eventually he rose and took refuge under a large bush where he spent the rest of the morning napping peacefully.
(Nsuku resting calmly while waiting to hear from his brothers, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)