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Winter is definitely around the corner as there is a real chill in the early morning air and when the sun is down, with the days being shorter we are now on winter times for the game drives which means you have an extra half an hour to sleep, we are leaving the lodges half an hour later in the morning and half an hour earlier in the afternoon so we can have more light for you and I to take more photos of the amazing animals we have on offer.
On the wild life side of things, all is good as it is still raining enough to keep it green and moist; due to this the animals are in good condition and still full of energy, and with this seasonal change a lot of the animals are finding a mate so when summer returns we have the whole cycle starting again, with all the young being born. Some of the predators are having young in time for winter when the prey species loose condition making it easier for predators to catch food. The balance of life in the bush.
With the lions, everything is still going well, the two older cubs are growing stronger by the day, and the smaller cubs have been seen sharing a giraffe kill with all their fathers, this is good news for us as it looks as if their lives are no longer in danger from the Mapogo( dominant male lions). The three remaining mapogo are still going strong and have been seen mating with the only female from the ximungwe pride that has recently lost her cubs, the reason for the loss is unknown.
On the leopard side of life, we are seeing all the regular males and females, even some new faces like a young three year old male from the east that we see more and more around Ulusaba, he is known as the babalas male. We should be looking into changing his name as Babalas means hangover, to me he does not look green in the face and he walks in a straight line. Sorry but there is some sad news, I am sorry to tell you that hlabinkunsi has lost her last remaining cub to the shinzelle male, he is taking over our area and due to that he will kill all the cubs that are not his own, the female leopard will then come in to estrus within a short space of time so he can mate with her ensuring that it is his bloodline continues.
Buffalo sightings have been really good for us due to the regular visits from the big herd of nearly five hundred individuals, which consist of females, males and calves. We do still see the small male bachelor herds all over the reserve. Good grazing should ensure they will be her for some time to come.
Big elephant herds are still moving in and out of the area which makes for great opportunities to view the big gentle giants of the bush taking part in their favourite past time, eating and the new born calves having loads of fun!!! It is always awe inspiring to be near these majestic giants.
We've been fortunate to have seen some of the more uncommon creatures such as Caracal, a Caracal is a small seldom seen cat which looks very similar to a Lynx, which is probably only seen once a year if you're lucky, the female we saw was extremely relaxed, we had ongoing sighting for two days, I witnessed her stalk impala and when the male impala saw what was going on he chased her away. Wild Dogs, what can I say; they have not denned on our property for around 13 years and they have decided to come and have their pups on our property, the den is closed for another 2 weeks just to reduce pressure on the wild dogs, after that the sighting will be opened for us to enjoy the new born pups, which is a spectacle which not many people will be fortunate to see in their life time as these creatures are one of the most endangered large predators in Africa estimated to be around 3000 left on earth, so you can see how extremely fortunate we are and you can be if you come visit us soon.
Be sure to bring some warm clothes when you come to visit, looking forward to sharing some more of our magical experiences with you.
Best Regards Johan de la Rey
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