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Ulusaba

Leopards & Lions of the Ulusaba Bush!

Yebo everyone,

The past few weeks has yet again proven to us, how amazing the daily lives of our wonderful & most intriguing critters of the bush can be...

The scoop on the Leopards front... It all happened one afternoon on game drive just as the sun is drawing the day to a close as we were viewing a small herd of Zebra on an open clearing not too far away from Safari Lodge a huge troop of Baboons very loudly & anxiously calling alarm calls & barking...a sound of danger around in the mists...

...we turned around & went to investigate what the racket was all about. As we came close to the area of Mkaza Litshe (Cold Rock) where the Baboons were alarming from, one of my guests uttered out of excitement..." I just saw a tail of some sort"..."There in the bush in front of us"...excited & surprised we moved forward closer...and there out from the bush came this majestic, proud looking male leopard...Tegwane (Pr. Tegwaan) stepping into the road marking his territory...in the meantime the dominant male baboon came sneaking behind him to have a closer look, normally baboons will keep their distance from a leopard but not this time...this time Tegwane is in for a serious confrontation that might change his outlook on male baboons...in an instant Tegwane turned around facing his enemy, snarling & hissing at him, while the baboon stood upright making himself much bigger & opening his mouth wide to expose his lethal long K-9 like teeth, barking loudly, even echoing as the sun is setting...then silence, dead silence as if all critters knew...death is knocking at the door...in a nano second the two warriors collided with each other in fierce anger & ultimate strength with unbelievable loud & deep snarling, growling & grunting. They were biting & smacking eachother with no mercy, they went on for about 30 seconds & as if a referee stopped them in their tracks, leaping backwards through the air they both stopped... staring at each other grunting, snarling still & turned their backs on each other as to say, this was just a taste...a reminder of the strength to protect & they keep each other on their toes by showing aggressive dominance...remarkably none were seriously injured but their egos were shattered...Good luck boys!

On a much lighter note...Hlaba Nkunzi female leopard is doing very well in her little paradise of the bush. She is slowly but surely gaining more confidence in her hunting skills & expanding her territory giving her pride... she is Makwela's last offspring that made it to adulthood & she will most probably succeed in becoming the next Princess...

Oh don't forget...Makwela the proud mother of lots of offspring has made some wonderful appearances...she made a young Kudu kill close to Rock Lodge, she's been "mock" mating with Tegwane to distract his attention away from her new cubbies to keep them safe from him due to the possibility that he might kill them although he is the father she isn't risking it this time... leopard & lion females will do this kind of behaviour to let the males think the cubs are dead to prevent the males from searching for the cubs... Makwela is still lactating so we are holding thumbs that they would survive for us to she her pride & joy of fluffy bundles!!!

No sign of her cubbies yet but don't worry we will let you know in an instant when we see them!

The lions... Well let me put it this way...what we saw was just unbelievable & beat any National Geographic wildlife scene...

Driving down the road North of the Sand River which is still flowing very strongly, we turned off this small path heading North East, waiting to go into the Ottawa pride sighting which consist of 2 beautiful healthy lionesses & 6 cubs ranging from 11 months to 16 months. Not long we move into the sighting...

As we arrive the one lioness slowly walks around a Giant Raisin bush...slowly moving into a stalking posture...she peeps over a small thicket to see what is on the other side...she picked up a scent of impala antelope...we were parked behind her, having the height advantage of being in the game drive vehicle we had her & the herd of impala in great view...I turned around to my guests & whispered...she is stalking the impala & she is very close...we should be very quite & just be patient with her, she might just let us see her making a kill which is in general very rare to see, I suggested to switch on their video cameras & keep their cameras ready...

Patience is of the essence when predators are hunting...their stalking skills & maneuvers are amazing to witness...as most pride the lions work together in stalking & hunting which was definitely the case here, while the lioness close to us were doing the stalking from her side her sister stalked the impala from the other side of the herd...the cubs were told to stay put but too observe & learn the fine art of stalking & hunting prey which will in the years to come secure their own survival in the African bush...moments past...lioness frozen in her crouched stalking position...her eyes fixed on the impala's every move...the wind blowing form the impala to the lion insuring they don't detect her scent... The lioness on the opposite side starts bolting through the grass towards the impalas, the lioness close to us dashing towards them as well, the impalas alarm calling to warn everyone of the predators, all happening in seconds, the 2 lionesses chase one impala trying to separate him from the herd, my guests filming & snapping away with their cameras...we follow them but keeping our distance to avoid interference, the one lioness leaps through the air like a rocket, pounces on the impala & with a swift bite to the throat kills it, we move into position, the cubs hearing the growling of the lionesses knew it time to run for dinner...all 6 cubs dashing for a piece of meat, the whole pride snarling, growling & grunting at each other as they fight the battle to eat as much as they can...its interesting to know how family bonding the lions are when they have no food but when it come to food it an aggressive feeding frenzy...all for one & one for all...fight your own battles when it comes to food otherwise you won't survive...its hard to think that but Africa is a place of survival of the fittest...to view lions in this behaviour doesn't get seen very often especially from the beginning of the stalking to the end after the feast! It all is incredibly amazing to see, it was the first time I have seen this specific pride hunt from start to finish...we are mere spectators in the world of wildlife & we were so fortunate to see the whole event. The fighting between the cubs & females were of tremendous loudness...it makes one think twice of cuddling up with a cute lion cubbie!

We viewed the lions until most of their dinner were devoured & left to take the memories with us of an event of a lifetime...thank you Africa!

These were just some of the wonderful events we saw...

Time to say good bye for now...

Bush regards,
Duard