31st May - 4th June
Report by Brad, Guide at Ulusaba
We started this week off with a fantastic sighting of Ravenscourt on the remains of a bushbuck kill he had stolen from Euphorbia, another male leopard in the area. We arrived whilst both leopards were still in the area and eventually five hyenas joined in on the action, lucky the kill had been hoisted before they had arrived!
We tried numerous times to see the little lion cubs which are around 10-12 weeks old which we first observed a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, mum was nowhere to be seen so the cubs remained hidden. We managed however to see one of the adult Ottawa females with one of the Tumbela males.
The Ottawa Female
We came back from a lovely morning drive to have breakfast and do a bushwalk. We were located at Rock Lodge so had a great height advantage to scan what animals were in the area. We discovered a few bull elephants around the Xikwenga Dam. We plotted our route from pumphouse pan towards the dam and managed to see some hippos and a crocodile out of the water! Then we heard the elephants grumble in the distance and decided to plan a route to spot them. We managed to see not one but five bull elephants on foot - it was thrilling!
One of the bull elephants
We then headed south in hopes of finding some rhino but instead managed to come across the Boulders female, who seemed to be on a mission to find a trespasser. She was zigzagging everywhere so we followed her for as long as we could before she disappeared into the thicket.
The Boulders Female
We tried on three occasions to see the lion cubs, and on our third try we got lucky! We had experienced some rain the night before so we suspect the mother moved the cubs from the river bank as a result. We managed to have a fantastic sighting of all 3 cubs as well as the three Ottawa lionesses. They gave us such great entertainment and photo opportunities! Constantly playing and biting each other!
The lion cubs
5th - 11th June
Report by Ryan, Guide at Ulusaba
The last week out in the bush has been a bit of a challenging one as we had our first proper cold front moving through. Evening and morning temperatures were very low and it took quite some time for it to warm up in the mornings.
Mornings at Ulusaba
But as usual, the animals impressed and a lot of our cats were very successful during the week. It was a little quieter on the big herbivore front though as a lot of them stuck to the thickets and drainage lines, avoiding the cold and chilly winds.
However we were lucky enough to see Randzekile the elephant (Shangaan for 'Loved') and her herd. She has a birth defect at the base of her trunk and an opening has formed reaching into her nasal cavity. It doesn’t seem to have too much of a negative effect on her although you can hear her breathing and water tends to spill out of it as she drinks. Only 2% of her breathing is through her trunk and the rest via the hole in her forehead. Over the years the wildlife vets have monitored her; when they first found her and examined her, they didn’t give her much chance. Miraculously with the support and assistance from her family unit she has managed to adapt to survive and we have recently seen her with a newborn calf!
Randzekile and the calf
As Brad mentions above, Ravenscourt stole a bushbuck kill from Euphorbia last week; however, he gave us a great show this week as we watched him feeding on a female impala kill, with a few hyenas waiting underneath him for scraps. Again Ravenscourt wasn't too far away, but the two didn’t bump into one another.
The Ottawa lionesses also spoilt us with a great showing of the cubs. Two of the lionesses managed to kill a large kudu cow and we watched as they brought the little ones in to feed. Always an incredible experience.
The male cheetah made a brief appearance for a few days, but had a fat stomach the whole time, so no hunting from him unfortunately.
At least next week the weather is looking to warm up, so fingers crossed!
Brad & Ryan
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