We had some very chilly nights and mornings in July to say the least, but I am happy to report that the temperatures are slowly rising with the onset of longer daylight hours. I must add that the ready hot chocolate, sherry and fireplace upon arrival from game drives easily put paid to any discomfort suffered due to the cold weather. Again, I emphasise that this did nothing to deter the animals of Welgevonden to present us with awesome sightings.
Firstly I’d like to start with the lions. I started out one cold morning following up on the tracks of the females and cubs, but could not locate them as their tracks disappeared into the gully just South West of the Lodge. Not deterred I went to go follow up on them in the afternoon, just to get an update that they had made a kill on Boekenhout road about two plus kilometres South of where we lost their spoor. On my way there we came across one of the females heading back on Eagle owl road towards the sight where we had lost their initial tracks. One of the other guides noted that she is the lactating female, thus the one that had the cubs recently. Upon confirmation that the cubs were not with the lions on the kill we quickly deduced that she was on her way to fetch the cubs where she had left them when the lionesses went out on the hunt.
Right then and there I decided that it would prove to be the better option to follow her and witness a very rare occurrence. It paid its dividends in spades! We followed her all the way, exactly to the spot where we lost the trail in the morning to the most fantastic sighting where mother and cubs were reunited with happy mewls, purrs and playful cajoling. After the joyful meeting she proceeded to shepherd them on in the direction of the kill. Need I say that the eventual meeting at the kill was just as special a sight to behold?
Apparently not sated enough from the Wildebeest they had killed that evening they made another kill of a small impala on site 22’s access a day later. That already being a great sighting just got ten times better when I drove off and encountered a female leopard sitting nonplussed 50 meters away from the lions. Although as the wind changed direction she quickly sneaked off as she got wind of the lions’ close proximity.
Furthermore we were entertained to a cheetah killing an impala ewe on Fig tree plains. What’s more is that we witnessed him returning twice to the kill and managing to devour the whole carcass in the two following two days. The Shambala male leopard also did us a favour by catching a rogue baboon that was getting a bit over familiar at the Lodge. Amazingly, this was witnessed as he was dragging the carcass off into the treeline above the cliffs overlooking Shibula by a guest sunbathing at the pool.
I was fortunate enough to show my guests the big five and a cheetah in one single day, so without a doubt July was a remarkable month for sightings, and I expect August to be just as exciting! Look out for next month’s update.
|Spot the leopard – As seen from the Lodge pool.
From the Shibula team: Laurie, Desre', Thomas, Sean & staff.
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