A Kruger Wildlife Update

We’ve taken you on a sensory journey through our camps and lodge offerings, showcasing their boma areas and accommodation offerings. From a lodge perspective, these visuals have provided ALL the feels. Now it’s time for us to reveal our recent predator sightings, and update you about the regular goings-on while out on game drive. After all, the main reason you’re on safari is to get up close and personal with wildlife. We’ve chosen Africa on Foot, nThambo Tree Camp and Nambu Camp who’ve been at the helm of recent sightings. Without further ado, here is your Kruger wildlife update.

Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp  

First up, let’s tackle the Klaserie Camps and their spate of lion sightings. Many years back, I was introduced to old school legend lions of the Good and the Bad. And then got to know the Ross Pride, some white lions that moved across from Timbavati, and even came face-to-face with Mabande. The lion antics of the Klaserie have always been dramatic. But those feline legends remain just that: legends of the Klaserie. Today, it’s the Vuyela Pride that call Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp their home.

Africa on Foot has a weekly sightings board, where the team logs the number of sightings alongside the species. The lion count is ridiculously high. Last week Monday there were 5 sightings in one day, and a daily sighting of lions subsequent to that. There were just two days last week when lions weren’t seen.

The lions were, of course, the Vuyelas. The Vuyela Pride has healthy cubs and the pride is growing. It goes without saying that they’re a stable pride on the nThambo Tree Camp and Africa on Foot traverse. Not settling for the current batch of cubs, two of the pride decided to enjoy a mating session. Does this mean even more cubs in the future? Only time will tell. The team have also noticed an increase in seeing a few break-away mini-prides and coalitions spending time together. During one sighting, two of the Vuyela males came right up to the vehicle, which meant guests got to see their sheer power and confidence. Other sightings have included witnessing the full pride on a kill, observing a lioness clamber up a tree and just chilling with the pride while they laze around in the thickets.

We did mention that the Vuyelas are the stable pride of the area, but something odd happened in the world of lions. A pride called the Sark Pride (5 lionesses) wandered over to explore new territory. The Sark Pride is the Vuyelas natal Pride, and guide Matt believes the lionesses are seeking protection from the Vuyelas. The Sark Pride could add a new dynamic to the Vuyelas if things progress.

That’s enough about lions. Let’s chat about the African wild dogs. They’re back in town, and they appear to be the same dogs that return year after year. In total, the team counted 24 Wild Dogs. It’s great seeing them this time of year, given that pups are usually born from May to early June. For 3 months, the dogs remain around a den site. Seeing the nomadic dogs this time of year is a privilege.

And leopards? Guides have stumbled across the same male leopard a few times, which is interesting. He was spotted relaxing in the road and take pride of place in a tree. There’s no ID on this male, but he certainly seems to be relaxed in his environment—even with all the lions around.

Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside 

Umkumbe is known for their prolific leopard sightings, but the past few weeks their lion sightings have taken centre stage. Obviously the high rate of leopard sightings continue, and are worthy of an update. But let’s chat lions before we delve into the other sightings. The Styx Pride of lions were seen relaxing in an open area close to the jeep track. This pride is predominantly females, and has come over from more northern regions of the Sabi Sand. It’s not the first time the team have seen the Styx Pride, and we certainly hope it won’t be the last.

So, let’s circle back to leopards. While out on evening game drives, it’s the Nottins male leopard that’s been charming guests and guides with his presence. The most endearing sighting was pne of the eagle-eyed guides spotting one of Ntsumi’s cubs resting in a drainage line, along with seeing her moving her cubs to a safer space. Oh, there was also a memorable sighting to Nweti stalking plains game. Guide Tyron managed to capture all of this on camera! Thanks, Ty.

In other sightings, the team saw 4 wild dogs…AND an aardvark was seen on the camera trap in the dead of night. Aardvark are notoriously shy and live deep within burrows. All in all, a complete array of sightings for Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside this month.

Nambu Camp 

We need to highlight a few of the amazing sightings at Nambu Camp and just how incredible the Olifants West Nature Reserve is for sightings. Nambu’s guides have delivered a complete range of sightings, from plains game to predators. There have been high counts of elephants frolicking in the waterhols, abundant impala, rhino, birds and zebra.

But what’s really stood out is the dominant Mashangulu male lion staking his claim on the turf around Nambu. The team captured a video of him advertising his territory, while casually enjoy his time in the sun. Nothing better than a sighting of a burly male lion while out on game drive. Another highlight was the appearance of the African wild dogs exploring the open road, as well as a sighting of a territorial hippo guarding its dam with vigour.