The Week in Pictures : Barging into 2019 with Gusto

We’re barging into 2019 with the gusto of a revenge filled dagga boy stampeding towards its intended target. It’s going to be a year of endearing moments, bloodcurdling take downs and unique sightings. And we’re going to be right there – in the heart of the action – delivering new stories, videos and images of each performance. We trust that the year ahead will be filled with veritable delights from the wild. We’re looking forward to observing the shift in dynamics with big cats, and whatever else comes our way. 

In 2018 our Kruger camps enjoyed a number of noteworthy sightings and – in retrospect – the year was a successful one. We can’t complain about the smorgasbord of wildlife delights that came our way during the course of the year. Let’s hope 2019 delivers the same level of sightings. 2018 certainly set the bar in terms of game viewing.

What stood out for us in 2018? There seemed to be a marked increase in leopard sightings at our Kruger camps with the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and Sabi Sand bringing in the majority of leopard reports. Coupled with the increase in leopard sightings, we welcomed a number of lion cubs into the wild.  Ezulwini Game Lodges stole the limelight with consistent sightings of 11 cubs belonging to the reigning Machaton kings. Chacma Bush Camp have also enjoyed sightings of tough and tawny cubs on the Chacma traverse.  The Timbavati’s Walkers Bush Villa tend to enjoy a good balance of predator sightings, with reports of both leopard and lions being observed.

In years past, the Klaserie was famed for its abundant lion sightings, but it was the leopards that drove 2018. Will 2019 be the year of the lion for the Klaserie? Or will we enjoy 50/50 sightings of both? The dynamics of the lion prides in the Klaserie have provided us much confusion over the past year, and hopefully 2019 will be the year that sees a few dominant leos on the traverse. We can only hope that all of our camps look forward to further sightings, and that certain species reveal themselves more often!

Let’s transport ourselves back to present time and do a quick recap of the sightings from the past couple of weeks. The Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp teams observed a violent scuffle between two prides of lions (unidentified). In total there were 20 lions involved in the showdown, with two teams comprising 11 and 9 individuals. One of the prides wandered over into another’s territory and suffered the consequences!

Elephant at nThambo Leopard at nThambo Tree Camp Africa on Foot Giraffe Giraffe Calf and Adult Hyena at nThambo Wild Dogs at Africa on Foot

With Umkumbe Safari Lodge we continue the romantic saga between Nweti and Natumi, who were spotted enjoying yet another mating session. As December was drawing to a close a newborn albino elephant calf was spotted in the wild. A perfect gift in time for the festive season. Yesterday the southern pride of lionesses were seen lazing about in the heat of the day – always great to see this famous pride of lions. A highlight was a unique moment with a hyena cornered by a huge pack of wild dogs. Both species approached the game viewers, allowing visitors to relish the opportunity of getting up close and personal with predators!

Southern Lionesses Umkumbe Sunsets Nweti and Nyeti Wild Dogs at Umkumbe

Ezulwini Game Lodges continue with their vast array of sightings. There’s always a wildlife spectacle in the Balule, and guides ensure they’re constantly at the helm of the sightings. The Machaton male lions were – once again – spotted resting in the plush undergrowth. The Kudyela cubs often decide to put on an appearance for guests, which always makes for an enthralling experience. In other lion news, the 4 unknown male lions from the east made another guest appearance, adding to the lion sighting numbers.

Local leopard Chavaluthu has been mating with an unknown leopard, then 2 unknown leopards have also been mating.  The highlight of the week was the sighting of an unknown leopard together with her two cubs! The Olifants River is in full flow and is attracting a colourful array of summer migrant birds. Is that all? No, most certainly not. A huge pack of wild dogs were seen frolicking about, and a hyena clan was hovering outside an obvious den site.

Chavalathu the Leopard Elephants in the Balule Lion Cubs at Ezulwini Machaton Males Balule

Guide AD from Chacma Bush Camp said that the Maseke lion cubs were spotted over the weekend. These cubs are happy and healthy, and have certainly not shied away from the centre stage.

Chacma Lion Cubs Lion Cubs in Trees Leopards at Chacma Bush Camp Maseke Lion Cub at Chacma

Walkers Bush Villa  spotted the Giraffe Pride devouring a recent giraffe kill. The youngsters eventually moved off in search of water, while the larger male stayed to gorge itself on the rest of the kill. The team in the Timbavati have enjoyed ample sightings of elephants, leopards, lions and a curious hyena approaching the vehicle.

Our message to you? Barge into 2019 and make it count!

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