Cyberdiary – 22 March 2012

Sunset by Andrei Snyman

There has been no rain for the past two weeks! Although a warm and sunny day may quickly turn into a windy afternoon with massive clouds rolling in – showing promise of rain – we wait in vain. The landscape has seen worse and perhaps, like last year, the month we’ll finally get rain is known as April…

General game sightings are plentiful and the waterholes, be it in riverbeds or those outside Main Camp & Tented Camp, are abuzz with activity. Two nights ago, while hosting guests in the famous ‘Gin-Trap’ at Main Camp, a female leopard made an appearance and walked right into the light, quenched her thirst and walked off into the night. Now, what could be better than having a G&T or glass of wine on the deck, while watching one of the most elusive cats stroll past?!

Warthogs, zebra and wildebeest are commonly found feeding on the last remaining green pastures along riverbeds. Although  some nutritious resources can be obtained along these green patches, these animals completely sacrifice safety for food – as a family of warthogs can attest to…

While following a large territorial male leopard along the Majale River, I noticed four warthogs feeding very close on the path where this male was headed. I drove past the sounder of warthogs, switched off my vehicle and got the camera ready. The warthogs were completely unaware of the hidden danger, now crouching behind a rock watching them, and slowly kept grazing towards the leopard. Just at the right moment, when all the warthogs were either feeding heads down, or looking the other way, the leopard make his move. It all happened in seconds. Ironically, the only warthog screaming for dear life was the poor piglet that knew the leopard was after it! Unfortunately those little legs could not run fast enough, and the soft riverbed sand clearly gave the broad-padded cat the advantage with running. That same male made a zebra fowl kill the following afternoon, and the female leopard seen at the Main Camp waterhole caught and killed a Steenbok just outside the main gate of the camp.

"The chase is on" by Andrei Snyman

Cheetah sightings were also plentiful, and the mother and her five cubs are still doing just fine. They were seen feeding on a juvenile Kudu earlier this week – a good week for cats sightings!

Cheetahs by Andrei Snyman

African Hawk Eagles were mostly seen  hunting during the morning hours, notably around the White Cliffs, where numerous rock hyraxes are residing. These awesome birds were also frequently seen hunting  guinea fowl.

Two pythons were spotted close to Main Camp. One was tracked back into a vacant aardvark burrow, where it was lying digesting its previous meal. The massive ‘drag’ mark left by the snake made for quick tracking, and from the size of the belly of the snake it could have been a steenbok-sized antelope that was killed, or perhaps an impala lamb from last year.

An unknown number of African Wild dogs were seen being chased by two lionesses in the central area – close to the Limpopo river border. As the main pack is monitored via a satellite collar, this was believed to have been a different group of dogs, as the main pack is far north in the reserve. Time will tell which dogs these are.

Visit our Facebook and Flikr albums to see more photos.

See you out there,

Andrei



2 Responses to “ “Cyberdiary – 22 March 2012”

  1. Nancy Lewis says:

    So much activity! Exciting to think there are new dogs in the area. I love these updates; having been there it makes imagining the activity so real. Having seen one snake, of only medium size, I can imagine the thrill of seeing one so big!! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return but I will always hope.
    Thanks for the updates! It’s good to see Mashatu on facebook so often.

    • mashatu says:

      It’s our absolute pleasure, Nancy, to be able to connect with you with Mashatu’s news – albeit remotely. We hope to have the pleasure of sharing the real thing with you again in the not-too-distant future!

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