It has been an eventful month with many interesting sightings, from territorial disputes, cubs, and fantastic kills! This month I am structuring the diary a little differently and will be leaning towards a more statistical view.

Our most prolific of the big five animals this month with 71 different sightings consisting of 10 different individual leopards. Six of these leopards were males and four were females. We saw Nkarula (female) the most with 22 different sightings, some of the times by her self and some with her 2 boys (Mixo & Induna). Mvula (male) was seen on 12 occasions, Emsagwen (male) 3 times, Mafufunyane (male) 3 times and Jordan (male) 5 times. Mixo & Induna were seen on 15 occasions, sometimes apart but mostly together. Its nearing the time when they should be leaving mom and start looking for their own territories. Other females seen were Thandie (4 times), Ripape ( 3 times), and Inkanyeni (4 times). During the 4 times we viewed Inkanyeni she had her cub with her twice which is around 6 to 8 weeks old. Many kill sites were found and the most notable was oneday watching Nkarula and the boys moving through the bush when suddenly one of the boys got hold of a female Grey Duiker. He caught it at around 7: 45 and played with it until 11 o’clock when it eventually succumbed to blood loss and trauma!

Lion sightings were not as bountiful as the leopards but we had very interesting ones. A total of 43 different lion sightings were had. The sightings were made up of Gejima males (12 sightings), Mapogo males(6 sightings), Styx pride ( 8 sightings) but not always together. The Styx pride are fast becoming a very mysterious pride were there is a lot of splitting up and confusion as to where the rest of its members are. Nkuhuma pride, also not always together, were seen 15 times. When viewing the Nkuhuma lions we encountered mainly 2 females with a sub-adult male together but other times it was a single female with the 2 Gejima males and the odd occasion where it was just 2 females together. Then on the 14th of April during an afternoon drive we encountered a male coalition of 5 young males at Twin Dams! It turned into an amazing sighting when Nkarula and her 2 cubs joined the sighting! No harm was done to the leopards. The next day was an exciting experience as these 5 males found 6 of the Nkuhuma pride( 3 young males & 3 females) close to Big Dam in the North and proceeded to chase them into Manyeleti Game Reserve in an attempt to gain territory. Stay posted as to what happens in the next few months!!!

The ellies were a little scarce this month as there is so much food and water for them in the bush that they do not need to travel too far. A total of only 20 sightings were had which mainly consisted of the occasional bull wandering in search of females in oestrus. Breeding herds were extremely few and far between and we searched high and low for them. When we found a breeding herd we sat as long as we could with them as we knew it might be days until our next sighting of these majestic creatures.

We never battled finding buff this month as many of the larger dams had their regular “ dagga boys” in them on hot afternoons. We did however have few of the great big herds coming through. Only 12 sightings of the big herds were had but a good aspect about these herds is that as they leave the area a few of the older bulls tend to stay on for a few days!

White rhino are prolific in our area and we are blessed to have some regular “crashes”. A “crash” is the collective noun for rhino and on Western Gowrie we have a crash of 5 rhino which we regularly see. Short horn is our territorial bull with many encounters of him on Western Gowrie, Buffelshoek and Torchwood. A few other individuals pass through our area and over on to other properties. All in all we had 34 sightings of these horned beasts!

A few porcupine have been seen around Nyala dam and Mvubu road. Looking at these areas we find that they are relatively thick with bush and are rich in Tamboti trees which are one of the Porcupines favourite foods!
Cheetah sightings were rare this month with only 7 sightings which consisted of 4 males( Ngwenza coalition) on 3 occasions and our female and cub on 4 occasions.

I hope my style of setting out the diary is entertaining to you all.
I look forward to your comments.
Until next month.
Regards Djuma Ranger Team.