Djuma Private Game Reserve » Gowrie Gang Experience the Magic of Djuma Live! Sun, 12 Feb 2017 02:41:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mixo vs Xivambalana! Wed, 19 Oct 2011 14:36:53 +0000


Hi everyone!
What an exciting couple of days we have had with the drives!

WE first heard the brilliant news about Mixo, Karula’s son, being around the lodge on Sunday morning 16 Oct from the guides. With him being nearly 3 years old, he left home to explore further afield about 6 months ago and nobody has seen hide or hair of him since! This is normal for leopards of his age to start cutting his own way in the world and they usually disperse from their natal area which is nature’s way of avoiding inbreeding. Sometimes they go by themselves, sometimes they may get a nudge from their mother or the dominant males in the area.


After speaking to the guides they confirmed they had not seen Mixo since he meet his mother and younger siblings while they fed on a carcass on the quarantine open area around 6 months ago. As I understand from them, during the time they were together one of the cubs cut mixo on the nose, which is why he now has a scar!

Young Nkuhuma female with the Matimba male

Tracks were found on Zoe’s road that morning and headed north past FC. The guides went to check the other side of the lodge and found Mixo sleeping close to Umvubu road! After making sure guests had got his best side for pictures, he disappeared into the drainage line! Marc even found fresh remains of an impala that was killed on the Northern side of the open area the same morning. Unsure of who the culprit was, we could be sure who ended up with the carcass after finding drag marks across the road…hyenas! It could be possible Mixo made the kill, but didn’t have chance to hide it in the tree before the hyenas came!

Shirley and the kids, Genesis and Evelyn

The following drives brought no more news of him, but we were extremely happy to spend time with Karula on MMM while she started to search for potential breakfast. She was like a cub again, getting so exited her tail was held so high, it was like she was waving her surrender! We even had the privilege of meeting a couple of viewers as they sat with Karula just a few metres from them lounging in the Marula tree!

Teddy, with a splash of pink on the nose!

That afternoon I headed back in the hope of finding Karula or even the cubs who we had just missed in the morning. They had decided the view was good from the Western side of MMM and waited for Karula to come back with lunch and sadly that is where still Xivindzi was in the afternoon. Just as we out this information from another guide, Sebastien was trying to tell me something, but that area is notorious for radio interference, getting only “FC” each time, eventually we hear, “leopard, FC”! Putting 2 and 2 together we all immediately thought it could be Mixo!

Zoe’s road never felt so long! We finally made it to Galago shortcut, after confirming with Seb, he was heading towards that side, I turned onto a two track that leads down to Grahams house. As the dusk was setting in I strained to see any movement around Graham’s house or the open area. I noticed something out the corner of my eye and the realisation came to me and Marc at the same time..a leopard was a couple of metres away in from of the vehicle! Frantically searching for my binoculars I tried to catch a glimpse of any facial markings. I thought I saw a Y but it was so quick I couldn’t study it to confirm!


He continued on his merry way, crossing over Vuyatela access and kept low as he made a beeline to where we had seen impala on Zoe’s road. He stoped in front of us briefly looking down his nose with just the look of Mixo. The only thing that struck me was how small he was, but I had not seen him for a while and with out anyone to compare him with. I didn’t think about it any further.

He strolled down the road, stopping to look at the impala, when one signaled the alarm he was taken a back slightly! I should have realised at this stage it was a mistaken identity, but with concentrating on just keeping up with him and everything else at that stage, my brain went on leave! WE followed for a bit as he looked to be making his way towards impala plains, cutting through the bush I hoped to get a last glimpse that would give us something, but decided to leave him instead, still not 100% sure if it was Mixo or not!

After some great detective work many started to consider Xivambalana and a special thanks to 2 people, firstly to Minerva Cox who found a great side comparison of the unknown leopard on drive and Mixo. I never knew about the ZZCIS on Mixo’s right hip! Some people even noticed who narrow the face was.

The second big thanks goes to Annlyn with her great side comparison which identified our mystery cat as Xivambalana!

I can’t believe how much he has grown firstly and how far he traveled from where Karula and Xivindzi were. It could be he went to drink from the dam, I found out later that it was only Xivindzi who was seen that morning, but he seemed to know exactly where he was going! It just goes to show expect the unexpected. He didn’t even enter into my head because of where the cubs were seen! Just shows they are growing up and starting on the road to becoming independent and great to see Xivambalana is starting to gain courage on his own!

Baby elephant

Thank you so much to every one in helping in the positive id with Mixo and Xivambalana!
Not only did we have great leopard sightings, but the Gowrie gang kids were in full sing of play, crowned lapwing chicks barely a day old were running around, one of the young Nkuhuma lionesses was mating with a Matimba male, Teddy, we think is around 3 months old vocalised for us and we even saw a tiny baby elephant who couldn’t have been more than a couple of days old! Look out for it on the waterhole camera!

Written by Tara

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All the spots this week! Sun, 25 Sep 2011 09:03:03 +0000

Hi everyone,
Is it just me or do you sometimes feel there are just not enough hours in the day?!
Not only have we spent some quality time with Xivindzi, as well as the leopard family, but we even had a sighting of the rare wild hunting dogs!! Albeit briefly, but we had the pack of 6 adults plus 5 pups run out in front of us after we responded to the radio call about them. I was thinking the pack had already moved on and was working out where was best to go when all of a sudden 1 popped out and ran west over mmm road, quickly followed by another and then the rest of the pack streamed out of the bush in front of us!
They looked to be picking up the scent of something in the bush, then it was back  onto mmm. WE were surrounded by them! I even had a pup come right up to Ganda totally oblivious to us, focused on what the adults were doing. They had decided to head south and it looked like they were heading for the buffalo herd. As the pups started to follow, something caught the attention of all the pack almost instantaneously and as quick as lightning they were bolting right past the vehicles back the way they had come. With it getting dark I didn’t follow but tried to see what had scared them. Nothing showed it self, what ever it was would have to remain a mystery. What puzzled me was the appearance of an adult who seemed either totally unaware of what taken place a few minutes before or was so confident what ever it was had gone. Trotting along in the direction the pack had headed, the trail was found and it too disappeared as darkness fell!
Karula and family on the 24th Sept 2011, Sheryl Foot
The last couple of days we have had Karula with both cubs feeding from another impala, this time on the firebreak close to Tamboti dam. Graham found them on the 22nd not too long after the kill had been made.
Debra Baudoin of Xivindzi
Xivindzi was busy feeding when Seb arrived. Sadly this time of year we are going to be seeing more female impala being taken. With them being pregnant and carrying slightly more weight it will slow them down a bit, which will make them an easy target for predators like Karula.
 Xivambalana (left) and Xivindzi (right) by Kim on the 24th
I think having fed well last week on another impala, the family are taking a little longer to finish this carcass, especially when you consider barely a day had passed by before they finished that meal and fled from the hyena.
Xivindzi 20th Sept by Pat
What I have found so fascinating is to see the interactions between the family but also to see what they get up to when they are on their own! Sept 20th was when Marc and I spent almost all afternoon with Xivindzi on galago shortcut. Her brother was no where to be seen, Karula must have been off hunting the result of which caused the family to relocate to their present location on the firebreak.
Patty Mulligan: Xivindzi 20 Sept 2011
It was a delight to watch her curiosity as possibly a mouse caught her eye and then a go-away bird. After lounging around the termite mound occasionally surveying the area from her vantage point, she became restless and started to search for hidden snacks and climb trees that looked like they would provide entertainment in one way or another!
                                           Xivindzi by Bobby Hampton
At one point the female with the 2 notches in her right ear dropped by and to our amazment Xivindzi stayed put on her log and watched as the hyena approached. Her normal nemesis simply regarded her from a couple of meters away before stolling away in the direction we had seen floppy ear snoozing! This was also amazing as she was relaxing a few meters from where Xivindzi had first been sitting when we arrived!
Speaking of hyena, it reminds me of another incredible interaction we were lucky enough to witness. The morning of the 21st started slow until we had a radio call about one of the mother hyena carrying a cub towards the old hyena den on Phillamon’s cutline. I was close by so responded. By the time we caught up with the mother she was already at the den and no sign of the cub, but we were not alone. The Gowrie gang had also turned up during their search for breakfast. Understandably the mothers kept a respectful distance from the potential threat, but Gawdy, the only male in the group, made a bee-line straight towards the spotted predator. Brimming with confidence as he walked, he tried to intimidate her by shaking the tree branches he was stood on. She turned from him at which point it seemed both understood each other and their capabilities. She did take chances and squeezed into the opening, maybe checking the cub was as far back out of reach from the danger that lurked outside. We waited until eventually she struggled to back out of the hole. Satisfied, she started to move away from the hole in the direction she had just come from possibly to go and collect the other cub.
It was then that Gawdy went to investigate. Keeping his distance, he bent low to the ground, trying to see what the mother had left behind. She realised what he was upto and came charging back in to chase him off! Gawdy gave up maybe a little too easily, casually walking away from her at which point she set on her mission once again. We lost her in the drainage line East of Weavers nest and even when we returned to wait at the den, the baboons were still foraging, but there was no sign of her returning. We still don’t know if she is there, we have been back a couple of times but no sign so far, she might have moved again or something might have happened during the time she was away. Baboons have been known to kill cheetah and leopard cubs, so a hyena cub could also be taken. It is hard to say if Gawdy returned, but personally I don’t think he did, I think he was curious but was not willing to go into the hole as he was extremely weary of what could be in there!
 Thank you so much to everyone for sending in pictures, I tried to use as many as I could!
 I can’t wait to see what the next few days have in store for us!
Written by Tara
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