Djuma Private Game Reserve » Mixo Experience the Magic of Djuma Live! Sun, 12 Feb 2017 02:41:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Karula’s family tree – Her son Induna – part 2 Thu, 24 Nov 2011 09:10:30 +0000

Induna after a successful hunt by the lodge.

Hi everyone,

As the end draws closer I think it is only right to finish what I started and that was Karula’s family tree. The last blog looked at Induna and how to identify him, in this one we have a look at his personality! He was doted on by his mother more so than Mixo was and I think that does have a lot to do with him not leaving home yet! While Mixo left about 6 months ago, Induna, thankfully for us, has remained here. He seems to have gone searching other areas close to home, but decided mother’s territory is best!

Induna on the left and his mother Karula on the right!

He is really starting to come of age, having made some impressive kills of his own, one of which was a kudu calf a few months ago, which must have weighed the same as him if not slightly larger. I think once he is fully grown he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for sure! I think he has struggled in the past to tree his kills and because of this, he has lost a number to his nemesis, the hyena. He doesn’t mess around with them, it is straight up the tree at first sign of the distant relative approaching.

Now he is 3 years old and gaining muscle he has been protecting his meals in a tree more readily. I do not doubt he tries his luck for a free meal, as I think he has done a few times in the past with both his mother and father, but I think he is gaining more confidence in his own hunting too!

Xivambalana on the left with Induna on the right.

The incredible interaction between him and his siblings, albeit under supervision of either parent, is something quite amazing! Sadly I missed the drive with Marc where Xivindzi took an interest in her brother from her vantage point and proceeded to climb down, walk up to him and tap him on the nose! I can’t believe we had the privilege of seeing him with both cubs a few months later! His sister came to say hello, but he was not overly welcoming, his younger brother was so intrigued by him, it took a lot of snarling from Induna to stop him from following! At one point he did look like he might entertain the idea of play but another growl signaled that idea was short lived, if it was true!

Collage of the boys, Mixo and Induna!

One of his nicknames is “fumble paws!” This, sadly to say, is quite accurate! I am told from word go he was constantly moving his mother’s kill around in the tree, so much so he often dropped it! After watching him now with his kills, I wonder if it is purely because he finds it uncomfortable to feed on while in the tree and prefers to eat on the ground. We have seen recently on a couple of occasions where a kill is lodged in the tree and brought down to feed on, then placed back in the tree again! Either that or he enjoys the exercise!

The only picture I got of the boys playing!

He has certainly shared a few more mysteries about his character with us by staying here and has helped to answer those hard questions I remember having when the cubs were so young, about what he is likely to do if he ever met them and will Karula allow him to meet them! Not only this, he has opened our eyes to more of the rarely witnessed leopard behaviours. One of the sightings that I will always remember was him playing cat and mouse with a baby monkey. It was so heart wrenching to watch, but it was still part of his own learning process, practicing and perfecting his skills, understanding how this potential prey moves and reacts. I think that day we all routed for the monkey though.

He seemed to be closer to his brother Mixo, than Xivindzi and Xivambalana seem to be! They were still playing with each other even when I arrived in March, which would make them around a year and 4 months of age. I remember the first time I was on camera with them casing each other in the drainage line on Weaver’s nest and hyenas bursting in on them, forcing them to climb out of harms way rapidly!

The day the hyenas chased Induna and Mixo on weaver’s nest road!

They parted company when they were much older, over a year and half at least, but I remember the day we saw them sitting with each other on Philamon’s cutline in the early morning rays. Induna got up and walked off and we followed Mixo. That was the day we sat over some bone fragments he wanted to inspect and came within cm’s of Marc’s foot!

“Brotherly love!” Induna on the left, Mixo on the right

This was the last time I can remember seeing the boys together, although we saw them for a while afterwards, it was always without the other. They did come together briefly on the open area when they were around 2 years of age, but this time there was an invisible barrier between them. Neither growled or bared teeth, nor was there nuzzling or playing; the boys had grown up.

The day they found a snake skin! Induna on the left and Mixo on the right!

I will miss our special family deeply and hope to return someday, if at the very least to catch up on what Karula and her family have been up too, but if ideas work into becoming reality, I hope it will turn out to be for a little longer than a quick hello! I will keep you all posted, but as yet it is only ideas that need to be built on and everything is still up in the air!

Thank you once again for the pictures and this time I added a few of my own memories too!

Written by Tara

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Family reunions Mon, 24 Oct 2011 12:00:18 +0000

Hi everyone,

Once again we have had some wonderful interactions this week! We have been fascinated by the hyena clan and a few mysteries there have been solved!


We have only really seen Teddy’s mum over the last few visits with the other 2 mothers being very scarce! I was convinced floppy ear was mum to the oldest set of cubs out of the 4, but sadly my bubble was well and truly burst on the 20th Oct, when an old looking lady came back to the den with what seemed to be a kudu leg. She allowed the older cubs, her offspring, to feed on it while keeping the other 2 and even teddy at bay.  What was interesting was the fact Teddy’s mum sniffed this female’s genitals, a standard greeting, when she arrived. This confirmed to us Teddy’s mum was lower in rank to the dominant female, even though Teddy seems to act otherwise! This mother has both ears in tact and has a small pink spot under her nose which you might see on the picture.

We still were not 100% sure if floppy ear was the other mother, thankfully though this mystery was resolved when a couple of days later our lady wandered up to the den to nurse the other 2 cubs! For some reason we have just been missing the other mothers when we visit the den. Both sets of cubs are probably around 8 months old now and will soon be joining the adults when they go foraging for food, but they may continue to nurse until they are a year to a year and half old!

Floppy ear and her cubs!

The latest on the other spotted family was a report about one of the cubs being on the quarantine open area 20mins after we closed down last night! The last time they had been seen before this was by Marc on the 22nd. Both Xivindzi and Xavambalana were spending some quality time resting together on Impala plains, after some intense play with Karula. They had been found at the hyena den on Zoe’s road that morning before they made their way to the plains where Karula left her family to go and hunt. It is amazing the size difference that is already showing between the two cubs and how much both have grown almost catching mum up!

Xivambalana is sitting at the back, his sister Xivindzi in front. (Although Xivindzi looks even smaller than she is in this picture from the perspective it was taken from!)

It is a wonder where Karula had left them the day before as Seb and myself found Xivindzi down in the drainage line by Tree house dam after a squirrel was calling at the top of it’s lungs about the impeding danger! She was certainly eager for food, jumping after birds, watching anything else that moved, as she wound her way through the bush, using the odd termite mound for an advantage point. Although she did miss the impala, until they spotted her and they also gave the alarm! The other guides had Karula heading down to tree house dam, but we couldn’t stay for the reunion. It is anyone’s guess what they got up to between then and the morning when they were found by the hyena den!

Xivindzi on the left, Xivambalana on the right

Yambilu-Jordaan even made an appearance this week on the 19th and 20th we caught up with him! He had taken a male nyala down by the gate on the morning of the 19th. Marc headed back later that afternoon and found Mixo had joined his father, but sadly we didn’t see him the following morning. He may have been there and we missed him or he may have either been encouraged to moved on by his father or decided to leave on his own accord. What was great to see was Yambilu-Jordaan starting relax with us being there. He became more bothered by the flies then our presence and looked like a cub again as he struck out and tried to catch them as they buzzed this way and that!

Lastly the check list challenge is well under way with some great finds like the fish eagle, spoonbill, tree agama, leopard tortoise and even both the Nile and Rock Monitor!

Nile Monitor

Written by Tara

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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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Karula’s family tree in pictures Sat, 17 Sep 2011 08:43:59 +0000

Hi everyone!

If you are interested in following our elegant female leopard Karula and her family this is the right place! This special lady allows us to watch her as her life unfolds before our eyes during the live broadcasts from Djuma Game Reserve. If you haven’t yet joined us take a peek by clicking on the played on our front page and see what exciting events take place here in the African bush.  Any time we find Karula or her family the news will be posted here. Pictures are often sent in by viewers of the live broadcasts to help illustrate what this incredible family gets up to!

I thought the best place to start would be her family tree. Thanks to 3 people who took up the challenge, we have 3 brilliant illustrated family trees. Each one has something slightly different to show and together I hope they help to understand how they relate to each other!

The picture of Safari, Karula and Matimba was from Fay a little while ago and I was hoping to be able to use it at some stage! It shows Karula’s mother and Matimba who was born in Dec 2005 making him Karula’s younger brother!

We have had 3 people take up the Karula’s family tree challenge and with a brilliant outcome too!


Anat’s family tree after the cubs were named!

Anat’s helps to show the uncertainty of the actual father regarding Tandi and Shadow. It could be either male. I understand there was a mating seen by guides of Mufufunyane with Karula when she was very young which could have resulted in the first litter but there is some uncertainty. The way he has interacted with them does lean towards him being the father.


Stacy’s helps to show who of the family are male and female and John’s includes the order the litters were born in as well as all the family’s birth years.


Thank you once again to John, Stacy and Anat for putting these wonderful family trees together for everyone to enjoy!

The original date this blog was released was 5 Sept and we were still waiting for the little male cub to be named, since then he has been named Xivambalana. Look out for the following Blogs about the individuals who are part of Karula’s family and how to identify them!



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