It was quite unexpected when we finally found Xivindzi on afternoon drive on the 14th!
Karula had picked them up from where Marc had seen Xivindzi the day before and took them to a small bushbuck she had killed sometime in the afternoon on the Eastern side of Philamon’s cutline. The area was checked the following morning, but there was no sign of our favourite spotted feline family. So we continued our drive, finding our the Gowrie gang, we enjoyed catching up with them after our 2 week break. They were alert and watching out for signs of danger while foraging and absorbing the morning rays.
This peace was interupted briefly while they were by the bush braai site, but with only one bark from Gawdy, it was not much for us to go on. We had a scratch around where the gang were looking, but sadly we found nothing. It was only later in the morning while the guests were on their walk did one of the lodge guides hear another alarm call, this time from a kudu inside the drainage line close to the same spot. Responding to his call on drive, we found Xivindzi hidding among the long grass stalks.
It was only as moved did it become clear why, she had in her claws a huge rock monitor!
As we watched we noticed she was struggling to get through the scaled armor. Although she may have killed small rodents and birds for her self, this clearly was the first time in tackling a reptile this size and was unsure how to get to the flesh. She soon tired of her prize and went to clean up, which was when to our amazement the monitor started to crawl slowly away. She watched for a while and decided it had renewed her interest once again. I hoped this time she would finish what she had started as the lizard look to have been injured. Once again she started at the base of the tail so we left her to finish her dinner.
This stage in the leopards life is a learning curve and even though she is keen and probably has killed smaller prey, she is still inexperienced and possibly lacks the strength to tackle large and tough prey like the lizard. We came back a bit later to find she had left the reptile to go in search of something more palatable. Although she didn’t finish eating the monitor, nothing goes to waste in the bush. If it did survive the attack by playing dead, as it had done earlier and it’s injuries are not too life threatening there could be a chance the monitor might have lived. If this was not the case I am sure the carcass would have been found by another predator that night, anything is possible in nature.
It may well be next time Xivindzi finds one of these ancient looking creatures, she decides it is not to her taste and leaves it to it’s own device.
Yesterday saw the return of the 5 Tsalala lionesses and while BB and the girls were lounging around Twin dams, the cloud pulled in around late afternoon with a spectacular lighting show to boot!
Thank you for all the pictures from the Safaris!
Just a note on the stream, an under sea cable run by Seacom is broken. This is why the stream is stopping and starting so much. We have just heard from Seacom “We have restored all of our business customers on alternative routes. All commercial ISP’s using SEACOM capacity are no longer affected”.
The reason for the stream being particularly bad this morning may have been caused by the following;
“another user of the antennas at Mariepskop has an ‘automatic frequency selector’ set-up rather than have their equipment on a preset and fixed frequency. This means that on start-up it can select a different frequency each time and sometimes, like last night after the storm, it picks our frequency and causes interference with our streaming. Our provider has now changed our frequency for the time being and will speak with the other company to sort this out on Monday”. – Pete
We hope both issues have been resolved and if so our stream should be better for this afternoon’s game drive. Thank you for staying with us, we understand how frustrating it can be with all the stop and starting.
We hope to start the checklist challenge this afternoon with Marc if everything is back to normal!
Written by Tara