August Sightings at a Glance
Including a very rare and exciting wild cat sighting!
August is the very end of winter in the Kruger National Park area, and it is beginning to feel like Spring is on the way!
The weather is getting a little warmer, and we are spending more time outside without jackets and sweaters – but there is still a fresh breeze to remind us that Summer is not quite here yet!
The sun is rising earlier at around 06:15, giving us around 11.5 hours of daylight every day. We haven’t had any rains yet, and there is a lot of dust in the air. These conditions are giving us the most beautiful red sunsets for our evening game drives.
Acacia trees and others are flowering at this time of year, which is always an active time for insect life: butterflies are abundant and add a magical quality to a game drive! Even the smallest insects are important to our ecosystem.
Some of the best time to visit the Kruger National Park area for game viewing and safari is between August and October. The drier winters make for sparse foliage and grasslands, which gives the best opportunity to spot the Big Five. We spent some amazing moments with lions and leopards this August, as well as a visit from an impressive buffalo herd.
There were 98 sightings of leopards in August including a mating pair, a fresh kill, many of our younger cubs and a few adolescents who are finding their own way in the reserve.
Xidulu – 21 sightings
Xidulu has started mating with the Tortoise Pan male again. Watch an incredible video on our Instagram, hopefully we can welcome some cubs next year.
Cara – 3 sightings
Tiyani – 3 sightings individually, and 6 sightings with her cub
Tiyani had a duiker kill with her blue-eyed cub in the Jackleberry where she gave birth to her last litter of cubs. Here is one of Tiyani’s cubs after a delicious meal of impala:
Ndzutini – 3 sightings
Sibuye – 1 sighting
Shasha – 0 sightings
Langa – 14 sightings
Here is Langa in the branches of a tree, giving a biiiig stretch! Watch the video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CiKfiDBKIIj/
From our guide: “We were following Langa when her mother Sibuye came rushing in to chase her away. It’s not often that mothers get physical with their cubs, but she had to push Langa out because it’s her territory. There’s competition over food sources in different areas, so Sibuye can’t have her daughter around taking over.”
Makhomsava – 5 sightings
Kuchava – 2 sightings individually, and 1 sighting with her cub. Here is Kachava’s cub, just over one year old now and looking beautiful:
Thalamba – 2 sightings individually, and 1 sighting with her cub
READ MORE: A special moment with the Thalamba female and her cubs here.
Maribye – 10 sightings
Tavangumi – 3 sightings
Tortoise pan – 12 sightings
Timbaviti Male – 2 sightings
Quarantine Male – 1 sighting
Eyrefield Male – 0 sightings
Luna – 1 sighting
Nkanyi – 4 sightings
Watika – 1 sighting
Molwati – 2 sightings
The King (and Queens!) of Africa were very active throughout the month of August! They were seen a total of 121 times over the course of the month, and every time is as exciting as the last!
“The most special sighting of the month was with the Plains camp males, the 7 Talamati sub adults and Dark Mane. The 7 Talamati sub-adults and Dark Mane were busy killing a buffalo (and killed it) when the Plains camp males heard the commotion. It was unusual for them to be so far up North. The next morning we found the Plains camp males feeding on this big, male buffalo. There was a bit of a war between the 2 lion prides resulting in one of the Talamati females having a nasty wound on her tail which is likely to fall off. To top it off, while the lions were sleeping in the middle of the day, an unknown, young male leopard popped into view and climbed a big Jackleberry tree nearby!”
Torchwood Pride – 2 sightings
Nkuhuma Pride – 41 sightings
The Nkuhumas have joined up a total of 20 lions with the 2 Avocas and they are moving together now.
Talamati Pride – 30 sightings
S8 Male – 11 sightings
Here is a majestic video of the S8 Male at a watering hole:
We watched in awe as the protector of the Talamati breakaway pride quenched his thirst and let out some mighty roars while patrolling his territory.
Did you know that the S8 male is the father of all the Talamati breakaway pride cubs? He is under extreme pressure because he has to protect the cubs from any and every other male. As a lone male, this poses an enormous responsibility to ward off threats from male lions up in the north, the Avocas in the south, and the Kruger male lions in the east. He has done exceptionally well at keeping the cubs alive so far, with the help of the 3 females.
The S8 male has been mating with the third female from the Talamati pride. We believe that she has lost her recent cub to another male. This is a natural occurrence between competing males.
Avoca Males – 28 sightings
Kruger male – 1 sightings
Plains camp males – 8 sightings
29 individual sightings were enjoyed of one of the Big Five.
“A massive herd of about 800 buffalo were moving around on the Arathusa property for a couple of days. As winter comes to an end and spring approaches, the grass starts to wilt a bit so it has less nutrition. Because of this buffalo will have to travel further and further in bulk herds to get more grass.
They settled at the Arathusa Waterhole in front of the camp one day and the whole area was full of buffalo. The Nkuhuma sub-adults and the one Avoca, Mohawk, followed those buffalo for 3 days and had many fights with the herd. The lions, however were not able to kill one.”
Buffalo are formidable animals, especially when in a large herd. Watch this video clip to see them discourage some lions looking for a kill: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChXFX16KM-7/
We have been blessed with some lovely sightings at the watering hole at the lodge. Elephant were seen 55 times over the course of the month, including many youngsters!
See some of our favourite baby ellie photos this month > https://www.instagram.com/p/ChKM7Cpsb2Q/
15 sightings of the ‘painted wolves’ were enjoyed in August. These endangered dogs are always a very special sighting.
A very rare sighting of caracal
As the grass and foliage is quite sparse in August, we had a wonderful sighting of the very shy and secretive caracal. Caracal are a medium-sized wild cat with a sleek, reddish tan coat and long, tufted ears. They are lone animals and are not often seen, which makes this a notable sighting at Arathusa!
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Find out more about the Safari experience at Arathusa Safari Lodge.