November Sightings At A Glance
Our guests viewed incredible leopards, impressive lion kills and our wild dogs are thriving!
With more summer rains this month, the weather is getting increasingly hotter as we move to the end of the year. The grazing is very lush and green at this time, and there is plenty of nutrient-dense and delicious grass for our herbivores.
Did you know that zebras make the grass taste better? One of our guides explains:
“This sounds strange, but zebras make for tastier grass. Plains zebras are not fussy eaters – they often enter un-grazed grasslands first and eat the harder, less nutritious grass. Once this old grass is cleared, new tender growth springs up.
The fussier grazers, such as wildebeest, then come in and enjoy the good stuff!“
In the warmer weather, the elephants have again been bathing and playing at the Arathusa watering hole. Sipping on a cold gin and tonic on the deck, taking in the sunset and watching the elephants is always such a wonderful way to wrap up your day on safari with us!
The leopards who call Arathusa home did not disappoint us this month, with over 80 incredible and noteworthy sightings. It is clear that Arathusa is very favourable for leopards, as we see them at all stages of life, thriving and hunting in our reserve. Male leopards in particular spent some time with our guests on their game drives.
Cubs, subadults, independent mothers and older males have all been spotted – read on for updates on your favourite leopards!
“We have been fortunate to see leopards almost every day on the Arathusa property. This is very special as leopards are very shy and can be difficult to find in the dense bush.”
Xidulu – 8 sightings
Xidulu was looking heavily pregnant and suckle marks were seen. She was seen lying on the balcony of the Tamboti suite. We’ll hopefully be seeing more of her and her cubs in the near future, as her pregnancy nears completion.
Cara – 1 sighting and Timbavati Male – 1 sighting
Cara was spotted once, and appears to still be doing well with her pregnancy.
The Timbavati male was seen with Cara moving around in the North-western section of Buffelshoek. It is interesting because Tavangumi was the one seen mating with Cara so maybe she was escorting the Timbavati male away from that area.
Watika – 3 sightings
Watika made 2 kills and put them in 2 separate trees and then made another kill in the radius of 100 meters so she has been really prevalent as well in Buffelshoek. We’ve shared some fantastic sightings with her!
Tiyani – 12 sightings and daughter Laluka – 8 sightings
Ndzutini – 1 sighting
Sibuye – 3 sightings
Shasha – 1 sightings
Langa – 2 sightings
Langa has made some successful kills this month, but has not been as visible as in October.
Makhomsava – 2 sightings
Makhomsava can be found in the south of the Arathusa property. Other guides have informed us that she and her cub are active and doing well there.
Kuchava – 4 sightings and daughter, Ntsumi – 6 sightings
We’ve been having quite active sightings of Kuchava and her daughter Ntsumi. They are probably one of our most common leopards that we have been seeing in the eastern sector. Kuchava still calls often for her daughter Ntsumi.
From our guides: “Leopards are solitary animals, but the bond between mother and cubs continues into the first year. They will often call out for each other, until the cub reaches maturity and establishes their own territory.”
Ntsumi is becoming a lot more independent, although Kuchava regularly calls out for Ntsumi to check in on her. When the mother leopard comes into oestrus again, she will begin to focus on her next, future cubs and will distance herself from her adolescent cubs.
Teenager leopards will sometimes still remain attached to their mothers, but once the new cubs arrive the subadults will be pushed out of the territory and be forced to make it out on their own. Teenage female leopards in particular will linger on the edges of their mothers territory for quite some time until they eventually move off on their own to raise their own cubs.
Tlalamba – 7 sighting
Tlalamba was quite active this month and in one instance, killed two duikers within one hunting session. See her resting in a tree here >
Maribye – 2 sightings
Tavangumi – 2 sightings
It’s always awesome seeing Tavangumi – he is a beautiful large male leopard. He’s been vocalising quite heavily, marking his territory. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ck-03RYutj6/
Tortoise pan – 11 sightings
Tortoise pan has been a regular throughout the property, marking is territory and vocalising to let any other males know that this is his territory!
Nkanyi – 2 sighting
We found Nkanyi with a kill outside of Milkberry. She killed a little young impala. She’s an old leopard but she still seems to be doing really well for herself which is pretty impressive.
Quarantine Male – 0 sighting
Eyrefield Male – 2 sightings
Luna – 0 sightings
Our guides are always happy to come across the endangered African Wild Dogs at Arathusa. We have noted regular sightings of the Ottawa pack and another unnamed pack of 4 adults and 2 subadults. They have made some kills and have been quite active.
Around the time that the Talamati lion pride killed those buffaloes, we noted 3 younger dogs who seem to be moving through.
The best place for elephant spottings: right here at the Arathusa Safari Lodge! If you’re planning a relaxing day at the deck, our elephants will provide the entertainment. A short distance away at the watering hole, we see elephants almost daily.
As the summer weather gets hotter, they will not move far from the water and refreshing mud.
The buffalo are slowing down their pace as the weather gets hotter and the grass gets more nutrient-dense. The summer rains have boosted the grazing – now green, juicy and packed with energy and it seems that they have everything they need!
In November, we were fortunate to come across cheetah on three occasions – a rare treat at Arathusa! Our guides spotted a coalition of male cheetahs, a single male and a single female on different game drives.
The lion prides of the Kruger area were spotted over 100 times in November across the Arathusa property, with our guests witnessing a few incredible kill scenes! Some of our older lions have died, allowing for new life to follow in the future.
Torchwood Pride – 7 sightings
The Torchwood pride have been very active around Buffelshoek, and have been seen with the Kruger male, and were seen killing and feasting on a giraffe!
Nkuhuma Pride – 22 sightings
This pride is thriving and have been putting on a show for our guests, and dramatically killed a buffalo quite close to the lodge which was an excellent viewing opportunity. The Nkuhuma females with the 7 cubs have been spending a lot of time in Mala Mala, where they will keep them safe until they are a bit bigger.
Talamati Pride – 29 sightings and S8 Male – 23 sightings
In spectacular fashion, the Talamati pride killed 5 sub-adult buffalo in November, which gave us excellent sightings of them over the course of a week.
Avoca Males – 19 sightings
Unfortunately Blondie and Dark Mane have passed on. It was believed that Blondie had TB and Dark Mane succumbed to his injuries after an earlier goring from the buffalo.
He was found with hyenas feeding on him.
From our guides: “we tracked the hyenas to the lion carcass – a dead carnivore does not smell good! Nothing goes to waste, and these carcasses will help the younger hyena cubs grow strong.“
Mohawk is now by himself and has been showing signs of loneliness. He has been seen vocalising and searching for his brothers.
“These lions were born and raised together and have gone through everything together so when they get left alone, they are not sure why. We can see he is still looking for his brother Blondie.”
Kruger male – 1 sighting
The Kruger male was seen with the S8 male which was not a violent interaction. They seem to recognise each other.
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