March Sightings At A Glance.
Xidulu’s leopard cub gains confidence, and we watch a cheetah hunt from beginning to end!
The seasons are showing us small signs every day that summer is coming to a close. While we had more abundant rain throughout March, we are now heading into the dryer Autumn season. The bush and leaf cover are still very lush and verdant, but we can expect the rainfall to start to taper off as we move into the dry season.
The dams are still full at this early time of the year, which our wildlife will surely need in the months to come.
The birdwatchers have been treated to some wonderful sightings this month, spotting both large and small winged friends.
Leopard – 100 sightings
Our leopards have been absolutely thrilling in March, with almost double the number of sightings compared to February 2023 (51).
Xidulu – 31 sightings and Tortoise Pan male – 13 sightings
Xidulu is our resident female leopard at Arathusa, and we have spotted her almost every day in March. She has made her den site on our property, much to the delight of our trackers, guides and guests. It is always very special to welcome a new leopard cub.
Xidulu’s cub is now about 15 weeks old, and they are doing very well. The cub has been spotted out and about on kills with mum and is gaining in confidence every day. Our guides have determined that Xidulu’s cub is a male.
As the cub grows bigger and stronger, dad Tortoise Pan will make himself more and more scarce, handing over the parenting to Xidulu.
Luna – 3 sightings
Luna is a typical leopard in that she is beautiful and sleek, and very shy of our vehicles! We don’t see Luna very often, but our team has spotted her and the Timbavati male to the north of our property mating. Hopefully, we can welcome their new cubs in 2023.
Ngoboswan – 3 sightings
This male is a relative newcomer to the Arathusa property, and he has been seen on the eastern edges marking his territory with scent and sound. We think he is establishing himself there, and our guides will monitor the area for him.
Langa – 12 sightings
Langa has been delighting us with sightings that have been extended and filled with interesting leopard behaviour. On one occasion, she flexed her powerful muscles and pulled a duiker kill up into a tree before feasting on the small buck.
Other leopard sightings: Cara – 1 sighting, Tiyani – 7 sightings, Laluka – 6 sightings, Sibuye – 2 sightings, Makhomsava – 4 sightings, Tlalamba – 3 sightings, Maribye – 7 sightings, Tavangumi – 4 sightings, Timbavati Male – 3 sightings, Molwati – 1 sighting
Do you just love leopards? Read all about our leopards and how they are related to each other at The Leopards of Arathusa page.
Cheetah - 4 sightings
Cheetah spotting’s can be rare, so seeing them on four different occasions is quite exciting. Our guides spotted a young male cheetah looking very relaxed towards the northern part of Arathusa.
On another occasion, we witnessed a cheetah kill in action – which is always spectacular to see if you are lucky enough. We watched the hunt very close to the vehicle from beginning to end – what a magical moment.
Elephant – 77 sightings
Elephants are always close by our watering holes, and these gentle giants are happy to stop for a photo for you!
Wild dogs – 15 sightings
The wild dog packs have been a bit more scare compared to earlier months, but they show themselves every once in a while to let us know they are around.
Buffalo – 27 sightings
Buffalo and lion always go hand in hand: where the buffalo go the lions will surely be close by. The dense bush and rich grazing means that buffalo are a bit more scattered around, rather than moving in large impressive herds.
Lion – 90 sightings
The lions are trying hard to match the leopards this month, with a very impressive 90 sightings in March 2023! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
Nkuhuma Pride – 21 sightings
Some of the Nkuhuma females are coming into oestrus, which means that they are ready for mating soon.
Black Dam males – 6 sightings
These two males continue to cause trouble wherever they go! They have been very vocal, roaring and making their presence known to all. Our guides tell us about an incredible moment:
“we witnessed an incredible interaction between the Nkuhuma pride and a group of hyenas over a wildebeest kill. With all the commotion, the Black Dam males came running in, chasing down and severely injuring one of the Djuma clan hyenas and sending the Nkuhuma pride running for the hills.”
For two males to take on both hyenas and a pride at the same time shows considerable bravery!
Talamati Pride – 24 sightings and S8 Male – 19 sightings
Some of the Talamati lionesses have come back with 2 of the young males.
The S8 male has been mating with some of the females in this pride.
Other lion sightings: Torchwood Pride – 2 sightings, Avoca Males – 11 sightings, Kruger male – 2 sightings, Imbali Pride – 5 sightings
Find out more about the Safari experience at Arathusa Safari Lodge.