New Cats on the Block

At Close Quarters


Yesterday afternoon we left camp a little later than usual after our guests visited the SafariLive HQ and watched as the presenters went live to the world. It was great to meet the SafariLive guides and learn about this astonishing project and how it works. We headed out on drive and did not even have time to make a solid decision on our plans for the afternoon when we bumped into a leopard in the road. It was Xidulu female leopard, a new leopardess on the block who is looking to take Karula’s old territory for her own. She was very relaxed.

She lay in the road for a while before heading into the bush where she spotted some Nyala in a thicket, and began stalking a young calf. This was fantastic to watch. She unfortunately gave away her position and the hunt ended uneventfully. We decided to leave the sighting as Xidulu was in a very think spot. As we drove in a loop away, we bumped into her once again walking down the road. Fantastic!

We followed her before she lay down in the road and groomed herself in the open, posing beautifully as everyone got some fantastic shots. She must have yawned 5 times and all our guests managed to capture this moment. Having spent most of the afternoon/evening with her, we headed to Sidney’s dam for a late sun-downers where we saw two spotted hyenas while we celebrated the fantastic sighting we had just had. We then headed back to the lodge for a hearty dinner and fireside chats.

This morning we planned to find the Nkuhuma pride of lions. We soon found their tracks on the MMM boundary road but the lions ended up heading back over our Western boundary. Luckily for us, we had plenty of other tracks to follow up on including two sets of male leopard tracks. We followed up on these and soon caught up with Hukumuri Male Leopard, another new leopard on the block. He has taken over Tingana’s territory.

He was very relaxed on territorial patrol, marking bushes as he walked up multiple roads. This allowed for all our guests to get walk-by shots which were fantastic. At one point, we had Hukumuri giving a full rasping territorial call right next the vehicles- a fantastic experience for our guests.

We left Hukumuri and headed into Torchwood for a coffee stop. On the way, we heard some Guinea fowl giving alarm calls and followed up. We arrived on the scene and found a Martial Eagle on a freshly killed Guinea fowl. The eagle flew to a nearby tree and allowed us to get some shots of it while it was mobbed by starlings and drongas. We left the eagle to its meal and stopped for coffee on First Rock (a stunning location) before heading back to the lodge for brunch.

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  • Brenda Quatember

    Wonderful photography thank you!

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