During the previous month, leopards were seen on most days. A female and two young cubs were seen regularly along Leadwood Drive on Argyle and in the area between Timbavati Crossing and Motswari Corner.
The lions were also very active, four lionesses and two cubs seen together often. There was a pair of mating lions with a second male in the vicinity as an onlooker. This eventually turned into a serious fight between the two males, each seeking the attention of the lioness. The original suitor came out the victor and the following day the second male was seen again near the mating pair!
No large buffalo herds ranged on Ingwelala, but a group of five and seven bulls were seen at Goedehoop Dam. There was a marked increase in elephant activity, especially breeding herds. One gathering on Buffelsbed had between 50 - 70 elephants in it.
General game sightings included waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala, kudu, grey duiker, steenbok, Sharpe’s grysbok, baboon, monkey, honey badger, civet, genet, porcupine, spotted hyena and hippo.
Bird sightings recorded were Martial Eagle, Fish Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Brown-headed Parrot, Ground Hornbill, Hammerkop, Great Painted Snipe, Red-winged Starling, Kurrichane Thrush and Yellow-bellied Eromomela.
As the weather warms up during the spring season, snake and scorpion activity will be on the increase after their less active winter months. Be sure to wear closed shoes after dark and carry a reasonable torch to spot these creatures who can inflict nasty bites and stings.
Through the previous month there were numerous contributions in the Reception sightings register. This is always pleasing to read through, so a big thank you to everyone taking the trouble to list what you see.
There were numerous lion and leopard sightings, both species seen with young cubs in tow. At Old Farmhouse two leopards were seen together on three different occasions, interacting at the natural water point in the Nhlaralumi River.
Breeding herds of elephant were surprisingly numerous at mid-year when traditionally these herds range far and wide along the riparian areas. It could be an influence from the late April rains that kept the trees in leaf much later than usual.
Buffalo remain scarce, the drought having taken serious toll on their numbers. Grass cover is sparse, and it is unlikely the larger herds will return before we receive good meaningful rainfall that produces a healthy grass sward.
There were several sightings of wild dogs on all four properties, including 16 pups which is simply awesome to see!
An aardvark was spotted between Zebra Pan and Deadwood Pan.
General game sightings included waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala, kudu, grey duiker, steenbok, klipspringer, Sharpe’s grysbok, baboon, monkey, serval, side-striped jackal, African wild cat, honey badger, genet, grey mongoose, porcupine, spring hare and hippo.
Bird sightings noted were Fish Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle- Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Southern White-faced Owlet, African Barred Owlet, White-headed Vulture, Cape Vulture, White-backed Vultures, Lappet-faced Vultures, Brown-headed Parrot, Kori Bustard, Woolly-necked Stork, Black Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, Red billed Firefinch, Striped Kingfisher, Wire-tailed Swallow, Lesser striped Swallow, Yellow-bellied Eromomela and Yellow-bellied Greenbul.
Except for plentiful leopard and elephant sightings, the frequency of other Big Five sightings have been far less than anticipated.
June was a relatively busy month with high bed occupancy, and yet there were 18 days in the month when not a single sighting was recorded in the sightings register in Reception. The staff encourage you to use the sightings register, for all sightings, as it does provide a very useful inventory and history of wildlife sightings on Ingwelala. Even recording what you saw during your visit at the time of checking out is always appreciated.
There were two sightings of wild dogs on different occasions, numbering 2 and 12 respectively.
General game sightings included waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala, kudu, baboon, monkey, honey badger, porcupine and hippo.
Birds recorded were Fish Eagle, White-backed Vultures, Lappet-faced Vultures and White-fronted Bea eaters. There was a report of a pair of Cape Shovelers seen at Elephant Pan Hide.
Big Five sightings have been numerous, especially lion and elephant activity.
The lions have been very active, their cubs have been a delight to watch, their progress and development a privilege to observe. On occasions the cubs were in Camp.
Buffalo sightings increased month on month, as did leopard sightings.
Waterbuck, giraffe, hippo, baboons and side-striped jackal were additional sightings recorded in the register.
Birds listed included Fish Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Kori Bustard, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Green-winged Pytilia, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah and White-throated Bee-eater.
Except for buffalo, there have been lots of rewarding Big 5 sightings, especially lions and elephants. Feedback from Members at lion sightings over the recent long weekend was appreciation for the consideration people showed each other. With 100 bungalows occupied sightings were well attended, with due consideration adopted in taking turns for all to have an opportunity to observe and take pictures. This is excellent feedback.
Wild dogs were seen on two occasions near Beacon Boma.
African wild cat, blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, spotted genet, spotted hyena and spring hare were other sightings recorded in the register.
Bird wise only Fish Eagle, Ground Hornbill, Black Stork, Woolley-necked Stork and Temminck’s Courser were made mention of.
Elephant cow Picture courtesy of Paul Marsh
Month on month the game sightings increased significantly. Excluding low buffalo numbers, Big Five sightings were excellent. It was good to note a marked increase in elephant breeding herds, perhaps an indication that the grasses are partially recovering with the late rains, as elephants are known to increase grass intake during the summer growth season.
There were numerous superb lion sightings, with cubs, providing excellent photographic opportunities. Leopard sightings always provide great elation to the viewer, even if the viewing is short lived. A discovery of two adult leopards together even greater elation.
There were two reports of wild dogs.
The sightings register was void of general or common game, save the mention of zebra, giraffe and blue wildebeest. There was mention of spring hare, a puff adder and several black mambas.
The Birders produced an impressive list which included Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Diederik Cuckoo, Paradise Flycatcher, White-fronted Bee eater, Woolley-necked Stork, Saddle-billed Stork and Spoonbill.
Sightings recorded in the register can be described as “few and far between” because of the predominantly dry conditions and animal dispersal. For example, a recording of a single buffalo for the entire month speaks for itself.
Towards month end, numbers of lion and leopard sightings improved significantly, as did the activities of a pack of 30 wild dogs! There were only four recordings of elephant sightings, a mix of breeding herds and bulls.
General game sightings included giraffe, zebra and blue wildebeest.
Birds recorded were Ground Hornbill, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Woolley-necked Stork, Pennant-winged Nightjar and Kori Bustard.
During the reporting period the camp enjoyed higher than usual occupancy levels, for a longer period, when comparing year on year. This resulted in more eyes and ears on the ground, and plenty of sightings written up in the register. It was certainly the month for cats, lions seen almost every day. Several kills were made, one report of a “text book” kill by a lioness, catching a juvenile warthog which she carried to her cubs. The lions were often in camp, seemingly unperturbed by human activity. There were numerous leopard sightings, some with cubs, some with kills, one kill happened when a hyena arrived, stole the kill and devoured it in half an hour, while the leopard darted in and out feeding off scraps!
Elephant activity increased, month on month, more breeding herds ranging on Ingwelala. The largest herd size numbered 50 – 60. No buffalo to speak of, a single bull seen on three occasions.
Wild dogs were active, two different packs sizing each other up on Buffelsbed in an amazing sighting. One pack had 9 dogs and the other 20, with full on confrontation.
A black mamba was seen swimming in the water at Bird Hide. It swam out to the leadwood stump in the middle, slithered up to reach the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver nests to feed on the chicks.
The scorpions are plentiful this summer, take care to use a torch at night and wear closed shoes.
General game sightings included spotted hyena, giraffe, genet, hippo and crocodile.
The birders had an excellent month, noting Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle (pale form), Lesser Spotted Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Scops Owl, Lanner Falcon, Red-footed Kestrel, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Ground Hornbill, Black Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, White-backed Night Heron, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Cardinal Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher, Dusky Lark, Brown-headed Parrot, Painted Snipe, Plum-coloured Starling and Little Bee Eater.
There is a troop of baboons that forage through camp. All food should be kept out of sight to prevent break-ins to bungalows for the food. Due to the dry veld conditions these baboons are spending increasingly more time foraging and roosting in camp.
The vervet monkeys that frequent the car park and swimming pool area have learnt to open cooler boxes and picnic baskets left unattended on vehicles. They do not back away from women and children, so please keep a close eye on small children. Members are requested to double check that all used refuse bags are delivered directly to the Dirt Box, and not left on the tail gates of game viewers in the Reception car park.