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There is an ongoing war between the lions and buffaloes in the Greater Kruger National Park, and it always depends on the season as to who is winning that war. Right now, the tables seem to be turning in favour of the lions.
It’s the dry season here in Manyeleti Private Game Reserve, and that means the grass is thinning, there is less cover, and hence less food for the buffaloes. As the buffaloes get weaker in the hot sun, the lion prides find it much easier to take down these great big herbivores, which is why we have been seeing a number of buffalo kills in the last few weeks. At the same time we’ve been treated to some great sightings of the various lion prides in the reserve, along with a few leopard sightings as well.
The resident Mbiri Pride – made up of twelve lions (including one Nharu male) – has been spending a lot of time around the lodge. This pride is renowned for their buffalo hunting skills, and they are taking full advantage of the weaker buffalo at this time of year.
The pride killed a large buffalo right near the lodge, and then brought down another one near Manor House a few days later.
The Koppies Pride – made up of three females and one young male – now has two beautiful little cubs, and we believe that one of the other females also has a new litter of cubs. We are hoping to see them emerge from the bush soon!
Down in the south of the reserve, the Talamati Pride has a huge litter of eight cubs, and they are frequently moving around with the Avoca males.
The Nharu Pride – made up of 11 lions – took down a big bull buffalo recently, which is a great feat! We have also noticed that the Giraffe male has been spending a lot of time with this pride, perhaps because of the buffet on offer.
Winter has cleared the bush of thick grass, and we are spotting more leopards while out on game drives. Many of them seem to have cubs in tow.
The beautiful Nompethu female (along with her cub) made an impala kill, and then proceeded to hoist it right to the top of a tree. We were not sure if her cub would join her, but soon enough the young leopard scrambled up to get some of the spoils. We also found the Ukuthula leopard with a very young cub, which is very exciting and promises lots of cute sightings in the future.
The Xirombe female and her cub have also been spotted very close to the lodge. The cub was very relaxed and even tentatively approached a vehicle full of delighted guests.
We also found a completely new female around Main dam and we would love to see her more. It really is an exciting time for our leopards, and we hope the sightings continue and that these new cubs survive this difficult period of their life.
All in all, winter in the Manyeleti has been a spectacular show. The days are cool, the bush is thin and open, and the lions are taking full advantage of the weaker buffalo. For any guests visiting us soon, we look forward to showing you the wonders of the Manyeleti at this time of year. Who knows what the next month will hold!