Cheetah, buffalo and Marvin

We had an incredible sighting of one of our resident female cheetahs! These rare and endangered cats are very hard to track. One of the reasons is that they are mostly active by day, so if you spot one in the morning, there is a good chance it will have moved off again by the afternoon. It’s the other way around for lions and leopards, which normally rest during the heat of the day and hunt under cover of darkness. The signs are that this cheetah is pregnant! So we can look forward to seeing some new additions in the very near future. We can only hope that she is successful in rearing her cubs to adulthood as cheetahs have a tough time keeping their young away from larger carnivores.

The lions have finally finished their mating marathon. We had decided to follow up after hearing roaring in the early hours of the morning and it wasn’t long before we tracked them down. Admittedly, they made it fairly easy and lay right in the open next to a dam. As we approached we noticed the male get up and attempt to mount the female, bad idea! The female fought back and after a couple of swipes with her claws the male got the message – she had had enough! It has been longer than 20 days now so you couldn’t really blame her! And hopefully we will get to see some new cubs after about 110 days gestation.

A few days back we noticed the other young male had sustained some painful injuries, probably from fighting over who gets to mate. He obviously lost out and is also missing the end of his tail… and nearly something else too!

We had a close encounter with some old buffalo bulls recently. We had seen them from afar and noticed they were next to the road. As we approached they decided to investigate who/what we were! The one bull got exceptionally close and we managed to get some great photos. These old bulls are often found covered in mud, a practice which has led to their nickname “dagga boys” (dagga = mud).

The theory relating to why they are always coating themselves with mud is that as they age, buffalo lose a lot of hair. This offers less protection from the sun and so they make up for it by rolling in mud – effectively providing some cooling sunscreen! This also has the benefit of covering the ticks in mud too, so when the mud hardens they can rub it off together with the encrusted ticks – clever indeed.