Blog - The Big 5

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The Island female: a mom again!

At MalaMala our leopard statistics speak for themselves. In April alone, we viewed 34 leopards in 117 sightings. Naturally, when one spends the amount of time that we do with the same leopards, one becomes invested. The Island female is one such individual.

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Unknown coalition draws first blood

This morning, just as the sun greeted the savanna, an unknown coalition, seemingly hailing from Kruger, brought an insurrection against the Ndhzenga males. Before we give an account of what unfolded, we wish to set a disclaimer: this is a dynamic that is currently unfolding, and as a result, what we report is what we have observed and pieced together.

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The cubs of the Emsagweni Female

The Emsagweni female leopard is one of MalaMala’s most iconic cats. Sporting one eye and frayed ears, this battle-axe of the bush holds a large territory in some of the more rocky and wooded parts of the reserve. Although sightings of her are not as frequent as some of our other beloved leopards, she remains a guest favourite because of her scrappy appearance and hardcore demeanour.

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Coalition warfare

In recent days, the soundtrack to life at MalaMala hasn’t been the “krit-trrrrr” of the returning Woodland Kingfisher, nor is it the “dee-dee-deederik” of the Diedrick Cuckoo, rather, it’s been the deep, bellowing “ohhhhffff” of lions roaring.

If you read the last blog on lions you may recall the statement, “for the most part, we like to think we have our finger on the pulse”. The events that have unfolded in the last few weeks may serve to prove this wrong.

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Lions, lions,lions!

On the morning of the 17th of October, several lions were found feeding on a buffalo carcass. While it is common to view lions feeding on an eviscerated bovid, the composition of the group and the events that unfolded in the days that followed left us scratching our heads....

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World Rhino Day

The 22 September is World Rhino Day and in 2020 we celebrate the “Five Rhino Species Forever” including both the African and Asian rhino species.

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Feel Connected?

As rangers we are all passionate about animals and most of us have pets at our homes away from the reserve. However, there is an understanding that one must undertake when becoming a ranger; while we spend hours every day admiring and watching the animals around us, we will never get to touch them or form any sort of affectionate physical bond.

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The Guardian of the Bridge

West Street has a new guardian. It is no secret that MalaMala has some of the best river frontage of any reserve in the country, with around 24km of prime game viewing habitat on the banks of the Sand River. The vast majority of our reserve sits east of the river while all three of our camps are on the western bank. It is therefore inevitable that we need several crossings to gain access into the east.

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Research on MalaMala

Over the many years since our inception, Mala Mala Game Reserve has been the focal point of several documentaries and research studies. Indeed there are currently two studies being carried out on the reserve, one of which is being done by Panthera, a charitable organization devoted to preserving big cats and their ecosystems around the globe. In this article, we'll touch on their motivation for this study which focuses on leopards.