2022 will definitely be remembered as the year in which we lost some of the most iconic characters of the Northern Sabi Sands.

Born into this world in December 2006 and tragically passed away in April 2022 leaving a massive void in the hearts of many leopard lovers around the world, her mother Karula raised her to become the queen of the northern Sabi Sands, Thandi herself became a very successful leopardess raising 7 litters during her time. I was extremely lucky to guide in this area during her last 2 years of her life, even though it was brief, the amount I learnt from this Leopard was insane. The extreme bond she had with her offspring was something never documented in any other reserve. Of course, raising 7 litters, she had few females which she shared her territory with, so her presence in the Northern parts of the reserve will continue to thrive for many years to come. And we will continue to follow some of the most-watched individual leopards and see what the future has in store for them.

From leopards to the Northern Avoca’s.

These brothers originally from the Timbavati area which is situated North of the Sabi Sands, relocated to the North of the Sabi Sands in and around 2018, they were first met with some resistance from the Birmingham Males but decided to go back and finally managed to take over the Talamati pride. As the Birmingham males continued to move further south, a territory opened up for them and they managed to take over the Nkuhuma pride.

They raised successful cubs from the Talamati pride in 2019, mid-2019 in the Nkuhumas.

The three brothers split up and Dark Mane Avoca stayed with the Talamati pride and the remaining 2 brothers with the Nkuhumas.

Everything changed this year when TB decided to ravage one of the Avocas (Blondie) of the Nkuhuma pride and sadly he passed away in October 2022.

Then not long after that Dark Mane from the Talamati pride got on the wrong end of an angry herd of Buffalo, and was seriously hurt and even though he tried to fight, he did not make it. Leaving one remaining Avoca Mohawk. With some new males entering this area of late, only time will tell when he will be ousted, and that will spell the end of the Avoca males of the Northern Sabi Sands.

Only time will tell what kind of dynamics will unfold in these 2 prides during 2023.

Let’s hope these prides can continue to thrive even if it means they have new males ruling over them.

All in all 2022 has been an amazing year filled with loads of incredible sightings, loads of laughs and getting to meet some amazing people from around the globe.

We look forward to sharing sunrises and sunsets with you all in 2023.

From all of us at Chitwa Chitwa, we wanted to wish you all a safe and prosperous new year.

And we look forward to seeing you all on your next safari right here at Chitwa.

Regards Deon Wessels