As I write this newsletter I am being serenaded by a Woodlands Kingfisher in the background, a sure sign summer is here and with it has breathed new life into the surrounding bush.
Youngsters abound at the moment, like this young zebra foal. The impala have also lambed and seem too numerous to even count.
The bush has responded incredibly well to the rain we have received up until now. The green blanket of new lush growth paints a beautiful landscape that is dotted with wonderful wild flowers and trees in full blossom. Our larger herbivores have also taken to the good grazing after a dry winter and are improving in condition very quickly.
Large herds of buffalo can almost be seen on a daily basis. The lion prides in our area often follow these herds for days on end, patiently waiting for the right opportunity to attack.
With the hot conditions at the moment, our elephant herds can be seen bathing and cooling off virtually every day.
These large grey pachyderms are showing their versatility when it comes to feeding as they use their trunks, feet and tusks to feed on a large variety of vegetation.There are also a large amount of young calves to be seen this time of the year and we have been fortunate to have seen some real tiny tots in the last few months.
Our predators in turn have also benefited from the large amount of youngsters around at the moment and have taken advantage of any inexperience shown. Our resident leopard population has recently increased with both the Ntombi and Rockfig females having recently given birth.
We haven’t seen the new additions yet, as the cubs are either well hidden in a rocky outcrop or dry riverbed. Above is a picture of a couple of young cubs who were well concealed in the rocky river bed (notice mom giving us the beady eye behind.)
The Rockfig female pictured here is busy scouting for prey whilst using the low branches of a Marula tree to get a better visual over the tall grass.
The young ‘Xihophi’ male is coming on in leaps and bounds and increases in size and confidence on daily basis. One of our dominant male lions has been seen on several occasions around camp without his two companions.
They very well may have met their demise while defending their territory against other male lions.
Recently, the male roared the night away around camp as he tried to follow up on the Machaton pride who he eventually did find. We also managed to see a pride from the west known as the Ross pride.One female in particular struck a wonderful pose and had the deepest brown eyes I have seen in a lion for quite some time. What a beauty!
The wild dog pack that have been seen within our traversing area over the last few months are still here and ran through camp a few nights ago! We have been truly spoilt with unbelievable sightings of the dogs hunting or just playing the fool. It is wonderful to spend time with these highly gregarious animals. The photo below is of one wild dog on an old dam wall enjoying the view.
Sighting of the month:
We had left camp early one morning and were crossing a riverbed when we saw a wild dog pack who has just taken down an impala. They were all around us, some on the bank of the river and others playing around in the dry riverbed. You will see in the photo below that this was a very unusual sighting, as the wild dogs were on the same level as us, and at one stage above us. We continue to be fascinated by these incredible animals.
Images and text by Dale Jackson