This week saw jackets and even some gloves coming out in the early mornings as our march toward the winter months carries on. That being said, it was a week of wonderful weather and stunning day time temperatures; cool evenings and fresh mornings make for some of the best weather of the year. Early mornings are often accompanied by coverings of mist in the low-lying areas, and sunsets are just so typically African. Our viewing this week only added to the fact that May is a wonderful time of year to visit the bush.
Once more, it has been the lions that have stolen the show this past week, and even when we weren’t out looking for them, they have tended to show themselves on a daily basis. This is no doubt because, true to their habit, they seem to love sleeping in open areas and flopping downright next to the road, which makes our jobs just so much easier!
The cubs are growing in confidence and gave us some super special sightings this week – as always, their energy levels ensure that any time spent with them is entertaining. We found them one afternoon when the moms had gone out to hunt, and their confidence and curiosity brought them all creeping out the bush to see who we were! Naturally though, because the mothers weren’t there, we left them in peace without any distractions. It was this same curiosity that helped me locate them later in the week when I found signs of them with a kill right in Tanda Tula Safari Camp!They had killed an antelope adjacent to the camp, but the mothers had dragged the kill into the thickets just inside our camp’s perimeter. It would have been impossible to see them if it wasn’t for the curious cubs once more popping out to see what I was getting up to! A trip to the far west didn’t produce any sightings of lions, but we did find fresh signs of a portion of the giraffe pride, and heard that a couple of days earlier, the two Monwana males had been on a giraffe kill.
For two weeks in a row, I have a leopard update! After much trying, I eventually got to see Nthombi – it is the first time since lockdown started that we have seen her, and she was looking great. She was right on the Timbavati’s boundary with Klaserie,and sadly she did cross over whilst I was with her, but as her cubs are hidden in the Timbavati,she will no doubt be back for them soon. We suspect that she may have them on the banks of the Nhlaralumi close to one of our neighbouring lodges, so we will keep an eye open. There were also reports of Thumbela and Nyeleti being seen this week, so it is wonderful to know that there has been nothing sinister about their absence over the past weeks.
The wild dogs came through the area yet again this week, but I ended up doing nothing more than chasing their tracks across the concession before they moved north. It is no surprise that the pack isn’t hanging around with the constant vocalisations coming from the male lions in the area, and wild dogs will actively avoid areas of high lion activity. It might make things more difficult for us to see these endangered animals, but it is a much safer bet for the wild dogs!
The big herbivores were once again quite active this week with good giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala activity. The latter in particularly were a constant source of entertainment as the males entered the peak of the rut with their un-antelope-like roars filling the silent nights as the full moon of May approached. Last year I bemoaned the fact that the rut passed almost unnoticed, but this year it is one of the noisiest that I have heard in many, many years! There were a few elephant herds moving through the area, and almost daily sightings of lone bulls tagging behind the groups, but our surge in numbers of these pachyderms is still something we are waiting for. The buffalo herds were a little less active this week, but as we didn’t spend much time in the south-west, we can’t be sure what they were up to there.
And that is that for this week – we trust you will enjoy these pictures, and if you cannot wait until next Friday for more updates, be sure to check out our various social media feeds for more!
Until next time, keep well!