Posted by mashatu in Uncategorized on Nov 11th, 2011 | 2 comments
Summer has arrived, and with a vengeance. Temperatures during the last few weeks have hovered consistently around the low forties (Celcius). The midday sun can be brutally hot, although guests have ample time to cool off in the camp’s swimming pool in-between drives. It’s not uncommon to see dark clouds looming in the late afternoon, and this month was no different. We enjoyed a total rainfall of 38mm (average from Main and Tent Camps) in October.
Thanks to these regular showers the bush is now full of small pockets of water, causing the animals’ movements to become more widespread. Even the mighty Majale River came down in a brief flood a little while ago, so it’s definitely safe to say that water is no longer in short supply. With the majority of trees and bushes pushing out new leaves, visibility has decreased drastically, although the splendor and beauty of the bush has literally quadrupled.
There were 13 eland kills made during the month. The lions took nine of those, leaving a paltry two each to the leopards and hyenas. The leopards were responsible for a whopping 11 of the 16 impala kills, with the cheetahs taking care of the other five.
Game viewing was excellent during October, with 90% and 81% leopard and lion sightings respectively. As more elephants make their way along the Limpopo and Shash Riverbeds due to the dry conditions and limited resource dispersal, the sightings rate has dropped slightly from September to 74%. Cheetah sightings have remained stable at around 32%. We were lucky enough to see a mother with five cubs during the last few days of the month, first at Croc Pool along the Majale River, and then again further south from there. If this family of six wasn’t enough, guests were watching a pride of lions when the famous cheetah bother trio came walking along. Blissfully oblivious, the cheetahs continued in the direction of the big cats, which were crouched and ready to attack. They got to within 40m of the lions when the bush exploded, and suddenly there were cats running in every direction. The cheetah males beat a very hasty retreat, with some lionesses hot on their tails. Fortunately for the cheetahs, the lions gave up after a short chase. In the ensuing commotion they managed to flush a very surprised spotted hyena from its resting site, sending the poor animal running for its life in the process. Action all round!
General game such as kudu, zebra, giraffe and eland were plentiful. We also saw numerous eland calves gathered together in small crèche herds, which was particularly sweet. As usual the lions and spotted hyenas have cottoned onto the first newborns of the season, and have been plucking these eland calves from their herds on a fairly regular basis. Impala and warthog were super abundant as always. Spending time with these generalists is always interesting, and guests learnt some amazing facts from their respective guides.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog is still in it’s infancy stages so the Sightings maps, Predator maps and CyberDiary Archives aren’t up and running just yet. The Pete’s Pond is live however, so make sure to wander over there and see what the animals are up to.
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