We’ve been enjoying some good consistent rain, and the wildlife is thriving. The landscape is abundant and some game drives have resulted in prolific sightings, like these two from the daily reports:
“We had a great afternoon on Banyini, a herd of about 30 elephants, eight white rhinos, and one dagga boy came to drink, while a pack of six wild dogs were hunting in the area and chased some impalas that were feeding west of Banyini.”
“At Nduna Dam we had four of ‘The Big Five’ come to drink - a breeding herd of 12 elephants, ten white rhinos, five black rhinos, four dagga boys and one male lion.”
We bid a sad but very fond farewell to three guides from our team this month. Mark Friend and Dharmesh Daya leave to pursue the next chapters in their lives, while Alex Naert moves across to the Malilangwe Wildlife Department. Their stories and accounts close out the year in this wildlife journal.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for December:
- The Nduna Pride of two adult male lions, four lionesses, and six cubs of varying ages have provided the majority of sightings. They have been seen around the Nduna and Chitindigova areas, either napping, hunting or lurking.
- With only a few game drives out, and thick bush, the leopard sightings have been scarce.
African wild dogs
- We’ve seen the wild dogs quite often, reports of between 12 and 14 of them including the pups. Unfortunately one of the adults has a severe injury to a front leg.
- The hyenas are prolific and nearly always brazen, but while one safari group had a brief view of four wild dogs hunting along the airstrip they also noticed a lone hyena hiding under a bush nearby, watching and listening.
- The rhinos are looking so healthy and are packing on weight thanks to the good grazing and browse. Excellent sightings of both black and white are still to be enjoyed at this time of the year, especially at the waterpoints where they prefer to drink.
- There have been many brilliant sightings of breeding herds, which is just wonderful!
- On one afternoon a team followed up on lion tracks which led them to a dead elephant. No lion was on site but the vultures were feasting on the elephant carcass.
- The large herds are regularly seen drinking at Banyini Pan, and sometimes two herds converge simultaneously resulting in hundreds of buffalo drinking and churning up mud.
- The plains game are at their best, especially with all their little ones gambolling alongside their mothers. A herd of 12 sable antelope drank at Nduna Dam while guests were enjoying a tea break.
- It’s so refreshing to have enthusiastic birders on board. Leaving the lodge at 05:00, a group managed to see 71 species in a morning.
- Here’s an extract from a daily report after some excellent sightings at the venue of our photographic hide: “We had a wonderful afternoon at Hwata Pan – 12 white rhinos and a pride of six lions (three lionesses and three sub-adults) came to drink. All the zebras, impalas and wildebeest that wanted to drink ran away when they saw the lions.”
- Several lovely relaxed boat cruises have taken place, with lots of birds, hippos, crocodiles and other animals being seen on the shores.
- Quite a few Mozambique and redbreast tilapia have been caught, as well as some tigerfish.
- Even though the bush is thick we have continued offering our bush walks, as it is what we love best – we just make sure we walk in the more open clearings.
- One was an epic 17 km walk starting at Malevula Hill and exploring the wilderness area all the way back to the lodge.
- It’s also a lovely time to explore some of the rock art sites on the reserve, especially if it is raining and you can take cover under the rocky shelters, enjoy a cup of coffee, and learn all about the history of the cave paintings.
- The rocks and the rock art look even more impressive when rain-saturated.