The temperatures have hardly changed from last month, but the rain has tapered off and the vegetation is noticeably drier by the day. We are moving into one of the best times to be in the bush, with cooler weather, fat happy plains game, animals having to go to permanent waterholes to drink, and a changing colour palette.
Thankfully guests are returning to us too. Every sane person in the world who has had their sanity challenged during the past two years deserves and needs a safari break! We hope you are planning yours.
A sightings snapshot for February follows:
- The Nduna Pride was seen in the eastern area of Bandama, and later in the month three of the lionesses and two cubs were sleeping in the shade east of Nduna Dam.
- Two male lions have been seen patrolling long distances – first they were at Sosiji Dam, then at Mabhakweni.
- The leopard sighting of the month was definitely seeing two courting leopards below Hunyugwi Hill. Let’s hope some tiny spotted cubs are born in the next 100 days…
African wild dogs
- A pack of 11 wild dogs was seen a couple of times in the Nyari / Nhanga / airstrip area. They were either resting with full bellies or hunting. On one of their hunts they were steadfastly trailed by two spotted hyenas hoping for a freebie.
- A clan of 13 hyenas were fighting over the remains of a waterbuck at Nhanga Pan.
- White rhinos: Wonderful crashes of white rhinos seen regularly. They are in great condition and enjoying the sweet drying grasses.
- Black rhinos: The highlight of black rhino sightings was seeing three of them feeding on sausage fruits from a Kigelia africana tree. They really seemed to enjoy the fruits.
- There are quite a few bulls in musth this month. It must be partly due to their peak condition from all the good vegetation they’ve had on offer.
- Excellent buffalo herds and the best place to see them is at a waterhole where they’ll be drinking or wallowing.
- Plains game abound, especially in the open areas where you can see them congregate and graze. They’ve enjoyed a good season.
- Reptiles are not high on many peoples’ lists, but we did have young enthusiasts in camp who enjoyed all the harmless lizards and skinks on offer. However, guests got a sighting never to be forgotten when, on an afternoon drive, they saw a three metre black mamba being mobbed by a flock of Meves’s starlings in a knob thorn tree. The guide positioned the vehicle a safe distance away and watched as the snake failed to stay still and, in agitation, managed to strike one of the birds, catch it and consume it in full view! Further along on their drive, in the middle of the road, was another snake - this time a Mozambique spitting cobra. It raised its hood as they approached and then lowered it down before escaping into the grass.
- Guests loved a mid-morning safari experience of seeing the Chidhumo rock art site and hearing about the hunter-gatherer San who were the custodians of the land at the time.
- Relaxing meditative boat cruises are the order of the afternoon. While enjoying sundowners, seeing hippos and crocs, and listening to all the bird calls our guests also saw a male white rhino along the shoreline, and a herd of about 600 Cape buffalo feeding.
- Some great fun fishing adventures, with bream, tigerfish and gobis caught.
- An incredible daytrip to Gonarezhou National Park was had with breeding herds of elephants encountered all the way from the entrance at Chipinda Pools all the way to the Chilojo Cliffs. Plenty of plains game was seen with an increase in the number of zebras. Good birds of prey we spotted including the eagles – martial, brown snake, Wahlberg’s and black-breasted.