The pitter patter of raindrops on the ground brings to life the beautiful smell of the earth. Sun breaking through the clouds, a monkeys wedding, shades of green intensify as the vibrance of the wild awakens.
December in the bush is unimaginably magnificent, it comes alive with the smells, sounds and energy of a truly wild and wonderful place, filled with enticement. As we bring the year to a close, so begins a new chapter as nature begins the journey of new born life once again, allowing us the privilege of observing and experiencing growth in our place of miracles.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for December:
This month has seen a lot of movement from our prides of lions. The Mhangene pride and Othawa male are still moving far distances throughout the property and roaming into the southern areas of the Sabi Sand from time to time.
With the movement of the Mhangene pride, the Othawa pride and Matimba male have been encroaching further into the property and we have enjoyed many great sightings with them over the past month. With the death of one of the two Matimba males, the remaining male seems to be thriving in his old age and is still asserting his dominance over the pride, especially when it comes to feeding.
Interestingly there have been a few interactions between two of the Nkuhuma pride sub adults and the Matimba male. They have shared a buffalo carcass and been in each other’s presence on a few occasions, however the Nkuhuma young male still knows his place when it comes to the Matimba male.
Two southern pride females also made an appearance this month but have since disappeared.
With generous amounts of water and vegetation, elephants are enjoying long hours of feeding and multiple daily mud wallows to cool themselves down in this tremendous heat. There are a number of young elephants around at the moment who provide hours of entertainment as they learn to explore the world around them.
December has been a big step for the wild dog packs. With the pups being more active and involved in hunting, they have continued to move across greater distances however we have still had some wonderful sightings with them.
Early December marks the birth of a new litter for the Schotia female leopard who is keeping her suspected two cubs in hiding. We are looking forward to meeting them in the next month or so!
Her previous litter, the Tavangumi male has been seen on numerous occasions and recently had an interaction with the Thamba male over an impala carcass. Both leopards walked away uninjured, however for the Tavangumi male this is a great lesson as a young male leopard who is now independent.
Khokhovela female leopard and her young male son have been spending a lot of time in our western part of the property. The young male has begun hunting smaller mammals recently which is great to see in terms of his growth as a young leopard.
Hukumuri female leopard has been sighted on a few occasions and is also showing signs of motherhood.
For the month of December, we added White-backed Night Heron, Steppe Eagle, African Crake and African Pygmy-Kingfisher which leaves our yearly bird list for 2019 at 274.