We are experiencing very low rainfall for this time of year, and while this is bad news in many ways, it is good news for sightings as all wildlife is drawn to the waterholes. The predators experience a time of bounty by preying on weakened animals that are not as fit and healthy as they would be in a season of good rainfall and resultant flora to feed on.
Our wildlife review for the month is as follows:
Buffalo: A very large breeding herd of buffalo, approximately 300 individuals, were seen in early December in the northern section of our concession. A breeding herd of 40 made a regular appearance in the eastern parts and we had daily sightings of buffalo bulls, with bachelor herds being sighted in all parts of our game viewing area.
Leopards: Nine different known leopards were seen with a few leopards still unidentified. We experienced this high number of sightings as a result of the low rainfall and sparse vegetative cover. The Mahlangulene female is showing signs of suckling cubs and the Xhikelengane female is pregnant.
Cheetahs: The mother and four cubs, were seen on two separate occasions resting in the open plains in the central area. We watched as the cubs chased each other up and around the trees while their mother kept an eye on the surroundings for any potential threat or prey. The two sub adult male cheetahs also made an appearance and were seen in the area just north of the female and her cubs.
Elephants: The below average rainfall that we have been experiencing has lead to the elephant herds covering vast distances between their feeding grounds, and converging at the remaining drinking points. We had numerous sightings of breeding herds of elephant moving towards the waterholes to quench their thirst. Sweni and Lebombo guest have been treated on most days to views from the decks of herds drinking from the river.