December’s month of weather was fairly calm, but punctuated by several incredibly heavy thunderstorms. We received 54 mm on two consecutive nights, which created havoc with the roads and the localized drainage crossings – some of the daily game drives began to look like a muddy 4×4 jamboree! The river rose perilously high in just a few days, almost threatening to come over its bank at times and the accompanying roar at night replicated a turbulent ocean.
Regardless of the wet conditions wildlife sightings were incredibly productive. All of our guests witnessed some extraordinary sights and returned each day in very high spirits, elated with what they had witnessed out there on the vast open landscape. What many guests commented on and loved was that it felt like theirs was the only vehicle on the entire concession, and they had the whole park seemingly to themselves whilst watching wildlife uninterrupted and without any other noise element.
Here are some sighting snippets for December:
Lions: Lion sightings were an almost daily occurrence on the Lamai plains, ranging from apparently lone unsociable individuals to some nice prides… even a ‘honeymoon couple’ who were incredibly cooperative for three or four days, putting on daily displays of affection, frolicking and the odd domestic altercation.
One set of guests were very fortunate to find a recently dispatched zebra with two lionesses in close attendance on vulture watch, plus a male leopard in a balanites tree watching over the saga unfurling directly below him! Very special indeed for all there – possibly not the leopard though who appeared rather tense and agitated. A cheeky opportunistic hyena darted in and grabbed a zebra leg before running off, very pleased with his efforts.
Cheetahs: Several guests were lucky enough to witness three separate cheetah kills over a two-week period, from the stalk to the actual take down, a first for all of the guests.
On one occasion a lone hyena, who happened to be lurking with intent in the area, managed to grab the hapless Thompson gazelle from the cheetah soon after the takedown, much to the dismay of the guests watching the whole episode. Needless to say, the hyena has since dropped further down their ‘fair play’ list after that display of non-sportsmanship.
The cheetahs in the area appear very habituated and will approach the vehicles closely, maybe deliberating to possibly utilise them as a vantage point.