The ‘drought’ continued into the first week of the new year, and any game drive to one of our scarce permanent water sources saw thirsty thin impala, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, black and white rhinos and even sable antelope quenching their thirst. Thankfully all that changed when the heavens opened and we received over 100 mm of glorious rain on the 10th of January. Since then the landscape has transformed into an oasis and the relief and happiness of all is visible wherever you go. It’s harder to see the wildlife in the green season, but the landscape is so beautiful. That said, we have still had fantastic sightings on every game drive.
Here’s a snapshot of January’s sightings:
The River Pride killed and fed on two baby buffaloes at the river crossing. They also killed three warthog piglets close to the swamps.
The Southern Pride of seven lions (three lionesses, three cubs and one big male) are thriving, and there has been mating activity recorded this month.
Two lionesses killed an eland.
A great sightings was watching a pride of five wake up from their late afternoon nap, drink at a pan, play around the game viewing vehicle, then climb and pose up termite mounds before they got going for the evening’s hunt.
We’ve had good sightings of males and females stalking their targeted prey.
On a walk to see some rock art a leopard and possibly cubs were spotted, but it was only a fleeting glimpse.
The highlight has been of a female leopard resting on the boughs of baobabs.
There was a fascinating sighting of the wild dogs – the pack had split during a hunting foray and were calling plaintively for one another in order to reunite.
The resident cheetah brothers have been spotted resting and trying to hunt impala.
The spotted hyenas have had excellent luck thanks to the rains, as a couple of animals have become trapped in mud. A wildebeest found itself in this predicament one afternoon, and by the next morning the hyenas had killed and eaten all of it. The same fate awaited a buffalo stuck in Banyini Pan. A day or two later we watched as a hyena fished out pieces of submerged meat from the muddy shallows.
Excellent sightings of both black and white rhinos, as always. At the start of the month you could find crashes accumulated around the water points.
There have been some lovely sightings of black rhinos with young calves.
White rhino were seen in the awkward and hefty act of trying to mate.
There have been plenty of sightings of bulls, but it’s always the breeding herds that delight with their playful babies. A very special time was spent watching a breeding herd of about 100 elephants drink at Sosigi Dam.
The buffalo look so relieved now that the rain has come. About 400 of them were seen feeding contentedly at the swamps.
The plains game is prolific – at the start of the month they were concentrated at water points but now they are spread all over the reserve making the most of the new lush green growth.
Great sightings were still to be had at the start of the month, and even after the rains guests were rewarded with sightings at the pan were the photographic hide is.
A delightful scene was of two honey badgers trolling about in the twilight.
The boat cruises have been epic! Our guests have delighted in lots of plains game on the shores, a white rhino cow and calf wallowing in the mud, a black rhino feeding on the bank and over 70 elephants drinking and swimming up the river.
Many redbreast tilapias have been landed, as well as a few tigerfish.