We’ve been enjoying some heavy rain, the Malilangwe Reserve is looking magnificent and our guests have had some dramatic sightings.
Some guests have had the opportunity to watch the practical side of the Malilangwe Course in Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife, which is an annual training programme that takes place on the reserve in February, and is organised by the Wildlife Capture Africa Trust in conjunction with the Malilangwe Trust and other partners. It is a world-renowned course that during its 41-year history has trained hundreds of wildlife veterinarians, researchers and conservation professionals from across Africa and internationally, in the science and art of chemical and physical restraint of wild animals.
Singita Pamushana guests, being in the right place at the right time, were invited to watch some of the procedures and observed seeing an elephant bull, lion and white rhino being darted and worked on respectively, as well as a capture exercise using a boma setup and helicopter.
It was such a privilege for our guests to experience conservationists at work in the field.
Here’s a snapshot of February’s sightings:
The majority of sightings have been of the River Pride and the Southern Pride.
It’s great to see the return of one of the old males back to the River Pride. An article on their pride dynamics follows in this journal.
We’ve enjoyed sightings of a female leopard, possibly the Baobab Female, resting in the shade on a rock, in Ultimate Drive, and slinking about the Croc Creek area.
Packs of wild dogs have been seen a few times this month, the highlight for guests was finding 11 wild dogs in the process of killing an impala and feeding from it. After they’d finished two spotted hyenas arrived and dragged the remains away, as the wild dogs went for a drink at nearby Hwata Pan.
We’ve enjoyed seeing the two males relaxing and sleeping here and there, but luck was on our side when guests got to see them hunt – they stalked, chased at break-neck speed, and killed an impala.
The hyenas have been seen doing what hyenas do best, which includes chasing each other around trying to grab a coveted piece of old carcass skin from one another.
The rhinos are taking advantage of all the muddy wallows that have formed after the rain, and are enjoying the soothing mudbaths.
In one morning 10 different white rhinos were seen at different intervals on game drive.
Guests on a walk with their guide tracked black rhinos and found four of them! It was a cow and calf, and two bulls that were following them. When the cow became aware of human presence she slowly came over to inspect the scent from where the group were safely standing behind a fallen tree.
There have been plenty of sightings of large breeding herds, up to 50 elephants, going about their serious daily business while the little ones play around taking it all far less seriously.
Some magnificent bulls have been seen feeding right next to the game viewers; all in good condition and mood thanks to the lush vegetation.
The buffalos, like the rhinos, have been revelling in the mud wallows and caking themselves in the glorious salve.
Plains game has been prolific, and particularly rewarding has been the scenes of herds of sable, Lichtenstein hartebeest and baby wildebeest.
Beautiful spectacles of moths and butterflies take flight at this time.
One evening a young four-foot crocodile was seen walking along the road looking for a new pan.
A hair-raising sight was of a slender mongoose trying to attack a black mamba up a tree!
Boat cruises & fishing
Some guests find the safari boat cruises so picturesque, rewarding and peaceful that they request them over game drives at every opportunity.
Quite a few fish have been landed – and a lot more have got away!
Despite the lush vegetation we have still taken every opportunity to get out on foot with willing guests – it’s just a matter of choosing the right area. One such occasion was when after a short game drive we came across a fresh black rhino track. We abandoned the vehicle and continued to track the black rhino by foot where we later located the animal enjoying a mud wallow. While spending time with the black rhino we heard a strange noise to the east and decided to investigate. We found a large breeding herd of elephants with lots of babies all arriving at another pan to drink and bathe. After spending time enjoying these scenes we walked back to the vehicle and a few minutes later saw a small breeding herd of buffalo.
Short walks to rock art sites are very popular, and a humbling way to immerse yourself in Nature and contemplate where we came from as a species.
Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft
The leader of this bushcraft museum, Julius Matshuve, takes such delight in showcasing the vanishing cultures of the hunter gatherer lifestyle of the Shangaan people. Our guests always arrive back from this outing having loved every minute of the action!