Thank goodness for air-conditioners! October has been boiling hot, and while our guests relax in their cool villas, swim in their private pools and enjoy spa treatments, the animals try to do the same – well, in the shade of a tree, the waterholes and the mud wallows… Once the heat has simmered there’s a concentration of activity, and both man and beast congregate at the plains and pans which results in excellent game viewing.
Here’s an overview of October’s wildlife news:
Wild dogs: We’ve still had the pack of wild dogs on the reserve in October, and they’re travelling great distances with the pups keeping up. The pups are tearing into fresh kills now, rather than waiting for the adults to regurgitate meat for them.
Lions: Guests were lucky enough to have a close and calm view of a lioness with her two cubs resting on the banks of Chiredzi River, in the shade. The signs are good for more cubs to be born in about three and a half month’s time because we’ve seen two pairs of mating lions this month. A kudu gave the whereabouts of a male lion away, when it sounded the alarm and we followed the sound to the vicinity of the lion relaxing under some thick cover. The coalition of three male lions is well, and no doubt sussing out where they can establish a territory.
Rhinos: Our rhino sightings are as excellent as ever, and there have been some peaceful close encounters with black rhinos – see the story in this journal.
Cheetahs: This mother cheetah and her female cub had sent all the plains game into hiding in the savannah area.
Unbelievable sightings of big old bulls are to be had at the moment. They arrive at their favourite waterholes regularly each day for drinking, mud and dust bathing, tree rubbing and the inevitable male jousting, bumping and shoving.
Buffalo and plains game: Two male cheetahs got a run for their money when nine buffalo bulls chased them away from the waterhole they were drinking at. Relations were less fractious on another day when some buffalo bulls shared the pan with sable antelope, eland and warthog. Elsewhere there’s been a lot of plains game to be seen, the likes of kudu, nyala, waterbuck, sable, Lichtenstein hartebeest and giraffe.
Birds: It’s such a joy to see the first migrants arrive for summer, and to hear their distinctive songs.
Photo hide: Our photo hide is the place to be when it is hot and dry like this. It is cool and dark and offers some of the best African wildlife photographic opportunities available. See the photo above and the story that follows.
Walks: Guests have enjoyed walks along the shady riverbanks, while crocodiles lie basking on the shore and animals rest in the cover.
Water safari: A cruise is the best way to end a day or a safari trip. One group were rewarded with an elephant bull drinking, three buffalo bulls lying in the water, pods of hippos snorkelling and a multitude of birds – while they sipped their sundowners.