Last month I reported that if you have the patience, all you need do is sit at a waterhole and wait for the game to come to you. This month is no different, but it certainly was exceptional, as the above after-sunset photo shows, with elephants refusing to leave the water, lions lurking nearby and two white rhinos also wanting to take their turn to drink.
Wildlife overview for August
Wild dogs: 14 wild dog puppies. Yes, you read that correctly – the pups are running with the pack now and there are 14 patchwork bundles of them! Together with the 12 adults they are a sight to behold, especially when you find them lying in the middle of our main track, romping around and playing with each other. The pack’s hunting activity is at an all time high with 14 more mouths to feed, and guests witnessed them out on a hunt at the river where they brought down an impala and devoured it before their eyes.
Lions: Guests got to enjoy a special time with a pride of lions when the predators woke up, emerged from thick vegetation and came over to they vehicle and began playing, grooming and roaring.
Three male lions killed a buffalo on the shore of Malilangwe Dam, making it ideal to view the scene from our sundowner boat, over a couple of days. A black rhino was also seen on the shore during one of these outings, and a hyena came to scavenge but quickly realised the error of his ways.
Guests enjoyed a quality sighting of two lionesses and two little cubs, whilst on a walking safari. The cats walked right passed the group, within plain view, while they stood above them on the banks of the Chiredzi River.
But I’m afraid the Southern Pride has disgraced itself. They killed one of our most magnificent sable bulls. Sables are rare, endangered, tricky to breed in captivity and thrive on a very specific type of vegetation. They are sold for millions of dollars in breeding programmes. I think the lions might want to employ a PR person to spin a story that the bull was past his prime and needed to be eliminated so that ‘new blood’ could take its place, etc.
Leopards: Guests enjoyed a leopard sighting shortly after they’d viewed the ancient rock art on foot, in the Chidhumo area.
Brad’s tracker Robert thought he spotted a leopard, and turned to him saying he thought it was a leopard but it’s just a bush. Brad said he’d double check using his binos and, to everyone’s surprise, there was a huge tom cat lying in the shade in all his golden glory, watching the world go by. He was a good 250 metres off but they sat and watched him for about 25 minutes, and had time to call Japhet in with the rest of the guest party so that everyone got to see it.
Hyenas: Ever the opportunists we have had quite a few hyenas wander through our bush dinner sites to see if there are any ‘doggy bags’ on offer. Of course, there are not, and they are discouraged from milling around. They must have got the message because on one morning seven spotted hyenas were found feeding on a wildebeest carcass.
Cheetahs: The month’s cheetah drama was when the short-tailed cheetah was hunting, and caught an impala. Then a big baboon came and rescued the impala! The impala made its escape and the cheetah gave chase but missed her prize.
Rhinos: There have been daily sightings of crashes of white rhinos, as well as short sharp encounters with solitary black rhinos.
Elephants: There have been sightings of elephant bulls on every drive, and time has been spent with a couple of breeding herds too. On one occasion we were surrounded by a breeding herd and enjoyed lots of interest from the curious animals and watched in delight as the little calves nursed from their mothers.
Buffalo: We weren’t the only ones watching buffalo – on one occasion while spending time with about 400 buffalo along the Chiredzi River we noticed an adult male lion watching them from the opposite bank.
Plains game: Excellent plains game, as well as a couple of sightings of sable bulls and herds as well as a herd of seven