We are at the end of our dry season now, so the game viewing couldn’t be better, especially for spotting predators, as you can tell from this morning report from one of the guides: “I had a great drive with the guests, it started out with a female white rhino and bull calf on Banyini. From there we worked the Chikwete area where I found two lions in the riverbed, a young male of three-years-old and a very old lioness that look as if she has lost her left eye. I got a radio call to say that our pack of wild dogs were in the river bed downstream, so we headed there to spend time with them. On the way, I thought I saw a lioness crossing the road, yet it turned out to be a huge male leopard! Continuing we came across five bull elephants. Finally we located the wild dogs and sat with them for a half hour or so before returning to the lodge for breakfast.”
Here’s our wildlife overview for November:
Lions: The majority of lion sightings have been of the young coalition of three males. A story on their antics follows in this journal…
Cheetah: We’ve been seeing the two male cheetahs on our open areas, as well as the mother with the short tail. All is well with them at this time of low cover, hard ground and abundant prey.
Leopard: The highlight of the month’s leopard sightings was seeing two leopards drinking at the river crossing. We’ve seen leopards hunting impala and targeting the heavily pregnant impalas. On one occasion we found a fresh impala kill and we could still see the foetus that had not yet been eaten. By next month, when there will be impala lambs in abundance, the leopards will be targeting the weak little youngsters. But when the rut starts again next year the leopards will target the distracted impala rams – so it all balances out in the end, naturally.
Rhinos: Exceptional viewing of both black and white rhinos has been had this month. You’d be very unlucky to go on a game drive and not see one!
Buffalo: We are seeing huge herds of buffalo because of the low grazing at the moment – up to six hundred buffalo at once.
Wild dogs: The pack of 27 is doing exceptionally well. That’s a lot of mouths to feed and they have been on daily hunting sprees – mainly taking down impala but we also saw them successfully hunt a kudu and hartebeest.
Hyenas: The hyenas and wild dogs have been engaged in their near daily pursuit of bickering, whereby the hyenas trail the wild dogs and then try to steal their kills from them. One or two hyenas aren’t enough to chase the 27 dogs away, but it seems that when they number around eight they have the upper hand and claim the spoils.
Elephants: The breeding herds are spread out far and wide at the moment – but such a delight to watch when you find the youngsters playing and being cared for by mothers and aunts.
Plains game: Great news from the impala population is that the first lamb for the season was born on 7 November. This date is always a great milestone to record, along with others such as the first woodland kingfisher to be seen and heard.