Fireworks and festivities are the order of the day in Zimbabwe, as we celebrate a new chapter in our history. Exploding onto the scene are the fireball lilies (Scadoxus multiflorus) that are flowering at the moment. We’ve had wonderful rain and November is bursting with highlights such as the arrival of brightly coloured migrant birds, spindly impala lambs, leopard tortoises, red velvet mites and creamy baobab flowers.
Here’s our wildlife overview for November:
Lions: Excellent sightings of lions have been had all month, mainly of the River pride and Southern pride. Guests have also been treated to some incredible roaring performances. One particularly memorable sighting was of a male lion stealing a leopard’s kill in the western area of the swampland. The poor leopard did not take his kill high enough in a tree, and the lion rushed in and grabbed it.
Rhinos: Rhino viewing is excellent as always. A drive without seeing a white rhino is an oddity – often you will see many of them. More elusive are the black rhinos, but we have had several good sightings of them this month, and a couple of up close charges!
Elephants: There are so many bull elephants around at the moment, that it’s hard to miss them on a drive.
Harder to find are the breeding herds that seem to be deeper within the thickets, but when you do they’re a delight with their youngsters, and are in a relaxed state thanks to the abundance of vegetation around.
Buffalos: On one morning drive we encountered three large breeding herds each numbering in the hundreds, and in the same general area. They are so well fed at the moment and in excellent condition.
Wild dogs: The wild dogs were around for the first part of the month, and then did a disappearing act. A highlight for guests was when they were on their way to a lion sighting and they came across a pack of wild dogs feeding on an impala. They arrived minutes after the pack started feeding and witnessed them finish the meal and then move on to a nearby pan for a drink.
Hyenas: The hyenas in the central area came under severe pressure from the lions a few months ago, and a couple of them were killed. However, they are denning in the hills north of the central area and have increased their population with some beautiful spotted youngsters. A highlight for the month was seeing 13 hyenas on a zebra kill, east of the central area.
Cheetah: We haven’t seen the short-tailed female for a few months, and wonder if she is still around as she was very old. In evidence though, and marking their territory as they go, are two males that we’ve been lucky enough to show our guests on a few occasions this month.
Leopards: We’ve glimpsed them regularly. Two prolonged sightings were of a leopard hunting guineafowl one afternoon, and a male leopard that had killed a zebra foal. On the second day of feeding on the foal he took it up a tree, and all the guests were able to enjoy a clearer view.