If the weather were an animal, it would be a jackal – it’s got a sneaky nip to it. You need to layer up in the mornings to keep the chill at bay, but it soon warms up into balmy autumn days. We love this time of year as it begins to dry out and the leaves turn to the colours of lions and impalas. The very tips of baobab branch fingers hold onto the last of velvety fruits unreached by baboons, and the animals are magnetically drawn to the few permanent water sources that are scattered about the reserve.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for May:
All the prides have been feasting on buffalo kills this month, which is testament to the various prides strength and numbers. The River Pride boasts 13 members and is a force to be reckoned with.
The prides boundaries seem very fluid lately – the Southern Pride has been seen more north than usual, the River Pride from the west is pushing far east, and the Nduna Pride were spotted more west of their usual haunts.
The Southern Pride have three cubs that they are starting to introduce to the big wide world – guides and guests included.
Hopefully more cubs will be born in the next 110 days as a territorial male was mating with one of the River Pride lionesses.
There have been glimpses of spots here and there.
One of the best sightings of the month was of a leopard relaxing up a tree, one evening. Eclipsing that was a leopard seen feeding on a nyala bull carcass on the shore of the dam. The big male was spotted from the boat and all on board got to drift to about two metres from where he was feeding. He wasn’t threatened by the boat, or by a hyena that tried to challenge him for his kill.
The leopards have been making the most of the impala rut by hunting distracted rams.
We are delighted to report that the coalition of two male cheetahs were seen again this month.
It’s been a month of excellent breeding herd sightings – herd of up to 70 elephants at a time. We’ve watched some youngsters drinking and playing in the river, as well finding a nursery of small babies sleeping flat on the ground with the mothers gathered around using their bodies to shade the little ones.
Elephant bulls are seen every day, especially at their favourite waterholes.
Large herds make their daily journey to the river or the permanent dams and pans to drink.
If you want to see black and white rhinos in the wild, then Singita Pamushana is the place to visit. We’ve seen crashes of 11 white rhinos together this month, and see the story that follows about the black rhinos…
Yes! They are on the property and the alpha female is heavily pregnant. We are, of course, desperately hoping she chooses to den on our reserve again.
The clans are still a very strong presence, despite all the lion activity.
The impala rut is still in full force. One impala ram was killed by another in a fight, and five hyenas made very quick work of the carcass when they found it.
We’ve enjoyed a great sighting of a herd of sable with young, and a magnificent sable bull with them.
There have been regular sightings of eland.
A Lichtenstein hartebeest made a rare appearance.
Impala, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe abound.
We have otter pups! A pair of Cape clawless otters and their utterly adorable pups have been seen a few times when we’ve been out on the boats, and especially when we are fishing.
An inspiring find on a walk was a baobab tree with a hole in it which allowed us to access the interior of this mammoth tree. A truly awe-inspiring view!
A pair of peregrine falcons has been spotted regularly in one area. Hopefully they will establish a nest and begin breeding here.
It’s been tight lines despite the colder weather – see the story that follows…
Walks and rock art
We were delighted to have some avid walkers as guests, and they were taken on a five hour walk from the eastern side of the Malilangwe Dam, all the way to Lojaan Dam. On the way they saw a black rhino bull, a few dagga boys, giraffe, nyala and impala. They stopped on the way to view various rock paintings in the sandstone hills.