October is an excellent month for safaris as it’s nearing the end of the dry season and water sources are few and far between. All you need do is bide your time at a permanent waterhole and you are bound to see some action. On the 10th Tengwe Siabwanda’s guests didn’t have to wait long at all – this is his report, “We had our sundowners at Whata Pan and within ten minutes four of the Big Five came to drink: three elephant bulls, two lionesses, thirteen white rhinos, one black rhino and one leopard.”
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for October:
Rhinos: Rhino sightings are as awesome as always. Guests spending the afternoon and evening in the hide saw more than 25 white rhinos come and drink at the pan. A most endearing sighting was of a white rhino calf, less than a week old, stumbling around under the
watchful eye of the mother. An extremely lucky boat cruise notched up five different sightings of black rhinos on the shore.
Lions: The five members of the Southern Pride have added three little cubs to their team. They have been feasting on buffalos and killed six in less than six weeks!
The 12 members of the River Pride are thriving.
A member of the Northern Pride killed a buffalo but a lurking hyena called for reinforcements and in less than ten minutes there were over 20 hyenas surrounding the lion. They attacked and took over the kill.
After viewing ten rhinos drinking in the dark guests and their guide were surprised to see three lions drinking at the pan too. They’d snuck into the scene without a sound, and it was only the safari vehicle’s lights that gave them away.
Another highlight was watching two lionesses stalk a young waterbuck while guests were on a boat cruise.
Leopards: Leopard sightings have been good, including seeing a pair of leopards. A crowning moment was a leopard enjoying its meal up a tree and four hyenas at the bottom waiting for scraps to rain down.
Cheetah: The two male cheetahs were spotted again this month, favouring the open hunting grounds of the airstrip.
Hyenas: The suspected hyena den-site along Hunter’s Road was confirmed with the appearance of some very small cubs there. A clan of 16 hyenas were seen feeding on a wildebeest carcass. Hyenas were mating in the waters of a pan, with a third one trying to interfere, and while all this was going on an elephant bull was bathing in the mud!
Wild dogs: The pack of eight adults and seven puppies are still on the property. One action-packed sighting was of them chasing and killing a young nyala, while hyenas tried to muscle in on the action.
Elephants: There are good amounts of bulls around, and breeding herds of up to 70 have been seen along the river. A couple of the bulls are doing themselves no favours as they insist on pulverising some of the large mountain acacia trees.
Buffalos: The buffalo population is burgeoning. We have seen one breeding herd that has about 700 individuals in it.
Plains game: Excellent numbers of impala, zebra, and giraffe abound. We’ve also had some very good sightings of the rare antelope such as sable and Lichtenstein hartebeest. A herd of 12 sable was seen at a pan and three Lichtenstein hartebeest with a very small calf were spotted.
An African wild cat and a Selous mongoose trying to catch a scrub hare.
A Cape clawless otter walking on the Chiredzi River drainage line.
Birds: One of the highlights was a fish eagle taking a tigerfish. A detailed story titled Twitching follows herein.
Fishing: Good catches of bream and tiger are being had thanks to the warm waters.
Boat cruises: Sunset cruises have been so productive in terms of wildlife sightings thanks to the heat and dryness drawing many animals to drink along the shoreline.
Rock art: The rock art is easily accessible by foot at this time of year and many guests have taken the opportunity to see it.
Walks in the wild: Our guides love nothing more than taking guests on foot to see the tiny details of the landscape, as well as the large wildlife it supports.
Day trips and community visits: Guests have participated in day trips to Gonarezhou National Park as well as tours of Kambako – the
Living Museum of Bushcraft.