As the first raindrop fell on the dry earth we breathed a sigh knowing that the heavy clouds would settle the dust and summer would start to show her bloom. Every day after it was noticeable that the green buds of new life were forming and growing, and even guests commented that the area started to look a lot greener than when they first arrived a few days prior. The early mornings were still cool for the first few weeks of September, but as the month progressed the fleece ponchos were being left behind along with the hot water bottles (fondly known as ‘bush babies’ that are placed on your lap to keep your hands warm during the winter months). Departing on the early morning game drives whilst watching the sunrise over the horizon is definitely a highlight in the summer months. There is often a game vehicle on a crest watching the sun come up as its occupants capture several memories before moving off to track lions or follow up on a hyena call in the distance as the early morning chorus of various bird species echoes along the valleys.
Leopards: The Hlabankunzi female and her cub have been viewed regularly in the vicinity of the lodges. On two separate occasions we saw the Nyelethi male leopard accompanying them at carcasses. One of the carcasses was a nyala bull, which was later hoisted by the Nyeleti male. This was an impressive view of strength from a larger male leopard.
Buffaloes: There have been a few smaller herds of buffalo that have been moving around in the southern sections. Various large herds of buffalo have been seen moving through the grasslands, in particular the areas that have been purposely burnt by our environmental team. The green flush in the area has not only attracted the buffalo but also various other species such as zebra, wildebeest and impala.
Lions: During a few of the days in September there were three prominent prides being viewed during the morning and afternoon game drives. It was quite exciting listening to the radio as the various guides called in the movements of the individual sightings. Two of the Matimba male lions were also seen in close vicinity to where two Majingalane male lions were moving. The guides set predications as to what may occur during the afternoon game drive. The large Matimba male lions retreated back to the southeast with the Majingalane males roaring behind them. With all the hype of the large Matimba male lion coalition extending their territory west we had wondered if these two ‘gladiators’ would challenge the Majingalane male lions.
Hyena: A number of single hyenas have been seen in the area. After watching the Mangheni pride kill a zebra, a clan of six was seen in the area. Unfortunately due to the size of the pride, there was not much of the carcass remaining for the clan, however they were persistent to remain in the area until the lions departed.
Wild dogs: There have been very few wild dog sightings during this month. A large pack has been reported to be active around a den area in the western section of Sabi Sand. Hopefully within the next few weeks the wild dog pack would begin moving with the puppies.