Autumn does not blossom with vegetation changing to radical colours, but what is evident during this time of the year is the sensorial increase towards the smell of the air in the morning and evening. The feeling of sitting around a warm fire during the cooler mornings, right before venturing into the bush with excitement, always makes your coffee taste that much better. The leaves have started to fade in colour and the sparseness of the bush is becoming more evident now that winter is on its way.
Lions: The Mhangeni pride continues to dominate in the area even though they have been recorded meeting up with the Othawa pride on more than one occasion. With the few brief sightings of the two young lion cubs, we are all excited to see if there are going to be any further new additions to the pride. The Majingilane male lions have been moving in close range of the lodges, often vocalizing frequently throughout the night. It always sparks up conversation about the lions during our dining experiences as we listen to them call.
Leopards: Within the recent weeks, sighting of the Mobeni female leopard have become more frequent. The Ravenscourt male continues to venture in our central and south western corridor. Watching the Hlaba’Nkunzi female along with her cub has been interesting, as the motherly instinct of becoming independent to the young male has met its tipping point. Encounters are often interpreted as being aggressive towards each other, however they seem to overcome the engagement quickly and almost relish in the fact that they soon will be separated indefinitely as the male explores his independence more.
Buffaloes: With the water-dependent animals moving more consistently around the water sources, sightings have been more frequent within the areas of Castleton, a central area that is rewarding with its sightings in the open grasslands.
Elephants: Breeding herds continually move along the Sand River and many have been recorded with young calves in tow. Large bull elephants continue to pursue these herds in search of females coming into oestrous.
Birds: 226 species were recorded in April 2016 (243 in March). Specials of the month were African spoonbill and a Western Osprey (find a fact file on this bird at the end of this report).