Blue skies and starry nights with the warmth of a fire to illuminate your tales from the bush, this is the month of May. This is often described as a favourite time of year. The cooler temperatures in the morning can be described as being crisp and icy, but fortunately they don’t last long as the sun rises. It seems that the animals wait a while before moving around too much and this often leads to longer morning game drives in perfect conditions with beautiful blue skies. The toughest part of winter is finding a cloud in the sky during this time of the year; you have to see it to believe it!
Here’s a highlights package of the month’s sightings:
Lions: It has been a tough month for lion sightings, a challenge that has placed most of our trackers on high alert. Tracks showed the cats slipping in during the night and following buffalo to the western break, then continuing into the western sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Nonetheless, some of the sightings that we have been able to record came from visiting unexplored areas in search of alternative prides. It proved to be successful for viewing lions we do not often see and finding a few other memorable sightings along the way.
Leopards: While the lions are away the leopards will play. Seriously, this is exactly what happened! Leopards were literally on every termite mound or lounging around in the most comfortable looking trees. It was humorous as to the amount of leopards that we encountered as we ventured out, and leopard sightings kept us entertained for hours during our morning and afternoon game drives. It was a time of plenty!
Hlab’Nkunzi has continued to leave her now six-month old cub in close vicinity to the lodges. In addition to this the successful mother has taken full advantage of hunting small antelope within the lodge perimeter.
Buffalo: Smaller herds have been viewed along the periphery of the boundary and have moved into the western sections often followed by the Mhangene Pride.
Wild dogs: Intermittent sightings of the wild dogs have been fuelled with speculation that the prominent pack of dogs is about to den down for the winter. Tracks for several individual dogs have been followed towards the old den-site north of the river that was used last year for four months. We will keep a close watch on the area and will be sure to keep you up to date on any new reported movements. With a very pregnant alpha female moving with the pack, it is only a matter of time on where they decide to den. The guides and trackers are all holding thumbs for another winter of wild dogs north of the river. Will our wish come true?
Elephants: Now this has been elephant month for sure as they were in sheer abundance along the river. Large herds exceeding 50 individuals have been reported on a few occasions this month, which is not a regular sized herd that we encounter in the Sabi Sand area. Watching 50 elephant passing across the road in front of your vehicles allows you to appreciate the size of the group but also be engulfed into the hierarchal structure of the family groups. With the large bull elephants rounding up the females it is notable that mating season is throughout the year. There have been plentiful sightings of large bull elephants moving amongst the various herds and, on occasion, moving on their own in pursuit of other herds.