The vibrancy of colours is almost unbelievable… the emerald greens to warm golds in the late afternoon, coupled with endless puffy clouds in ‘big sky’ country – this is Africa. Garnished in flowers, drooping seedpods, and swaying grass stalks, the fragrant smells fill the air. It is sensory dream of endless rewards. Taking a deep breath, the sun lingers on the horizon in the early morning, waiting to fill the land with warmth, and so the day starts. Late afternoons have been filled with the rumblings of rain, as is the norm for this time of the year. The rainfall has kept us all sound asleep until we have woken with a clean bushveld canvas.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for February
The last month saw an unfortunate decline in the number of cubs in the Mhangene Pride, with the loss of six of the existing youngsters, leaving only one older cub in the pride. The presence of the Othawa male although helpful when taking down prey, is also becoming a burden on the pride as he keeps all meals to himself and is supporting the malnutrition of both the females and cubs. However, through the loss of the six older cubs, new life comes with three newborn cubs adding to the pride and we can only hope that they survive.
The Othawa Pride have been keeping a low profile but continue to do well with the two Matimba males by their side.
With the unfortunate loss of the Hlabankunzi female in January, it seems as though the female leopard territories have shifted slightly with the Schotia female filling in to her mother’s home range and the Khokovela female leopard making her way further east into the previously occupied territory of the Schotia female. This has been a welcome change to our female leopard viewing with many sightings of the Khokovela female and her young male cub who is doing extremely well and becoming much more relaxed.
The Nyelethi male hit a bit of a low in the past month having sustained injuries from what was thought to be a fight with another leopard, however he has bounced back and continues to patrol his territory.
With the large amount of rain we have experienced recently, the numbers of elephants have increased immensely. There appears to be quite a large number of single elephant bulls roaming around and they are enjoying every offering of the currently fruiting marula trees.
Increasing numbers of buffalo have been making their way onto the property with many calves also present.
The Sands Pack of wild dogs made their way back into the area recently and spent a number of days around the central parts of the property.
The total bird count for the month of February was 201 (212 in January). Specials for the month included sightings of black-crowned night-heron, lesser spotted eagle, greater painted-snipe, grey-headed kingfisher, southern carmine bee-eater, monotonous lark, mosque swallow, red-capped lark and fan-tailed widowbird.