safari bush sightings
sabi sabi 30th april 2010 - 14th may 2010
After a very rainy April, we are finally moving into winter. The mornings are becoming increasingly colder and the sun is starting rise a lot later. The evenings are also becoming crisp and very fresh.
The bush is still very green from the late rains in April but is slowly starting to dry out. The late rains have been exceptionally good for both the vegetation and animals The large amount of green grass still available will continue to feed all the animals well into the dry winter; the dams are also very full from all the rain and will continue to hold water over the winter. We are looking forward to the approaching colder season as it means the bush will start to thin a lot and the animals' movements will start to be determined by the amount of water in the area.
With winter approaching and the daylight hours shortening, the male impalas are moving towards full rut. All through the day and all through the night we are hearing these men trying to establish dominance over each other in order to gain the mating rights for all the ladies in the harems. They are so loud that a lot of the guests are mistaking the sounds for lions. The male impalas have an incredible grunt that travels for many miles and does sound like a very large mammal, not a very small male impala. The males will try and mate with as many females as possible over May and into June and then in about October and November we should start to see the impala fawns.
Due to the fact that the males are so loud, they alert their position to all the predators from miles around! 'What men do for Love'!! As a result, in the last few weeks the kill count of male impala in the area by both leopards and lions.has increased dramatically
May started with a bang, with the first documented sighting of our new leopard cubs from one of our female leopards known as 'Young Nottens'. It was the morning of the 1st May when we were leaving camp. We rounded the first corner and there was a female with one tiny little fluff ball between 2-3 months old and then a second appeared - what an amazing experience! This female is so relaxed with Land Rovers, and her being relaxed made these little ones relaxed. They moved with their mother right past the vehicles! The guests were in absolute awe of everything - a sighting of a lifetime to see such small cubs with their mother. We managed to follow them along the road for at least an hour as she led them back to a fresh impala kill. We are all waiting for the next time we will be privileged to see these magnificent little creatures again.
On the story of cubs, our Charleston pride of lions spent quite a few days on the reserve making 3 kills within 3 days, one wildebeest and 2 impalas. But the great thing about this pride is the presence of 2 very small little cubs one about 5 months old and the other about 3 months. These two cubs provided some incredible sightings for all our guests as they played and fought with each other.
elephant, buffalo and rhino
We are already seeing a huge change with regard to the elephant population on our reserve due to the amount of water available. In the last 2 weeks we have had at least twenty times the amount of elephant around. Until now we were recording the older bull elephants for the bulk of our sightings with the odd herd scattered here and there, and now we are seeing at least 4-5 different herds of elephants on each drive, with bulls scattered all over the place following the different herds to try and gain mating rights with the females.
Also the buffalo population has changed dramatically with the onset of winter. From seeing only lone bulls and bulls in bachelor groups over most of summer, we are now seeing 2 to 3 different herds a week, each herd numbering well over 100 animals. This is all due to the changing season.
So with such a great start to May we hope that this will continue for the rest of winter and will let us all be treated to some great memories and experiences from our great surroundings at Sabi Sabi.
Until next time