safari bush sightings
sabi sabi 22 november - 4 december sightings
The heavens have not ceased their bombardment of the bush just yet! Large cumulonimbus clouds (a sure sign of an approaching afternoon thunderstorm) are now commonplace over the escarpment to our west. With only the warthogs' tails sticking out above the carpet of grass we can clearly see that the rainfall has been above average so far this season. The bush is lush and green and more beautiful than ever before. The areas where we did our controlled burns in the southern Lisbon section are flourishing with new growth - any botanist's dream with a multitude of wildflowers everywhere! Wildebeest and Zebra are enjoying these areas and introducing their young to this once scorched, now green covering.
The birdlife has erupted with sightings of the many new migrants keeping us busily paging through our bird books. The large brown raptor identification in particular has become somewhat more of a challenge because of the visiting steppe eagles, steppe buzzards, wahlberg's eagles, lesser spotted eagles and booted eagles amongst others. Exceptionally rare sightings have included violet-eared waxbills and broad-billed rollers.
Frogs have been playing a major role on the safaris with the rangers often taking their guests out on frogging expeditions in the evenings. These adventures never fail to enthrall with the enchanting chorus of frog calls filling the air around the pans and waterholes.
The smaller nocturnal species have been a little more difficult to spot due to the reduced visibility at this time of the year. The one exception to this being the servals, which prefer the longer reeds and grasses now fringing the marshy areas of Sabi Sabi. A particular sighting which took everyone by surprise was a spotted hyena which almost managed to chase down and kill a baby impala right at our feet during a sundowner stop.
The Southern Pride's movements have been much more difficult to predict recently, probably due to them searching for the big buffalo herds, which have now moved to other areas. This has not decreased the amount of hunting they have been doing but has most definitely affected their success rate. The bachelor groups of buffalo have proved a more challenging target, so the lions have moved onto much smaller prey. The wandering female has now returned to the pride and in so doing has restored a sense of normality for the time being at least. 14 sightings this period.
The leopards of Sabi Sabi have clearly been enjoying the decreased hunting activity of their larger cousins. They have been taking the opportunity to capitalize on the amount of vulnerable young impala around, their only competition being from the ever present gangs of spotted hyenas. 24 sightings this period.
It is amazing how appropriate the giant pachyderms' nickname of "grey ghost" can be at this time of the year. With the thick bush and their quiet movement, they have made their presence felt, sometimes unexpectedly at particularly close quarters! 26 sightings this period.
The white rhino population seems to have been concentrating around the southern Lisbon section of the reserve, no doubt to make use of the fresh growth after the burns. The mud wallows also seem to be increasing in size as the rhinos make use of them during the middle of the day. 20 sightings this period.
The old males finally had a chance to catch up on some well needed rest and relaxation as the big breeding herds have only been on Sabi Sabi a few times in the last week. This being said, groups of up to 20 enormous buffalo bulls make for an impressive sight! 19 sightings this period.