Now that summer is here, the bush is alive with wonderful colours and new life. This allows for some stunning contrasts between the animals and their refreshed, green surroundings.
This little Steenbok is almost invisible if not for its warm chestnut coat framed by the new leaves of the underbrush.
It would be easy to miss this Flap-necked chameleon walking slowly from one tree to the next, but its startling dark colours give it away on the sun-bleached sand.
A herd of zebra were feeding on an open plain as one of the foals was seeking attention from another member of the herd.
A Grey Heron in action… Sometimes, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time…
This male hippo was not shy to display his teeth as a sign of dominance.
I am different! Displaying a unique set of horns, a female buffalo stands up and stares, looking and smelling for any danger that could be in the bushes nearby.
This stunning cheetah takes a good rest in the open plains while soaking up the morning sun and keeping eyes on some impala not too far away.
We found tracks of a pack of Wild Dogs early on into one of our safaris. We followed up and our search was soon rewarded as the Wild Dogs were playing in and around a small waterhole right behind Bush Lodge.
We managed to see them again during the weekend – it was a cool, misty morning and the pack was with their pups, all huddled up together to try and keep warm. They were not interested in moving, and only when a white rhino came busting thought the middle of them did they stir, only to settle in almost the exact same positions after he moved past.
We spent an incredible afternoon with this large pack of wild dogs as they had a bit of fun chasing around a dazzle of zebra before moving off on an afternoon hunt.
We had a very brief sighting of the Msuthlu female leopard who was moving quickly through the bush in search of a meal. We tried to keep up with her, but she disappeared into some thick bush around Bush Lodge.
One morning we found Xovonekela male leopard resting on a big boulder. It was not long before we noticed that he was not comfortable and lifted his head. On closer inspection we saw that he had managed to get a porcupine quill stuck in his lower jaw and was trying to remove it. These seldom seen nocturnal creatures are often be preyed on by leopards, but leopards more often than not, walk away defeated.
The Ntsumi female leopard made her way from a waterhole through some thick vegetation, often stopping to listen or stop in the hope of finding a meal.
After being seen the night before, the Nchila male leopard was moving through the thickets, seemingly on the prowl. We could see a small herd of impala in an open area, which he kept glancing towards, but the wind was not in his favour. It’s really exciting having this young male move through the reserve – who knows what is in store for him in the future.
We found Kigelia and her cub in the early hours of the morning walking through an open area. We followed them and watched as mom examined a scent on a tree – the cub soon investigated as well and proceeded to do a flehmen grimace bearing its small, but sharp, teeth. They soon made their way into a dry riverbed where the cub found an extremely comfy and well camouflaged spot high in a Fig tree and mom found a cool spot on a rock down below.
One of the Styx lionesses was found in the late afternoon. She was lying peacefully, only lifting her head up every now and then. We stayed with her and as the sun started to set, we heard the distant calls of the rest of her pride. She soon stood up and made her way towards them.
The following day, all 3 lionesses were resting on top of a termite mound enjoying the last afternoon sun rays. After shifting here and there, they eventually gave up and moved down to the soft green grass.
It was a misty morning when we came across fresh tracks for four male lions moving towards Earth Lodge. We followed the tracks until we found them all on the move trailing what seemed to be the scent of buffalo nearby. They eventually lay down as the day started to warm up and the sun burnt the clouds away.
The following day, we followed up on the previous sighting of the lions and they had managed to take down 2 buffalo calves.
A male from the N’waswishaka coalition and a lioness from the Styx Pride were lounging about at the waterhole in front of Bush Lodge. In the dwindling piece of shade they lay, slowly being exposed little by little to the heat of the sun as it rose. Eventually, the female had had enough and got up to find a better piece of shade, but she must be on heat because with a flirtatious flick of her tail, the male was in hot pursuit. Completely focused on her before starting to mate.
Until next time…