Hello hello, thought I'd drop you all a short Blog, keep you in the loop and up to date. Since arriving back on Saturday we have received some very nice rain and it appears that during my leave there was a fair amount as well. The bush has exploded and now is a sea of green broken only by the many wild flowers that have also all sprung to life. It does bring with it, it's own new set of challenges though. With the bush closing in, the visibility is not as easy and we can no longer see to the horizon, also with water lying everywhere there is no need for the animals to congregate around the water and we are now finding smaller groups of animals scattered throughout the reserve. A very welcome challenge is the one that we awoke to on Sunday morning. It had rained earlier that morning, which we had not given much thought to as it was not particularly hard or even for that long, but I guess added to the previous morning it was all it needed to get all the rivers flowing. The Machaton and Tsharalumi rivers came down in flood and have filled all the dams along the way. Makulu Dam is yet again full but has not quite overflowed, there was sufficient run off from the drainage lines to fill Mbali Dam that proceeded to overflow into Peru Dam, filling that to capacity so it spilt over and filled Vyeboom Dam, which now stands nearly full. The Sohobele also received enough to fill up the majority of dams along its' course, this includes Scholtz Big Dam, Repair Dam, and Sohobele Dam, unfortunately there was just not enough for Argyle Dam. This being one of the largest dams in the area it is going to take a little more, but we do still have the whole summer season ahead of us and thus live in hope of Argyle Dam overflowing and filling the dam in front of Motswari from bank to bank. At the moment we do have water in front of the lodge again but it would be nice to see it full, full.
On the wildlife front, things have slowed considerably, but this is due to a number of factors. Firstly, it is in comparison to our very high recordings of the previous months and we always see a dip in figures round this time of year. Secondly, the lodges are going through a quite period before the Festive Season holidays, therefore meaning less eyes out there. Thirdly, the bush has closed up making visibility that more difficult. Add the abundant supply of food and water available pretty much everywhere and the inclement weather conditions over the past week, you have a buffet of excuses to choose from. Unfortunately our wildlife does not allow us to use any of these, yes, the number of sightings have dropped, but we still enjoy sightings of the highest quality. The last week we have had sightings of all the “Big 5” and more.
On the Lion front both the Mahlatini's and the White Lions have been in the area. The White Lions have given us the slip over the past couple days as they cleverly used the rain to their advantage.
On the other hand the Mahlatini's have killed a adolescentt Buffalo on Peru and are busy sleeping off their indigestion in the area.
You would expect the Leopards to disappear as they now have thick cover and plenty of baby Impala to keep them busy and out of sight, yet since Saturday we have seen, Rockfig Jnr and Ntombela on a baby Impala kill, Kuhanya, Vyeboom Male, an unknown relaxed male and Mbali. My pick of these sightings was Mbali. She has returned to a very old territory of hers in the Central section on the Western side around Lily Pan. This is where she was found on this occasion with a baby Impala kill that she had hoisted into a Marula Tree, this is the first time that I have ever seen her with a kill in a tree, truely a rare sighting.
Rhino is always an added bonus on drive and Shangula was found in the far North up at Voel Dam grazing in the open, double bonus!
Elephant and Buffalo still remain very elusive but we expect this to continue through the wet months and will have to settle for the smaller groups that we are currently finding dispersed throughout the reserve.
It's not as if the animals are no longer here, it's just that they are now well hidden behind a big green blanket and I'm sure they have seen us many more times than we have seen them, wish I had access to their sightings report! General game has also thinned with the animals dispersing this time of year and not being found in their usual large groups. A nice addition to this weeks sightings was that of a White Tailed Mongoose and two Porcupines, something we don't see all that often. Something I don't often touch on, is our fair feathered friends, but this time of year is great for them as the majority of our summer visitors have arrived, and what we lack in mammals we certainly make up for in birds, always a lifesaver during those quitter periods on drive. One particular nice sighting was that of a Black Bellied Korhaan, we have plenty Red Crested Korhaans about, but the Black Bellied is a little more elusive, so much so that this was only the third time I have seen it here.
That pretty much wraps it up for this week, we'll keep you posted on any new or exciting developments.
Oops! How could I forget, we were also visited by the pack of ten Wild dogs, that can now almost be considered partial residents, we see them that often. They are always exciting to watch as the majority of the time they are active and up to something, and also our best chance of witnessing a kill, as happened on this occasion when they caught a baby Impala. It did not go far between ten but none the less it was a great sighting and it was not long before the Dogs got mobile again in pursuit of their next victim, here's hoping we get to see them lots over the summer season, when they are normally in our traversing area.