Our rains normally start throughout October and November, however this yr we didn’t have a lot in October in any respect, and we thought that we could be in for a dry season. The primary few weeks of November additionally didn’t look very promising, however a chilly entrance got here via within the third week and it rained virtually continuously for eight days, offering some much-needed water to leap begin the rising season! Sadly, for many who had been right here on the time, it meant that the scarcest sighting for the week was the solar!
However what rain brings is life, and the outcomes are exhibiting rapidly! As that is the time of lots, a lot of the breeding occurs in early summer season, when meals and water is available. Impala ‘flood the market’ with their lambs, coinciding their births so that almost all of lambs are born inside a month.
And they don’t seem to be the one ones. Wildebeest and zebra have additionally began dropping their younger, and the clearings are filling up with calves and foals operating with the herds.
The breeding herds of elephant have been transferring about fairly a bit throughout November, probably because of the rain, and having a number of choices accessible. Through the second half of November, elephant sightings had been few and much between, however after they had been seen, they virtually at all times had one or two very younger calves with them. These are at all times a agency favorite with guides and friends alike and we’re blessed to have such relaxed elephant herds that enable us to get incredible viewing of them.
Simply A Little Totally different
One other explosion because of the rain is the insect world on the whole, and when situations are proper, we expertise large termite emergences! Usually termite colonies synchronise their emergences, leading to hundreds of thousands of winged aletes chickening out. These are the kings and queens of the following technology which, after the nuptial flight, lose their wings, pair up with the other intercourse, and burrow down into the earth to begin a brand new colony. These are, nonetheless, certainly one of nature’s greatest types of protein, and every part from mammals and birds to frogs and different bugs have a feeding frenzy when these emergences are found.
And whereas nature is bursting with abundance, the common performers proceed to contribute to the unimaginable sport viewing we now have turn into accustomed to. The Mhangene delight have been common guests to the south and are a pleasure to look at. Being near the lodge very often, it permits us loads of alternative to view them on the transfer, earlier than they discover shade as the warmth of the day approaches.
On certainly one of these events, having discovered the delight resting on a termite mound, they all of a sudden observed a lone wildebeest bull approaching and rapidly went into stalk mode. They really managed to remain centered, even with two giant elephant bulls in the way in which, laid the ambush and efficiently hunted the bull! To see a video of this motion, click on right here.
The 2 younger cubs are each doing very effectively and are a relentless supply of leisure. The youthful one lately discovered a big leopard tortoise which, whereas the adults had been being fairly lazy, offered some nice amusement. I’m positive that the tortoise didn’t discover this as amusing, however fortuitously it was giant sufficient to keep away from being crushed by their jaws, and after an extended sport, they lastly left it in peace.
The Ottawa delight have additionally performed very effectively. All six cubs are thriving and are rising by the day. They’re now seven and 9 months outdated and we’re very hopeful that they may pull via. They’re now on the ages that make for lots of enjoyment out on drives, and with the moms offering them with common kills, they’ve some additional power to burn! Play has turn into an important a part of their growth and so they continuously chase each other in mock searching and preventing.
The one lioness from the break-away group as soon as once more made a go to within the West, and we had been hopeful that she would be a part of up with the adults, as at one level she was very near them, however sadly she didn’t. She is in good well being, although, and will probably be attention-grabbing to see the place she leads to the longer term.
We have now additionally seen the 2 Tsalala females fairly a bit this month. They’ve been primarily sticking to the river, not transferring an excessive amount of and making an attempt to maintain a low profile. Sadly, they didn’t maintain a low sufficient profile, and the older feminine was killed within the Sand River on the twentieth of November. From the tracks within the space, we assume it was the Plains Camp males, who’ve been pushing additional west and getting near our concession on a number of events. The younger remaining feminine has moved a good distance east and we now have not seen her since.
The Thumbela males are going to need to defend their territory effectively to make sure that these two males don’t encroach on their house and threaten their prides. We’d like them to guard the six younger Ottawa cubs and make sure that the delight has some new younger females to maintain the delight going. So far, nonetheless, they’re doing very effectively! The bigger of the 2 males is wanting in incredible situation and is rising in confidence every day. His brother is just not recovering as rapidly however is however beginning to look good. The limp that he has had since they arrived remains to be there and is probably hindering his progress. We’re assured, nonetheless, that they may proceed to guard their territory and cubs.
On the leopard entrance, Tlangisa has been doing exceptionally effectively along with her two cubs. She has been having some phenomenal success with making kills of late, however not a lot at retaining them! We lately had an awesome view of her dragging a recent impala kill to a secluded spot, however earlier than she may return with the cubs, a hyena had stolen it.
She has, nonetheless, managed to supply effectively and her two cubs are rising effectively. She has one male and one feminine, that at the moment are 7 months outdated. They’re extraordinarily relaxed and are discovered usually across the Sand River. Though Tlangisa has misplaced many kills of late, she nonetheless manages to seek out sufficient to feed the cubs and maintain them rising!
Boulders additionally appears to be pregnant once more, and we wait in anticipation for information of her cubs. She is notoriously good at hiding her den websites, so hopefully we will discover it quickly after the start, so we are able to observe the progress of the cubs from early on.
Ntoma, whom we talked about final month for showing to be extra relaxed, has been seen on plenty of events once more this month. She allowed us to observe her lately and she or he really managed to catch a scrub hare whereas we had been following her. She turned instantly, and walked rapidly in the wrong way, initially making us assume that she was not proud of our presence. We managed to maintain up along with her, nonetheless, and to our shock, she led us again to the 2 cubs who had been hidden in a drainage line close by. The cubs had been a little bit nervous, however relaxed considerably at night time, and we had some nice viewing of the three of them collectively. Sadly, we now have learnt that one cub was later killed by hyena.
We talked about final month that Tisela had been in a scrap along with her brother, Hlambela, and that her leg was badly injured, however on the mend. This therapeutic course of has continued, and we’re blissful to say that her limp is significantly better, and she or he is in excellent situation!
Her brother has grown up in a short time and, like his father Ravenscourt, is beginning to act in a dominant trend at a really early age! At three years and 5 months, he was seen mating with the Kelly Dam feminine for a interval of 5 days! It’s not unusual for a feminine to mate briefly with a younger nomadic male in her territory, with a purpose to persuade him that her cubs (if she had any) may doubtlessly be his. It’s, nonetheless, very uncommon for it to final so lengthy! To make it much more shocking, Ravenscourt met up with the pair, and as a substitute of chasing his son away, he simply joined in and we had them making turns mating with Kelly Dam, with virtually no aggression between the 2 males. Ravenscourt then moved on, with Hlambela staying with Kelly Dam! For a incredible video of this, take a look right here.
Ravenscourt nonetheless dominates the West, as he did final month. We have now talked about that he has contenders on all sides, ready for a possibility to problem, however they should wait.
Thamba appears to be content material with what he has in the meanwhile and isn’t placing any apparent stress on Ravenscourt in the intervening time. He appears to have settled together with his territory for now and has made the south his personal.
Euphorbia can also be settling down within the north. Each he and Thamba appear extra intent on placing stress on Nyelethi additional east, as Ravenscourt remains to be in his prime.
The opposite predators have had some incredible exhibiting this month. At one level, we had two packs of untamed canine on the concession, giving us unbelievable viewing of this endangered species. These animals have a few of the tightest bonds between the people, and these bonds are strengthened by enjoying. Wild canine play greater than every other species and we had been spoilt with an exceptional sighting of one of many packs chasing one another round and thru a small pond for over 20 minutes! We have now a brief clip of that sighting right here.
Our glorious hyena viewing has continued, with the den nonetheless being energetic and offering some incredible sightings of the younger cubs. We additionally usually see adults scattered across the concession, as they appear, hear and odor for any probability of a meal that could be discovered.
African Wild Cats
We had some extra good viewing of the African Wild cat and her kitten in the beginning of the month, however they appeared to vanish towards the top of November. Because the cub will get older, she’s going to transfer extra readily with the mom and be much less constrained to the den.
Our male cheetah has been a little bit scarce this month, with not too many sightings being recorded. This might be a results of all of the impala lambs which might be about, that are very straightforward pickings for him, and so he doesn’t have to maneuver too far earlier than discovering and efficiently catching prey.
For these of you who’re eager birders, it is a nice time of the yr, as many migrants return to feed on the massive abundance of meals that’s accessible throughout summer season. It’s the time for breeding and displaying, by making use of shiny colors, fantastic shows and many singing from distinguished perches.
We don’t usually point out rhino, as there’s such large stress on their populations which might be crashing quickly because of the large poaching drawback going through all reserves in Africa in the meanwhile. However as we method Christmas and the Festive Season, we wish to pause to consider, and thank, these unsung heroes who will likely be spending their time defending and preventing for the survival of our rhino.
With heat needs
Neil, Natasha and The Savanna Workforce