18 August 2009
Getting out of a warm bed on a cold winters morning is a very hard thing to do for most of us. Even after a warm cup of coffee the drive out into the bush on a cold morning is not all that pleasant.
Why do we do it then one would ask? The answer is simple………ANIMALS! ! ! Although it has been a very cold winter, the sightings have been very warm.
Because of winter being our dry season it can make game viewing a lot easier sometimes as most animals gather along the water sources in the reserve. It happened a few days ago when we were watching some rhinos drink at a dam. While we were parked on the dam wall we watched a breeding herd of elephants approaching followed by a heard of Buffalo and the next thing we knew two male lions appeared right next to us.
Another good thing about the winter is that some of the trees lose their leaves and the grass is also not as long as in summer, making it a bit easier to spot the animals. This allowed us to see quite a few interesting things.
Leopards especially have been spotted more regularly than in summer. We have got a very well known large Male leopard named Big Tom. His territory expands over quite a big area of the reserve. Part of this guys territory is the area around our lodge, which allowed us to see him a few times. It is amazing how he still thrives here, because he has only got one eye. The other was most likely a sacrifice made for a kill. Although he has only got one eye he is still very active and is definitely not loosing condition.
The four lion cubs with their mother (the Etali Female) are still all alive and the young ones are growing up fast. They have also been seen regularly. This makes for some great sightings of cubs playing with each other and with mom.
Buffalos have also been seen regularly and are starting to get even more relaxed. Especially in the early mornings and evenings you are likely to bump into them around the lodges waterhole.
Although most animals in the bush give birth in summertime, there are a few funny youngsters around. One of them being a very playful White rhino calf. This calf is often seen running and hopping around the mother who has decided not to view us as a threat and allowed us to watch this little guy at close range.
Elephants have been known to get a little more aggressive in the dry season and as always made sure for a few adrenalin filled chases. These unexpected things can happen, and just remind us of our place in the animal kingdom.
Our wild dogs has also done their part again and allowed us to see them chasing a few animals around. Although no kills have been seen of them it is always fun trying to keep up with them when they are on the chase.
Another kill has been seen though and what a pleasure that was. Lions killed a young kudu and we were in the right place at the right time and saw the whole thing happen right in front of us.
One animal’s loss is another’s gain. That’s the way to look at death in the bush. This is what happened with the recent death of a young white Rhino. There has been a rotation between the lions who fed on the carcass, but the most meat is still being enjoyed by the Matea Male. He is part of a territorial coalition in the south of the reserve. Unfortunately he got a very bad wound to his back leg, and would be most lucky if he could hunt again. His partner in the coalition has also left him for now, and we are not sure that they would join up again. Thus he is being kept alive by this Rhino carcass for the moment.
On a more positive note…… spring is about to arrive which will bring a bit of relief from the cold winter and make it a lot easier to get up in the morning.
Hope to see you all soon for some more exciting drives.