Our rains often start throughout October and November, however this 12 months 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 by means of within the third week and it rained nearly continually for eight days, offering some much-needed water to leap begin the rising season! Sadly, for many who have 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 displaying shortly! As that is the time of lots, a lot of the breeding occurs in early summer time, 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 working 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 lot of choices obtainable. Throughout the second half of November, elephant sightings have been few and much between, however once they have been seen, they nearly at all times had one or two very younger calves with them. These are at all times a agency favorite with guides and company alike and we’re blessed to have such relaxed elephant herds that permit us to get incredible viewing of them.
Simply A Little Totally different
One other explosion because of the rain is the insect world basically, and when circumstances are proper, we expertise big termite emergences! Usually termite colonies synchronise their emergences, leading to tens of millions of winged aletes withdrawing. These are the kings and queens of the subsequent era which, after the nuptial flight, lose their wings, pair up with the alternative intercourse, and burrow down into the earth to begin a brand new colony. These are, nevertheless, considered one of nature’s finest types of protein, and all the pieces 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 recreation viewing we now have turn into accustomed to. The Mhangene delight have been common guests to the south and are a pleasure to watch. 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 considered one of these events, having discovered the delight resting on a termite mound, they abruptly observed a lone wildebeest bull approaching and shortly went into stalk mode. They really managed to remain targeted, 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 not too long ago discovered a big leopard tortoise which, whereas the adults have been being fairly lazy, offered some nice amusement. I’m certain that the tortoise didn’t discover this as amusing, however happily it was giant sufficient to keep away from being crushed by their jaws, and after a protracted recreation, they lastly left it in peace.
The Ottawa delight have additionally accomplished 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 are going to pull by means of. 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 a vital a part of their improvement and so they continually chase each other in mock searching and preventing.
The only lioness from the break-away group as soon as once more made a go to within the West, and we have been hopeful that she would be 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 it will likely be attention-grabbing to see the place she results in 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 hold 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 just a few 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 should defend their territory effectively to make sure that these two males don’t encroach on their area and threaten their prides. We’d like them to guard the six younger Ottawa cubs and be sure that the delight has some new younger females to maintain the delight going. To this point, nevertheless, they’re doing very effectively! The bigger of the 2 males is wanting in incredible situation and is rising in confidence day by day. His brother will not be recovering as shortly 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, nevertheless, that they are going to proceed to guard their territory and cubs.
On the leopard entrance, Tlangisa has been doing exceptionally effectively together with her two cubs. She has been having some phenomenal success with making kills of late, however not a lot at maintaining them! We not too long ago had an awesome view of her dragging a contemporary impala kill to a secluded spot, however earlier than she may return with the cubs, a hyena had stolen it.
She has, nevertheless, managed to offer 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 often across the Sand River. Though Tlangisa has misplaced many kills of late, she nonetheless manages to search out sufficient to feed the cubs and hold 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 beginning, 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 various events once more this month. She allowed us to observe her not too long ago and she or he really managed to catch a scrub hare whereas we have been following her. She turned instantly, and walked shortly in the wrong way, initially making us suppose that she was not pleased with our presence. We managed to maintain up together with her, nevertheless, and to our shock, she led us again to the 2 cubs who have been hidden in a drainage line close by. The cubs have been somewhat 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 together with her brother, Hlambela, and that her leg was badly injured, however on the mend. This therapeutic course of has continued, and we’re completely happy to say that her limp is a lot better, and she or he is in good situation!
Her brother has grown up in a short time and, like his father Ravenscourt, is beginning to act in a dominant style 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 the intention to persuade him that her cubs (if she had any) may doubtlessly be his. It’s, nevertheless, very uncommon for it to final so lengthy! To make it much more stunning, 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 nearly 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 chance to problem, however they must wait.
Thamba appears to be content material with what he has in the mean time and isn’t placing any apparent stress on Ravenscourt in the meanwhile. He appears to have settled along with his territory for now and has made the south his personal.
Euphorbia can 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 displaying 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 among the tightest bonds between the people, and these bonds are strengthened by enjoying. Wild canine play greater than another species and we have been spoilt with an outstanding 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 often see adults scattered across the concession, as they give the impression of being, hear and scent for any likelihood of a meal which may be discovered.
African Wild Cats
We had some extra good viewing of the African Wild cat and her kitten originally of the month, however they appeared to vanish towards the top of November. Because the cub will get older, she is going to transfer extra readily with the mom and be much less constrained to the den.
Our male cheetah has been somewhat 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 12 months, as many migrants return to feed on the large abundance of meals that’s obtainable throughout summer time. It’s the time for breeding and displaying, by making use of shiny colors, great shows and plenty of singing from outstanding perches.
We don’t usually point out rhino, as there may be such big stress on their populations which might be crashing quickly because of the large poaching downside going through all reserves in Africa in the mean time. However as we method Christmas and the Festive Season, we wish to pause to consider, and thank, these unsung heroes who might be spending their time defending and preventing for the survival of our rhino.
With heat needs
Neil, Natasha and The Savanna Staff