It’s dry again... The rainy season has come to a close and with it the sights of lush green grassland and those awe-inspiring storms rolling towards camp. The flaps on the tents are up and we have packed away the umbrellas for another season. The dry season is here and this year it is very dry indeed.
The lack of rain this year will have a considerable effect on the wildlife that we will see, with high concentrations of elephant, buffalo, roan, sable and potentially eland on their way into the area. This is because the Selinda Reserve sits on permanent waters and will be the only source of water for many of the surrounding animals to drink. We have already seen large buffalo herds arriving to the north in an area called Makoba. With nine new lion cubs to feed this year we anticipate a fair amount of hunting.
The Selinda Reserve “Performance of the Month” goes to the Wapuka Pride, or more specifically, their collective seven cubs.
The youngsters are taking the Spillway in their stride and are often found play fighting around “Buffalo Skull Road”, a road named after its rather obvious landmark. The lioness have been taking turns over who gets to pair up and hunt and who has to stay home with the kids. While it would be interesting to know how this process is decided, it’s quite obvious which of the two tasks is more strenuous.
The father of the Wapuka Pride is a lion that arrived from the north, most likely Namibia. He had a satellite collar that was beginning to strangle him so we removed it with the assistance of a vet. Just in his prime, a solo male is clearly not as capable a protector as having a coalition of two, three or four males. There have been growing concerns amongst the guides as to the competence of this male in protecting these cubs as he has had very little experience in defending a territory. Fortunately, the ladies were more than able to fend off a rival male from the Selinda Pride a few days ago, while both cubs and guests looked on, all dumbstruck by the brawling this encroaching male received at the paws and claws of the trinity. These mothers will put their lives on the lines for the little ones.
You may ask where the Selinda Pride has been this month? They have been hanging out in the southern part of the concession near Zarafa, so most of our sightings have been close by seeing the Wapuka cubs. Why would you venture miles in a car when you have these little fur balls at your door step?
There has been plenty of action in camp with our resident elephant Bondo visiting every other night, either to show off at dinner for our guests or just to help with the landscaping. Unfortunately, his browsing became a little over-zealous one night and he managed to knock down a whole 4 ft fence on the pathway. On the bright side he did leave an elephant-sized deposit right outside camp manager Lizzy’s front door which was worth a smile. While the area around the camp gets drier over the next few months, it is likely we will be seeing more of him which is a welcome sight, provided he behaves.