Climate and Landscape
The vegetation is holding its own, with not much having changed yet as drizzle has confused the trees and the grasses which are still sporting patches of green here and there. The Mbiza Plains are holding some water too, attracting shallow feeders like red-billed teals, while the grass is green and attracting baboons which enjoy its rhizomes. The thatch grass rules with its golden colour and the elephants haven’t started breaking it yet because of the light rains which have kept it soft. With time all the natural pans will dry up and the animals will head to the pumped watering points. All but a few trees have been affected by the frost; what a contrast as the foliage from the red syringa trees starts to drop and most of the leaves are looking rusty brown.
We welcomed winter on a high note with very cold mornings inviting many layers of clothes to start the day. The nights were cold too because of the clear skies failing to provide insulation. We had numerous misty mornings providing great sunrise shots with the area in front of Davison’s Camp covered in fog. Our lowest temperature this month was 6° Celsius and the highest 31° C.
Big buffalo herds came to drink at Ostrich Pan in front of the camp; unlike their previous behaviour of leisurely drinking and resting at the waterhole, or feeding around the tents, they now move on quickly, possibly because of the predators around camp. The old dagga boys still come in singles or in small bachelor groups, heading back in the same direction after drinking, a sign that there is a safe haven for them in the thick forest.
Slowly we are starting to see the elephant traffic increasing and we can tell that there is no more easily accessible drinking water out there. These huge giants have a preference for clean water, wallowing in the natural pans and coming in to drink at Ostrich Pan.
There might be a hyaena den at the back of the pan as the population of these carnivores has increased drastically. Almost every night they call though they are still a bit shy as we don’t see them in camp every night. They make the nights exciting with their calls, something for guests to talk about over their continental breakfast in the morning.
Two lionesses are nursing and between them five cubs have been seen so far. We are expecting more from the other two lionesses as they are pregnant too.
The Stumpy Pride is still around but now more elusive than ever as a male is frequenting the camp, possibly to check out if he can still control the area.
The cheetah coalition is still around and increasing their territory with their formidable hunting skills. They are not bothering the female with cubs at all – she is still leading her cubs too. What a great mother, the cubs are now as big as she is. She has been very good at raising the cubs, and training them too, as they are now doing most of the hunting in order to polish their skills before they part ways.
General game is even better now as the natural pans start to dry.
“The vast amount of wildlife, especially the two male lions at a kill.”
“Everything – food tent, staff, safari, campfire.”
“It exceeded our expectations! Tracking lions, seeing cubs, cheetah preparing to hunt, village visit and star gazing.”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Buhle, Themba and Cosam
Assistant Managers: Marvelous and Tinashe
Pro Guides: Themba and Tsoka Mike
Guides: Godfrey Kunzi, Richard Sibanda, Paul Mafuka and Douglas Muyambo