As I write this week’s blog, I have the loud sound of the first summer rain hitting the roof and the even louder sound of thunder rumbling all around us. Yes, indeed, summer has officially begun and the rains have come perfectly on time! I seriously can’t wait to see the bush transform from a dry and almost barren landscape to a lush and vibrantly green oasis. This week has been all about the build-up to this exact moment; from a couple of scorching hot days early on in the week, to the slow movement of darker and darker clouds above and now the arrival of the rains on African soil! Oh, wait! That also means the frogs are out and about too – if you have read Chads recent blog on his “love” for frogs then you will know just how excited he is about this.
At the beginning of the week we were treated to a stunning sighting of a ‘leap of leopards’, that is what one calls a group of leopards. As Nyeleti continues her onward push into the old territory of the late Marula, we are being rewarded by some fairly consistent sightings of the leopardess. This week she managed to make a kill right across from our bush breakfast spot which is not very far from Tanda Tulaat all. However, she and her cub were quickly displaced by the Goya Road male who sadly chased them off their meal. Luckily, the cub was unharmed and managed to get a good feed in before the much larger male ruined the party. Nyeleti stuck around for a long time, hissing and growling at the male in utter disgust, until eventually she gave up on the plunder and decided to leave the scene. She then had to attempt to relocate her cub for a very long time, but the little one was seemingly just too scared to reappear and hence I was unable to take my first photo of it. I look forward to that day!
So, this week Chad and I have decided to do a bit of collaboration. He was lucky enough to be exploring a very different area of our concession to myself and with that venture came a rare sighting of the Giraffe Pride. This is a very vibrant pride of ten lions, including the two Monwana males who seem to have taken over this pride in a fairly peaceful manner after the Black Dam male was killed about a month ago during a buffalo hunt. The pride does have one young male in their midst so it will be interesting to see what happens as he grows older. Generally speaking, male lions have very little time for younger males, especially when they are not their own. This is of course a very tricky time for a young lion as he will presumedly get pushed out of the pride and forced to live a very nomadic lifestyle while he searches for a territory of his own. This involves trying to feed himself and fending off every other territorial male he may encounter.
Chad also captured a rather sad sighting of a hyena feeding on a dead leopard. We are not entirely sure what transpired, but nature is raw and brutal and on occasion, these things do occur. The old saying: “Live by the sword, die by the sword!” comes to mind time and time again out here in the Timbavati.
With the changing of seasons happening quickly now, we are beginning to see some of Africa’s beautiful flowers such as the gorgeous purple flowers found on the Tree Wisteria. Of course, such tasty morsels of colour do not go unnoticed by the ever-vigilant baboons who absolutely relish this time of year and the nutrients it brings.
Other incredible sightings this week, which sadly neither Chad or myself were around to capture, was of two cheetah males that some of our guests got to see, and some other guests were even luckier to see a black rhino! In my 5 years in the Timbavati,I am still yet to see one of these highly endangered animals, so I am sure you can imagine the jealously in my eyes when the story of the sighting was told to me for the fifth time! None the less, my chance will come and it will be glorious!
Lastly, you may remember a photo I posted last week (or you may not as it really wasn’t that memorable), but it was an image of a grey duiker that I was excited to show you all as they really are very shy creatures. Well, please forget about that image and rather have a look at the one I managed to capture of this very cute antelope this week as it does far more to honour the species!
Until next time, happy snapping!