Week in Pics: Spring has Sprung !

This week in pictures we intend to introduce you to the wonders of spring and the flurry of activity that goes hand-in-hand with the change of seasons. The spring weather is beginning to argue with winter and force it’s sunny disposition onto the arid lands. The Kruger is dry at the moment, but we’re hoping for pitter patter of rains to replenish the thirsty landscapes that lay before us. Let’s hope that spring will deliver a bit of respite for the stern winter controlling the landscapes around our Kruger and Botswana camps.

Despite the weather and imminent change of season ahead, our wildlife have certainly provided us with a spate of rare sightings – especially the wild dogs and big cats. For this “week in pictures” we’ve decided to inject a bit of colour into the gallery by sharing a combination of images of predators and smaller things.

We hope you have a “blooming” marvellous start to spring and that your weekend ahead is filled with the happiness that is synonymous with the season.

Umkumbe Safari Lodge

The approach of spring signifies the end of the African wild dog denning period, which normally starts in May. The dogs denning period begins at the end of the impala rutting season. This period of time is when the wild dogs remain sedentary in order to raise their pups. When pups reach 2.5 – 3 months they begin to move with the pack and their nomadic lifestyle resumes.

Guests and rangers have enjoyed prolific sightings of the rare dogs, the highlight being on Tues/Wed when the Toulon pack were spotted with what appeared to be over 10 pups!

Another highlight at Umkumbe has been the leopard sightings, which is not unusual but always a highlight. This week there have been sightings of the White Dam leopardess and (wait for it) an unknown beauty of a leopardess! For a few days there was curiosity surrounding this unknown leopardess. She has just recently been Id’d has “Tsakani”, a visitor from the northern Sabi Sand. On the big cat front, the Southern Pride/Charleston lion union were seen with two 6-week old cubs feasting on a buffalo kill.

All in all, a real bumper week for the Sabi Sand. It appears with spring, there has been plenty of births and interesting behaviour from all wildlife.

Hippo - Umkumbe Safari Lodge Lilac-breasted Rollers Sunset at Umkumbe White Dam Leopard Wild Dog Pup

Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge and Ezulwini River Lodge

The breeding herds of elephants are out in full force in the Balule. Massive groups are seen smothering themselves in mud on the banks of the river and waterholes. They’re also coming up to the grounds around the lodges, which always delights guests. Spring certainly has brought with it a splattering of joyous behaviour from the animal kingdom.

We’ve had what appears to be the start of rather amorous behaviour from the Van Wijk’s leopardess and the Chavaluthu male. They were enjoying each other’s company. No mating ceremony was witnessed, but watch this space. Time will tell!

The herds of buffalo are in abundance in the Balule and wowed everyone with a presence of over 400 bovids, just relaxing under the tree. Quite a picture!

The scenes in the Balule Nature Reserve are spectacular at the moment, signifying a definite change in season and possible weather patterns.

Herd of Buffalo Ezulwini Black-backed Jackal Ezulwini Sunset Balule Ezulwini Zebra Balule

 Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp

This spring, we’ve begun with a wealth of lion sightings in the Klaserie. The big cats clearly think that spring is their season to shine! There is such a diverse species of wildlife within the reserve, but the lions are a constant drawcard for guests.

Two nights ago, the Ross Pride Breakaway lionesses were seen with a rather massive buffalo kill close to Africa on Foot camp. The Mapoza males, who’ve clearly made their mark on old Trilogy turf, weren’t present for the feast. These males have both been in the spotlight recently. It’s normally the confident male with the golden mane that is seen in the open. But not this time! His partner in crime finally decided to giv the Klaserie guests a full viewing.

Our top big five sighting for the week is the presence of the Mapoza male lions and elephant hanging out together on the grounds of Africa on Foot. What a moment!  Last night during game drive, Africa on Foot spotted an unknown leopard as well as the Ross Dam female.  While Africa on Foot was reveling in the leopard sightings, nThambo Tree Camp had a huge breeding herd of elephants come to drink at their swimming pool.

On the subject of leopards, guide Rey had a rather close encounter with Cleo, the resident leopardess. She casually strolled right past his game viewer. What a heart-stopping moment for nThambo Tree Camp guests! However, this was not the only leopard sighting. They spotted yet another leopardess, Marula Mafasi, looking relaxed in the fork of a Marula tree.

Guests witnessed a rare sparring two buffalo bulls trying to assert their dominance. Another unique big five sighting for the reserve.

It’s spring – time to celebrate the presence of predators and the array of species in the Klaserie!

Africa on Foot Buffalo Africa on Foot Ross Pride Rock Monitor Africa on Foot Ross Dam Leopardess nThambo Bird Elephants Drinking from Pool Leopard Hiding in Thickets nThambo Lioness Kill

 Tuskers Bush Camp and Xobega Island Camp

The Okavango Delta always provides the ideal destination for a water safari. With spring on its way, we’re sure to see a flood of new blooms and interesting colours along the papyrus lined channels.

Tuskers Bush Camp has a small waterhole in front of camp, which attracts plenty of pachyderms and big cats – in particular, leopard. The leopards have been weaving between the tents and tracks in the immediate vicinity have been seen.

But the highlight of the week has been the lion sightings in and around camp. Two males, two females and one large male have been seen on the secret camera footage and “in the flesh”.

The small bird bath in the boma area at Tuskers is a constant source of delight. It attracts plenty of small species!

Bird Bath at Tuskers Tuskers Birds - Botswana Lion at Tusksers Bush Camp

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