The leaves are falling from the trees onto the greying landscape below, and the bushveld is slowly thinning out. The ground cover is moving from carpets of velvet greens to cropped crunchy browns – it is clear that the winter months are upon us. Availability of water is becoming scarcer, which means animals flock to readily available water sources. This is the time of year when species congregate at full waterholes and dams in front of lodges. Dark silhouettes rest against crisp orange skies at sunset and the icy breath of early morning’s in the bushveld provide a stark reminder that the seasons have shifted. The good news? It is far easier to spot wildlife in these conditions. Winter can be cold, sharp and shrill; but with it brings a new and exhilarating type of beauty – and this is why we call it peak safari season.
The major development at the Klaserie camps, apart from the rare sighting of the African wild dogs and the Ross Pride Breakaway lionesses, was the launch of the authentic Bush Bar. This bar is located in pristine area in the midst of the reserve and will be used specifically as the “special sundowner” spot.
At Umkumbe Safari Lodge, the highlight has been the presence of the endangered pangolin species. This is not the first time we’ve seen them in the Sabi Sand, and Nadia managed to take a photo of this scaly anteater on the move. Then of course, we spotted two unknown sub-adult male lions who, with the help of others, we’ve identified as 3 Tsalala/Marthly young males.
Ezulwini Game Lodges have been hard at work placing secret bush cameras in high traffic areas and the results have been entertaining. We’ve had elephnats, warthog, antelope, leopard and lion either strolling past, investigating or wallowing in mudpits.
Ivory Wilderness Riversong Camp has also spotted the rare and endangered African wild dogs patrolling their area. We are still in the denning period for these dogs, so hopefully we’ll spot pups at some stage.
Our Botswana camps continue to tick over, with the normal sightings of water-dwelling species in the Okavango Delta and big cats on the Tuskers Bush Camp concession.