August has been another wonderful month with more exciting sightings of the River Pride and some tell-tale signs that winter is coming to an end at last...
Once again, the star sighting last month belongs to our immense River Pride and their protectors, Hosi and Socha. If you haven’t checked in with us since our last sightings blog, you’ll be as pleased as us to learn that our pride has expanded by another 3 adorable cubs! Just a few weeks old, these little ones have already met their older cousins, as we first discovered them at a recent sighting of the entire pride.
Having noticed a gathering of vultures along the river in front of Misava, we went out in the game vehicle to investigate. The search didn’t take long and soon we were enjoying a beautiful African sunset in the company of our feline family. There was no sign of the kill itself but every lion was full to the point of bursting, passed out on the sand with their distended bellies suggesting they had had a very successful evening. Just then, we noticed more movement in the reeds and out hobbled 3 fuzzy cubs, their legs barely coordinated with their bodies! These latest additions bring our pride to a total of 20 lions - a formidable number.
Although we aren’t sure what they killed as the evidence is lost somewhere in the reeds of the Klaserie RIver, we have noticed the untimely disappearance of an injured hippo that had been tending his sorrows at the bridge for most of the previous month. Even a one and a half ton hippo is no match for the River Pride it seems…However, with so many mouths to feed, we are sure not a single morsel went to waste. We followed up with the pride the next morning and had an amazing sighting of all the cubs, including the latest arrivals, slowly crossing the bushveld searching for the perfect spot to relax for the day.
The rest of the month we have had wonderful sightings of the pride, although the youngest cubs have not been with them, suggesting mum has stashed them safely somewhere for the time being. As they are so small, they aren’t able to keep up with the pride’s movements so it may be a few weeks yet before we get another glimpse.
Apart from lions, we have enjoyed herds of elephants flocking to the river in vast numbers as the bush patiently awaits the arrival of the Summer rains. Saseka the leopardess has been delighting us with her presence and the small female leopard with no name resurfaced once again at the dam.
Although still officially the end of winter, the tentative arrival of the summer migrant birds has begun with lesser-striped swallows and a yellow-billed kite amongst the first to be spotted in the area. The knob-thorns and long-tailed cassias are bursting into flower, offering some much needed colour, and even the frogs made a surprise resurgence after a brief and unexpected rainfall. Hopefully they return to their slumber and don’t start breeding as it could be a couple of months yet before the rains truly arrive. Just like us, it seems the bush is desperate to burst into life. The quiet period of hibernation these last few months is slowly lifting and we greet the arrival of our guests with an excited applause. It’s time to get back to business at last…