October is upon us and spring is well underway as our once open grasslands transform into dense green thickets as the various Acacia thorn trees develop new leaves for the upcoming growth season. This brings with it various other factors including the sounds of the bush as well as an increase in the offspring of plains game. Currently, the eland herd has grown substantially with calves outnumbering adults in some cases as their nursery herds develop. Other antelopes that have calved already include many of our Red Hartebeest population, several of our Burchell’s Zebra mares and a handful of Blue Wildebeest. Our 10 ostrich chicks have only decreased by one this month; leading to nine healthy, fast-growing youngsters that are almost half their parents size. Of the bigger game species, a giraffe mother and calf graced one of our vehicles with a prolonged suckling session recently and our African Buffalo population has grown by one as of a week ago.
This month, a few intense midday thunderstorms refreshed the reserve as the freshly burnt areas soaked up the much-needed moisture as the clouds bucketed down. In total, we received over 80mm of much needed rain this month predicting a good start for a vigorous breeding season. On any given day there are up to 10 species of plains game including eland, blesbok, impala, blue and black wildebeest, warthog that can be seen on the burnt blocks. Ostrich, steenbok, burchell’s zebra and our only herd of gemsbok (Oryx).
As the temperatures rise on the reserve, the bird migrants are also returning in drips and drabs as the familiar overhead shadows of Yellow-billed Kites fill the sky and the well- known calls of our Red-chested cuckoos and Diederiks Cuckoo fill the air. Within the next few weeks the rest of the migrants should be flowing into Nambiti – using the reserve as their summer grounds for mating.
On the predator side of things, our lions- although spending a lot of time in the North of the reserve, have provided ample sightings over the weeks. In addition to the lions, our spotted cats (Cheetah and Serval) have also shown themselves to our guests. As of late, there has been a small serval family roaming around close to our lodge which always makes for a pleasant end to a game drive!
And in guest news, we had the pleasure of hosting Tourica Tours this past month- an Australian tour group that blends the African bush with live acoustic music – and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience for those lucky few that were in attendance. Mark Seymour, from the Australian group Hunters and Collectors was joined by Cameron Mckenzie, and the two of them certainly ‘blew the guests away’ with their acoustic rock and folk offerings and the unmistakeable influence of some of the more recent blues musicians.
We are in the final month of renovations (if all continues to go well) … the walk in chiller and freezer is in and the electrical and other wiring should be completed this week. Once the new kitchen is done and the old kitchen has moved across its just basically painting, shelving, doors and windows to be done and we should be ‘A” for away☺.
Sadly things did not work out so well with the new guide but the good news is that Marte-Lize is back with us again. Lovely to have her back on the ranger team – keep an eye out on the rangers facebook page for some super photos from her.
Silly season is creeping closer and closer – 52 days to 2018 ……… yes 52 d a y s !!!!
We are running 2017 TAIL END special on the overnight rates at the lodge – enquiries on firstname.lastname@example.org please.
Have a great day and stay safe, and when all else fails – go’ glamping’.
From the Springbok Lodge rangers team
Mike and Natascha, William, Bronwyn, Shaun, Bethuel, Darryn and Marte-LizE