This past month has really lived up to its name in being the “windy month”. Several of our game drives were planned and directed specifically with the wind in mind and several areas within our many valleys were utilised as a shelter from this weather. We are however extremely relieved that, and touch wood, we have not encountered the other more dramatic side of the dry, windy conditions that is fire! Our reserve management team did burn certain areas of vegetation on the edge of our southern and western fencelines, in a controlled manner at the end of July and the start of August and thus ensuring an even bigger fire break around parts of our reserve borders. In addition to this fire break, the vegetation and specifically the grasses benefit from occasional burns too. All the old materials from previous growth seasons are burnt away and moribund which usually litters the ground is burnt up allowing the grasses and other plants to regrowth their new stems and leaves which in turn provides palatable vegetation for our herbivore species.
In terms of rain, we were lucky to have a few days of decent rain with our gauge filling up to 25mm overall for August!
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, our two dominant male lions (Blackie and Blondie) were relocated in order to spread their bloodline further afield and in the month of August, we have had some exciting lion news! Firstly, two new males were brought into our holding boma around the end of July so that they could familiarise themselves with the reserve, and were released onto the reserve on the 14 of August.
At the release, a few vehicles eagerly waited for them to show their faces – but in true cat fashion – they stayed put until darkness came and all the vehicles had left the area. Since their release they have proved to be quite elusive however, they have been seen in different areas of the reserve so they seem to be acclimatising to their new home well!
On the 31st of August my guests and I witnessed an incredible sighting with these two new boys. We were already in a sighting with our one lioness and her three sub-adults when the two new boys arrived on the scene and started a massive fight between them all! It ended with the two boys chasing our fleeing lioness over a dam wall into the long grass while the three sub-adults escaped in another direction. These new boys are said to be around four years and four months old and come from the Eastern Cape. They also have an Etosha (Namibia) bloodline so we should get some great genes in the years to come!
As if that wasn’t enough, two new lionesses arrived in style – they were flown in from Mpumalanga and touched down on Nambiti ground on 29 August too. They are busy acclimatising to their surrounding in our holding boma and are due to be released in September. These females are both two and a half years old and come from the Kruger National Park. They have Kalahari genes in their blood. The next while is going to be interesting as we watch our lion dynamics changing!
Our cheetah sightings have also been ‘on fire’ this last month with our new mother, Khanya and her two cubs stealing most of the show while our other two cheetah individuals have remained elusive.
The trio have been incredibly successful with hunting and making kills and have the fat bellies to prove it on most days.
A few days ago, my guests and I witnessed an amazing sighting of the three of them. As we moved into the sighting, they got up from their rest and started manoeuvring through the long grass.
I tried to keep track of them as I drove around to where they were heading to and decided to wait opposite a dead Paperbark thorn tree. As luck would have it, they walked right towards my cruiser and started climbing the dead tree. 10 metres from a dead tree with three cheetahs on the branches! Truly amazing!
I have personally had some great bird sightings this month with the highlights being a Secretary bird having a prolonged drink at a local dam and a close-up view at a normally secretive, Common Quail. With Spring upon us, the bird world will be livening up with new plumage for breeding and we can expect the return of many migrant birds from northern hemisphere.
In Lodge news we are constantly improving our facilities! Currently, we have just finished our much larger pool which is now ready for the upcoming hot, summer days. To compliment this, our boma area has been increased and a pizza oven has been installed too to provide interesting meal options in the boma in the near future.
For the children and the active visitors, we have also upgraded our volleyball court and its rearing to be utilised! A custom designed Jungle Gym is almost ready to be erected – more about that in next months newsletter
And finally, it is with a heavy heart that the Springbok Lodge said “goodbye” to two key players in the guiding team: Mike Roy and Tascha Child. From all of us – we hope you both prosper in your futures and we will meet up again out in the bush at some point! Hamba Gahle.
Don’t miss out on the EARLY BIRD FESTIVE SEASON SPECIAL – stay in touch with Tarryn, Melissa or Wendy on the Reservations Desk – firstname.lastname@example.org …they will be able to let you know all about the latest lodge special offers and promotions.
SPRING is upon us…time to pack away those winter woollies and bring out your sunscreen, flip flops and cool cotton safari clothes…
Bush greetings from all of us on the Ranger team!
Shaun, William, Bronwyn, Marte-Lize, Bethuel, Theo & Brent