November 2005

Still no rain!! We hope & wait with optimism. This is all everyone seems to talk about here & the standard opening topic between locals is the weather!

The upside, however, is the amount of game coming to our waterholes. They are so interested in the water that they don’t care too much about us approaching. Quentin & his guests sat for a good hour & a half enjoying the spectacle of about 60 elephants slaking their thirst, playing in the water & loitering with intent. One could not get a better sighting!



 

We have eventually got a look at the new lion cubs from the York pride – all five of them & it looks like we have 4 girls & a boy. This is good news as there has been an excess of males in the last few litters. My big regret however is that I don’t have a picture for you as my camera was on the blink & I am waiting for a CD from a kind guest who took some great shots! Have a look next month!! But here is a picture of how it all started!!





 

This is the alpha male of the York pride (nicknamed Sultan) spreading his genes on 12 April 2005. Given that lions have a gestation period of approximately 110, days, this would make the cubs about 4 months old.

We also welcome James Carty to our Ranger team – just the kind of guy you want to take you on safari. He is well versed in the bush, having even taught school kids the ins & outs of their environment, so he has patience & people skills aplenty. He is based at our Bush Lodge & is receiving warm praise from his guests.

Our game drives are delivering magnificent sightings right now - real quality lion encounters, great experiences with elephants & rhino & there are some awesome buffalo bulls displaying themselves around Camp George. The spotted cat is proving very elusive but the thin bush is allowing us some wonderful cheetah view now & again.

We now have many birds nesting around the camps. A pair of African Hoopoes (Upupa epops) are providing endless entertainment as they feed their young in a Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) tree outside Rondawel 1.

 



This sleepy Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis) has taken up residence in the garden & his calls reach fever pitch in the evenings. Their voices form a duet with the Pearlspotted Owls (Glaucidium perlatum) who are also nesting in camp.

There is not much to report on the flora side, as everything is just waiting for the rain. There has been a noticeable lack of blossoms from the Knobthorn Acacia (Acacia nigrescens) as well as the Marulas (Sclerocarya birrea) so it means a great shortage of seed pods & fruit later on in the year.

 

Trivia of the month The scientific name of the Marula tree is derived as follows:-
Sclerocarya – skleros
(Greek) meaning hard & karya (Greek) meaning a nut tree, refers to its hard bony kernel in which the nuts are situated.

Birrea – Is derived from the common West African name for this tree, “birr”