As everybody knows in terms of climate, every year has four seasons in it – but it seems this is not the case in Pafuri. We only experienced two seasons, namely summer and winter. The only evidence of spring was the new growth on the brack thorn acacias, the flowering on the fever trees and the beautiful fragrant scent emitted by the wooly caper bush flowers. The air is still filled with fine dust as there is not much ground cover; it is further stirred up by elephant feet, buffalo hooves and vehicle tyres.
In terms of temperature, the early mornings are still quite chilly, but the middays warm up a fair deal.
General game viewing was great as usual with special sightings of giraffe, eland, wildebeest, aardvark and honey badger. As the concession is still very dry, and owing to the location of the camp along the Luvuvhu River, we have been privileged to be visited by huge herds of elephant on a daily basis – this has provided our guests with some close-up views of these majestic animals. On one or two occasions, these herds stayed around the camp at night, causing quite a bit of excitement as they audibly fed and communicated with one another. Some guests commented on how difficult it was to explain this experience in words and how it would live in their memories forever. At the end of the month we also had a herd of no less than 80 buffalo stop at camp for a sleep over – as they slept amongst the tents.
On the subject of buffalo, the majority of breeding herds were found dotted along the Limpopo floodplain and along Luvuvhu West. As there is not much food around, these bulk grazers have resorted to feeding off the drop seed grass, which is not very palatable, but dry times call for desperate measures.
August was a good month for rhino sightings as we had eight sightings in total – some from the vehicle and some on foot. A bull, two cows and a calf were seen at least three times.
Leopard sightings have still been off the charts, as we had a total of 33 individual leopard sightings. We encountered the female on Luvuvhu East with her two cubs, but we did not have any sightings of the other two females with cubs on Luvuvhu West. It really is amazing and is a reflection of how successful our conservation efforts in the area have been – when we compare leopard sightings now to those of two years ago.
Lion sightings were better this month compared to last month. The two females with six cubs are normally seen along Luvuvhu West (perhaps this is why we haven’t seen the two female leopards with cubs) and East and they even came and spent three nights around the camp during the first week of the month. What makes us happy is the return of the dominant male – Kanu. After a good few weeks’ absence from the area, he returned from his conquest further south of the Luvuvhu. He was last seen at the Second Lookout when Godfrey found him sleeping. His tracks have often been found around the Mangala area. We have also had a number of sightings of two lioness which frequent the Pafuri Main area.
Birding was spectacular this month, as all of the resident specials were seen this month, with a highlight being a sighting of a bat hawk. We are expecting the migrants to start arriving soon and are keeping an eye peeled for the more colourful species to arrive.
Thulamela, which dates back to around 1450 is always a huge attraction for guests, and this month was no different. It is always interesting to try and imagine the lifestyle in such a wild area over 600 years ago. Village tours have also been popular and offer guests a more recent view of how the area is influenced by the local people.
African Safaris Report courtesy of Wilderness Safaris