This rangers report is courtesy of Leopard Mountain Lodge and is action packed with news from ranger Chase, Andrew, Adam, Kelwan & Donald. Although its an old post, it gives us a glimpse into life on a game reserve and a typical summer in South Africa.
Summer in South Africa
Summer brings its changes throughout the country. The fluctuating weather for us means warm days normally ending in a fantastic thunderstorm.
Unstable conditions like this can make for some great photo opportunities and exciting tracking as the animals shift location to counteract the differences in weather.
In the heat of a hot summer in South Africa, any fresh water source or mud wallow has proved irresistible to our elephants, creating memorable sightings.
Black Rhino sightings have gone through the roof with adults and calves being spotted, ensuring hope for one of our critically endangered species. White rhino and buffalo have also been accompanying each other and some of the bigger waterholes along with an array of plains game and bird life.
Big Cat Sightings
Our cats have been co-operative with Cheetah, Lion and Leopard joining us on various occasions. And as always it’s the little things that bring a smile to our face when we least expect it.
Recently we came across a relaxed Elephant bull feeding, with nothing but 15 m of lush green vegetation between us.
Shortly after some Vervet Monkeys alarm calls enabled us to track down the whereabouts of a young female Leopard marking the absolute highlight of the walk.
Taking into consideration elements such as wind direction, vegetation growth, terrain and time of day our trails guides have found Buffalo and White Rhino much to the guests’ excitement.
A breeding herd of Elephants has been venturing south again, stopping at dams, reservoirs and mud wallows along the way. Never far behind, a massive bull has entertained us by spraying himself, kicking and splashing as much muddy water as possible in an effort to cool down. And trust me, a 4 ½ ton Elephant makes quite a splash!
Cats have been top of the list lately and a few drives have been dedicated to watching the Lions or following the Cheetah. A wonderful sighting of a coalition of 3 male Lions lying in the riverbed made for some perfect photographs.
To see these powerful cats in the open is quite special given the length of the grass at the moment, and everyone watched as they casually rolled around in the sand and swatted the occasional biting fly.
Bushbaby on the move
As far as the smaller critters are concerned, it’s been a productive month. From mammals to reptiles to birds we have been astounded with the abundance of life lately. The rare sighting of a Bushbaby running down the road only to sit and eat a grasshopper right in front of the vehicle was a highlight.
A breeding pair of Whitetailed Mongoose was spotted scouring for food under the night sky, followed by a completely relaxed Genet moving through a tree just above the vehicle. Narina Trogons, Eastern Nicators, Broadbilled Rollers and Woodland Kingfishers have been just a few of the birds spotted. Top of the birding sightings at the moment are the eagles.
African Crowned Bateleur and Martial have all being sighted but it’s the Lesser Spotted Eagles taking the limelight. They have gathered in flocks of 25 plus over the nesting site of thousands of Redbilled Queleas and can be seen swooping through the thickets picking off birds as they go.
This was truly an amazing sight, theres not much that beats a summer in South Africa!