October in Mana

Hello readers I hope you are all well and have had a chance to go on a safari at some point this year, or at least have plans to.

These past two months have been extremely busy and we have met lots of very excited guests here at Kavinga, and we have had the most amazing wildlife encounters and magical moments. 

The heat in October has set in and the sightings lately have been unreal; absolutely fantastic actually!  This last week has been all about leopard. The first sighting was on our morning walk, the type of walk that you would describe as being the perfect morning.

We had started our walk from camp, talking about trees and tracks when suddenly we heard a troop of Vervet Monkeys chattering in a panic.  All bush fanatics know what that means—a predator!  I knew it wasn’t the lions, we had seen them on the other side of the concession. Our slow walk turned into a speed march to catch up to the commotion.  My guests kept up with me; cameras in hand and eyes wide open ready to spot what ever it was causing the panic.

The monkeys lost focus, hit the ground and scattered, one of my guests excitedly whispered, “There! There!”  We went across in the direction which he had seen movement, but it was just one of the monkeys running away.

We did find a large set of fresh leopard tracks that I tried to follow but lost them unfortunately.  I decided to take everyone up to one of my favorite look out points up on a cliff nearby overlooking the Rukomechi river bed with a big over hanging Strangler Fig.  We were admiring the beautiful views when I looked across at the fig tree and the leopard we were tracking was sunning himself on a huge branch.  We all got to see him as he woke up, noticed us and leapt off the branch and landed on the ground in a puff of dust then bolted off.  We were all bubbling with excitement over this treat we weren’t expecting when we noticed him trotting slowly across the river bed below us and then disappear into the thicket.  Seeing a leopard in a vehicle is great, but seeing it on foot makes you realize you are in the middle of the wild and you are experiencing true magic.

The leopard sightings didn’t stop there,  we have been so lucky and have seen several leopard in camp, at the pan, and on other walks too.

The elephant, buffalo and lion have also been regular sightings and we’ve seen a few lion kills in the last few days!  This is truly an amazing time of the year to visit the bush. 

Now we look forward to the rains which will bring a fresh green flourish ,many exciting migratory birds, including the illusive African Pitta!

A Pitta’s Rain Dance

 

Hello from a humid, windy, overcast Mana Pools!

With the rain looming over us in thick heavy clouds, we’re preparing to get drenched for the first time this season.  It will be a welcome cleanse for the dusty dry bush… and for us bush lovers who have grown accustomed to sweating more liquid than we drink in a day!

The high temperatures aren’t the only reason I’ve been sweating.  The lions disappeared for most of the month. Their tracks disappeared high up the Chewuya Gorge and they weren’t coming back down to impress my guests.  They really made me work hard for them, and with  a fleeting glimpse of a cub or lioness, they left me entertaining eager photographers with rocks and vegetation!

Thankfully, the Wild Dog weren’t going to let the 5 day long safari turn into a botany and geography photography project. They came right to camp and posed like the supermodels of the bush that they are. I was very relieved!

The Wild Dog have since moved out and the lions have moved back in-announcing their return with an elephant kill close to the spring in front of camp a few nights ago!

On an even more exciting note, I saw my first African Pitta!  We went out this morning in search of the illusive bird, ducking and diving and weaving through elephant in thick bush, following its call.  What a moment!  It is such a beautiful bird.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture, but we will be back next week to try again.  One of our Shareholders and pirvate guides in camp had the privilege to see the Pitta performing its rain dance.  There is an awesome video on the Kavinga Facebook page if you would like to have a look.

I will be going out for a break tomorrow and will finally get to do lot’s of fishing including a competition!

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have a good week!

Siraaj

October is Here!

The August winds have blown us right through September and all of a sudden we’re half way through October. Now the famous Valley heat is starting to set in! The change in the season has resulted in an increase in thirsty animals. Eland drink at the spring everyday and there are countless numbers of impala, kudu and warthog at the pan during lunch time. Elephant cover the pan during the evening and keep our guests up with the splashes and trumpets.

The bird life at Kavinga has been fantastic. We have had regular sightings of the Yellow Billed Stork and Broad-billed Rollers. Carmine Bee-eaters decorate the bare trees like bright colored Christmas decorations. The Greater Painted Snipe is an exciting bird to tick off the Kavinga Bird List, and we have three of them at the pan as well as a flock of Southern Pochards in the pan! It won’t be long before we can start ticking off the African Pitta too. Eastern Nicators and Red-throated Twinspots sing in camp, while the White-Headed Vultures build their nest by the spring.

The lions have had us tracking them in circles and are now in the Chewuye Gorge with the cubs where they had killed a young elephant. The Wild Dog have not been seen for some time- since we noticed four of the pups were no longer with them.
The Baobabs have started flowering already along with a couple  of other trees that only normally flower much later in the season.

Some pretty strange and early changes this season, including some Leopard Tortoises walking about and Egyptian Geese passing through. We’re excited to see what the rest of the month has to offer!

Take Care of Yourselves,
Siraaj

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