Southern Africa Bush Tails

Bushlife Safaris News – December 2012

The 2012 season is now at an end, thanks to all of you who came to stay with us, I hope your memories are good ones. Mana Pools never lets us down, once again she has revealed to us so many amazing sights, sounds and experiences, it keeps me in anticipation for the next season to begin.

I can’t wait to get back, I have been in town for 2 weeks, the kids school holidays start in December and I am planning on a fishing trip for a week, cant wait. It will b e hot and humid, but the tiger will be biting and also the bream will be in the shallows feeding on the fresh grown grass of the rainy season. It is still dry in Mana at the moment but the rains normally start about the 20th of November. On the highveld in Harare we have already had several showers and the promise of a good rainy season is eminent. The game really needs it, for those of you who were in Mana in October can testify to the dryness. There was rain else where in the Valley in October, and many o f the animals, particularly the elephant, moved off in that direction, in the hope of finding some pools of water which they can drink providing access to feeding areas otherwise too far from the river to reach.

We made a few additions to camp as the ye ar progressed. We added a rebuilt Land Rover to the fleet for game drives and an old Land Cruiser specifically for the back up of the mobile canoe trips, they both did us very well this year and we certainly needed them. We also added a few extras to the r unning of the camp itself. We have a larger generator to run a new 40cubic foot freezer and a standard 18 cubic foot freezer, 3 ice machines, an inverter system with a bank of batteries to supply power 24hrs, for lighting in the rooms, fans and also chargi ng stations. Which has really helped on the management side of the camp. Desiree has been busy decorating the rooms, firstly by adding head boards and skirting to all of the beds and by adding new linens and duvets.

Our new camp manageress / hostess, Na talie, settled in well this season and we are hoping for an amazingly well run camp next season. Nats is also a beauty therapist, and she has treated many, if not most of our clients this year to a variety of pamperings, from massages, facials, pedicures, reflexology and raiki. We will be building Nats a Spa room where guests can be pampered.

Last but not least the game viewing sightings: it really makes my job worth while when I get told by guests they have just had the trip of a life time .As the dry s eason progresses the wildlife densities along the river increases to one of the highest wildlife densities in the world today .The flood plain area teams with game of all species. The elephant bulls of Mana Pools are still one of the highlights of the Park .We spend a lot of time on foot with these animals and they do get used to us being around, this is one of my favorite things to do.

The wild dogs, or painted dogs, as I am having drilled into my head by Dr.Rasmussen, is the new accepted name, are doing exceptionally well. The Vundu pack is 27 strong with 9 pups, the Kanga pack has 27 also with 15 pups, the Chikwenya pack also has 15 pups totaling 23 dogs, the Chitake pack is 16 strong with 8 pups, and the Nyakasanga pack about 25 dogs with 8 pups, the Long Pool pack is the smallest with on ly 10 dogs, 2 of which are pups. The dog population is doing great. We have collars on 4 dogs now and we are hoping to start getting an idea of where the dogs are dispersing to. When the dogs den down again in May/June next year there will be a splintering of the larger packs to make way for the new puppies. We need to find out where all these dogs are going to. The Vundu pack has had 10 dogs disperse in the last 2 seasons and we do not know where they have gone to.

The lions have also done very well. The Mucheni Pride of 11 has 2 cubs and the females should be pregnant from all the breeding that we have been observing, so by next season we should be seeing new litters in the prides.

Along the Zambezi River in Mana be tween the tributaries of Rukomechi and Sapi Rivers we frequently see lions from one or more of the 7 prides which come down to the river, especially on the mobile canoe trips. The pride sizes vary from 3 to 12.

Camp is closed and we are starting to stri p the land rovers and repair the damages of a season on rough roads. We will probably head back to the valley in March to set things up so you can come visit again.


Best regards,
Nick
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