Little Makalolo – June 2014
Climate and Landscape
The lush green grass still dominates the area, and natural waterholes are full as we received sporadic rains during the month and the natural pans looking very attractive in their green and red algae colouration. Despite this, some of our waterholes are now being pumped to maintain the high level of water, particularly those which have the highest concentration of animals during the dry season.
Flowers are embellishing the ground, encouraged by these rains. The bush is thick and, with the cold experienced lately, there is the possibility of frost burn which will make most of the trees drop their leaves.
The moment the sun vanishes, temperatures drop, typical of our Kalahari soil which does not retain heat. Daytime temperatures have been moderate, making it comfortable for the guests, although a jacket and fleece blanket are handy on activities and guests are advised to bring layers of clothing. Just a few clouds embellish the sky, soaring above while fuelling speculation that it may rain or become cold.
Lions have dominated the pyramid of predators and we have seen a number of different prides. Most of them are fully grown and so prey the size of a buffalo is what they all need to feed from. The Back Pans Pride is now divided into three prides, the biggest numbering up to 19.
Other cat sightings around camp were also good and on a number of mornings, guests have awoken to find the social cats playing. We saw a number of different male cheetah, one of which is skittish and not used to vehicles. The Ngamo Plains and Ngweshla areas are still active, making them the preferred spot among guests. With herds of wildebeest, eland, zebra, impala and towers of giraffe, this makes the long journey to Ngamo worthwhile.
Birds and Birding
A healthy population of birds is still to be seen, although the departure of the rains is causing the migrating and wading avifauna move on. Despite a recorded decline, great birding has been enjoyed by all. Goshawks have been tormenting the doves around waterholes in the mornings and afternoons. What a great game to watch as these little raptors get confused as to who to catch as the flock takes off all at the same time.
Wildlife percentages for April: lion 52%, eland 48%, Cape buffalo 45%, elephant 61%, giraffe 42%, zebra 52%, wildebeest 52%