Summer is in full swing, with most of the migrant birds having arrived. The temperatures are rising and the bush is responding to the first rains of the season. Although still slightly less than average rainfall, November received some good soaking rain, allowing vegetation to start its transformation from the dry browns of winter to the lush greenery of summer.
Learn more about the projects Savanna is supporting. If you have questions or would like to make a donation to support our work this holiday season, please do not hesitate to contact us. On behalf of everyone at the Savanna Family, we send you our very best wishes!
October was definitely the month for wild dog. Besides having the alpha female with her pups providing fantastic viewing almost constantly, the beta female also dropped a litter of pups! The den was initially only moved a few hundred metres from the original den, but the access to the den was perfect and the guests who were here at the time were blessed with fantastic sightings!
September is usually the driest month of the year, as quite often our first rains only come in October. This means that the visibility is best, as the grass is short and thin, and the leaves from the deciduous trees have not yet started sprouting. It is one of the favourite times of the year for most guests, as the game viewing is at its optimum, and September this year was no exception...
In July, the three-year contract we had with the Tiyimiseleni Home-Based Care Centre (Orphanage) ended. Neither we nor the ladies could actually believe that three years had gone by already - just like that! We obviously would not let the 300 children down, so we have together signed up for another year for the running costs. Savanna, the Savanna Trust and some dedicated sponsors will make sure that the 14 ladies have a monthly salary, that all children have food and school uniforms, and that the various preventative programmes can run.
It has been a while since our last blog, so we will combine the news from July and August. The seasons are changing quickly, with winter in full swing and good food and water for the herbivores disappearing just as fast. This has resulted in constant action around the lodge, ranging from the resident waterbuck, impala and warthog, to frequent visits from herds of elephant. It is always a great way to start the afternoon drive, heading out straight into a herd of relaxed elephants
Many of our regular followers would have realised that there has been a noticeable silence on our part for a while. This is because during the month of May, plus a few days on either side, we were closed for a total of six weeks in order to do some exciting changes and upgrades at the lodge. Besides the Africaonsite building team which handled the major construction work, everybody at the lodge chipped in and exchanged lodge uniforms for construction equipment such as picks, shovels and paint brushes, as we gave the lodge a bit of a face lift.
The good rains continued during February, with 132 mm (just over 5 inches) falling during the month. A hurricane threatened to drop a torrential amount of rain, but fortunately for us, it moved north and affected mainly the northern part of Mozambique, leaving us with an ample amount of rain. We mentioned last month how the elephants are once again enjoying the full dams and rivers, and we continually find groups of bulls and herds swimming in the larger dams.
This January it has continued to rain on a regular basis and we have had some very welcome showers that have kept the grass and vegetation in prime condition. The overcast conditions, when used correctly, can provide some wonderful artistic photographic opportunities.
This month marks the end of one of the worst droughts for a long time in the Kruger National Park, but not before it took its toll on some of the wildlife. On the very last day before the rains came, the Sand River had actually stopped flowing and all that was left were a few small pools of water. Most of the waterholes had dried up and the game was struggling to find food and water