31 DECEMBER 2015
December ranger’s report:
Total rainfall for the month: 7mm. (0.27inc)
Average daytime temperature: 39’C. (102’F)
Maximum Daytime temperature: 45’C. (113’F)
Average night time temperature: 23’C. (73’F)
Minimum night time temperature: 18’C. (64’F)
And so the last month of 2015 has come and gone. As can be seen on the stats above we’ve had an extremely hot and dry December month. It seems like we are still very much in the grip of the El Nino weather pattern that has affected most of Southern Africa. The little bit of rain that fell in November luckily brought most of the trees out of their dormant stages and they started pushing out leaves. Good news for the browsers like giraffe, kudu and black rhino. But as for the grazers, the tough times are far from over. It seems like the buffalo are the most affected by the drought at this stage. They are losing condition and the amount of buffalo killed by lion is a testament of how weak they are getting. No less than 15 buffalo kills have been recorded in a 5km radius around the lodge. Weather experts say we might start seeing some rain towards the end of March. As tough as a drought is for us with our human emotions to witness, it is and has been for a very long time how nature controls numbers and to make sure that only the strong genes survive.
As much as the herbivores are struggling, it is now the time of the predator and the scavenger. We’ve had some amazing sightings with our guests over the last month. From guests seeing a pride of lion kill a buffalo in front of camp to wild dog hunting. Predators feeding on their kills and scavengers fighting over the scraps. Brown hyena and leopard involved in a tug of war with an impala.
The Matata lioness has had her cubs in the Tswane hills and Francois was lucky to get a glimpse of her carrying one of the cubs to a new den sight. Something a lioness would do with her new born cubs every now and then before another predator or scavenger smells the sent build up.
The pack of wild dogs that became known as the “southern pack” because they’ve been hanging out in the Dwarsberg mountain range in the south of the park has been operating more towards the central and eastern sections of Madikwe. Great new for us in the north eastern section. We’ve seen them quite a few times during the month and they even made a kill a few nights ago in front of camp to the amazement of our guests.
Even though the lambing season started very late, it seems like most of the impala and quite a few wildebeest has by now given birth. Without fail, they always bring the quite factor to a drive.
We at Mateya hope you had as good of a festive season as we did here in the bush and we wish everyone a prosperous New Year filled with happiness.
Until next time…
The Mateya team.