01 FEBRUARY 2006

Good day to everyone on our website. Like the previous two months February was a very wet month in Madikwe.
Since the beginning of the rainy season up to now we had close to 800mm of rain, which is more than double our annual rainfall. This of course does not help anything with the road situation when looking for game.

The month started of on a high when we heard reports from the ecologist of wild dogs at Tsukudu dam. I had to pick up guests from the airstrip, but went there straight after they arrived. By the time we got there the whole pack of dogs were in the dam swimming after a kudu bull. Soon afterwards they got hold of it and the kudu went down. The dogs swam to the side and waited patiently. About 30 minutes later we saw something floating on top of the water, it was another kudu. They caught two, one bull and a cow. After a huge struggle the kudu eventually were out and the dogs had their meal.

Another excellent sighting was when KK and I were following lion tracks when suddenly we heard the roar of the king of the bush. Soon we got one of the Batia brothers walking down the road in front of us. Every now and then he would stop, roar, listen, and then carry on walking. Just before dusk we heard another roar close by and the Batia we were following picked up his pace. Not to far from us the brother was busy mating with one of the local females in the area. They greeted each other with a growl and moved of into the thickets, with the sun setting behind them.

And then there were tracks of two hippos on our private road one morning. We followed the tracks of course and could see where they were heading, Tlou dam. We contacted people from the western side of the reserve to tell them about our found. Later that same day reports came in of two hippos in the dam just like we suspected. What is amazing about this is that the animals walked approximately 20 kilometers in one night. Hopefully they will stay there for a while, as it is much easier to view them at the dam than to look for them in the river.

All this excitement through the month just made me appreciate life in the bush all over again.

Sakkie Faurie
Field guide

01 JANUARY 2006

January 2006 got off with a bang!! 160 mm of rain in one day, almost a third of our annual rainfall and it has continued ever since. We are not complaining here at Mateya since every drop of rain counts and ahead of us is a long dry winter season.

The month was full of great sightings, even though we had to work much harder. The grass is so long, which makes for great hiding places for the animals. Also, with so much water around, the animals hardly have to visit the waterholes.

One particular sighting stood out for me this month… we set out on drive in drizzling, wet conditions and my feeling was that it would be a grey and quiet drive. Moments into the drive Adolph picked up lion tracks, we immediately changed our direction and managed to spot a pride of lions. They were all on one side of the road, and on the other side not more than 50 metres away, stood a herd of unsuspecting zebras and wildebeest. While I sat with my guests in anticipation, hoping for a little action, the lions were beginning to gather around and stalk the herd. What was so amazing was that they actually used my vehicle as cover, hiding from the herds. Suddenly, the entire herd of wildebeest and zebra started running towards the vehicle and lions hiding behind it. At first I was very confused by this behaviour and then I noticed a lioness chasing the herds from behind, chasing them straight into the rest of the pride. Everything suddenly came alive!! The lions circled the herd, and managed to pull down a young wildebeest… and that was only the start. With 6 hungry lions to feed, a battle erupted amongst them over who would get their share. Three young males came out victorious and ran off with the wildebeest remains.

That was certainly my highlight of the month and it just goes to show that even in rainy weather it is still worth venturing out for a drive.

Shai Goodman