Once a month the rangers compile a comprehensive game report summarising the activities of each member of the MalaMala 7 (Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog). As our CyberDiaries tend to focus mainly on the big cats, the herbivores don’t get much more than a cursory mention.
To this end we’ve decided to post a brief summary of rhino, buffalo and elephant sightings for the month. That way those of you with a soft spot for these animals will also get your fix.
There is a link to the full and unabridged scientific reports on the MalaMala website. HINT – Those of you that preferred the original wildlife diary posts (pre-Social Media) will probably love these in-depth updates.
Due to the late rains the bush is still very lush and water easily available, which meant buffalo viewing continues to consist mainly of the single males and small groups of males. We did, however, see five different herds during the course of the month. The arrival of these herds was well spread out, with two at the beginning of the month and two at the end. A herd was also seen moving through the property during the middle of April. As we head towards winter, we can expect the rains to cease and the area to dry up. This will result in the herds moving towards the river.
Rhino sightings were once again brilliant this month, with many different individuals being seen on an almost daily basis. The western bank of the Sand River, as well as around the airstrip, remain the most successful areas to view them, particularly in the early morning. Flockfield has also proved to be a very good area for rhino viewing over the past month. As the morning air continues to cool, one often comes across them sleeping in the road, providing guests with the perfect opportunity to view them up close.
Elephant herds continue to litter the Sand River, as the unseasonably warm daytime temperatures attract them to the water. With water resources in the surrounding areas starting to dry up, we anticipate even more elephant activity in and around the river. On many occasions we were able to watch these large herbivores playing around in the river while enjoying lunch on the deck. We were also fortunate enough to be treated to many sightings of some very big bulls whose displays of power are always impressive.
Total sightings for the month