March – what a beautiful month in the Lowveld. The temperatures are pleasant day and night. The bush is so green and appetising-looking and the antelope have been warming up for the rutting season, which is always entertaining to watch.
Every Mopane tree is covered in Mopane worms, which make for some great high-protein snacks for the locals and birds! So what happens is, once these eggs of the Emperor moth hatch, the caterpillars will moult a few times until the 4th moult when they are wonderfully plump and tasty and good for eating, then all the survivors will burrow underground, pupate and pop out next year as moths. Then they only have a few days to mate and lay their eggs before they die and the whole life cycle starts again.
There are many of these beautiful Golden Orb-Web spiders at this time of the year, but don’t let this deter you as they are non-aggressive and harmless!
One of the stand out sightings I had this month was of 9 lions on a fresh buffalo kill the one morning. They ravenously devoured it while one lion had a little cat nap resting its head on the head of the buffalo. They had made the kill right next to a large dam so one by one headed off for a drink of water in between feeding sessions.
In fact, it has been a really fantastic month for lions! One evening we were with Duma, a huge male lion, who was strolling down the dry riverbed when he happened to stumbled upon a fresh duiker kill, that was for whatever reason abandoned by a leopard. Just goes to show – even the king of the jungle isn’t above scavenging once in a while. He finished the untouched duiker in less than 30 minutes. It definitely looked tastier and more tender than his usual diet of buffalo.
The Giraffe Pride was also found, including the white lioness and the 3 or 4 month old cub. Always incredible for our guests (and us guides!) to get to see this white wonder of nature.
Nearing the end of the month, we say goodbye to our migratory birds who are starting to pack up shop and heading off for better abundance of food/ warmer weather/ breeding.
And talking about migrating, unfortunately this will be my last ranger’s report as I’m heading off on my next adventure in May. It will be devastating to leave such an incredible team of people and such a beautiful area and I will especially miss my extremely talented tracker, Albert, who has become a very dear and lifelong friend of mine. I will also miss all of you avid readers and hope you will be treating yourselves to a visit to Kings Camp soon.
All the best,
Here are a few of my other pics from the month…
Ntombi walking under Donald’s feet.
African Scops Owl.