This month started off with some very welcome overcast and cool weather, which was a dramatic change from the soaring temperatures experienced last month. The cooler weather was short lived and later in the month we experienced a few days that saw the mercury rising well over the 45 degree Celsius mark! We are all waiting with baited breath for the first real rains of the season; we have had the first signs with thunder and lightning but no real rain as yet.
The game viewing has been phenomenal again this month, the lion sightings have been great with lions being seen on the majority of the drives. Leopard viewing has not disappointed and we have been treated to a few good daytime sightings of these beautiful cats. Our birding list has swelled with the return of more of the migrant species and one of the more eye catching species is the Broad-billed Roller, which is now being seen regularly. On the fishing front the water is producing some very memorable catches.
The lion viewing this month has been dominated by the Central Pride, the four adult lionesses are providing for the cubs very well and the young lions are growing exceptionally fast. The two Jeki males have been roaming far and wide, marking and ensuring that their new territory is well defended. Their territory now extends from the Chongwe River to Jeki Plains, which is a huge area to patrol. These two males however have been known to walk in excess of 25 kilometres in a single evening!
Later in the month one of the males was found in what can only be described as an “all you can eat buffet”!!! The male came across not one but three buffalo cows that had got stuck and died in the thick mud of one the drying dambo areas. The male spent the following three days either feeding or chasing the vultures from the carcasses before moving on.
The other member of the coalition was found escorting a lioness who it would appear seems to have come into season and the two were seen mating on a number of occasions. This could hopefully mean that we will have some new additions to the pride in a few months.
The GMA lioness appears to have given birth and we are trying to locate her den site. We have seen her in all along the Chongwe River this month and we all suspect that she is hiding the new cubs in the thickets along the river. We found her and another young lioness on a waterbuck kill earlier in the month. The highlight of the sighting was finding the one of the lionesses resting in the high branches of a nearby Albida tree.
The buffalo viewing has also been great with herds of anything between 50 or 300 being seen regularly and the groups of resident buffalo bulls being seen in their favourite hang outs. The majority all utilising the closest muddy wallow to cool off in the hot weather.
Elephant viewing has been great and the highlight of many of our guests is the viewing that is possible from the comfort of the camps. The elephant have been utilising the rivers in their quest to cool off and we are lucky enough to be given a front row seat to these sightings, daily!
Well we are fast approaching the end of another main season here in the Zambezi valley and we will be bringing you the final instalment of our newsletter next month. Remember that Kasaka is open ALL YEAR now – so you still have the chance to come and stay in the Valley after Chongwe closes mid Novermber.
Matt and the Chongwe Guiding Team