Another month has flown by here in Madikwe. The bush seems to eat time, days roll into one another, and as our Maintenance Manager Oom Lester says "It's always a Wednesday in the bush"
Wonderful news on the weather - in the middle of April, we did indeed get some much needed rain. It was somewhere in the region of 50mm over the course of a few days, and it really has made a difference to the parched ground. To the great delight of the elephants, the reserve developed lots of puddles and great places to play, producing some fantastic elephant sightings with young and old alike covering themselves with mud and rolling around in these new playgrounds. We have seen some areas getting tinged with green, and some of the dust and flies have settled. We still need more, but even this fairly small amount could make all the difference as the winter months draw in.
We have had a wonderful month of sightings, but personally, my favorite was on 24th of April. We often find it very difficult to find leopards here in Madikwe. These illusive, solitary, mystical cats often evade us, and can be very shy around vehicles. We often see tracks, but finding the prize is a rarity. During afternoon drive, from around 150mtrs away, I saw something fall from a large Boscia beside the road. As I got closer, I realised that is was a fairly large branch "How strange" I thought, to myself, without letting my guests know I had seen anything, so as not to raise false hopes! I slowed right down, and when I was around 50mtrs from the tree, I stopped, and asked everyone to stay quiet as I wanted to see what was going on. After around 30seconds, a huge male leopard dropped out of the tree, landed on the ground and casually looked in our direction. The cameras went crazy! He sauntered off into the bush nearby. I decided to give him some space and noticed that he had a very fresh warthog kill stashed in the tree. Murray and I left the area for a short time to give him some privacy, and when Murray returned, he saw the leopard slink out from the grass, and stroll back towards his kill in the tree.
We are all very excited about finding this animal, as if he stays in the same area, and is comfortable with people viewing him, he could become a more regular feature. Wonderful news for guides and guests alike.
Until next month...