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Written by Isaiah Banda

April marks the move of our safari times to winter times, which gives guides and guests another hour of sleep before they wake up for their safari. We have had a sensational start to 2024 here at Mabula Private Game Reserve with some truly exceptional wildlife sightings over the past several months. However, from the rain perspective we have not been blessed enough until the end of April. Waterholes, gullies and vlei areas have been dry with not much wildlife and birdlife.

Morning and evening safaris have been just as eventful with giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs, and many general game activities around the plains on the reserve and incredible lion’s sightings occupying Lake Kyle territory just south-east of the reserve. With the dry season slowly approaching, we expect to see even more wildlife activity over the coming months. As winter approaches, with no perennial river sources on the reserve, flora drop their leaves, creating ideal conditions for exceptional game viewing.

What makes this time of year on Mabula Private Game Reserve so appealing to so many? Well, a few things are at play. The warm summer temperatures have dropped to a point that in the early mornings, a fleeced jacket is essential while, in the evenings, a roaring fire draws our guests to its warmth. The summer rains, for the most part, are a thing of the past, yet the landscape still holds a lush, green vibrancy that complements the long rays of the sun at dusk and dawn.

Birdlife is plentiful as the migrants fatten themselves up for the long journey back north while the lambs and calves of the plains game have grown fast into young adolescents. With all the abundance that the rainy season brings, it certainly has its discomforts which slowly fall away as we dip into winter; the classical safari season.

April was filled with phenomenal sightings. On the predator front, lions and cheetahs seemed to have dominated most of the viewings as the Lake Kyle Pride flexed their hunting prowess by successfully bringing down a kudu bull one morning, followed by wildebeest after three days and a zebra was the next kill. With 10 mouths to feed, this illustrates both their opportunism and need to hunt so frequently.

Lion sightings this month have entertained our guests on every single safari they went on. More especially with so many kills in one month. Interestingly enough is they have spend most of the time in the central parts being around serengeti area, this area is very rich with zebras and wildebeest.

More towards the western side of this area is rich with kudu. I must say this was the first kudu kill in many months. I think the part most of our guests enjoyed was to sit and watch the cubs going at each other around the carcass while feeding.

One would take a small piece of  meat and another will fight for the same small piece leaving the whole chunck alone. While we thought the fight had ended over the meat, another cub started moaning to let the mother that they were thirsty, and they would all go fight over the milk.

They are really entertaining, at some stage you want them to remain small and never grow up. A highlight of all the sightings was how the cubs harrassed their father. All he wanted to do was sleep, however the cubs kept him busy all the time preventing him going to sleep.

Every time he would try lie down they would jump on top of him, he will slap them but they would keep coming back to keep him busy. All these ups and downs with male is very important for them to strengthen their family bond among the pride members.

The afternoon safari is the perfect opportunity to venture down to the north western parts of the reserve in search of elephants drinking, cooling off or feeding, buffaloes relaxing in mud wallows, and many others enjoying the shade of the magnificent trees dotted along Whole Owner and Modjadji plains while waiting for the heat of the day to subside. The warm autumn rays begin to waver as the warm golden light of the fading sun illuminates the land. Slowly the sun begins to set over the Waterberg mountains and oranges and reds begin to fill the sky. Typically, an afternoon safari is interrupted with a classic sundowner with drinks and snacks.

I must say I am inspired by nature every day when I am out on a safari with my guests. However, nature is not just our inspiration; it is our greatest teacher. What lesson will you take away from your next encounter with the natural world on Mabula Private Game Reserve?

Until next time…
From Isaiah Banda & Mabula family.
Safari Greetings.