Written by Isaiah Banda

Rains continued to fall on Mabula over the beginning of the month pouring down 250mm, adding to the already extensive rainfall this season. The waterholes remain full and gully has formed temporary rivers. The lush vegetation makes the scenery spectacular, however, increases the effort required in order to find animals and in particular lions and cheetahs.

Most general game has been seen in enormous herds, impala by the hundreds it seems with all the new additions born over the last few months. Wildebeest and zebra have joined forces as they have a selection of more palatable grasses to feed on and of course there is strength in numbers. Giraffe who are plentiful all over the reserve, are loving the new shoots coming through on all the trees and especially the young acacia branches as the thorns have not yet lignified and so they are able to feed very easily. The male giraffe have been in hot pursuit of a few of the females that have been coming into heat.

A lovely lush view of the green vegetation has a large female giraffe standing in from of one of the large karee vegetation we can see when driving around the eastern parts of the reserve.

You’ll often see pairs of zebra standing together, back to back and sometimes resting their heads on the others’ rump or back. This has three main objectives; their heavy heads are rested, they watch each other’s backs for any threats and the one’s flicking tail assists the other in avoiding flies from buzzing around its head.

These giraffe stick close to one another. My guess would be to protect each other from danger. Giraffe often form these small herds comprising of several mothers and their similarly aged calves with the benefit being safety in numbers.

This Golden Orb Spider had her web strung up across a small gully next to gully road. The early morning sun not only illuminated the web but also made the orange stripes on her legs glow quite bright. The web appeared to have taken some damage during the wind and rain the night before and seemed to be running some repairs while we watched.

Impala are like sheep – in the metaphorical sense – in that when one starts running, the whole herd generally follows suit. The contrasting white and black rump patterning is supposedly a means through which individual herd members follow each other.

The impressive young male stopped and looked straight at the guests on the vehicle and showed us his impressive teeth before he carried on following the rest of the pride who had just walked past us.

The herd of buffalo have been enjoying the greener pastures of the central parts of the reserve as of late. We encountered them on a warm afternoon as they made their way towards the dam. The water not only offers them respite from the heat but relief from the incessant insect population that can be seen buzzing around them. This dagga bull covered with mud was following the herd as they make their way to Main dam.

This male was seen gazing ahead towards two lionesses who were walking steadily in front of him. Male lions will often trail the lionesses of their pride with the promise of a free meal usually being on the cards at some stage.

That is all for this month, until next month again…. Enjoy reading.

From Isaiah Banda & Mabula family.