We all know, wherever we are, all corners of the planet that the weather has shown a big change over the last couple of seasons. It is no wonder then that we have rain in Selous. It is amazing to see how water brings hope, to everything brown and dry, the rain cleans and nourishes every thirsty root.
It is my hope that this is not just a bluff. The Impala have started calving and not long to go the wildebeest will follow. Mega herds of buffalo with calves ranging between 300 and 600 strong. All these little ones bringing fresh blood to our ecosystems and need this precious resource to survive. The mothers need lush vegetation to produce the most important meal, “milk”. If they are not healthy they will become prey for a healthy predator.
The Beho Beho area this season has been a harbour for hyenas. A few days back we tracked and discovered two hyena kills in a night, all within less than a mile. That night an impala stag and a zebra mare were not fortunate. By early morning there were only horns to tell of the impala and a skull for the zebra. Who said hyenas only scavenge, they are actually better at hunting than the well-known big cats. I think it is only right to call them opportunists, it describe what they actually are better.
With the hyenas however, came the difficulty to find other predators. Lions have been living a more secretive life or even move away from the area. The prides we know still surface from time to time to reassure their claim to the territory. With all their pride, when you have so many hyenas you probably want to dine quietly and really watch your back. About a couple of months ago, a lioness fell victim to the powerful jaws of a pack of hyena.
Also Leopards have been very cooperative the last couple weeks.
As I always say, the Selous never fails one, its beauty and mystery is hard to put to words. A week ago, I went on a drive that turned into the drive of the week for me. In less than two hours we saw four of the big five, started with a coalition of six buffalo bulls and went bigger to a beautiful breeding herd of elephants. On we went and along the Beho Beho River and saw a young Leopard perhaps a year and a half going on two. She was very shy so did what leopards are good at and disappeared from sight. As we came out to little serengeti four lions took shade under a Balinites tree, after a few mins we then found out the bonus to this particular morning, a prime young female was on honeymoon with one of the two males…. ooops, there were two males and two females… anyway, as I observed more, I realised the older female was one from a pride we called the phantom pride, she is an enormous breed for a lioness.
Every season is different and it will always be, nature is full of wonders and we can all enjoy it responsibly.