We have been witnessing an extended dry season tormenting some of the games for the absence of water and grass to feed on. Although for some animals, mainly predators, this seems to be a good thing to have a good dry season, as they can simply roam around the few permanent water courses, like springs, lakes and rivers, knowing their potential prey has to come to them.
Predators like lions and hyenas seem to have been waiting at the water courses for their prey to come anddrink water so they can hunt easily. One of the sightings I have had was when I just arrived from home after my leave and with our operations director Alwyn whom was visiting from Dar. We landed at one of the airstrips bit far from the camp, so we had a nice little drive back towards the camp and as we were passing lake Tagalala we saw a pride of lions under the bushes. Driving a few meters forward we saw another lioness trying to hunt buffaloes. As we realized what we had encountered, the buffaloes got spooked and ran away, this was the opportunity the lioness had been waiting for, a chance to pick out one to catch in the confusion, everything started happening, but it was in the dense bush and we could barely see through to them, but in all the stampeding and confusion they ended up running right into the open where we could see that a lioness had caught hold of one. It was quite a battle as the buffalo would not fall down and the lioness was still clinging on the back side trying to drag it down or lodge her teeth into its spinal cord. At some stage lioness released the buffalo and started chasing it toward the rest of the pride, we saw a few more lions coming to join including one I am call a “super hunter” for the pride. Unfortunately they finally ended up back in the thick bush and we couldn’t see anything, just hear a huge battle and it seems that the buffalo was pulled down and killed there.
While all that was happening over at Tagalala side, our local hyena clan was busy raiding the Msine spring right in front of the camp. Every night we’ve been hearing some buffalo stampedes and hyenas cackling and from the noises it was clear the hyenas were busy hunting. At that time the buffalo and other general game were so skinny and weak, they became easy prey for the hyena’s lurking at the spring. That dry period was a huge starvation time for the general games. The good news is at long last we have had some few huge rains, it has made a lot of the vegetation green up and some few water puddles appear all over the plains areas and add some water to some seasonal rivers. So now that is allowing the general game to thrive and they seem happier now as we see them fighting and playing with each other, impalas leaping all over the plains and chasing each other, elephants taking enjoyable mud baths as mud wallows start to appear. The weather also is not too hot and humid as would normally be the case in this season; it is sort of less humid which is so good for us too. After the start of the rains the wild dogs also popped out once, to make an appearance, it was a great morning when we saw this pack of wild dogs at the Beho Beho airstrip.