A change in season reflects a change WE are going through here at Safari.TV. Kathryn and Jared have headed off into the confines of the concrete jungle, Herman is safely ensconced at home in Cape Town, no doubt revelling in the fold of family and Patrick is back from leave, having had a superb late afternoon finale to his drive today.
On one hand, the bush has had us wondering where everything has gone and on the other, WE have wondered at the treasures that the new season has brought. Already! Overall there is still the dryness and bareness to the vegetation but, as we have seen on the drives of late, hidden gems delight. WE have seen a small flush of white with a Wild Pear that took me a moment to recognise on account of its size, it was but a scraggly sapling and there are so few in this area. The one and only Sausage tree (Kigelia africana), that I have found on western Gowrie, is resplendant in its fresh apple green foliage and is adorned with the most beautiful maroon flowers that I waved at our 3 D camera.
Wild Pear Dombeya rotundifolia
Knobthorns are in full bloom and their cousins, the Brack thorns are just beginning to show their little yellow puffballs amongst verdant flushes of fresh green leaves. It is a world of contrasts with most trees still bare and brown, so, coming across a stem of a Gardenia with a few of the first flush of flowers was, what else, but fantastic!
There have been a number of rhino about, buffalo bulls in strange places and elephants elusively crossing the property. Last night a young male lion managed to walk a considerable, meandering path through our traversing area making sure he was over in Buffelshoek by sunrise, his tracks taunted me everywhere I drove today. As for the boys, there has been a brief sighting but they have been scarce, as has their mother, Karula. With such a lack of predator action, we were pleasanly surprised when Patrick took us to Buffelshoek Dam this evening to give us the best possible view of Mvula the big male leopard from out East. If I am not mistaken, the only view of him as I haven't seen him before. WE have certainly heard his name and after tonight's sighting we can say we now know him so much better.
Screen capture by Patty mulligan
As Patrick arrived at the dam, the sun was still only thinking about setting and threw quite a glare as an obstacle to add to that already presented by another vehicle. Patience prevailed and Pat was able to put Sebastien and the camera in a perfect place to capture this magnificent cat wake, yawn and stretch before sawing for our stereo microphone. He marked his territory and started wandering away. After repositioning, Pat was in just the right place for Mvula to walk right by the Ganda giving us all a fantastic thrill.
Alex and Pete have been working on a new higher speed connection after Alex spent a lot of time on the cam at the dam. There is still something that is preventing some control of the rig but we will have that resolved very soon. Thank you all for your patience in waiting for the cam to be fully operational again. I think a special consideration has to go to Siphiwe who can hear things at the dam but is powerless to show it to you.
Well, this is my first blog. Ever! I will be contributing again in a couple of days, if anything but to document the gap between now and then. It is up to nature to provide the content and we will continue to find those special little things that make it SPRING!
Compiled by Marc Weiner and the elephants.