Sue & Gordon's Notebook.
The rains are gone, and about three weeks ago, winter arrived with a vengence!
Not that this is a bad thing, in fact in many ways the onset of winter is good. The days are still pleasantly warm, it is the evenings and early mornings that let you know that the seasons have changed, especially in a Game viewing vehicle, with that added wind-chill factor on drive.
What winter does bring is an end to the moths, stink bugs and the like that can irritate during boma dinners in Summer, hovering around that favourite glass of wine, or worse still, landing in your dinner. Interestingly, the "bugs" come and go
in waves. Suddenly one day the stink bugs start being noticed, stay around for a couple of weeks, and disappear completely again as fast as they appeared, only to be replaced with something else.
Not every year is the same either in a bugs life. In 2008, we were inundated by armoured crickets just before the onset of winter. This year, not one to be seen anywhere.
Enough about bugs. Winter also means that all the small pools of water in the Reserve have dried up, and animals and birds are far more reliant on the waterholes, such as ours, that are regularly topped up.
The Big 5 which, whenever we see them popping in for a drink are always special, are not our only visitors. It is always interesting to watch the behaviour of "general game" species at and around the waterhole. Be it the Wildebeest (Gnu), Zebra, Warthogs, Giraffe, Impala and others.
Waterholes are naturally dangerous places for general game. Predators know that sooner or later, they all have to come and drink, and opportunities will present themselves.
Last week Friday around midday, whilst sitting and working on my laptop in the lounge at the Lodge, I looked up and was surprised to see two lions stopping in for a drink. They soon settled down in the shade next to the waterhole, as lions like to do on a warm sunny day.
Lions resting out of the mid-day sun.
(Male to the left of the bush, female to the right).
A family of warthogs arrived to quench their thirst. The lions sat up immediately, and the female went into stalking mode. The warthogs suprisingly had not noticed or smelt a thing until it was almost too late, when one alert warthog moved off at speed, followed by the rest of the family, all with their tails held high like the aerials on remote control cars. Strange for me was the fact that the warthogs then moved around to the other side of the waterhole to check the situation out from a different angle, like that would make a difference!?
When Impala, Zebra or other similar species visit, and there is danger, they snort and sound the alarm to warn everything in the immediate area that all is not as it should be.
Elephants on the other hand completely take over the waterhole when they visit. General game, and even lions, scatter when a breeding herd moves in. Often it is the adolescent elephants that take great pleasure in chasing off all visitors, including the King of the beasts!
Elephant bull "warning" lions at our
waterhole 1st May, 20h00.
We have a clan of spotted hyeana that have moved in to our area, and are living in and around a culvert on Wonderboom Road just behind our cottage at the Lodge. We often have the pleasure of hearing their eerie calls at night, and seeing them at the waterhole.
Spotted hyeana at the waterhole
2nd May, 04h47
Lions killed an old "dagga boy" (buffalo bull) not far from the Lodge recently, and once they had had their fill, we started to see leg bones appearing at the hyeana den next to the road. A new slant on take-aways!
On a more personal note, Sue and I have sold off our other business interests as at the end of April, 2009, with the intention of moving out to the Lodge permenantly.
The house we are busy building for ourselves is almost complete, and we hope to move in around the end of June this year.
This, we know will give us great pleasure, as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with more of our guests, take more of an active roll in the Reserve, and simply spend quality time with each other.
Watch this space - we will keep you updated!
Just as a reminder, and for first time visitors to our website, do have a look at the latest set of night shots taken at our waterhole. For those of you who do not know, we have a camera monitoring our waterhole 24/7. Night shots in particular are recorded so that we can see who visits us at night when we have all gone off to bed. See the "webcam gallery" at www.bushhouse.co.za
Also, the website has a link to a "live" waterhole picture, which is updated every 60 seconds. This can be viewed at "view the waterhole webcam" on our website.
Enjoy, and we hope to see you soon!
Gordon & Sue.