The month of January has had some good rainfall and we’ve recorded 295mls, which in previous years would have constituted half our annual rainfall. We’ve also had some spectacular storms, as only Africa can produce, with laser-like lightning shows coupled with thunder that at times literally made the earth shake.
The concession is alive with youngsters of all living creatures. Everywhere you look there is an enormous variety of birds – especially waterbirds – and animals and the flora is looking beautifully lush and green. It truly has become a paradise.
The wildlife sightings have been spectacular as usual, even with the rain. Chitabe can proudly announce a few new family members in our various groups of predators. The collared cheetah was found and to the surprise of everyone she proudly paraded her four new gorgeous cubs. However, it does appear that towards the end of January, she may have lost one of the cubs as we only spotted three little faces on the last few occasions that we have seen them. Mortality rates among cheetah cubs is high, so we do keep fingers crossed that the mother’s good parenting skills will enable the remaining three to survive.
Our resident leopard are also sporting and nursing new offspring, together with our two small prides of lion. The Chitabe pack of wild dog have been seen only a couple of times during the month, which is normal as this is the time of year that they traverse their home ranges. Numbers fluctuate between 24 and 26 dogs, but we are pretty sure that the pack is still at full strength with a total compliment of 26 members.
Love seems to be in the air as our guests and guides spotted both leopard and lion mating. We hope therefore that we can announce some new arrivals in the near future.
All the general game including impala, giraffe and zebra are also in abundance and all proudly showing off their young. It is such a treat to watch these young animals running and playing with their herd mates, so full of energy and excitement.
Birding has been absolutely amazing. The summer migrants that visit us at this time of year are still keeping the camp and concession entertained by their beautiful song and chatter. Thanks to the rainfall all the floodplains and depressions have filled up, attracting a huge variety of hunters and waders, congregating together as friends.
During the last two weeks of January all the old rooms at Chitabe Lediba were dismantled and removed and the sites have been prepared for new structures. In addition to all new guest rooms, Chitabe Lediba will also be replacing the swimming pool and the decking surrounding the pool as well as putting in a new kitchen, laundry and a couple of storerooms.
Photographs courtesy Bill and Barton Barker; Sondra Lee and Debra