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June 2010 Bush Blog
June 2010:
To everything its season...

There seems to be a time each year in the African bush when the change occurs between wet and dry season.  This is always an interesting time as it usually brings with it some interesting interactions and happenings that are as much a familiar surprise as a shocking annual recurrence!

The case in point occurred recently when we suddenly realized that maybe, just maybe, the wet season was finally behind us this year.  The pod mahoganies above camp are finally starting to drop their leaves, the river is starting to drop which is attracting in the Pel’s Fishing Owl, the Narina Trogon is back in his place hawking insects and spiders above the kitchen, the lions are back roaring and generally terrifying all in and around camp, and the elephant’s are slowly making their ways back eastwards towards the Urema system.  The dry-ish season also is proving to be really quite brilliant in terms of the temperature during the day (no more than 28 degrees Celsius) and at night the chill is making the down duvets that extra bit more snug.  And we may just be seeing more days of sunshine than of cloud and rain for the first time in ages.  (The fact that it rained for 20 hours last week quite heavily should be seen as the exception that proves the rule!)

The best news of the month is undoubtedly the fact that the lovely lioness – one of the “Egyptian Ladies” – behind our camp has emerged with her cubs, three little 2-month old squirts that are very cute and way too curious for their own good.  They have been seen a few times close to the junction of our camp access road and the public game drive road and the mother has tolerated vehicles quite well at this stage.  No exact sign of sexes yet, but it would appear to be two little girls and their rascal brother.  We will confirm this next month no doubt – and we look forward to following these three as they grow and develop in the area around Explorers.

We have also been enjoying some great bull elephant viewing recently which has supplemented the somewhat erratic viewing of the breeding herds which can be a little cheeky at times!  There has been a buffalo herd that has moved across the Msicadzi from the north – no doubt one of the first wild ranging buffalo herds that are starting to find refuge in the relative safety of Gorongosa.  We counted around 60 animals in the herd which is a good size.  They seem to have come in from the north.  There was also a good sighting of serval at the Songue view point as well as some great views of the endemic bushy-tailed mongoose on the floodplains recently. 

We also saw the two young male lions we know as “Marlon Brando Young” and “Marlon Brando Old” (one good looking, one ugly!) feeding on an adult bushpig recently, finishing off the entire pig in one sitting.  They were not too comfortable after this though!  These two continue to make themselves seen and heard in the area around our camp, and it would seem they have seen off the two young challengers they were regularly ‘bumping’ into last year – for now that is.  We have also been seeing a little bit of two younger male lions – about 14-16 months old - who are from the same pride as the female who is missing a back foot from a snare some years ago (“Tripod”).  Whether she is their mum or aunt has not been confirmed, but they have been found well and full and healthy each time.  “Tripod” was found near Chitengo a few weeks ago, some way out of her range, and in the company of the two “Brandos”.  Whether she is related to them or whether she is in heat is not sure yet.  But it was a long ‘hop’ for her to make so one must assume it was to try and mate with one of them.

All in all, it has been a great month for Explore Gorongosa and one that has seen our guests range from some active bodies, minds and souls on our first ever Gorongosa Yoga Retreat to a biodiversity-focused group from the States; and from a young honeymoon couple from London to a pair of seasoned Africa-philes from the UK who soon became a part of the furniture here.  We have enjoyed our time with all our guests in June and look forward to having you here too sometime soon...

Until then, happy days!
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