Umlani Captured in Photos- February 2017
It's been an exciting month here at Umlani Bushcamp, from the threat of a tropical cyclone to amazing sightings. We had some much needed soaking rain that transformed the bush yet again, even though we had better rains this season we still find ourselves feeling the effects of the drought as the fresh green grass already began to brown and die off under the relentless African sun. So when we heard that there was potential for a cyclone moving over the area we hoped that it wouldn't be destructive but rather replenish the bush, this was thankfully the case and we have in turn reaped the rewards when it comes to the sightings in the month of February.
"No one can return from Africa unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination."- George Schalker
We have really had a little bit of everything this month when it comes to sightings, from the bird life which has been absolutely incredible to the big 5 and everything in between. With summer in full swing we experiencing sunny days with high temperatures but this means the waterholes are an absolute hot spot for wildlife sightings. We also find the Marula trees are all dropping their fruit at this time of year which in itself attracts all sorts of different species who feed on the vitamin rich fruits.
However it is difficult to put our highlights into words as there has been such a range of things that we have seen so I will let the pictures speak for themselves...enjoy our monthly highlights for February.
Not a common sight here in the Timbavati, a flight of White storks that have migrated for summer all the way from Europe.
Our resident Banded mongoose family have been hanging around camp and every afternoon they come to drink water at one of our ponds close to camp, they so comical in their ways of cooling off after a hot day as they spread out on the cool rocks and some of the members even lie in the water, its hard to believe that they can be the ferocious little snake killers that they are reputed to be.
The general game viewing has been amazing, its always unbelievable to see how these animals respond to rain and the new vegetation growth, and although we are not out of the drought yet its good to see the animals all flourishing and in such amazing condition.
We have been seeing a lot of elephants around lately, in particular large bulls, its always a humbling and memorable experience being so close to these modern day mammoths as they go about their business.
Lion sightings have been the best that they have been in years, with us almost having daily lion sightings, perhaps the fact that the hyena den and the massive clan that came with it have moved out of the area they lions have made a return, whatever the reason we are definitely reaping the benefits of seeing these big cats. The Machaton lioness has been seen a lot lately looking in amazing condition and on one occasion even found with the 2 Sumatra males. These males have been back in full for recently marking territory and roaring every night asserting themselves as dominant males. The Hercules ride continue to make trips into our traversing area and we continue to hope that they establish themselves as our resident pride now that the 2 Sumatra males seem to be setting up the central Timbavati as home.
The ever present leopards have given us great sightings against this month, with us seeing a new young male a couple of times, however he isn't the most relaxed as seems to be the trend with males in the area, however new faces are always good to see. Our resident females have also been seen on many occasions, Nyeleti has definitely set up her territory and is regularly seen marking and patrolling. We still patiently waiting for cubs from Marula, Rockfig jr and Thumbela females but there has still not been any signs apart from Thumbela looking pregnant so yes...all we can do is wait.
That about wraps it up for this month, we hope you enjoyed our highlights as much as we did, and lets see what March has in store for us.
Written by: Greg McCall-Peat
Photographed by: Greg McCall-Peat & Oliver Lane