France has provided a picturesque backdrop for an exciting Rugby World Cup (RWC 2023). From the French chateaus and wine estates to restaurants and fan decorated pubs, the hosting cities have become a palette of colors. International teams sporting different colored jerseys have added to the frenzy of designs and hues with controversy stimulating the mix. The bush has been just as epic. October has been a frantic kaleidoscope of morphing colors connected to a quick shifter. The ball has been moving fast. The heat has raised up dusty whirlwinds suddenly replaced by driving rain with piercing flashes of lightening reminding us of our fallibility. It’s awesome when nature is not only visible but audible at the same time. The smell of the rain is easily discernible in the bush. The thunderstorms at night cool the night sky and provide guests with fantastic light shows that make the lasers used on the pyramids in Egypt look bland. All of this however does involve risk. The risk of natural fires started by lightning strikes can spread across a field faster than Cheslin in hot pursuit of the try line. Desperate men are dangerous men, and after the Ireland defeat the Springboks upped their game and made it to the final. Nature always finds a way as do our Springboks chasing down a fourth RWC title.
With the first rains and the high temperatures, the snakes of the bush become active and there are signs of this activity all over the reserve. From crossing roads to making their way to the edge of water sources, their presence is demonstrated daily as they seek out their first meal of the season. During the winter, snakes find burrows and go into a hibernated state called Brumation. By slowing their heart rates and metabolic rate to an almost zero, they can survive the winter with very little to no activity. We were alerted one evening by our resident bushbaby that something was awry. Upon investigation we found a 1.1m puff adder in our garden. With a little convincing and nudging we managed to get the snake into our snake tube, and later released it back into the reserve away from the lodge.
Sightings of Lions, Cheetahs and Elephants have been an almost a daily occurrence at Buffalo thorn this month. The two Central pride male lions have been patrolling Black Rhino. These two males are now coming to the end of their reign. They have actually fathered most of the cubs in the Pilanesberg. The two males from the Lengau dam pride have slowly started moving into the center of Pilanesberg and pose a threat to these 2 males. To avoid death and defeat, they are now on the outskirts of their old territory.
Tale the female cheetah and her two cubs have also been very active hunting Impala in front of our lodge. The youngsters are now just about to lose their honey badger like coats. These coats are a form of mimicry, where a harmless animal mimics that of a dangerous creature, to have a better chance of survival. Even the New Zealand haka, is less ferocious and ominous than a Honey badger?
Here are some highlights of October:
With the summer here in full swing, book your Christmas/December holiday with Buffalo thorn lodge and come and experience the Big 5 on your doorstep, or from the Jacuzzi…
Kindest bush regards
The BTL Team