June has been one of those very rare quiet months on Nambiti game reserve, I think a large contributing factor to this has been the weather. The deepest dark month of winter has taken a grip and is reluctant to let go, the nights are longer and the days often haunted by a chilly nip in the breeze coming off the mountains. On frequent mornings the rangers would return to the lodge after game drive seeking the warmth of the fire and complaining that the silent and bitter Jack Frost had come by in the night, leaving a white blanket in his wake.
At the end of the month, a couple of cold spells passed through KZN the largest and most recent bringing with it bitterly cold conditions and near Eskimo temperatures, this also resulted in a short lived but magnificently beautiful icing-like dusting of snow across the Drakensberg mountains stretching from North to South.
However despite the cold, the month of June has been a particularly interesting one from both a ranger’s and reserve management perspective, with a large live game capture taking place for most of the month. The purpose of which was to assist in the reduction of plains game species populations that are currently in huge excess and starting to cause environmental damage in the forms of overgrazing and disease risk. The species that were being targeted for capture were Blue wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu and Impala. Matt and a couple of his guests were lucky enough to be able to sit and watch the entire capture procedure of +- 30 wildebeest.
Nambiti’s resident buffalo herd has finally decided to migrate towards the south of the reserve for winter after spending most of their days up in the northern section and pretty much mowing the veld in the north to just about lawn length. We have been having some exquisite sightings of these marvellous creatures as of late. The herd has settled comfortably at Nambiti and are doing extremely well with numerous calves being sired and born in the past couple of years.
One definitive positive to the winter months is the extraordinary and breathtakingly beautiful sunsets and sunrises on Nambiti a side benefit of the dry dusty landscape combined with the smoke from a multitude of fires.
A discovery, and sighting that tweaked the keen interest of both Matt & Dave; Matt’s possibly more so, seeing as he adores virtually any cold blooded, slithery creature of a reptilian nature, was that of a four metre long African Rock Python that was in a semi-comatose state of hibernation, and looked about due for a slough (that’s a fancy ranger term for skin shedding). Unlike any other python sighting, rare as they may be, this python hung around for a few days due to the cold weather and his reptilian state.
Like the buffalo herd, the reserves solitary male cheetah has also been clocking up some mileage moving from North to South and back again, however in the latter days of the month he has been frequently seen around the southern section of the reserve and within relatively close proximity to Umzolozolo, we’re lucky if we get to “spot” him as he has a knack for going weeks without being seen.