If I look back on the month of October and consider the events that stand out, the memories are dominated by a freezing cold spell of weather that swooped in towards the end. There were reports of snow between Ladysmith and Newcastle, and we had single digit temperatures, hail storms and heavy rain for at least a few days. Although this is relatively unusual weather for Spring in Nambiti, it isn’t the first time that this kind of chilly weather has descended on us.
That aside, the reserve has undergone a colour transformation as the new grass shoots continue to push through the burnt soil and cover the landscape in a carpet of new. We have begun to hear more of the migratory cuckoos in the woodland areas, and I spotted a rare Greater Painted Snipe at one of the dams in the south of Nambiti. Weaver birds are busily collecting material for their woven nests, while the Pied Crows can also be seen flying around with sticks to add to their less sophisticated cup nests.
While out on safari, we have spotted zebra foals, blesbok lambs, warthog piglets and red hartebeest calves. There are many pregnant herbivores that look ready to pop, including our giraffe cows. The giraffes have been on show in many different ways this month. Large aggregations have been viewed in various places around the reserve; some bulls could be seen practising their necking skills, young calves were spotted drinking from a natural spring while others showed a different sleeping position by resting their heads on their rumps, and we have viewed them chewing on bones (osteophagia) to replenish phosphorus and calcium in their diets.
Dung beetles are all around us. Piles of dung are alive with their activity and we have to exercise extra caution while dodging the telecoprids that are rolling dung balls. We have experienced a few eruptions of termite alates, which is linked to the softening of soil and there are definitely more millipedes, butterflies and moths around at the moment. The insect activity around our new dam is also on the rise. Damselflies and dragonflies are the most noticeable culprits at this stage, but it all bodes well for habitat development.
Towards the end of the month we hosted our first Wild Series Trail Run that took place over two days. Runners were accommodated across at Elandsvlei and also at the various lodges in Nambiti. It was a successful endeavour despite inclement weather, and all of the participants appeared to enjoy the event. Next year’s edition is sure to grow in popularity!
Head Guide Noleen Turner