October 2005

12th October

We are having a fascinating time at the camp, the newly forming lion pride – there are now two new cubs – took the camp over last night, and enjoyed each path and tree as if they had moved in, roaring, and purring, walking along each pathway, past each hut, resting where the fancy took them, and the new moon rose, golden and giving us a dimly lit night….two walked past our hut, and we could vaguely see the shapes, tho’ the eyes glowed brightly in the torchlight, the brightness of the beam did not seem to disturb them….Steven Nightwatch retreated to the kitchen – wisely!!!

October is a cruel month in many ways, it used to be called ‘suicide month’ in the old colonial days….and we had an awful bush fire about a month ago, so there is very little food for the animals…everything lies lethargically in the shade, waiting, as we all are, for the first rains…We are seeing all types of unusual game around the camp because of this, Lichensteins Hartebeeste, Sable (Chris saw 40 near Spring No 3 the other day), Waterbuck on the plain behind the camp…Reedbuck all coming towards the camp, but sadly a lot are dying because it is the wrong habitat for them, and they are starving….we are still trying to find out what else they may eat…that we could bring in…poor things… These animals are coming here to be near the river, the only water now available, and also there is some grazing near the camp…

The exciting thing is our ‘fly camp’ has finally been approved, and we are getting ready to build that….which will add a whole new dimension to our area and camp….hopefully building it with all the driftwood found along the now extremely LOW river….

16th October

Just got back from an exhilarating / depressing walk…..saw lots of vultures, another poor dead Reedbuck, saw several more, oh! so weak and thin, and then the lions are lying around the only waterhole the Reedbuck can reach (at Spring No:3)…so the poor things are lying, waiting to die or be killed…then we saw a lovely young lion running across the plain near the spring… so beautiful, lithe and golden…. ……and a rather portly warthog trying to get to the water, but the mean old lions just wouldn’t let him, so he kept strutting past us, then back again to try the waterhole…. Aaron will know exactly where we mean, where he saw the forty sable. We also found a dead female sable, died from starvation……so many animals and birds died because of uncontrolled burning, and the rest are dying of starvation….we keep praying for early rains… October is a harsh, cruel month….May is the BEST!!