May has seen the start of winter. The temperatures have definitely slide nice and low in the mornings. As a result of winter approach, the rains have stopped and the bush is drying up. The seasonal pans are no more and the dry season will start to force the game to the permanent water sources.
There was some excitement early in the month, when the new pack of African Wild dogs set up a den site in the south western part of the reserve. All started quite well with 10 healthy pups, but unfortunately the other pack found the den site and several pups were killed in the altercation. The have since moved the den site onto the top of the Dwarsberg mountains in the south east of the reserve. There are pups left, but we’re not sure how many.
We also had a great sighting of the Matata pride killing a young Warthog at Tshukudu dam. This pride also currently has about 5 cubs around the Tshwane koppies region in the northern part of the reserve. Theses would be the first cubs sired by the Mahiwa male Lions.
A female Cheetah has also been moving around our area in the east of the reserve, and has been to the lodge on a few occasions during the month. We had a great sighting of her outside safari Lodge, before she moved south. She had 4 cubs a few months ago, but they sadly didn’t make. The 2 male Cheetahs like to move around the southern part of the reserve, so I wonder whether she is seeking out the males. I’m sure we’ll know in a few months’ time!
Around the lodge, the water birds at the wetland area have been great. Several Black-winged Stilts have been seen. A female Greater Painted Snipe was seen as well. More and more Burchell’s Sandgrouse have been in the northern part of the reserve and we have seen Capped Wheatear on several occasions.
All in all, it’s been a beautiful month in the Madikwe Game Reserve. We can’t wait to once again start showing the wonders of Madikwe to our guests again.