The end of March finally saw a soft downpour in certain areas of Mashatu. Rain of between 10-15mm were estimated in these areas. Various small drainage lines, feeding into the Majale-and Matebole rivers were flowing. Temperatures are rapidly cooling down with mornings becoming a bit nippy on the open vehicles and midday's are sunny but not scorching hot. Evenings are just perfect.
Most of the trees are shedding their leaves and a true sense of winter has arrived. Waterholes around camps and along riverbeds are becoming increasingly more active and the impact of browsers and grazers on the vegetation around these areas are becoming apparent. In dry seasons it's not a lack of water that could kill animals nor the quantity of food, but rather the quality of these resources. If water pockets are far and few between, animals need to travel much further to find the areas with suitable feeding which can support their nutritious requirements.
Carnivores on the other hand does not have it all that easy in dry periods. If prey moves out of a leopards territory for instance, that specific individual can't simply follow the herds as this will cause the cat to come into conflict with the neighbouring individual, which leads to serious intra-competition. Everything in nature is extremely inter-related and knock-on-effects are common place, especially in winter months. Hopefully there are more rains coming, but the growing season for vegetation is also coming to an end, so who knows what will happen.
Game viewing was excellent in March. A total of 24 kills, made by large carnivores, were found and some were even seen! The famous cheetah mother with 5 cubs were seen feeding on 6 impala's during March, with the Coalition of 3 males seen feeding on 1 impala. Lions accounted for 5 kills, 3 zebra, 1 wildebeest and 1 warthog. Leopards accounted for 7 impala, 2 warthog and 1 ground-hornbill.
Lion sightings were similar than in February with 81%, leopards were seen 100% during March, cheetah 55% and elephants 81%. At one sighting two leopards were sleeping high up in a Mashatu tree. At one sighting two leopards were found sleeping in a large Mashatu tree, but they were sleeping with one eye open as two lionesses had killed a warthog right below them and were feeding on it. Guests arriving at the sighting did not know where to point their cameras at first!