June is one of the months that is always good for game viewing in this part of Africa, the nights tend to be cooler and the days are pleasantly warm. Early morning game drives are often shrouded in mist for the first hour or so and this adds some mystery and intrigue. There is very little chance of rain and, when it does rain, it is usually only a soft gentle sprinkling that settles the dust and adds crispness and clarity.
The birding has been spectacular over the course of the month, all types of waterbirds could be found along the rivers, floodplains and the lake. Open-bill Storks, Yellow-billed Storks, Marabou Storks African Skimmers to name but a few were everywhere. In the wooded areas were numerous birds of prey, Martial Eagles, Brown-snake Eagles and Lizard Buzzards, as well as the smaller birds, like Burchell’s Coucals, Little Bee-eaters and Emerald Spotted Wood Doves. There wasn’t a day that went by where we were disappointed in what we could see.
The Bigger Animals
Being out on game drive allows us to spend time in a far less hectic surroundings than in big cities, time slows down and a sense of peace takes over. Nothing portrays that more than being able to observe animals in their natural environment, whether it is a herd of elephant with their calves, lion with their cubs or just some of the other species that can be found here.
Observing elephant can be extremely rewarding, especially so when it is a group of them. There is always something going on and a constant sense of movement when there are calves involved, it is so easy to miss something because your attention is caught up somewhere else.
The story of elephant in the Gorongosa National park is one of success, there numbers are increasing each year and they are again becoming used to our presence. There are still those that run and hide when they hear a vehicle but we are seeing more and more of these animals that go about their daily activities with hardly a glance in our direction.
Almost daily we see evidence that they have been close to camp, broken branches or pushed over trees on the roads, piles of steaming dung, large wet patches where they have stood and urinated. At night we hear them feeding or “rumbling” to each other as they maintain contact. Squeals of a calf demanding access to his mothers teats or just looking for attention.
So much of what we see in these animals we can see in ourselves. The teenage bulls are always jostling or challenging one another, the cows offer security and support to the herd. The big bulls off on their own or accompanied by other bulls, sometimes mingling with a herd but never for long.
The security of the Reserve is made manifest by the increase in the numbers of all of the animals here, the buffalo numbers are doing well and there are small herds of them scattered throughout the park.
Lion have been seen almost every day this month, the lionesses with their cubs, mating lion and the dominant males have made regular appearances. This has predominantly been in the core of their territory, which is also close to the floodplains, what is better than watching them interacting with one another and then finishing of the game drive with a sundowner on the water?
There is a lot to see, general game on the plains and open areas, in the woodlands and thickets. Baboons and monkeys, waterbuck and impala, it felt like we would see something around each and every corner, and we never knew what it would be!
We have made the turn towards towards summer now, each day that passes gets a little longer, dawn is a little earlier and sunset just a bit later. July is upon us and promises to hold as much excitement as the past month has done.
We look forward to seeing you here, come and have a Gin and Tonic as you watch go the sun go down.
Muzimi Tented Camp and Gorongosa Collection, 30 June 2017
Gorongosa National Park