Breaking the drought
Welgevonden Game Reserve has experienced below-average rainfall every year for the last four years. This dry spell had taken a toll on the vegetation, particularly the forage available for the animals to graze on, and we were in desperate need of rain.
Our first rains usually arrive late in October or early November, but the heavy clouds were impatient to burst this year and we received a total of 51mm of rain in the first week October. And if that wasn't enough, the heavens opened on Sunday, 11 October to shower an incredible 120mm of rain over Wild Ivory.
While most of Welgevonden has received good rains, this massive downpour seems to have occurred predominantly in the north west of the reserve, which is where Wild Ivory is situated. Already, we have seen huge herds of animals moving back towards the plains around the lodge (think final scene of Lion King), which is one of the many reasons early summer is one of our favourite times on the reserve.
Over the years, Welgevonden has become one of the best destinations to view cheetah in the wild. In addition, the reserve has become the number one contributor to the EWT metapopulation project. The sightings of cheetah are so frequent, in fact, that sometimes they can even be enjoyed from the comfort of your own lodge unit! Guests staying at one of the units at Wild Ivory recently were treated to a sighting of a mother cheetah and her two cubs that had made an impala kill no more than 20 meters from their unit!
Two young females from the reserve's Western Pride recently broke off from the pride and have since made their first kill together. While a mother lion starts teaching her cubs how to hunt from when they are approximately three months old, they only reach independence at around two years of age. This is why it came as somewhat of a surprise when the young lionesses' kill was reported – they are only 13 months old!
The best part about the changing season is that we get to share it with our guests again. Lockdown has been long and hard and we've missed telling stories around the campfire under the African sky. If anything, lockdown has made us all the more appreciative of our guests' company. We've all felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm here at Wild Ivory, and we are excited to have you all come and visit the lodge soon!
Remember, we are offering 25% off to guests that book midweek, or make a last minute reservation.
See you on the wild side!