As we come towards the end of the dry season, the bush on Welgevonden is looking as dry as we have seen it for many years after the well below average rainfall for the previous summer. Fortunately we have received some rains this month and slowly a green tinge is starting to cover the rolling hills as the animals start to enjoy the new green shoots.
Aided by the sparser vegetation, game viewing has been exceptional for the last few months. The western pride have been very active in our area and it has been a privilege to watch the cubs develop from our first glimpse of them at 3 months old to being close to fully grown. The pride females are exceptional hunters and have a very high success rate on Zebra and Wildebeest. We have witnessed a number of kills and very close feeding on kills in the last few months.
In July one of the reserves most notorious female Cheetahs went missing leaving 3 immature cubs or sub adults to fend for themselves. The mother’s remains were finally located and it was confirmed that she had been killed by another predator, most likely the Lions. Although we all prefer that nature take its course in these situations, the policies have changed around Cheetah which are now so desperately rare in the wild that we cannot just simply watch them die. Welgevonden management collared one of the sub adults which would allow them to monitor their progress. In the case they would not make it there would be further intervention but much to our surprise the cubs have not only survived but are thriving on the reserve. They have provided us with some exceptional game viewing. The group have become very efficient at taking down Impala, their main food source. We look forward to watching them grow to adulthood.
We were very excited to welcome an additional 54 Buffalo on Welgevonden. This disease free herd will further enhance game viewing and play an important role in the ongoing plains projects. The Buffalo is an iconic species and a formidable adversary to the Lions that roam Welgevonden. We look forward to many interactions to follow…
The Spotted Hyenas have a den close to the lodge and we are seeing them daily at the lodge waterhole. They have at least 4 pups which are very comfortable with game viewers and even people on foot as they occasionally roam through the lodge perimeter. Most nights around the campfire we are privileged to hear their eerie calls which have made them so famous in Africa. Spotted Hyena tend to move dens every few months as the area becomes infested with fleas and parasites but we will enjoy their company while they use the den close to wild ivory.
We have recently upgraded the tent rooms with king size beds and extra comfy mattresses as well as other new furniture so look forward to all our guests enjoying these upgrades!
Summer is the most beautiful time in the Waterberg so book soon.Greetings - the wild ivory team