Skip to main content

April marks the move of our safari times to winter times, which gives guides and guests another hour of sleep before they wake up for their safari. We have had a sensational start to 2024 here at Mabula Private Game Reserve with some truly exceptional wildlife sightings over the past several months. However, from the rain perspective we have not been blessed enough until the end of April. Waterholes, gullies and vlei areas have been dry with not much wildlife and birdlife, while we have had wonderful sightings of crocodile and hippo in the dam in front of Kingfisher Villa Suites.

King fisher April Guides News

Morning and evening safaris have been just as eventful with giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs, and many general game activities around the plains on the reserve and incredible lion’s sightings occupying Lake Kyle territory just south-east of the reserve. With the dry season slowly approaching, we expect to see even more wildlife activity over the coming months. As winter approaches, with no perennial river sources on the reserve, flora drop their leaves, creating ideal conditions for exceptional game viewing.

What makes this time of year on Mabula Private Game Reserve so appealing to so many? Well, a few things are at play. The warm summer temperatures have dropped to a point that in the early mornings, a fleeced jacket is essential while, in the evenings, a roaring fire draws our guests to its warmth. The summer rains, for the most part, are a thing of the past, yet the landscape still holds a lush, green vibrancy that complements the long rays of the sun at dusk and dawn.

Birdlife is plentiful as the migrants fatten themselves up for the long journey back north while the lambs and calves of the plains game have grown fast into young adolescents. With all the abundance that the rainy season brings, it certainly has its discomforts which slowly fall away as we dip into winter; the classical safari season.

Elephants are highly social animals and, much like humans, they often look to strong, wise, and charismatic leaders to guide them. In elephant family groups, this role is filled by the matriarch. Usually the oldest and largest female elephant, she bears the weight of making critical decisions, from determining when and where to move, to how to react to potential dangers. We see this quiet often on the reserve with our herd as she leads them across the reserve.

Elephant often give us evidence of their capacity for compassion or their heightened intelligence. In their behaviour towards one another, they so clearly demonstrate emotional attachment between individuals. They do so in ways that are so similar to us as humans – in the bond you will see in trunk-to-trunk interactions and that it inspires a greater degree of understanding, or, at the least, a greater need to understand.

They engage in playful interactions, such as touching, grooming, and using their trunks to communicate with each other. Elephants love water and often engage in bathing and swimming activities. They use their trunks to spray water on themselves and playfully splash around.

Elephants take pleasure in dust bathing, which involves rolling in mud or dry dust to help protect their skin from the sun and insects. It also provides a way for them to cool down and remove parasites. Elephants are curious creatures and enjoy exploring their surroundings. They forage for food, using their trunks to search for vegetation and using their tusks to dig up roots and bark.

Elephants produce a variety of sounds, including trumpeting, rumbling, and growling. These vocalizations serve as a means of communication but can also be a form of play or expressing excitement. Elephants often scratch themselves against trees, rocks, or other rough surfaces. They may rub their bodies, particularly their backs, to relieve itchiness or for pleasure.

Neurons are the nerve cells that send messages throughout the body, enabling functions like talking, moving, eating, and thinking. The number of neurons in an elephant’s brain is much greater than that found in other mammals, including humans. In fact an African elephant’s brain contains 257 billion neurons, around three times more than the average human brain.

An elephant’s trunk is an incredibly versatile tool, highly tactile and motile. The trunk has infinite degrees of freedom of movement, given its absence of bones and joints. The tip of the trunk is also highly sensitive and relays a wealth of information to the elephant’s brain, through touch and smell.

At some point midway through the morning safari, we interrupt the activity by finding a suitable place to stop for some coffee, a time to stretch our legs. The morning coffee stop has a selection of teas, hot chocolate, filter coffee, and if you are feeling up to it the infamous bush coffee – coffee with hot chocolate and Amarula cream liqueur, a liqueur made from the fruits of Marula trees that often decorate the horizon.

Sunrises unveil spectacular displays of light, their warmth becoming even more spectacular as the sun emerges over the horizon at dawn.

I must say I am inspired by nature every day when I am out on a safari with my guests. However, nature is not just our inspiration; it is our greatest teacher. What lesson will you take away from your next encounter with the natural world on Mabula Private Game Reserve?

King fisher April Guides News

Until next time…

From Isaiah Banda & Mabula family.

Safari Greetings.