Image by: Janet Kleyn
April through to September is dry season in Mashatu and this year has been very dry with normal water sources drying up early in the season.
After the heavy rains in 2016 the rivers flooded and deposited sand in some of the pools, which would normally hold water throughout the wet season. As a result these pools have dried up and water is scarce.
Vegetation is scarce and the condition of herbivores has started deteriorating, but this is nature’s way and it is a time for the predators to flourish. Any visitor in the last few weeks can confirm that predator sightings, including hunts and successful kills have been high. Many of the predators have young cubs and this is an important time for them.
The water at the PhotoMashatu underground hides is a magnet for general game and sightings of up to seven different species streaming in for a drink has been keeping photographers very happy. A telling sign of how dry it is; is the amount of steenbok sightings drinking at the hide as well as sightings of grey duiker and klipspringer. All three of these species can go for long periods without drinking as they get the water they need from the vegetation they feed on, but the vegetation is scarce and they too have needed to come in for a drink.
Image by: Trevor Kleyn
As I am writing this, clouds are building up and a storm is threatening. Perhaps the animals will get some relief soon. As it does every year seasons will change and life in the bush will continue and the new season will bring water, new food and new life into Mashatu.
Text by: Janet Kleyn