I’ve just got home from a 6 night safari in Gonarezhou where we set up our mobile camp at Massasanya.
Game sightings were great considering the time of year and Suzanne and Stuart (our first guests from Bermuda) were wonderful company. We saw very good numbers of a multitude of wildlife species and some good raptors including Verreaux’s Eagle, Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle (with a puff adder it had killed) and several Brown Snake Eagles.
Highlights of the safari included having some very memorable encounters with elephant on foot. On one occasion we had a small family herd pass right below us as we sat fissured up in a rocky outcrop; on another occasion we had a herd of over twenty elephants feeding in the riverbed below us and on a third occasion we had two family units feeding, playing and sleeping in the riverbed below. Fly camping on the Runde River where we managed to summit the Chilojo cliffs using ‘Porcupine Pass’ and enjoyed a spectacular sunset before returning to camp and having to side-step a lone buffalo en route back to camp just before dark. Finding a fresh lioness track; a male leopard track and a female leopard track all from the previous night on the track just outside camp.
Mammals notched up on the safari included:
Elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, zebra, impala, giraffe, grysbok, steenbok, klipspringer, Chacma baboon, vervet monkey, hippopotamus, warthog, slender mongoose, dwarf mongoose, wildebeest, rock hyrax, bush hyrax, bush squirrel, scrub hare, black-backed jackal and African wild cat and found fresh tracks/signs of lion, leopard, cape clawless otter, hyena, genet, porcupine, civet. So overall, 25 species were seen and additional signs of a further 7 species. Wed 7 March: dwarf mongoose, elephant cow herd, 2 x Verreaux’s Eagles, 3 x ele bulls swimming, grysbok, 3 x groups kudu, klipspringer, crocodile x 2, hippopotamus x 3, waterbuck.
Thursday 8 March: 8 groups kudu, tailless bull elephant, elephant breeding herd, zebra x 5, > 100 impala, several smaller herds of impala, waterbuck x 2.
Friday 9 March: heaps of elephants (6-8 separate herds), 5 groups klipspringer, nyala x 2, kudu, impala, zebra x 4, waterbuck, hyrax, bull elephant, baby nyala, hyena (tr), porcupine (tr), genet (tr), civet (tr), otter scat, > 20 hippo, slender mongoose, scrub hare, lion (heard).
Saturday 10 March: warthog x 5, giraffe x 1, buffalo x 2, fresh impala kill, 7 groups kudu, 4 groups klipspringer, nyala x 4, bushbuck x 1, > 50 baboons, grysbok, impala bachelor herd, African wild cat, hyena (tr), male leopard (tr), ele cow herd x 24 individuals.
Sunday 11 March: lioness (tr), female leopard (tr), male leopard (tr), grysbok, steenbok, wildebeest x 1, zebra x 5, ele bull x 1, ele bulls x 4, ele cow herd x 12, wildebeest herd approx 25, 4 x groups klipspringer, 8 x nyala, hippopotamus x 2, buffalo x 1, >50 baboons, vervet monkey x 2 groups, black-backed jackal, ele bulls x 3, waterbuck x 2, waterbuck x 1, > 200 impala, giraffe (tr) by Chinguli crossing.
Monday 12 March: buffalo x 2, ele bull, nyala x 6, wildebeest x 2, > 200 impala, bushbuck x 2, ele cow herd approx 12 individuals, 15 kudu in 2-3 groups, warthog x 3, ele bull x 1, crocodile, hippo x 1, dwarf mongoose, ele cow herds x 2, leopard (heard calling), fish poachers x 2 seen upstream from camp in riverbed.