The Kalahari never fails to surprise and challenge our preconceptions about what is normal, typical or seasonal when it comes to weather patterns and wildlife sightings, and this winter was no different. This past season was both unusually warm and unusually wet. Although there were many cold mornings heading out on drives, it rarely went below zero degrees (wind shield factor excluded, of course) and certainly never hit the sub-zero temperatures Tswalu often reaches in July. Moreover, we had rain (yes, rain, not just drizzle!) every month, ranging from 40mm in June to 20mm in August. Winter rain kept waterholes full, including those that usually run low by June. We also noticed a very early blooming season throughout the reserve. Even creepers such as gemsbok cucumbers, devil’s thorns, wild senna, eland’s bean and other southern Kalahari species were seen earlier than usual. Sightings during the winter months were varied, with a lot of activity recorded – read all about it in this issue of the Wildlife Journal. May saw a productive game count operation, and the rest of the winter saw numerous relocations of cheetah and sub-adult lions, rhino notching operations, and springbok and hartebeest introductions. Some of our cheetah were even part of a translocation project to India, a groundbreaking initiative attempting to reintroduce the species into wilderness spaces there.
In other news, our safari team welcomed a new safari manager, Gary Parker, to the team as well as two new guides, Nic Coleman and Dylan Smith. We also have two new trackers, Thembile Nodolo and Dithebogo Baatiseng. They are all excellent additions to our team and have hit the ground running, making an impact and changing lives among our guests already. Dedeben Research Centre has been as busy as ever, hosting many researchers involved with diverse, long-term projects from butterfly ecology to archaeology. The Kalahari never rests, and there is always something fascinating to discover. Happy reading!