“September in our part of the world means Spring!
Spring means a lot of things . . . . firstly the cold, winter mornings going on trail with our guests are drawing to an end! Some of our acacia’s start blooming, much to the ‘browsers’ delight. Our days are noticeably longer and of course the first wisps of clouds appear which might hint at a good rainy season . . . .
Certain parts of Namibia, including Okonjima, had a mild drought this year with only sporadic rainfall, while other parts in the far north, the northwest and certain areas in the south of our county are in their second and third year of drought, which means below average rainfall during the months from November to April.
This challenge, together with the added severe bush encroachment throughout Namibia, has led to livestock farmers selling off stock and if they can afford it, trying to hire other grazing lands. . . . which are not easily available, or already over-grazed.
Although Namibia is a dry country, lack of good rains affects game movements and following closely, predator movements.
Most of our big cats are territorial and will stick to their areas as long as they can find enough prey, but if the drought forces the animals to abandon the area, the predator will have to follow. Usually the natural game in the dry areas will move first, leaving the livestock, who are controlled by fences and herdsmen, as easy prey.
So as usual, Namibians hope and prey for good rains! The conservationists also live in hope, for good grazing plains, fields and farms decreases human wildlife conflict, and this is always important to big cat numbers.
With the hint of early budding acacia blossoms and a few drops about a week ago, Namibian heads are all bent backwards, our eyes search the skies, but very often are disappointed with only a few ‘false’ promising clouds, alot of wind and dust and those dreaded electrical storms that bring alot of lightning but not much rain.
This is what spring day is in Namibia; “glad the cold has stopped, boy its hot, hope it rains this year!”.
However, despite the dryness, the game in the Okonjima Nature Reserve seem more alive, getting ready for a promising, wet year!? The Red Crested ‘korhaans’ can be heard at sunset, displaying to females in most spectacular arial dives. The larks have started calling.
With the added heat nearing our summer, more and more snake tracks can be seen as they come out of their winter dens.
Tortoise have yet to be seen, but as we know here in Namibia, the folk tale tells us that when you see the tortoises moving about, the rain is eminent.
Bird lovers will rejoice as Cuckoos (brood parasites) are about, Mayers and the Rupels Parrot has been seen feeding on the blossoms, and few rare eagles are in our skies.
Mammals, such as our Steenbok are seen close together as the little ram follows the female around waiting for her to accept his displays of courtship.
Spring is here and the veld is alive with some color after a grey cold winter.
What a pleasure to be in the bush. . . .”
Written by: OKONJIMA GUIDE – DeVries