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The knob thorn (Acacia nigrescens) brings a beautiful colour to the landscape at this time of the year. Knob thorns are plentiful in the Lowveld, their yellow flowers drawing a distinctive contrast to the dull grey appearance of the bush veld at the end of autumn.
The knob thorns seem to be particularly abundant in their flowering this season, perhaps a result of the past summer’s good rains? The giraffes, baboons and monkeys eat the scented flowers. Elephants enjoy eating the branches. Elephants and kudus browse the leaves and shoots. The pods are also eaten by game.
An Ingwelala animal that is naturally more visible during the cooler and dry winter months is the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). The kudu (koedoe in Afrikaans) derived its name directly from the Khoikhoi, and folk lore has it that the name is descriptive of the sound the animal’s hooves makes as it lopes away from any predator or danger.
For four years I have being patiently waiting for an event like this to happen, and then it happened! A simple wish really, to see a leopard from our house. Every month I read through all the chronicles and exciting predator sightings seen from Members Bungalows in camp that are duly recorded in the sightings register at Reception, and I always wonder and contemplate: when it is it my turn?>
During the month of Late September early November or just after the first rains you will notice while driving around on Ingwelala a bright yellow flower. This is the Mopane Pomegranate ( Rhigozum zambesiacum). (Zambesiacum: from the Zambezi River, where first collected).
I was in the Workshop the other day chatting to Nelson when he suddenly said to me “Oh, I forgot to show you something yesterday, come and have a look” - all with a dead straight face. As we walked and weaved in between the 230 vehicles to reach the far end, he explained that this was a peculiar challenge he faced which he was pleased he could resolve.
A very special time in the bushveld occurs during the full moon phase. This is even more so during the warm summer months when one can comfortably sit outside on warm balmy evenings, bathed in glorious moonlight, and absorb the wonders of our natural world. It is at this time that the ever present and humble Fiery-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus pectoralis) drums out its distinctive and characteristic call described by birders as “good Lord deliver us” The call is particularly audible through the full moon phase, less so on darker nights.
The abundant surface water has resulted in Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) popping up all over. From the Class; Reptilia, Nile crocodiles are fairly widespread through central, western and southern Africa and also occur in the western parts of Madagascar.
Of late I have being punting the point of how wonderful the Nhlaralumi River is functioning with fewer upstream impoundments. The natural processes that follow are remarkable in such a short space of time since the failing of certain dams in January 2012.
Nature provides plenty of tangible evidence that there is a change in seasons. However, an endearing olfactory clue for me that there is a shift in season is the early evening scent of the potato bush, Phyllanthus reticulatus.