Summer season in Swaziland is full of exciting game viewing with animals of all shapes and sizes. Many of our mammals subscribe to breeding seasons, producing their young from October through to March each year. Wildebeest, impala and blesbuck are among the summer births. In fact, according to Ted Reilly, you will not see a blesbuck lamb before 5th October. Amazingly, since I heard this, I kept an eye out every year to prove him wrong, and almost every year, the first sightings of a lamb was on the 5th or 6th of October!
Probably the most endearing of the babies are the warthogs… the ‘hoglets’. Mothers quietly graze around the camp, while these cheeky minions bounce, race, do excited 360 degree turns as if someone pulls an invisible handbrake and off they go again….or suddenly drop onto their tummies in an angelic, non-plussed manner. One hog brings her babies to the camp fire on a chilly day, and generation after generation are learning to do this. They are quite happy to share half the fire with our guests, as long as they get to roast themselves.
It has been an extremely hard year in the lowveld though, with a drought spanning 3 long years. This past winter saw nature reducing stock at an alarming and gut-wrenching rate. In days of old, animals could simply migrate, but there is nowhere to go to now. The parks have hard perimeters – or the animals face becoming a welcome meal beyond the fence. It has not been a good year for rhino calves, but the giraffe have managed to keep their populations expanding.