Mashatu’s dry season is from April to October. Guests to the reserve in direction of the top of the dry season from August to October, are sometimes astounded that something can survive in these circumstances, however it’s a pure cycle and nature has geared up species dwelling right here to adapt and survive till the rains come.
Grazers like zebra, depend upon the grass for his or her diet, whereas browsers just like the giraffe, have a weight-reduction plan primarily based round leaves. In very dry occasions when the grasses disappear, many animals will eat any nutritious plant that they will. The 2 most profitable mammals within the reserve – elephant and impala – have tailored to each grazing and looking circumstances.
One other two species that do properly within the dry season are giraffe and eland. Giraffes have a bonus over different grazers of reaching greater for meals. Timber are likely to have leaves even when the grass dries up. Their deeper roots assist them survive, and their upper-canopy leaves assist giraffes survive by offering meals and moisture.
Eland have tailored to dwelling independently of water provides. They don’t have to drink repeatedly however moderately get the moisture they want from the meals they eat, or from different easy water conservation methods. Eland feed through the day however in addition they feed at evening when the moisture content material of foliage is greater. They produce very concentrated urine and dry faecal pellets in order to not discard moisture unnecessarily. They’ll stand within the shade on very popular days, and have the power to permit their physique temperature to rise by a number of levels dissipating the warmth after darkish when it’s cooler. Eland breathe deeply and slowly to preserve the moisture of their nasal passages.
Elephants play an vital function in serving to not solely themselves however different animals too, by digging into dry river beds to succeed in water that’s beneath the floor. When the elephants are executed with the water, different animals come to reap the benefits of the water in these holes.
If they’re in a really dry space, significantly drought-stricken areas, elephants will generally migrate to different areas the place water is extra plentiful. They usually solely migrate so far as they have to to seek out meals and water. By September when it is rather dry, a few of our elephants migrate to the Motloutse area close to Tuli Safari Lodge Mashatu, and spend extra time close to the Limpopo river. Because of Transfrontier settlement between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, our elephant inhabitants have choices to maneuver round and discover good feeding and water additional afield.
Not all animals cope as properly, and this makes the dry season prime time for predators and scavengers as circumstances permit for simpler looking. This “all you possibly can eat buffet” can solely be loved for thus lengthy, as a result of nature will at all times require stability. The rains will come and the tables will flip.
Domestically it’s believed that early rains are a sign of a great wet season forward. Ought to that occur, we will anticipate our first rains in direction of the top of October. The temperatures have already began rising, and all of us maintain our breath in anticipation of the primary rains of the season, bringing a lot aid to all who survive within the wilderness that’s Mashatu Sport Reserve.
By Janet Kleyn