Falling for the Timbavati
A slight play on words for the title of this blog. Autumn is also known as “Fall”, a more accurate term in many ways because it signifies the event that dominates the start of the season, leaves falling from the trees.
However, first the leaves change into a multitude of colours and that in itself creates a magical environment here in the Timbavati. Quite astonishing that this happens so quickly, from the green grasses of summer rains to the golden yellows and browns of arid autumn. The mopani and bush willow trees, which dominate the area, are no longer their vibrant green, they are everything from red to orange to yellow, and when kissed by the morning or late afternoon sun the abundance of colour is staggeringly beautiful. If the wildlife doesn’t blow you away, the scenery certainly will.
Easy to distinguish between the images captured in the summer months, and those taken more recently as winter approaches. A dramatic change in scenery, both magical in their own way. When the leaves do finally drop from the bush then another landscape will appear in stark contrast again to what’s gone before. In winter months, wildlife can be seen from much further away because the bush has thinned out so the tracking team and their eagle eyes are in their element. Whereas in the summer, the bush is thick and green with fewer opportunities to see that horizontal cat lying in the shade of a thicket from a distance.
Seasonal changes also create animal behaviour change. The grazers have to search more for nutritious grasses, the browsers become more picky about the leaves they eat. Their movement in turn impacts the behaviour of the predators. Water, or lack of, also creates a change in movements of the antelope and plains game. As water becomes more scarce you will find that waterholes can produce some incredible sightings of aggregations of animals, all dependent on one main water source. Predators are known to frequent waterholes, knowing that their prey has to come and drink on a daily basis – opportunists at their best. The experience of sitting at a waterhole, with a coffee or a gin and tonic, really is memorable and exciting – you never know what might come and join you!
Every season in the Timbavati is a spectacle, yet there’s something especially beautiful about this time of year. Any nature or wildlife lover will feel right at home with the scenery being something to behold not to mention outstanding wildlife viewing.