Despite a long, hot dry season 2019 was a fantastic season filled with spectacular sightings and memorable moments for our clients. Here are some of our highlights from 2019:
1. Tusker showing his trust
Nick and Tusker have a special relationship, carefully built over two decades. This season Nick had a particularly humbling and wonderful experience with Tusker, as he slept peacefully next to him and his group of clients for a few hours. Read the first hand review of the experience on TripAdvisor here.
2. Collaring 5 more elephants
Thanks to the funding of Bushlife Conservancy and their kind donors, this season Nick and the Bushlife Support Unit team collared 5 elephants in Mana Pools this season. This provides a way to track their movements to aid with research and resource planning, and act as deterrent to poachers to hopefully conserve the big tusk gene.
2. Watching Violet have her first litter
Nick is particulary close to the painted wolves of Mana Pools, especially to the Nyaksanga pack from filming them for the BBC Earth Dynasties series. This season, Blacktip’s daughter Violet had her first litter of pups and Nick and his clients actually saw her contractions begin. They watched her as her waters broke ,while she lay just meters away near the den area before she disappeared into the den (with much whining) to give birth to her 5 pups – truly a once in a life time experience.
4. Seeing 3 leopards in one game drive
We had a phenomenal evening game drive one night, where we spotted a leopard just making an impala kill. We sat and watched as it dragged the kill into a tree, and then another two leopards came in to the kill – unbelievable and so rare to see so many leopards together.
5. Raptors galore
This season, a birding highlight was numerous sightings of the shy Pels Fishing Owls and the great sightings of birds of prey throughout the season such as the Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle and Lappetfaced Vulture.
6. Spotting a cheetah
With an estimated population of only 15 cheetah in the whole of Mana Pools, it is truly a rare sight to see them. The Bushlife Safaris team were lucky enough to spot this beautiful female on a morning game drive.
7. Attending an international conservation conference
We were very proud that our Anti-poaching and Community Liason Manager, Freedom, attended and presented at an international conservation programme in the United States. Bushlife Conservancy is making big strides in working with National Parks and the local community, and to be able to share our experience and learn from other countries was exciting and invaluable to our conservation efforts.
8. Helping feed Mana’s wildlife
Thanks to the tireless work of Bushlife Support Unit in raising funds, sourcing hay and game cubes, and transporting it into Mana Pools, we were able to do our bit to help the wildlife of Mana Pools survive this drought year. Every little bit of good one can do does truly count.
9. Our incredible guiding team
We are so proud of our professional guiding team this year. From dawn to dusk, they carefully and enthusiastically guided our clients up close to elephants and painted wolves, helped them get their perfect photography, told stories around camp fires and shared their passion and love of Mana Pools’ wildlife