Christmas Eve 2017 was celebrated with Zulu Tenor, Mxolisi, who brought on the sunset with his magnificent voice rolling over the hills as guests watched the sunset over the Drakensberg mountains. Families with children enjoyed toasting their own “stick-breads” on the open fire, whilst parents sipped on craft gin & tonic under the shade of an ancient Acacia tree.
As the New Year 2018 rolled in, so did the rain… Accompanied by spectacular thunderstorms, finally the drought has abated. The dams have all filled up, the grass has thickened & turned green, waterfalls are flowing and all the animals are looking portly again. This section of the Spioenkop dam has been dry for 3 years, but now has water in it, attracting vast herds of game therefore making for spectacular guided bush walks.
The rains have brought great relief to resident amphibians, some that have been aestivating for the past 3 years. This is a process whereby these creatures will form a water-conserving cocoon around their bodies & burrow deep under the ground to conserve moisture. When wet conditions return, they will surface to breed, feed & replenish their fat stores before the next dry season.
The Guttural Toad (Amietophrynus gutturalis) is widespread throughout Southern Africa, spreading into areas in the southern Cape, which is causing problems with local endemic species. They can lay up to 25 000 eggs at a time & tadpoles take about 75 days to metamorphose.