The drum roll of thunder echoing across the valleys of Zululand is an unmistakable sound. Mother Nature has been putting on her own disco lately, with the horizon being lit up by sporadic flashes of lightning. There are very few places in this world that could compete with the spectacular show that is a rainstorm viewed from the deck at Leopard Mountain lodge.
With a splash of ±30mm of rain in the last week, followed by a few days with the mercury reaching somewhere close to the 40˚C mark. This means that summer is upon us with vengeance and that there is spring growth in the air. From the sweet-scented flowers of the Wooly Caper bush (Capparis tomentosa) that provides nectar for the sunbirds, to the distinct smell of the African Potato Bush (Phyllanthus reticulatus) full of little red fruit that are loved by the Red Duiker. The delicious fruit of the Marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) will soon be filling the stomachs of all and sundry. Creamy white flowers adorn the Knobthorn (Senegalia nigrescens previously Acacia nigrescens) making it buzz with activity. The bush is most definitely rejuvenating itself and springing back to its full exuberance after the winter.
The animals too have a rejuvenated spring in their step with this new season. This past winter was tough, but now that the rains have inspired some greenery, most of the animals have a renewed sense of energy and their flanks are filling out.
In the eternal words of Walt Whitman from 1855 “I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles”. I can confirm that there is mud under my veldskoen’s and a glint of green in almost every tree I see.