Wildlife enthusiasts interested in watching animals exhibit an array of unique behavioural patterns can do just that on the Nyika Plateau and in Liwonde National Park, during the Green season. Unlike the dry season, the rainy season in Africa ushers in a shift in wildlife dynamics, which is fuelled primarily by the ample availability of water sources. Elephant and antelope herds break off into smaller groups and many mammals, reptiles and birds give birth to their young.
During the Green Season, guests on safari in Nyika can enjoy incredible wildlife sightings, from frogs which proliferate only in clean, unpolluted water, common reedbuck which have the amazing ability to delay giving birth until the weather conditions are just right, to new born aquatic birds with waterproof feathers allowing sanctuary in water.
Another must-see season highlight on the plateau are the majestic big cats, the top predators of the African wilderness, with the curious ability to draw their fur tight against their bodies to create a waterproof exterior. Witnessing impala calves, warthog piglets and baboons being preyed upon by these predators is definitely not a common sight, and visitors to Nyika during the green season become fortunate observers to the diverse behaviours of these carnivores, something which even the most experienced wildlife enthusiasts may miss during the dry season.
Visits during the green season can lead to truly satisfying predator sightings, the heavy rainfall followed by the sun breaking through cloud cover over the Nyika plateau consistently yields excellent opportunities for predator sightings. Guests to the plateau during the green season are undoubtedly amidst the few fortunate to witness and observe these predators in their natural surroundings.
Meanwhile, in southern Malawi, Liwonde National Park, the country’s premier game-viewing destination becomes home to a flurry of wildlife activity. The rainy season is the ideal time of the year to witness herds of buffalos, hippos and migratory birds showing interesting and unique behavioural patterns.
One rare sighting that guests can expect to see in Liwonde during the rains, includes hundreds of crocodile hatchlings, which can be spotted on the sandbanks. Most guests at Mvuu Camp and Lodge, visiting the park during the start of the rainy season, will be able to spot crocodile hatchlings, basking in the sun under the watchful eye of adult crocodiles.
The crocodile courtship season begins in June with males bellowing, bubble-blowing and fighting, thus establishing dominance. During this period, males also swim with their heads up, to display their strength and showcase themselves to their female counterparts. The female usually mates with the most dominant male in the vicinity, and this could be the oldest or biggest male. The mating process takes place thereafter for approximately 10 minutes in the water. Two months later the female lays around 50 eggs, which she buries underground. She then lays on top of the burying site ferociously guarding her precious eggs until they are ready to hatch.
Three months later, around December, high-pitched chirping sounds alert the mother crocodile that the incubation period is over. Scientists have discovered that baby crocodiles call from their eggs to alert others in the nest that it’s the correct time to hatch. From January onwards these small crocodiles can be seen with relative ease on boat safaris along the Shire.
The rainy season, is also an ideal time to notice smaller species – such as dung beetles, which can be seen rolling balls of dung which will be used as food or nesting sites for female beetles. Many other insects, including bees and an array of butterflies can also be spotted with ease throughout the park, due the variety of flowers and plants that come into bloom during the season.
About Central African Wilderness Safaris:
Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) is an ecotourism company that offers the finest quality safari experiences and the ultimate holiday getaways in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. CAWS offers both up-market tailor-made luxury safaris as well as more affordable budget safari options. The company is dedicated to offering personalised and authentic travel experiences that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people.
Photo credits: Bentley Palmer, Alan Grimes (Owner of Baobab Travel), Dana Allen & CAWS Archive
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