Baby-time in the bush!
If you look carefully around Ubuntu Luxury Villa, or take a drive through the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, or book a day trip to Kruger National Park , you’ll be thrilled to see all the baby impalas lying, feeding and frolicking amongst the bright green grass. Their birth is a sure sign that the halcyon days of summer have arrived in the Lowveld.
Baby season is a season we all look forward to in Hoedspruit as winter ends and the bush welcomes new life. We start seeing signs of summer in the months before the babies com in August, September and October, when nature anticipates the first rains. Very little compares to the fragrant awaking it signals, as life makes its presence known once more. It’s a peaceful, hopeful time of year, as the days become longer and the nights warmer.
The knobthorns around Ubuntu Luxury Villa begin to flower, the marula trees sprout and you can sometimes smell the change of season, even before the first clouds for a summer rain shower appear. Far away, on distant continents, migrant birds sense that it is time to start towards their summer home.
Then, after the heat builds, there is the first cooling summer shower of the season – normally a short cloudburst followed by sunshine – and within hours flying ants will emerge, then millipedes.
Suddenly, the morning bird song is louder than ever and in a day or two, green grass begins to push delicate tips through the soil. Leaves sprout from bare branches of trees and the bush’s winter palette changes to various shades of green. You’ll see the wildlife taking full advantage of this, as the impala ewes get fatter and the woodland kingfisher announces its return to the lowveld and other areas in the north of South Africa from Central Africa with its trilling call (treet teerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr).
But it’s when the babies arrive that we know that summer has really arrived! Thanks to Facebook, this is an event that can now be shared and we all eagerly anticipate the first pictures of the babies on their wobbly legs. Unobtrusively, the female impalas move away from their herds into thickets of bushes and just hours later, their little lambs sprout up in the verdant landscape in an annual miracle that never ceases to fill us with joy and wonder.
The female impalas drop their lambs in a miracle of synchronised birthing, so the numbers go from zero to hundreds, seemingly overnight. Of course predators take advantage of this too, but none-the-less, it’s a magical experience seeing these little ones appear in Kruger, on the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate and all around the villa.
There are also lots of baby wildebeest, warthogs and birds around at this time of year, along with baby baboons and monkeys. You’ll also see small elephants and zebra (although their birthing seasons are much less precise and you can see their babies throughout the year), but common as they are, the baby impalas always hold a special place in our hearts.
Enjoy our gallery below of more adorable baby animal images all taken in the Kruger National Park;