When the seasons change it not only affects the trees and provides us with a change in temperature, the animals are also slightly ruffled. South African Autumn is a gorgeous time of the year! It marks the transition from Summer to Winter where the mornings and evenings get that fresh crisp feel in the air as the temperature cools down considerably. The arrival of night comes conspicuously earlier while the arrival of day is delayed further and further.
South African Autumn:
Although in South Africa, we rarely experience four distinct seasons. Here, the transitional seasons of Autumn and Spring tend to be very short. Game Reserves in the Eastern Cape of South Africa have some of the best weather in the country, we experience Summer and Winter rainfall. The area that Shamwari Game Reserve is in is known to have a moderate temperate climate for Eastern Cape safaris.
In geographical terms, temperate or tepid latitudes of Earth lie between the tropics and the polar regions. The temperatures in these regions are generally relatively moderate, rather than extremely hot or cold, and the changes between summer and winter are also usually moderate. We are fortunate to experience no extreme temperature changes throughout the year and our animals seem to thrive in this climate.
Changes during Autumn:
Apart from the leaves falling off the trees, most mornings are awoken with misty layers of dew on the reserve. It can be quite a beautiful sight coupled with a stunningly warm sunrise. The animals on the reserve go through changes to prepare for our winter months.
The Impala Rut:
The Impala antelope species participate in a rut. This is where the males fight each other to determine the mating of the Impala ewes. The rut starts in the month of April where the impala rams’ testosterone levels increase tremendously as they begin to fight for territory and dominance over female herds.
The dominant males will force the losers into bachelor herds. The noise of the rut can be heard for long distances as the winners declare their territories with snorts and growls. The winning males then take charge of their herds of females and will try to mate with as many as possible. Once a male has taken over territory he must then protect it. During the height of the rut, dominant males will sometimes maintain their territory for as little as 8 days before being pushed out by a stronger challenger, which will then take charge.
What To Expect:
When it comes to other animal species on the reserve, there is a lack of activity. Some animals get thicker coats and will fluff up in the mornings to trap the heat between their bodies and the ground. Reptiles go into a lesser form of hibernation. There are little to no sightings of tortoises and snakes during this period as they prefer the summer months and the insect populations also drop off significantly.
Fantastic Wildlife Experiences:
Although each season is unique, the wildlife sightings are still fantastic all year round! Every day provides our guests with a thrilling experience of what awaits them in the bushveld.