The summer and winter months in the Lowveld are vastly different, from the lush emerald vegetation to the autumn tones and arid appearance, the bush takes on during the middle of the year. Notably, the dry season is the preferred time to go on a safari for many reasons. Not only is it easier to spot animals and photograph wildlife but also because of the cooler temperatures.
I, however, prefer the extremities of summer. I suppose I’ve become accustomed to the heat, although when it reaches over 40 deg celsius, I’ll be the first to complain! The humidity builds as and clouds begin their vertical climb, then they dissipate. The weather often teases us before the first cloud burst but eventually, the cumulonimbus clouds tower over the Lowveld, spectacular lightning shows and thunderous roars can be seen and heard from miles away. The morning after the first rains is my absolute favourite time to be in the bush!
I spend most of my time on my hands and knees searching for insects and other creepy crawlies. Millipedes are often the first ones out, then the tortoises emerge searching for puddles of water to quench their thirst. Then the thousands of flying goggas (bugs) as we call them seem to appear out of nowhere. Insects are one of the most successful groups found within the kingdom Animalia. There are a few reasons for this, they can fly which means they can locate new food sources and breeding sites, their multiple life stages are handy too. It’s crazy to think a dragonfly starts its life out in the water and eventually metamorphosis’s into a ferocious predator spending almost all its time in the air- but I digress.
Once darkness falls, the mosquitos, stink bugs and chaffer beetles seem to make it their goal to seek out humans. For the female mosquito; blood is important for their diet, stink bugs like to fall onto plates of food, and release the vilest tasting secretion should you accidentally chomp down on one.
And who could forget the chaffer beetles that enjoy getting entangled in the locks of Ale’s hair. As you can see all insects have their place in the natural world 😉