It’s early December and Mashatu has already been blessed with three major thunderstorms this season.
The Mopane bushveld is being transformed, with the deep orange and brown hues being replaced by bright green and emerald. All around, leaves are sprouting from the trees and shrubs, and the birds are dancing with delight as the pools of water in the rivers expand.
Mashatu doesn’t have a typical ‘green season,’ as is known in the rest of Botswana. With only an average of 29 thunderstorms per annum over the last 22 years, there is sunshine 92% of the time. Mashatu has not been hit by the drought, like the Okavango Delta, and in fact, it has been a year of average to good rains for the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. ‘Pula’ is the Setswana word for rain and because rain is so valuable for this arid country, the local currency is also known as the Pula.
By the end of December, another 4-6 thunderstorms should have graced this land and the next impala lambing season will commence. The migratory birds will continue to return, while the elephant and eland form incredibly large herds again as food becomes plentiful. The vlei or marshland areas on Mashatu will fill with water and become green oases for the more water reliant species, such as waterbuck and zebra.
Summer has definitely arrived!