To all our guests and followers of our monthly newsletter a warm welcome from our wonderful part of the Kruger National park where we have the privilege of taking our wonderful guests on safari on this 10 000-hectare wilderness. The concession is changing into the typical winter vegetation and with water becoming scarce the water holes in front of the lodges are a constant source of activity and amazement for the guests, with a constant flow of game coming in for a drink. It has been another special month on the concession with guests enjoying every moment on safari and never knowing what will happen around the next turn. The Hyenas have been very active this last month and numerous times the vehicles have found them fighting over kills stolen either from an unfortunate Leopard or from the wild dogs. But this is the joy of the Kruger park in that it is so vast the constant ebb and flow of the different species and ever-changing territories one is never sure what you will witness from one day to the next.
Sightings of Lion on the concession have once again left us guessing as to what is going on in terms of different prides all over the place and splinter groups of other Lions coming in and out of the property. The lone male from the Mbiri pride was seen a couple of times around Hamilton’s and even with some of the females from the Hamilton’s pride, so we wait to see if he will stay in the area as he seems to have secured himself a place with the other females. The Imbali pride was seen a couple of times around the concession still only the one adult female, but the sub adults are getting larger by the day and its becoming difficult to tell the difference. The older male is developing nicely and showing the start of an impressive mane.
It was a slow start to the month in the Leopard department but it changed as always. The young female around Hoyo was seen for four days as she had secured an Impala kill up a tree and gave us some fantastic images as the Hyenas waited below for any scraps that might fall down. We also had three different sightings of Wabayiza all over the concession as we said last month he seems to have started to expand the area he traverses. There were also various sightings at the waterholes of all the lodges mostly during the evenings as guests where enjoying their supper.
These highly endangered carnivores are always a special sighting and never common as their numbers are only around 400 in the entire park and territories can be as large as 75 square kilometres. Like all cats they have amazing eyesight and can spot an antelope at 2 kilometres away. This month we had one sighting of a lone female on our southern boundary patrolling some open plains in search of potential prey.
Getting ready for dinner under African skies.
Checking for scent from other Cheetahs
Wabuyisa trying to remain inconspicuous while stalking
Beautiful capture of Sub-adult from Imbali Pride in the setting sun
It seems as if the Hamilton’s pack has changed it den site and are now denning just east of the concession this has resulted in several sightings of the pack or parts thereof as they make hunting trips into the concession in search of prey then after a successful hunt return to the den site to give food to the adults who remained behind by means of regurgitating some of the meal they have just eaten. As gruesome as this sounds it shows the strong bond these packs have and all they do is for the survival of the pack as they work together and ensure the bond between all members remains strong and the pack remains healthy.
Elephant and Buffalo
We are at the start of the dry season and as Elephants are very dependant on water and the vegetation they are eating is no longer moist they move daily from water source to the next water source this has resulted in a constant flow of large Bull elephants as well as lots of breeding herds in front of all the lodges at any given time of the day and a fantastic welcome for any new arrivals at the lodge or guests having a meal on the deck. The Buffalo herds are moving a lot as water becomes an issue but we have lots of Dagga boys all over the concession.
Birdlife on concession is always interesting even in the cold winter months there are still lots of different raptors all over. One that always stand out is the Marshal eagle this huge eagle is known to take all variety of prey from small warthogs to big Monitor lizards and is always an impressive site when sitting up in a tree measuring almost 90cm tall and a wingspan of 2.4 meters it is very impressive in any one’s eyes. Lots of the smaller owls are also easier to see know in the cooler evenings and their chorus fills the air while you sit on your deck and look up at the amazing winter skies.
The concession is changing from lush green to the distinctive reds, oranges and browns of winter…. Morning and evening game drives, one tends to feel the chill and sun rises and sets…
“May the call of the African Fish Eagle ring out through the savannas and may the roar of the lion vibrate through your soul….”
THE GUIDES OF THE MLUWATI CONCESSION
Waterbuck staying in the safety of the water
Buffalo herds have become a lot more active back on concession
Khori Bustard during a display