Welcome to all our followers and to those who are still to come and experience this beautiful wilderness we call home on the Mluwati Concession. As the seasons change do does the mixture of colours, from yellows and brown to the amazing bright red leaves of the Tamboti trees. Mornings have become quite chilly, midday is fine to warm and then as the sun sets so the temperatures drop. It is always special to see the excitement of guests on their first safari and their excitement at seeing even their first Impala. It is the rutting season for the male impala and the bush is full of their chorus, as they do battle with other males to secure an area and females to breed with, this in turn provides an opportunity for the predators. Impala males sole focus is on maintaining their territory and gathering females, not on predators that might be lurking close by so during this time lots of them are taken by various predators.
It was a mixture of Lions this month as we had various different sightings of some prides from our neighbouring reserves as well as a large male we have seen once before mating with a Lioness we think is from the Imbali pride, so if they are successful we might see some new cubs around in about three months’ time. The Hamilton’s pride has been very active in the south eastern side of the concession with various females with litters of cubs of different ages numbering eight in total where spotted on several occasions. These Lionesses and the pride seem to be doing a good job of protecting their young as the mortality rate can be as high as fifty percent in lion cubs. Hopefully they will continue to do so and we will have the privilege of watching them grow up and increase the number of lions in this pride.
It was difficult finding these masters of stealth this month and with the grass turning to a light shade of yellow and browns they blend in even better than in the summer months when the bush is lush and green. We did have some good sightings of Nkanye around Hamilton’s as well as her cub which is now independent of her. A good example of this was witnessed when they both met at a waterhole and when the cub approached her mother, she was greeted with a sharp slap in the face telling her it is now time to move off on your own. Cubs normally stay with their mothers for 18 to 24 months and then venture off on their own. Females might stay around in the area for a while but male cubs will be chased off by the dominant male of the area. We did have two sightings of Wabayisa as well between Hoyo and Imbali patrolling the roads and scent marking as he went.
This month we had two different sightings of Cheetah which might not sound like a lot but these animals have massive home ranges from 90 to 110 square kilometres so this and their low numbers make it extremely difficult to find. We had a nice sighting of four young males possibly a coalition of brothers siting on top of a termite mound surveying the open plains for potential prey. As well as one adult female patrolling our southern boundary scent marking as she went. This is not so much a territorial marking as in that she might be in eustress and leaving her scent for any males in the area to find and then follow.
We had another good month with sightings of these highly skilled hunters on several occasions seen close to Hamilton’s and our eastern boundary. The number of dogs is lower than the last time we saw them with a heavily pregnant female, so the chances are good they have already started to den somewhere and hence the pack is less in number as some members will always stay behind to protect the den site and the young pups. When the rest of the pack returns from a successful hunt, they will automatically regurgitate some food for the pack members that stayed behind so they to can remain strong and the pack remains healthy.
Elephant and Buffalo
As all the natural pans start to dry up, we are getting a constant flow of Elephants at the waterholes in front of the lodges which is the best welcome for new arrivals as they walk in and a greeted by this special sight. Buffalo on the other hand have been a bit scarce with one nice size breeding herd roaming the concession for about a week but since then it has just been the odd Dagga boy or two.
The White back vultures have started to nest so there is an abundance of them all over the concession. All Vultures have no feathers o0n their heads the main reason for this is that they are always feeding on carcasses and putting their heads in to every nook and cranny they can find to extract the last morsel of meat from the carcass. So, the lack of feathers on their heads prevents them from having things stick to their heads in this situation. They have a wing span of up to six feet while the Lappet face Vulture has an amazing wingspan of 2.4 meters.
The African bush in all its splendour is true food for the soul….
“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