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September 2019 – Mluwati Concession

By 10th October 2019November 26th, 2019Ranger Blog

The sound of thunder is starting to become a sound which all of us are looking forward to hearing in the Kruger National Park now. We are at the height of the dry season, elephant, buffalo and other grazers are moving incredibly long distances in search of food and water daily. Rivers that once flowed after the rains have now dried completed and are pock marked with the holes by Elephants as they dig for water. Sightings at the lodges have been phenomenal from Lions to Elephants, Buffalo herds and dagga boys, zebra, giraffe and even our elusive Rhino have been seen drinking in the early hours of the morning. Mortality rates are heightened during this time due to the lack of food and water which means it has become a fight for survival for those who are older and weaker. We are all waiting for the new life the rain will bring.

Lions have been coming out of every Corner on the concession lately, from our southern and northern borders as well as east and west. It is hard for us to keep tabs on which males are ours and which males belong to prides that are crossing over in the hopes finding other females. Sitting at the lodge in the evening whether it be Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge, Hamilton’s Tented Camp and Imbali Safari Lodge, every guest and staff member over the last month has heard at least one lion roar. Dynamics around Hamilton’s and the pride itself has been changing continuously over last couple of months. A couple of new males have also been spotted at Hoyo Hoyo they are unknown to us which keeps all the guides and guests guessing as to who they are. A lion kill between Room 5 and 6 at Hoyo Hoyo made for interesting if not challenging ways of getting guests onto game drive vehicles.

The drought of Leopard has finally broken from Wabayisa to Nkhanye at Hamilton’s, sightings of the unknown large male leopard at Hamilton’s has been the cause of much frustration – similar in character to Shipoko he only gets seen when he wants to be seen. Wabayisa has also become a regular visitor to Imbali and Hoyo Hoyo extending the boundaries of his walkabouts. He has taken a keen liking to our GM’s birdbath and is seen on occasion drinking out of it. Fantastic sighting of 3 leopard drinking at Hoyo Hoyo waterhole what an amazing way to sit on the deck and have dinner leaves our guests wishing for more.

A couple of sightings of cheetah this month however none on the concession. A female was seen North of the concession close to the dam, just south of Muzandzeni picnic site. We are hoping that eventually our visitors from Buffelshoek will make an appearance again perhaps after the rains when the impalas calve.

Wild Dogs
Sightings of these rare carnivores have been very few and far between unfortunately. They were seen heading through open areas of Hammerkop close to Imbali on one occasion. The only other sightings of these hunters were a little further afield around Kamana and Mziti Dams.

Elephant and Buffalo
Dry season bullies, these pachyderms are determined not to share and spend most of their days around the waterhole at the lodges. Big groups of bulls and some 30 to 40 family herds are being seen all over the concession. This is a difficult time for these huge mammals, destructive in their feeding in order to pull up the roots of certain trees they are like a landscaper, continuously changing the bush around us.

The Ground Hornbill, although they are rare in most areas of the park and one can be lucky to see these beautiful birds. On Mluwati Concession we have 3 breeding pairs that we know of on the concession. Their communication in the morning and late evening can be heard from the lodges and the staff village as they walk around in the grass in search of food, they are continuously talking to each other making sure they do not wander to far from each other.

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…