April 2017 – Mluwati Concession

Welcome to another edition of our monthly newsletter on the beautiful Mluwati concession. It was another very interesting and exciting adventure for all concerned. The bush is starting to thin out a little more but we did have some late rain which replenished the empty pans just before the end of the rain season which is always nice. There was a lot of excitement around and concern as two big black maned male Lions suddenly appeared on concession on a Buffalo kill and stayed around for a week or so patrolling some areas of the concession. We were worried that they might find some of our females and their cubs in which case as it is in nature they would have killed them but our Lionesses did a good job of evading these intruders and for now.

Lions
The Hamilton’s females were seen on a regular basis around our south-eastern boundary with their cubs and keeping them safe in the riverbed. Our two male Lions were also seen in the same area on occasion but as mentioned above they seemed oblivious to the fact that their territory was being invaded by the other big males on the third night of these intruders being in the area the vehicles had seen one of our dominant males close to the area of the two intruders and still smelling where they had scent marked but strangely enough didn’t seem to worried and went away from the area. The following morning, we tried to find them but we couldn’t find any evidence that they had found each other or any sign of our males or the intruders. Our Mluwati females with the seven cubs where seen once but after the intruders entered the area they kept a low profile and were not spotted again.

Leopard
The masters of camouflage once again proved how easy they blend into their environment and we had numerous sightings all over the concession this month but on more than one occasion with the grass still being very long they would just slip away in the blink of an eye. We had a new young male who was spotted several times around Imbali so we are hoping he stays around and we will get a lot more sightings of him. Our resident male around Hamiltons was seen a couple of times and it would seem he is looking to chase out the other younger male who is his offspring but is now coming of the age where it is time to go off and find his own territory.

Cheetah
As is usual with the lonely predator they are always sought after by guests and guides alike and when you think there are only an estimated 250 plus or minus in the entire park it is always a privilege to be able to view one of these beautiful animals. The two males who we normally spotted on the open plains on our south-western boundary had being absent for a while, but we had two fantastic sightings of them patrolling these open areas looking for any potential prey. We also had a nice sighting of the lone female who seems to like the area around Imbali also on the hunt and almost catching a Duiker.

Wild Dogs
As we spoke of last month it is getting closer to the time when these masters of the hunt start to choose a den site and will be more centralised in their movements as they stay closer to the den. We have had lots of sightings of the Hamiltons pack and one female appears to be pregnant so we hope they pick a den sight on concession. Thanks to the research people in SANPARKS as lots of these dogs are collared as they are endangered its always amazing to find out their movements as often the alpha female or male will leave one group and join another so the gene pool remains strong one female that was collared travelled more than 6000 km in a period of just under a year. We wait with anticipation to see what the next couple of months bring and how many new pups we will find.

Elephant and Buffalo
Elephants have been seen on and off as they are still not bound by water supply and are making the most of all the green vegetation that is still around before the season changes and dries out. We have had some nice big Buffalo herds moving in and out of the area and these mass herbivores know exactly where all the best grazing areas are with the sweet grasses which they will target first and then later as the dry season sets in their movements will be determined by water sources and they will begin to feed on the less palatable grasses.

Birds
The birdlife on concession is changing as most migrants have left the area but it’s still good as the afternoons cool down quicker and lots of the nocturnal birds come out earlier we have had some nice sightings of Scops owlet’s as they are nesting and the vultures are also starting to nest all over concession.

The concession is alive in all aspects and lots to be seen and heard all over as the seasons change and the mornings are cool and crisp as guests head out on another drive with their minds full of excitement as to what might be around the next corner…

“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.