Rangers Diary May 2013
The month of May was yet another exciting month with regards to sightings of Lions. On the one afternoon safari, our Guides located one of the Talamati Pride female’s stalking a wildebeest on the Hoyo Hoyo plains on the Mluwati concession. The guests were informed that if they waited patiently they might witness a kill and indeed after approximately 15 minutes, the distressed call from the Wildebeest was heard. The Guides followed the distressed calls and they were in time to witness the lioness suffocating the Wildebeest. In the process the other 2 females of the Talamati pride had also just caught another Wildebeest. The lioness and cubs were seen feasting on the carcasses. Guests were in total disbelief of their luck to witness such an amazing firsthand experience, a sighting that will be reminisced for years to come.
Rangers Diary April 2013
It’s been a fabulous month of rare sightings at all three of our lodges!!! My recent guests, who stayed at Imbali Safari Lodge, got a rare sighting of a Serval while they were being transferred to the airport. This Serval lives on Imbali access and is seen from time to time. These cats are very cunning and have the highest rate of success for hunting in the African cat family with an 86% success rate or higher. They feed on mice, birds, and sometimes insects like grasshoppers. They are known to jump over a meter high to catch birds like the guinea fowl. Below is a photo taken by our guests Rob and Karen Bradbery.
Rangers Diary March 2013
This month has been a month of some amazing Cheetah sightings. Cheetahs are one of the most endangered mammals in Africa. They are diurnal, (day time animals), and are easily chased away from kills made by lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs and sometimes even jackals. This makes them easy targets for predators including other large cats. They have been blamed for killing sheep and goats and have been shot to keep them off farming properties.
Rangers Diary February 2013
February was a month filled with amazing sightings on game drive as well as by the camp. A lioness decided to have her morning nap in front of Rooms 8 and 9 and gave our guests quite a show posing in the sunlight and twitching her tail watching with interest as pictures were taken and guests talked softly and excitedly about their wonderful breakfast guest.
Rangers Diary January 2013
It was a rocky start to the New Year with heavy rains on the 20th of January dominating the month. Again, same as last year, the N’watsintsontso River came up in flood and is still flowing at the time of writing. Due to this the lodges were closed again and we were closed from the 20th till the 4th of February. That means we were not able to go out into the bush as roads and bridges were washed away.
Rangers Diary December 2012
Rangers Diary November 2012
Greetings from the Imbali Safari LodgeTeam.
What a month we have had. The Cats have been keeping us very busy and the Raptor activity has been plentiful.
Rainfall was 32 mm
Average temp was 25.3deg
Hottest day was 36deg
There has been a large amount of Raptors spotted on drives this month. It is incredible to view a raptor in flight, yet even more incredible to view a Raptor on a kill.
A couple of the guides and guests were fortunate enough to view a Wahlbergs Eagle (Aquila Wahlbergi) catch a Green Wood Hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus). The Green Wood Hoopoe flock were minding their own business, when all of a sudden a large Wahlbergs Eagle swooped in and dispursed the flock of Hoopoes.
Ranger Diary October 2012
Greetings from Imbali Safari Lodge.
Rainfall was 45 mm
Average temp was 28 deg
Hottest day was 36 deg
A strong presence of European Bee Eaters (Merops apiaster) on the concession this month was a huge excitement. Flocks of up to fifty odd individuals were sighted on a couple of occasions.
European Bee Eaters do most definitely prey on bees, yet an array of different insects fill the larger part of the daily dietary requirement. This includes dragonflies, moths, termites, butterflies and just about anything else that flies unluckily into the bill of this beautiful Ave.
IMBALI JUNIOR BUSH ACADAMEY CRASH COURSE 101
Tracking & Bush Survival
A short course on learning how to recognise tracks, how old the track is and direction of animal movement as well as other interesting facts about the animal from the tracks.
How to use what nature gives you to survive in the bush – medicinal uses of trees, the bush toothbrush, what is safe to eat and best fire making wood
Rangers Diary September 2012
Greetings from the Hamiltons Tented Camp, Imbali Safari Lodge and Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge Teams. There is a definite Summer feel in the air, the Migratory Birds are making a strong appearance and the Dung Beetles are back to their dung ball rolling activities.
Rainfall was 55mm
Average temp 26.1.deg
Hottest day 37deg
Rangers Diary August 2012
Greetings from a very warm Mluwati concession. Spring is here and with it comes so much change and excitement.
Rainfall was 0mm
Average temp 20.7.deg
Hottest day 39deg
Rangers Diary July 2012
Greetings from the Imbali team, Hamiltons team and the Hoyo Hoyo team. Things seem to be warming up and getting windy. Spring is just around the corner.
Rainfall was 0 mm
Average temp 24 deg
Hottest day 28 deg
Rangers Diary June 2012
Game viewing has been somewhat exciting this month. On the birding front, the resident trio of Ground Hornbills have made an appearance on a number of occasions. The open plains opposite Imbali make for perfect hunting grounds for the Ground Hornbills.
The Kurichane thrushes that spend the most part of their day amongst the guest rooms here at Imbali are a pleasure to listen to whilst they flutter from tree to tree whistling at one another.
Rangers Diary May 2012
It’s been a very dry month here on the Mluwati concession and sightings have been very good. The grass shortening and leafless trees make game viewing a little easier.
Rangers Diary April 2012
Winter has started to set in nicely now. The morning mist and cool temperatures are good evidence that the winter has returned. The grasses are slowly starting to loose their lush green colours now and the trees are starting to shed their leaves.
Rainfall was 70mm
Average temp 23.5deg
Hottest day 34deg
Newsletter March 2012
What a grand opening we have experienced at our Camps. Our Interior designer has revived our rooms into a state of utter relaxation and comfort. Imbali has warm greys and hints of black that bounce off of the crisp white linen and gives the room an earthy feel. Our new Splash pools have been the highlight, they are perfect for lazing around in the hot afternoons sipping on cocktails. We have a mischievous elephant that seems to think it is better to drink out of our splash pools than the water hole. He sneaks through the river bed and slowly slips his trunk into the pool thinking no one would notice him.
Hoyo Hoyo has rich gingers and reds that compliment the traditional Tsonga colours. Hamiltons Tented Camp is any romantic’s fairytale destination with an authentic antique layout that takes you back to a past era.
We have had some amazing sightings that feel like a well orchestrated symphony playing out before your eyes. It is a real challenge for our rangers to find game in the lush bush but they are very enthusiastic about the challenge. We’ve had numerous sightings of Leopards, Cheetahs and Lions. We have seen a few kills being made and the guests were in absolute awe. Ranger Twice found a pack of 10 wild dogs on the access road to Hoyo. It is a real gift to see such a healthy pack of wild dogs as they are an endangered species. Our guest feedback has exceeded our expectations.
As summer turns to autumn, water becomes a valuable commodity. We have water holes at all out Camps that are replenished by our reed bed system. We see more and more game visiting our waterholes for a quick drink before moving on. All the water holes are strategically placed for optimal viewing from the comfort of the main decks off all three lodges.
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Rangers Diary Feb 2012
Imbali is absolutely awe struck by the beauty of the bush after the rains. The bush is lush and green with fascinating game sightings.
Arno, our Resident Manager stumbled across this sighting of a female Leopard with a duiker on the Hamiltons Access road towards Hamiltons tented Camp. This is quite a young female and she posed beautifully for us.
We often find young bulls wondering about by themselves. They have a reputation of being loners. The shoulder height of elephants can be roughly calculated by taking twice the circumference of their front foot. Like humans, elephants may also be left or right tusked. Elephants would use one tusk more than the other which means it would be shorter because of wear and tear, thus the elephant would be left handed if the left tusk is shorter.
Our legendary “Big Pan” is exquisite this time of year and a rare beauty to be seen in the bush. It is in full bloom covered with thousands of water lilies and frequented by Fish Eagles. The Musical melody of the different species of frogs croaking together is an experience not to be matched by any other. It is any frog enthusiasts’ dream come true.
Hamiltons tented Camp is on The N’waswitsontso River which is actually a dry river bed but is still flowing in some areas because of the high volumes of rain we received. Hamiltons are greeted every afternoon by a few hippopotamuses in the river that grunt loudly as if to seek some attention. There is also a lot of plains game that come to the riverbed to rehydrate.
Hoyo Staff had some music training with renowned music Writer, Ricardo Lopez. He taught them how to speak Italian and how to play some lovely beats on the Jembe Drum. Hoyo Hoyo puts up quite a magical show for their guests.
It is exciting times for Imbali safari Lodge, Hamiltons tented Camp and Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga lodge. We are getting a face lift so to speak. Renovations and soft refurbishments are taking place at all the camps. We have replaced all our decks at Imbali Safari Lodge and new tents at Hamiltons tented Camp. We also have new splash pools at Imbali which will be accessed from the comfort of your own doorstep.
We used our quite time to do a little team building. We had all staff from the 3 camps in teams of 6. We competed in various games, not only physical but mental games as well. The Management team won, yet another way of showing true leadership.
We are pleased to introduce our new staff members, starting with Khumbulani Nzima, Ray Ellis and Dalphine Pietersen
Khumbulani was once a police officer and gave up his job to become an Exec chef. He has more than 14 years Cheffing experience and has truly blown us away with his knowledge and flair in the Kitchen.
Ray is our Maintenance Manager. He has a degree in Zoology and trade in maintenance. He is also a qualified Field Guide.
Dalphine is the Imbali Camp Manager.
December is over and summer is back in full force. We received 163mm of rain in the month with an average temperature of 34deg Celsius. The bush is filled with lush green foliage and the most beautiful coloured wild flowers. As is the norm we were very busy during the festive period with many families and couples who came to explore nature trying to discover a little bit about themselves. This they would do either while on safari or in the lap of luxury around the individual camps. Well done to all our staff for all the effort they put in during this busy period. A special mention to our Resident Manager, Arno du Preez, who on Christmas day saved the day by preventing room 9 at Imbali from burning down after removing all the guest’s personal luggage & belongings. Now that ‘s leading by example!
All our Pale Arctic and Inter Africa migrants are back and the birdlife is phenomenal. We had the rare privilege of seeing a spiral of about 40 Step Eagles feeding on hatching flying ants. Even the little Red Backed Shrike who migrates between South Africa and Russia is a common site on game drives with the same old wonder “How does something so small fly so far?”
The big game activity this time of year is also fascinating with a lot of behaviours. We see Fhlemem Grimace regularly, male animals lick urine or genitalia, the tongue is placed over 2 tiny holes in the palate leading to the Vomero Nasal organ (Jacobson’s Organ). The scent particles are then processed for a number of informational reasons ie. Male or female, ready to mate, who a particular animal is etc.
The lips are curled backwards to prevent air from passing through the nose as this will interfere with the scent processing. This leaves a really silly expression Fhlemem’s Grimace.
Our lion sightings for the month were a bit tough as the bush is very dense but we were still fortunate enough to have some phenomenal sightings. Our resident Hamilton pride has some new youngsters and because the adults are very relaxed around our vehicles we get great views. Lion give birth after a rapid 96-102day gestation. Cubs are born totally helpless and blind. they are introduced to the pride at the age of 12weeks.Lions show a breeding behaviour like no other, Allo Suckling any suckling cub will drink from any lactating female in the pride. This gives the cub a variety of anti-bodies and bacteria to ensure a healthy immune system. It also strengthens social bonds between pride members.
The local Cheetah population is doing very well and they are seen regularly both big male coalitions and females. A welcome surprise is a youngster I saw on the cutline the 26th of last month. These youngsters have a very low success rate and very few survive into adult hood. The Latin name for Cheetah – Acinonyx Jubates refers to; a non-retractable claw, and like a cloak or coat. Only up to the age of 3 to 6 months can they retract their claws and up to three months young cheetah cub backs are covered with a mantle of bluish grey hair. This affords them false advertising as they mimic the Honey Badger the most tenacious character in the bush.
Elephants are everywhere with many calves taking their first wobbly steps in a fantastic new world. Young calves are very entertaining when they move about and attempt to seem fierce. After a near two year gestation period they are perfect little copies of the adults and full trunk function will only be achieved at around three years. When they suckle the trunk is laid back over the face and they drink with the mouth. Elephant have a lot of bacteria in the stomach that helps digestion, and young elephant eat the faeces of adults in the herd to build up bacteria, a behaviour known as Briofega.
And before we forget what is more impressive than a six tonner blocking the road? The bull below is displaying a very relaxed, curious behaviour as confirmed by his trunk hanging over his tusk. Big bulls have very little to fear so they are generally relaxed. When in musth (an urdoe word for the condition) they are easily irritated because their testosterone level is up to 50 times higher than normal. This period can last from 6 weeks to 3 months. In the height of musth the bull will show the Golden Shower phase, a constant golden dribble, a mixture of sperm and urine, constantly drips from the penis sheath during this phase a bull will copulate with a susceptible female. One is better of being very cautious around bulls in this condition a very easy indicator is templar gland secretions between the eye and the ear.
In terms of rare and special it must be said we had excellent leopard for the month and our territorial male steals the spotlight time and again. He weighs approximately 75-85 kilos aptly referred to as “Big Show”. He is truly a magnificent specimen. Males are about 40% bigger than females and cover areas of 3 to 4 times bigger than the females. They will defend the territory against conspesifics of the same sex They are solitary except for the mating period of around 4-5 days. Therefore the male has to cover great distance in search of potential mates. They take no part in parenting.
Rare sightings also included a pack of Wild Dogs around the Orpen area. These painted wolves (Lycoan Pictus) cover very wide ranges. In 1989 there were 28 packs of Wild dog in Kruger National Park numbering 386 animals. Next to the Ethiopian Red Wolf is the second most endangered carnivore in Africa. Wild Dogs rely on sight rather than smell in hunting and it is therefore they are found in rather open country.
My bird for the month is the White Headed Vulture. They are the second largest of the vultures, but the rarest of the bushveld vultures. They are always greatly outnumbered at carrion also one time where they will be seen in pairs otherwise they are solitary nesters.
January will again be the hottest month so we await the rains and for the rivers to flow. As the frog choirs serenade us to sleep and the stars dance us into the morning. From the Imbali Hamilton’s and Hoyo team
We wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012
Kruger Properties Ranger Diaries
In This Issue
Magnificent 7 Update
This past month has been quite a dramatic one, having suffered from our third flood in a row. All our camps were closed down for several days and we had to have our guests evacuated as quickly as possible. So, great thanks go out to our guests who were here with us and understood what was happening. Since the rains, the bush has recovered very well and most of the rivers have subsided which has in turn brought the wildlife back on to the concession. The river in front of Hamiltons Tented Camp is full of water thanks to the dam wall which has allowed two new female Hippos to join our once lonely male.
All in all the sightings have been good the past month, more to follow…
Magnificent 7 Update
The past month has shown some great Lion sightings on and around the concession, mostly being seen on the s125, s145, middle road and the Manyelethi cutline as well as around Hamiltons Tented Camp. The four young males that cover the s125 were seen on numerous occasions. Two were seen mating with females from the east and one was seen with a pride of 5 females on the s125 loop. The fourth male was last seen by himself close to Hamiltons and was heard roaring the entire night in search of his brothers, but was unsuccessful in finding any response from his busy siblings.
The two big males from our southern boundary haven’t been since before the flood so we hope they will return soon. The Talamati pride was a bit scarce this month, but were seen on the s145 and recently seen on the northern reaches of middle road. This lead to a great sighting for us, as they hung around the entire afternoon. We were able to see the sub-adults running around and play fighting and stalking each other while the adults rested before their night time journey. Once dark, the pride was on the move and we followed them into the darkness. There were signs of a big Buffalo herd in the area and the pride moved off in their direction into thick bush. Unfortunately we were unable to drive through the bush, so we left them to themselves and to this day will never know what happened that night. Great Lion sightings with plenty more to come with winter approaching.
We will not be giving out any information about our Rhino sightings and once again give praise to the Anti-Poaching Units fighting for our Rhino.
The Elephants have been plentiful this past month, with most of them being around the rivers due to the amount of fresh flowing water from the floods. Many old bulls on the concession are currently in musth, which has led to some close encounters with these hormone driven males. Many breeding herds with youngsters were also plentiful. Many bulls have taken a liking to the river in front of Hamiltons as it is dammed off and has made a great swimming section for them on those warm afternoons.
The herds of Buffalo have been around almost daily, mostly on middle road, borehole loop and around big pan, the main herd comprising of roughly 300 individuals. The last of the herd was seen on the afternoon that we followed the Talamati pride of Lions. We assume that they bumped into each other which sent the herd running for the hills. Many Dagga boys were also seen during the month.
The shy and elusive Leopards have been around quite a few times this month with most of them being seen on the s125. On one morning drive there were four different Leopards seen on that road. The sighting which stands out the most was a Wildebeest that died due to injuries, right outside Imbali Safari Lodge. A large male Leopard known as the Skybird male (also known as The Big Show), was right on the scene after a pack of eleven Hyaena left the area. He hung around for two days feeding on the carcass, before disappearing into the river behind room 1. That same night a new male was seen on middle road, hunting Impala which narrowly escaped his clutches. After missing the Impala he proceeded to lay down in a wallow next to the road and was very relaxed, so we all hope that this beautiful young male Leopard hangs around.
The Wild Dogs have been scarce this month but were recently seen on the tar road close to Kumana dam. They were hunting Impala but were unfortunately unsuccessful. Four Wild Dogs were also seen on the s36-s145 junction but did not hang around for too long.
The Cheetah have been very quiet this month, as usual. The only sighting was of a single male seen on Borehole Loop. Two of our guests were however very lucky to have gone on their own drive after breakfast towards Tshokwane picnic spot, where they saw 4 adult male Cheetah resting in the shade under a tree, very lucky indeed.
Great general game was sighted this month with plenty of antelope and smaller creatures being seen. The small nocturnal cats were very active as well, having many African Wild Cats, Genets, Civets and Servals sightings.
The birdlife, as always, has been outstanding with most of our migrants still being in the area. The dammed up river around Hamiltons has been a spectacular spot for birding, having seen many Herons, Storks and Kingfishers hanging around.
The Eagles have been plentiful in the area, and we have mostly been seeing the Bateleur, Martial, Brown Snake and Tawny Eagles, as well as the popular Fish Eagle.
The uncommon White-headed Vulture was seen again on the s125 loop south recently, which was great as we very rarely see these birds around here.
Many smaller species have been seen too such as the Doves, Barbets, Buntings and Sandpipers.
Great month all in all and to all our guests, thank you for your support. Until next time…
Compiled by: Hamiltons guide: Shaun Raine
Photos by: Wildlife Manager: John Nott
Stefan Kruger: Assistant Head Guide
In This Issue
Magnificent 7 Update
December has been a great month on the Mluwati Concession, due to the rain fall of over a 100mm for the whole month the bush has turned completely green and has become rather thick and one would think it would be difficult to spot game, however the sightings remained very good and there are plenty of new born animals of all species that can be seen all over the Concession on game drive and during bush walks.
Water and food are available to the animals in abundance and this does make game viewing a little bit difficult as the animals do not have to move to get to food and water like they have to during the Winter months. I can however say that we still do have very good sightings of all species including the cats that everyone wants to tick off their sightings list.
Lions have been seen on the Manyeleti Cutline on a regular basis and we have also been lucky to see some other prides of Lions, females and males off the Concession on our boundary roads (S145, S36, and S125 Loop) most of the Lions that were seen this month were Lions that are unknown to us, it’s great to have them around!
The Male Lion in the picture above has been seen mating with a female on Middle Road in the beginning of the month so in roughly two to two and a half months we might be lucky to see some new cubs in our area. Lion have a gestation period of 110 days after witch one to four cubs are born however they can produce up to 6 cubs. Mating in Lions is a long and painful affair for the female; the male has a barbed penis and the extraction is a very painful process for the female and therefore you often see her swiping her paw through the males face and she will also growl a bit, Lions mate over a period of roughly four days every fifteen to twenty minutes.
White Rhino were seen all over this month!
Rhino love to wallow in mud as it keeps them cool during the heat of the day and the mud also protects the skin from any sunburn and once the mud has dried they go rub against one of their favourite rubbing posts and in the process they remove external parasites
African Elephants have been seen on almost every single game drive during the month of December, we have seen numerous breeding herds on the Concession and we have even been lucky to find a breeding herd with a cow that has just given birth and the guides could see where the cow had buried the placenta. It was amazing to sit and watch how the cow and other members of the herd gathered around the calf and try help it to its feet, the calf just could not stand yet and about an hour later they have finally moved off with the calf. Massive Bull Elephants have also been seen on numerous of our game drives all over the Concession.
December was a great month as loads of very large Buffalo herds of between 200-1000 individuals have moved through our Concession, on most of our game drives our guests were treated with great Buffalo sightings. The last week of December has been rather quiet with regards to large herds and mostly old bulls have been seen here and there.
For the month of December there has been only one sighting of the pack that we regularly see here on the Mluwati Concession, they were seen on the S36 heading towards the S125. We have seen tracks and dung of Wild Dog on Middle Road however we have not found the Dogs themselves yet and we hope to find them soon.
Cheetah has been seen only once during the month of December south of the Concession towards the Nhlanguleni Picnic Site, in Kruger National Park we have roughly 250 Cheetah so when we do get to locate them it’s a privilege for us to be able to see them.
Sightings of most species of general game beside Zebra has been very good, we have seen Giraffe, Baboons, Squirrels, Hippo, Wilde Beest, Warthog, Duiker, Bush Buck, Water Buck, Kudu, Impala and much more on nearly every game drive this month. The Concession is full of life in all forms.
The Birdlife on the Mluwati Concession is just amazing, there is such a great diversity of species and birding is fun and very rewarding. This month has seen the arrival of many species of migratory birds and we were treated to great bird sightings of both resident and migratory species.
Amur Falcons have been seen in their thousands on the Concession and the call of the Woodlands Kingfisher is heard all over the bush.
Yellow Billed Storks have also been seen on the Concession.
The call of the Burchell’s Coucal is also heard all over the bush, this bird is resident throughout the year
Carmine Bee-Eaters have also finally arrived and they are a regular sight in summer and the European Bee-Eaters are also back.
Over all Birding has been great this month and I hope that I can add more specials to my personal and ever growing Bird list.
Compiled by: Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger
Photos by: Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger
Mluwati Concession News Letter
In This Issue
- Feature of the month
- Magnificent 7 Update
- Sightings Update
- Bird life
Another month has passed and the bush is looking better than ever, we have had lots of rain and the grass is green and the wild flowers are blossoming beautifully. To all our guests who came to visit us during the month, thank you for your support and we hope you had a wonderful stay and will return.
The wildlife sightings this month were fairly good and many great stories will follow below…
FEATURE OF THE MONTH
The Bateleur is a colourful species with a very short tail (ecaudatus is Latin for tailless) which, together with its white underwing coverts, makes it unmistakable in flight. The tail is so small the bird's legs protrude slightly beyond the tail during flight. The Bateleur is diurnal, and hunts over a territory of approximately 250 square miles (650 km2) a day. Bateleurs are hunters and scavengers; birds such as pigeons and sangrouse are preferred prey items, although it may attack small mammals and also takes carrion. The Bateleur is generally silent, but on occasions it produces a variety of barks and screams.
Magnificent 7 Update
The Lions have been out and about this past month, giving us great sightings. One pride in particular has been seen spending a lot of time around Hamilton’s the last few days, consisting of 3 young males and 3 females, the entire pride is relaxed around the vehicles which has lead to great sightings.
The sighting which tops them all was an afternoon drive where we found a male and female Lion at Fairfield open area, this could only mean one thing…they were mating, it was a fantastic sighting having viewed them mating several times right on the road in front of us, both were fairly young and was probably their first time mating as they appeared to be a little inexperienced. The 4 young males have unfortunately moved off the concession and have been seen hanging around the s125 close to the tar road, we all hope that they return to the concession as we still don’t have any dominant males in the area.
We have had several beautiful sightings of rhino out and about.
The Elephant sightings have been great this past month, an old bull with very impressive tusks has been hanging around on Nkombe road lately, definitely a possible future big tusker. Apart from that the concession is full of Elephants, mostly around Hamilton’s waterhole as well as big pan, s36, and the s145. Many females are currently pregnant and we will be expecting some young ones fairly soon.
The large Buffalo herds were seen almost daily, one herd in particular was about 800 strong and they were seen on the s145 view point everyday for 3 days which of course lead to great sighting of these notorious deadly beasts. The herds have had a lot of baby Buffalo recently which is great to see, they are very active and very cute, but don’t be fooled, they will grow up to be extremely dangerous.
The Leopard sightings have been up and down this past month having seen a very shy female on middle road for 2 consecutive days. The sighting which stands out the most was seen by Shaun, our Hamilton’s guide, on the s125 loop early one morning the bush had been very quiet, he stopped to view a very nervous female Impala and her newborn baby. After scanning the area a male Leopard was seen a mere 10 metres from the Impala, as the vehicle was switched off the Leopard ran in at the speed of lightning and caught the baby Impala, the poor mother Impala was alarm calling and trying to chase the Leopard off her baby, but by that time the babies neck had already been broken and the Leopard walked off into the bush looking very proud of his fresh kill.
The Wild dogs have unfortunately not been around this past month, we all hope that they will return to the concession soon.
The 2 territorial male Cheetahs have also not been seen this past month however there was a female seen with cubs at Nhlanguleni picnic spot during the month which was fantastic as seeing Cheetah cubs is a once in a lifetime sighting as these animals are so rare
The past month has been very interesting, consisting of good general game all over the concession, Hundreds of baby Impala are running around as well as the baby Wildebeest have finally arrived. Giraffe, Kudu, Bushbuck, Waterbuck as well as all the other major antelope species were seen on a daily basis.
The Woodland Kingfishers have arrived!!! A great time to see these beautifully coloured birds once again. Great general birding went on this month consisting of a Martial Eagle which spent many days around Hamilton’s. More great news is that a Ground Hornbill nest has been seen on Borehole loop which is really good as these birds are rare and their breeding success rate is very low, only successfully raising one chick every 9 years! A very relaxed White-Headed Vulture was also seen on Middle road recently which is also an uncommon resident, great birding all in all
You just can’t beat an African sunset, so come visit us and get the chance to experience this truly phenomenal event. Until next time….
Field Guide: Shaun Raine
Wildlife Manager: John Nott
Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger
Field Guide: James Brunke
Mluwati Concession News Letter
In This Issue
Feature of the month
Magnificent 7 Update
Greetings to all our readers. We have had yet another great month here on the Mlluwati concession. The game viewing has been very promising over the last few weeks and finally the rains have arrived, the bush is looking very healthy and the grasslands have turned green and many wild flowers have started blossoming.
Myself and the other guides would like to thank you folks for keeping up to date with us and following our newsletter, we have some very interesting stories for you this month but most of all our baby Impala’s have arrived, after eager anticipation one of our guides spotted the youngster running around and getting used to life in the big world.
Many more stories await you…
FEATURE OF THE MONTH
This antelope is rare in these parts and have been seen twice this month on the Mluwati concession, both occasions on our western boundary
Southern reedbucks live in pairs or alone. Sometimes, they form herds consisting of about 20 members. They prefer to lie in grass or reed beds in the heat of the day and feed during sunrise and sunset, or sometimes even at night. Old reedbucks are permanently territorial, with territories around 35-60 hectares, and generally live with a single female, preventing contact with rival males. Females and young males perform an 'appeasement dance' for older males. During the dance, the bucks run around speedily and take considerably long jumps, with the tail curled up and scented air being released from a pocket in the groin at every bounce, making a popping sound.
Magnificent 7 Update
The Lions have been very active this past month, having had Lion sightings almost on a daily basis and during one week we had spent time with 30 different individual Lions. A pride of 10 were seen on the s36, comprising of 3 adult females and 7 sub-adult cubs. A pride of 11 were found on our southern boundary comprising of 3 adult females and 8 young cubs. 3 young males were seen on the s36 south. An adult female and 3 young males killed a young wildebeest on the s145, but best of all was a sighting of 2 big adult males whom had killed a male Buffalo on the s145 close to Fairfield watering hole, now as you can imagine this was all very exciting for us and we spent many long hours with these beautiful beasts…
The Rhino sightings have been up and down this past month but due to the massive poaching problem we are facing I will not be giving out any further news, but thanks do go out to the parks field rangers who are out there fighting for our Rhino!
Elephants have definitely been out and about this past month, having seen Elephants every single day, some up and coming big tuskers were also seen on middle road which was a real treat as unfortunately there are not many big tuskers left out there, a few baby Elephants were also seen around middle road which is always special for us to watch as they learn to use their trunks for the first time and how clumsy they can actually be.
Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance, and predators such as lions, hyenas and wild dogs usually target only the young elephants or calves. Females tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring.
The Buffalo sightings were great this month having seen 4 or 5 large herds passing through the concession, the largest being on the s145 which comprised of an estimated 800 Buffalo, this was very impressive and many of us were trapped in the middle which was very exciting, unfortunately one poor old male was killed by the 2 male Lions I mentioned earlier.
The Leopard sightings have been fairly good lately having had around 10 different sightings, of which two of the sightings were of a male and female mating which is a rare sight, the one mating pair included the territorial female named Nkani which lives around Hamilton’s Tented Camp, so we are all hoping that she dens in the area, the other female named Monzo was also seen mating which means that her cub has moved out and started to live their own exciting life.
The relaxed young male around the s125 was also seen on more than one occasion of which one he was lying majestically in a large tree on the s125. A few other nomadic Leopards were also seen but unfortunately they were all very shy and did not stick around to be seen.
The leopard is the smallest of the four “big cats” The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots.
The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass & its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch.
The Wild dogs were seen on 2 or 3 seperate occasions this past month of which both were on middle road, one of our guides was fortunate enough to watch them hunt and kill an Impala which is a rare sighting as the Wild Dog population in the Kruger Park is not very high.
The 2 territorial male Cheetah were seen on a few occasions this past month, mostly around the beautiful Pod Mahogany trees on our western boundary, they have become fairly relaxed which leads to great sightings.
The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h (70 to 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.
The general game viewing all around has been superb having seen many different antelope species including the rare Sable Antelope herd which hangs around Ridge road.
The smaller nocturnal animals have also been out and about which included the Genet cat, Civet cat, African Wild Cat and the extremely rare Pangolin was also seen which is very seldomely seen, in my 5 year career in the industry I have only seen 3 so that was very exciting.
The birdlife has been great yet again having seen many different Eagles and Vultures feeding on various different carcasses around the bush. The impressive Martial Eagle has been seen flying around Hamilton’s lately which has lead to some great photographs. The uncommon Ground Hornbills have been seen reltavely often which is great news. The Summer migrants have arrived including various cuckoo’s as well as the Purple Roller, and now we are just awaiting the noisy Woodlands Kingfishers to arrive…beautiful but hurtful to the ears, none the less it will be great to see them again.
Once again the African bush has blessed us with some beautiful sunsets Until next month, keep well all.
Field guide: Shaun Raine
Wildlife Manager: John Nott
Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger
Filed Guide: James Brunke
Mluwati Concession News Letter
In This Issue
- Magnificent 7 Update
- Sightings Update
- Bird life
The month of September was a very good one here on the Mluwati Concession! We had some great times on the Concession and the sightings were spectacular once again! We have not had any further rains during this month, but a few millimetres have fallen causing the vegetation to turn green and most plants and trees are now in flower, just beautiful. Most of our water courses have dried out completely and the only source of water on the concession is now at Hamilton’s and in front of Imbali and Hoyo Hoyo thus attracting wildlife from all over to quench their thirst.
Magnificent 7 Update
This month we were once again treated to very good sightings of Lions on the Concession and off the Concession as well! We have witnessed some amazing Lion interaction with four young males that appeared out of nowhere and seemed to have made the Mluwati Concession their new home as they have now been here killing and hunting Buffalo, Impala, Kudu and much more on a regular basis for the last month and a half. These four males have been chased around by two massive old males but yet they have remained on the Concession and are still very active all over the Concession. There was one particular day (about three days after they have been found the first time) that we followed them to BIGPAN where they went for a drink after feasting on a buffalo calf , the next moment a bunch of females came out of nowhere and a fight broke out , one of the females ran off into the distance never to be seen again , the remaining female started displaying submissive behaviour and later started flirting with the males and eventually one male gave in and we found them mating the next morning and for the next two days it continued , they eventually left and then the four males were relocated again a few days after and have ever since been seen almost daily! During this month we have not seen any of the other lions we usually see besides the one sighting of the Talamati Pride and the two big old unknown males.
White and Black Rhino have been sighted all over the reserve! Unfortunately no further information on their exact location can be given!
We have been spoiled with great sightings of Elephants on the Mluwati Concession! We have noticed some very old and big bulls moving around in the Hamilton’s area and we are aware of a possible emerging tusker moving around Hamilton’s. We have seen many breeding herds of Elephant coming and going on and off Concession
Buffalo Herds are continually moving and we have been lucky to have a number of great herds moving through our Concession attracting Lions from all corners of the Greater Kruger National Park! Buffalo are very noisy and often Lions will follow them as they move so the Lions have a constant food supply! There are many calves amongst the large herds trekking through the Mluwati Concession noisely moving in the middle of the herd with their mothers and the bulls moving on the outsides of the Herds for protection from predators, Buffalo are known to attack predators such as Lions to save a member of the herd. We have also encountered many Dagga Boys ( Bulls) moving around Hamilton’s drinking water on a regular basis.
During the month of September Leopard sightings were not as great as we hoped it would be however we have seen Leopard on the S125 , S36 , Old S36 , S125 Loop and one on Middle Road so the sightings came in but were not the best of sightings.
We now know we have a new male in the Hamiltons area that we regurlary see! No name has been given to him yet as we would like to first establish if he is here to stay! Bigshow has been seen once during this month.
We have not seen Nkani for a while now and I am hoping her one remaining cub is still allive and well. Singella has not been sighted for a while either and Mondzo and her cub Ntomo are nowhere to be seen!
For the month of September there has been only one sighting of the pack that we regularly see here on the Mluwati Concession, they were seen on the S36 heading towards the S125. We have seen tracks and dung of Wild Dog all over the Concession but have not managed to locate them yet.
Cheetah has been seen also only once during the month of September on the Southern Cutline moving into a Southern direction
We are very fortunate to see the two brothers quite often, unfortunately during this month we only found them once
We are very lucky to have a small herd of Sable on the concession, we have one big bull also moving around the Concession and regular sightings of them are a norm. We often find them on the Imbali Access and the S36 as well as on Nkombe and Hammerkop Roads. During the month of September we have had great sightings of them.
General game sightings of Giraffe, Zebra, Wilde Beest, Kudu, Warthog, Duiker, Steenbok, Dwarf Mongoose and so much more have been great during the month of September! General Game Species have been located and seen by many all over on and off Concession
Bird Sightings are on the increase with lots of migratory species arriving in their dozens! We have noticed a number of Yellow-Billed Kites flying over the Concession and found one individual posing for photographs, sitting on a branch in a tree next to the road.
We have also had regular sightings of the Saddle-Billed Storks and their young at the Hamilton’s Dam; this bird is an uncommon Resident in our area. White Faced Scops Owl has also been seen on our night drives as well as Scops Owl and Pearl Spotted Owlets.
White Backed Vultures are seen on the Concession in great numbers especially at all the kills taking place on the Concession. We have also noticed two White Headed Vultures on the Concession
Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger
Assistant Head Guide: Stefan Kruger