What a treat February has been for guests and guides alike, from the smallest insects with fascinating colours to the biggest of animals, it really has been the month for sightings.
The concession received quite a lot of rain through the month which has made for interesting travelling to and from the lodges. Always ready for adventure our guides here have enjoyed driving further off the concession with incredible sightings. February being the month of Love of course couples have been treated to special sightings and days at the lodges.
It has also been a good month for lions this month, both on and off the concession. The Skybed Male has been seen around the dam close to Muzandzeni Picnic Site. Pride of lions treated our guests, close to Nhlanguleni feeding on a Giraffe kill close to the road. Hamilton pride were seen on a couple of occasions around the camp and further west, Imbali pride has not been seen for a while, unfortunately their current location is unknown. A pride of lion, thought to be the breakaway pride from Talamati, were found lying around on Hoyo Hoyo plains. They moved past the back side of Imbali Staff Village and were found lying on the side of the road close to Imbali Main Gate. As the day grew hotter they moved down into the riverbed close to Room 1 but were unfortunately gone by the next morning.
A very slow month as far as these elusive predators go. The female leopard Nkanye’s cub has been seen around Hamilton’s Tented Camp a few times through the month. The female cub was very relaxed around the vehicles which provided our guests with some amazing encounters with her. Nkhanye has also been seen around Hamilton’s. It seems she has come into season again as she was seen scent marking and moving around quite a lot. Wabayisa has only been seen once this month with an Impala Kill close to 90-degree corner. He then disappeared into Manyeleti Game Reserve shortly after and has not been seen since. The young male leopard Tshidulu has made an enormous move as he has been seen in the Timbavati Game Reserve about 80km away from us.
4 Cheetah were seen briefly on Southern Cutline this month, so sightings for these rare predators has been relatively quiet. One of our vehicles who ventured away from the concession was lucky enough to see a cheetah kill an impala right in front of his game drive vehicle. Guests were both delighted and weary of the goings on that day, as many guests arrive with expectations of seeing a kill, but this is also an incredibly emotional thing for some of them to witness.
Only one sighting of these magnificent carnivores, off concession hunting and running around. These animals move vast distances in very little time so to keep track of them is at times unmanageable. We are looking forward to the next couple of months when the Hamilton’s Pack may return to their old den site close to the camp.
Elephant and Buffalo
Marula trees are coming to the end of the fruiting season now, with so much water around, smaller breeding herds of elephant have been seen all over the concession. Many of the Bulls are hanging around the outskirts of the herds and the guides are generally keeping an eye out for these enormous pachyderms who are known for being the Grey Ghosts of the bush. They tend to suddenly pop out in front of the game drive vehicles.
Whoever thought such an enormous animal such as a buffalo could just hide away in the long grass? We are able to confirm this is indeed the case here with many bulls seen lying in the grass on the open areas. Most of the time it takes a move of the head or the slightest piece of horn sticking out of the grass to let the guides know they are there. Fewer large herds are visible currently of year as there is no need for them to head out and find permanent water sources. With most of the herds it has been a pleasure to see new born calves with them as well.
The most interesting sighting happened on the concession. One which provided the guides with a better knowledge of our birds of prey. With the grass seeding now all over the concession the grass seed eating Red Billed Queleas have been flying around in enormous flocks of up to 7 – 8 thousand birds at a time. We were lucky enough to view a nesting colony of these little birds close to Imbali Staff Village. Hundreds of birds of prey, as well as Marabou storks were using this breeding area as a feeding ground for weeks at a time. The raptors were seen gorging themselves on the nestlings as well as some of the adult birds. There were Tawny Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Wahlberg’s Eagles, Yellow Billed Kites, Flacons and Kestrels of all shapes and sizes. The sky was filled with the incredible numbers of flying hunters. This was indeed an amazing opportunity for all of us to witness.
The hussle and bussle of City life is nothing compare to the constant changing environment and wildlife from the insects to the birds to the vegetation and weather. Everyday is a new day!!!!!!!
“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