Welcome to another edition of our monthly newsletter on the 10 000 hectare Mluwati concession in the Kruger National park. We sometimes must look at all we are privileged to witness in this beautiful part of the world and be reminded that we are the ambassadors of our country and the beautiful wildlife that we are surrounded by and that we are not only there to show our guests this beauty but to educate as well and in so doing encourage them to tell others of our wonderful country and the animals within. It was another spectacular month in the bush as we had many an unforgettable sightings and ones which guests would treasure forever. One sighting was that of one of our male Leopards who for a couple of days had a young Wildebeest hanging high up in a tree and was constantly being harassed by Hyenas hoping for some scraps to fall from above as if this wasn’t enough on the third day our Mluwati lionesses and the seven sub-adults suddenly appeared out of nowhere 200m from where the Leopard was, but due to some strong winds the Lions did not sense he was there and moved off in a different direction much to the amazement of all the guests.
This was another good month in terms of sightings of our big cats. Our Mluwati females where seen numerous times all over the concession and the one morning they were discovered on a young Giraffe which they had only just caught but now that the seven “cubs “are now sub adults and with large appetites the meal did not last longer than a couple of hours before there was nothing left but some bones. Later the next week they had also managed to pull down a Wildebeest and where joined buy our two dominant males on the kill which we haven’t seen them all together in quite a while but it was fantastic sighting much to the delight of all the guests. We also had a sighting of eight Lionesses all trying to hunt some Impala one night and it was chaos all around as the pride split up and where chasing everything that moved but in doing so they did not manage to catch anything. But it was still an amazing sight to behold.
With all the Lion activity, all over the concession these masters of camouflage kept a low profile as not to be found by their nemesis. Never the less we had some awesome sightings of these beautiful animals the most noteworthy was Wabayiza our dominant male Leopard around Hamiltons had caught a young Wildebeest and hoisted it up in an apple leaf tree but not the best tree for him to lie in so he spent the time lying at base of the tree being constantly hounded by Hyenas hoping it would fall but this Leopard made sure his prize was secured and there would be no free meals for the pesky scavengers. We also had various sightings of the young Tshidulu male all around the same area during the month. And another male around Imbali scent marking everywhere he went so we hope he remains and claims this area as his.
As is normal these cats often find us as opposed to us finding them. But we had some good sightings of Cheetah this month. We had two separate sightings of the same female we normally see towards the eastern side of concession and around Imbali. As well as one sighting of the two males we see around our southern boundary basking in the sun on top of a termite mound scanning the open plains for any potential prey.
As mentioned last month we assume now the pack has found a den sight just south of our southern boundary inside a large wilderness block but we have still had regular sightings of the pack during the month as they range far and wide to hunt for themselves and the adults that we assume are looking after the den. These are the most successful hunters out of most predators as cats are about successful 33 to 38% of the hunts they do while dogs are normally around 80% due to pack size their appetite and the hunting method they use. These animals are still highly endangered and there are lots of projects in place all over Africa to try and preserve them. We are always in contact with the research teams and reporting all sightings and any changes in the dynamics of the pack.
Elephant and Buffalo
Elephants are becoming more localised in their movements as the smaller natural pans have all but dried up. And as we head into our drier months they will become even more reliant on permanent water sources and the bigger dams. We are seeing nice breeding herds all over concession. The Buffalo are still proving hard to find sometimes but we have had some nice herds moving around the area and a couple of Dagga boys here and there.
The birdlife on concession is still good and a lot of the female White Back Vultures have young chicks in their nests. We had a brief visit from a painted snipe who stayed around for a couple of days in one of the pans. The smaller owls are in abundance everywhere and are a pleasure to listen to as the sun begins to set in the evenings and they all break out in chorus.
The concession is drying out nicely and the guests are loving every adventure as they head out on their drives in keen anticipation of the next beautiful image that this place we call home will share with them.
“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.