Welcome to all our friends far and wide and to those yet to come and be part of our wonderful concession here in the Kruger National Park. Winter is here in full swing and the morning safaris are frosty as the vehicles leave the lodges in the mornings. It has been another fantastic month here on the Mluwati concession with new Leopards being found and very pregnant Wild Dogs being seen on a regular basis. Also, there has been some new additions to the Hamiltons pride, as there always use to be the two younger cubs and the two sub adults. You can imagine the guide’s surprise when this month, on a morning drive they found six new cubs with the pride. It was a fantastic sighting for guests and guides alike. So, we will watch with eager anticipation as to the further happenings of these new cubs.
The concession has been a hive of activity as far as these big cats were concerned this month. The two big males that came into the area last month had a run in with the Mluwati pride. One morning they tried to take a kill away from our Mluwati females and our two dominant males and after a brief skirmish they ran back into the Manyeleti and have not being seen since. We also had one big male Lion on our western boundary one morning who after some research was identified as one of the Birmingham males from the southern Sabi sands area. And as if this wasn’t enough we found another pride of seven females and nine cubs on our southern boundary which we think may be the Talamati pride.
These beautiful cats kept us guessing this month as we saw a lot of new faces all over concession and we will wait and see which ones stay around. Around Imbali area there was regular sightings of a nice young female as well as a male both are in peak condition and gave the guests some great sightings. They are still very young and might be off-spring from one of our females so we will wait and see if they manage to stay or are pushed out by the resident Leopards. We also had regular sightings of our young male Tshidulu around Hamiltons and he is a real pleasure to watch as he seems to think of the vehicles as his friends sometimes getting a little too close for the first-time safari goers.
As is the norm with these very elusive cats they proved difficult to find. They are one of Africa’s most endangered species and they have very large home ranges which all contributes to the excitement when you are lucky enough to find one. This month we were extremely lucky as we had awesome sightings of the same female for three days in a row as she seemed to have a slight injury to her front leg so she was not covering the same distance that she normally would. Of course, there was concern raised by the guests as to her wellbeing but we as humans forget how resilient animals are and we reassured them that she would be fine.
The Hamiltons pack have been seen on a regular basis and towards the end of the month almost daily. One female is heavily pregnant and we are waiting to see if we get lucky and they establish a den site on concession. However even if they den close to our area it will be good for us as the pack will stay closer to the den site while out hunting and we should get frequent sightings. Wild dogs always leave some adults behind at the den to look after the youngsters while the others hunt. Then upon returning from the hunt they regurgitate food for the adults that did not take part in the hunt and the pups of course, once they eat meat.
Elephant and Buffalo
Elephants have been spotted frequently all over the concession but are still quite mobile as there are still lots of natural pans with water all over the place. But as the dry season is starting their movement will become more predictable as they will rely on the larger dams and other standing water. We have been seeing lots of small herds of Buffalo all over the area but like the Elephants their movements are not restricted by water yet so some days they are proving difficult to find as they are making the most of the palatable grasses which are still in abundance.
The birdlife on concession is still good and a lot of the female White Back Vultures already sitting on eggs and the males all out looking for food. Most of the migrants have all left for warmer climates as winter gets into full swing. But we still have lots of different raptors about and more regular sightings of all the owls and owlet’s.
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.