Warmest greetings to all of you for the last time in 2012!
We have had a wonderful, busy Festive Season and all feel proud of what we have achieved at our very special Lodge this year.
We are so happy that so many of you have returned for a second, third or even fifth visit, and are continuing to spread the word amongst your friends.
We are also extremely grateful to all of you writing beautiful reviews on your visits to Tuningi on Trip Advisor, for all the world to see.
It means the world to us and has put us on the map with all of the other BEST lodges in South Africa!!!
This month we are republishing snippets from the Rangers Reports of the previous year, just to remind you why you are all coming back for more every year!
And then, for next year…..
We wish you TIME!
Time to notice the world, its fragrances, its miracles, its blessings and grand design.
To live life, have more fun, laugh more and worry less.
In a nut shell- TIME to visit Tuningi……………
Please read on for more reasons to start planning that trip today!!
2012 was a spectacular year for our guides, as they were treated to some really unbelievable sightings, and in this, the last newsletter for 2012, we will take you through some of the highlights of 2012 as far as safaris go…….
The first one was from Cornelius as he witnessed the birth of a zebra……
We as guides, at times, might be spoiled with sightings and just want more and more.
Something very special I saw recently was a zebra giving birth.
I was close to the airstrip with lots of zebras around us. I saw this one behind some trees making a huge pee… ``its not a pee, her water broke`` someone shouted as we saw a leg of the calf coming out. She walked a short distance and lay down in the tall grass. I drove closer slowly not wanting to disturb her more. Some other guides joined me and we waited. About 5 minutes later the female got up and started licking the little one. It was obviously getting used to the light and very new surroundings, as it was shaking its head. The female was desperately trying to help it to get it on its feet and walked off for short distances.
After a few failed attempts it got to its feet and was determined not to fall again. By this time we were all relieved and excited to see him standing. I was sitting with the guests at the back of the vehicle trying to get a photo of this very rare scene.
The now very nervous mother walked further away. The newborn quickly got the hint and with stiff legs gave its first few steps. It quickly got use to the legs and feet and followed its proud mother. After they have gone we had a look at the afterbirth.
No wonder the female wanted to get out of there with that lying around. The smell of blood could attract predators and scavengers.
Never a dull moment in this place! That’s for sure!
The next high and low experience was by Gavin…..
The circle of life in the bush can also throw you into an emotional roller coaster especially when you witness things like births, injuries and deaths, but life in the bush would not be complete without the darker side of life, as happened with one of our most beautiful pride male lions (Etali) While he and his brother were trying to kill a buffalo, he, as well as the buffalo died next to each other under a tree! What a shocking scene to arrive at! At least he went down fighting, but we will miss bumping into him every few days, badly!
The middle of the year always brings big news, with the birth of the wild dogs, and gets the rangers in a competitive frenzy to see who can locate on the den first…nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition hey? After tracking them for days, our guides found the small pack’s den one morning!
Some other Rangers on the other side of the Park found the big pack’s den almost at the same time.
This made the most amazing sightings of both packs of Wild dogs at their den sites possible, and we are glad to report that they are all doing extremely well, and we look forward to following them around in 2013….
There was also more sad news in 2012, as “Hansa” our beloved and resident black rhino bull had passed away, and this is what Christo had to say about it…
On a much sadder note, the old Black Rhino bull that used to hang around our watering hole and was as much part of the T-Team as the rest of us, has unfortunately passed away. He was seen limping badly and reported to Parks Board that started a helicopter search for him the next day. He was found on the ridge opposite room 6 & 7, darted and from what could be seen looked like he was in a fight with another Black Rhino bull that badly injured his right hind leg. The wound was treated and we left hoping for the best, but unfortunately due to his old age, (he was estimated to be 31) and the severe beating he got from the other rhino he did not survive. So cheers big guy and thanks for all the amazing sightings.
The next amazing event in 2012 was getting involved in the conservation of our rhinos, as we hosted a Brazilian film crew who sponsored the notching, and micro-chipping of our rhinos, and collaring an elephant all in the name of conservation of our heritage.
The next sighting was probably the biggest one of the year, and this Is what Cornelius had to say……..
Here is the biggest treat of all…I saw my first Pangolin!!! Five years of guiding was all worth it for that moment. This is how it happened.
It was still cold and cloudy from the previous days rain, which by the way we are very happy about. It was quiet with little animals around. We decided to try and relocate on the Wild dogs that we saw the previous night on the northern fence. On the way there someone did find them so we took it slow not to get too cold. While on standby to go into the sighting we stopped at the Cheetahs in the boma close by. Then I heard the word, KGAGA (Pangolin in Tswana). I took out the map, not knowing the eastern side of the park that well, and saw we weren’t too far away. I forgot about the Dogs and Cheetahs and went for it. The excitement grew as I went up in the standby positions hoping it will still be there.
I was called in… I took my camera, almost forgetting about the guests. I had to stop myself from running to where this THING was.
I was smiling for almost 2 days straight and still get exited thinking back to that day!!! Make that booking now, and come and join me on my next exciting game drive! As you can see, it gets better every day! Till next time
I was speechless. I still can`t express that moment in words. It looked even more stranges than what I imagined. It was slowly moving around in an open spot next to the road making for some nice photos to be taken. They have strong claws for breaking open Anthills. They eat ants and termites with those small mouths. By now it was on the move back to it`s burrow since they are mostly nocturnal.
As it crossed the road I took this shot lying flat on the ground.
The last of the highlights for 2012 was the exciting news of the cheetahs which would make their appearance back into Madikwe after a 3 year absence !!
2 of the 8 males have been released in late December, and have already impressed as they made their first kill, in front of our guests and I have no doubt that 2013 will bring some superb sightings of these amazing cats.
So That’s it for the highs of 2012.
We would like to wish everybody a happy and prosperous 2013 !!
Until we chat again!
Heidi, Gavin and the rest of the amazing T-team