Tuningi Newsletter February 2013

By gavintonkinson on February 1, 2013

Hello again to all our extended family !!

Its time again for the monthly newsletter, and February will not disappoint you….. as if it has before !
It has been an extremely dry month, with hardly any signs of the heavenly fluid needed by all to survive here in the Madikwe savannas. The grasses are starting to lose their vibrancy, showing signs of an early winter.
One positive facet of the drier times is that we are able to track animals for our guests a lot easier, as the sand is softer and allows us to read the signs clearly.

An animal that needs a lot of tracking skill is that elusive spotted creature we call the Leopard! We are extremely lucky at the moment with our resident leopardess and her new cub, as she has finally allowed us to come close to her 4 month old female cub. One fabulous afternoon, after a long and patient tracking session to the south of the lodge we found her snoozing up in a marula tree. Happy with our efforts it was a brisk walk back to the vehicle to give the guests the good news. On approach to the sleeping beauty, something moved above her in the branches, and out poked the cutest thing you had ever seen. It was her cub ! Unbelievably she allowed us to view her without being a slight bit frightened of the new sights and sounds of people so close to her, and I definitely think it has all to do with her mother who is super chilled. Needless to say, we had a great time with the two of them resting in the tree, before mom decided it was time to go “shopping” for an impala for dinner.


Another memorable sighting this month, was at Tlou Dam in the north one morning when we came across a herd of about 200 buffalo all quenching their thirsts in the golden light of sunrise.

Then all of a sudden their was a loud crack, and dust erupting from behind a bush when two large males popped out with their horns locked in battle ! It is not a very regular sighting to see two males having a serious fight, and the display of power was immense, as they wrestled for dominance. This must have gone on for about 30 minutes before they vanished into some thickets.


The Bulaya females and their 3 cubs are also doing extremely well, and the highlight of the month with them was one crisp morning after a bit of rain when we located them finishing off a wildebeest carcass. They were in a very happy mood as they were bouncing around all over the place, obviously chuffed with their mothers who had brought dinner to the table that night. The cute factor tipped the end of the scale as they stared at our guests with those mesmerizing eyes.


As far as the wild dogs go, they are still causing carnage all over the park, killing on a daily basis. We as guides get all very excited when we follow these super efficient predators on a hunt, as we know we have a pretty good chance of witnessing a kill. Wild Dogs kill about 80% of what they chase, and if you can keep up with their pace as they chase impala and kudu you will be in for a once in a lifetime experience.


The heat is also bringing huge amounts of elephants to the dams, especially in the afternoons where they come to drink and cool off. And when they cool off it is somewhat of a spectacle, as they splash mud all over the place, and then even climb into the water for a leisurely swim.


Finally, the cheetah introduction is also doing very well, as the 2 different coalitions are hunting and killing successfully, and wowing us with their astonishing speed as they set off after their preferred prey items such as impala and kudu.

They have been setting up territory close to the lodge, and we are very happy that they have chosen this area to settle down in. This means we are seeing them on a very regular basis and adds value to the already great sightings to be had here at Tuningi Lodge.


So… that was some of the more memorable sightings we had this month, and we look forward to you all coming back to visit us again, and if you have never been to Tuningi….

With kindest regards
Gavin and the fabulous T-team

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