Tuningi Newsletter June 2009

By gavintonkinson on June 1, 2009

news01_lg news02_lg

Warmest greetings to you all once again.

Time surely flies when you are having fun….
June has been a truly special month for all of us. It is still, just not often enough, that we get to host a beautiful, romantic wedding in the middle of the bush.

Although it is hard work and takes up a lot of extra time and planning, we all just love it when a ‘bride to be’ chooses Tuningi Safari Lodge as the destination, to turn her wedding day into the most wonderful day of her life.

Believe me when I say that it is just amazing to exchange your wedding vows in the shade of a beautiful big tree with wooden hearts dangling all around you, the wind gently tugging at your hair, the birds chirping love songs in the long grass, huge, fluffy white clouds floating by…. It simply cannot get more romantic than that!

After the ceremony and lots of champagne, you get treated to a fabulous six course dinner in front of the Lodge’s roaring, wood burning fire. On your return to your cozy room, you will find your bath already filled with hundreds of rose petals floating amongst the fragrant bubbles……
This month, it was Tammy and Ryan Lindsay who got married here at the Lodge and in Tammy’s own words:
“Tuningi, you made our day special in every way. We will never forget our wedding day in the middle of the bush, warmed by the African sun and strokes of the afternoon breeze. It was all we ever dreamed of and more. We leave with fond memories, a desire to return, and new friends we will never forget!”


Back to the normal flow of things :
Last Monday, we woke up to cloudy skies and drizzling rain, which lasted for three days. What a great surprise! We usually receive our last rain for the year in March and then have to wait until November for the next bit of relief. After three days of consistent rain and ice cold weather we measured an unbelievable 80mm. (Talk about global warming and living Green…. The weather patterns all over the world are changing rapidly because we are not treating Mother Earth with enough respect and care.) Needless to say, the game drives were wet and a bit uncomfortable, but as always, we found the most amazing sightings just because we did not expect it in these out of the ordinary conditions! There were little puddles of water everywhere which made it easy for the animals to quench their thirst wherever they happened to be at the very moment.


We all know that cats do not particularly like water and they definitely hate being wet! Well, with this being the case, just as the sun came out after yet another rainy day, we found the most gorgeous female leopard lying lazily trying to dry out on the branch of a tree. We normally only see leopard at night with the spotlight, but this time it was in broad daylight. How awesome!



news05_lg news06_lg

At least the rain made way for sunny days again and all was back to normal soon. One afternoon we found a brown hyena (which is a very rare sighting) trotting down the road with half a zebra in his mouth. He must have just stolen it from lions who were not concentrating properly or who had maybe just dozed off for a minute or two. It was hilarious to see him running as fast as he could but with his legs buckling beneath him under the weight of the lucky find. He had to stop and rest every five minutes, but got away with it and surely had one of the best meals of his life. The brown hyenas have to rely almost purely on scavenging for food unlike their spotted friends who often hunt in packs. For him to get his paws on this fresh meat must have been just wonderful!

news07_lg news08_lg news09_lg

Back at the lodge:

The Barn Owl who has nested in the Lapa in the previous two years, has moved her nest to the knock in the roof of the Tuningi Bar (also known as the PUB according to some Irish guests) this year.

She is a lovely bird who sleeps in the day and then almost without a single sound leaves the nest just after dark to go out hunting. We have often described this movement as more than a feeling than a sighting, because you can never say that you have actually seen or heard her leave the nest.
After further investigations, we have learnt that the Barn Owl – or rather our Bar(n) Owl- has flight feathers on her wings which are fitted with special silencers. The barbs on the leading edges of these feathers are unhooked, giving the feathers soft, comb-like fringes that break up the flow of air over the feathers during flight, muffling the sound of flapping wings. This allows her to remain silent as she swoops out of the bar and when she dives down to catch her pray.

The most exciting news is that she has now started to teach her three babies how to fly! They are just the cutest little things – forever looking down on us having a drink in the bar, and although they are extremely messy, we do not mind cleaning up after them for the great privilege of being able to watch them so closely – never mind the privilege they have of watching US closely as well…..

The other interesting thing about the bar(n) owls is that they have their own natural parabolic reflectors in the form of their round facial discs. These discs reflect and channel sounds towards their ears enhancing their hearing up to 300 times better than a normal bird, like a pigeon for instance. This helps them to pinpoint a sound very accurately in the dark. They are especially sensitive to sounds with high frequency, such as the rustling of dry leaves that would give away the presence of potential prey.

As soon as they can all fly well enough, the kids will sadly leave us until the mother will hopefully return to us again for her next breeding session, next year.


Well, until the next time we will chat again, we hope you are all happy and healthy and that you are busy planning you next holiday at Tuningi as we speak. If you are wondering where to find us, the zebra will show you the way!

Do not ever forget to get out more, relax more, and breathe more, and sometimes, when you have a minute, kick off your shoes and walk barefoot over the grass. You owe it to yourself!

Kindest regards
Heidi and the friendly T-team

P.S. More kid’s art!

For enquiries please contact :

kids01_lg kids02_lg kids03_lg kids04_lg