Tuningi Newsletter May 2009

By gavintonkinson on May 1, 2009


Warmest greetings to all of you once again!

I have just realized that it is the scent of this beautiful place we live in that I miss the most when I’m away, and first notice, on my return.In a month like May which is considered to be dusty and dry, autumn around Tuningi is actually the perfect preparation for winter’s biting cold. During this season, the air is so clear that you can see for miles in every direction. The gorgeous display of the environment changing colour renders you breathless with red, bronze and golden leaves everywhere and the smell of wood smoke as daylight fades reminds you that the best place to gather after the chilly game drive is in front of the cozy, blazing, open fire back in the lounge at the Lodge.

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Even the chefs are catching on to the change in the weather and are now preparing mouthwatering pots of slow cooked comfort foods like home made venison pies, carefully spiced Cape Malay curries and rich oxtail stews. Crispy white wines are forgotten in the fridge and make way for rich Cabernet Sauvignon and velvety Pinotage instead.

Silky white bed sheets are exchanged for soft, down duvets and hot water bottles and sun hats are replaced by beanies and scarves.

Just do not think that the game drives are any less exciting in the colder months than in the sunny summer days!

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Amongst all the usual exciting animals, we have also been lucky enough to spot a lot of spotted hyenas in May. These are incredibly interesting creatures who, contrary to popular perception, are not just mere cowardly scavengers, but are actually extremely efficient hunters. Large bone-crushing jaws and teeth and a special stomach acid that aids digestion enable them to consume almost every part of their kill, including bones, skin, teeth, horns and hooves.

They hunt singly or in pairs and usually outrun their prey over vast distances. Typically, they would charge into a herd, and then watch the fleeing animals for signs of weakness. Immensely powerful, hyenas are capable of bringing down animals many times their size, such as zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and waterbuck. They obviously would not hesitate to try and scavenge from other predators, but are definitely not reliant on them for food.

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Now for the best discovery of the month: LION NEWS

Two months ago, Grant told us about the Etali female who was struggling to keep her forth, weekest cub alive. The smallest baby of the litter kept falling behind as they were walking down the road and after this terribly sad sighting, we all suspected that only the other three strong little ones would still be alive when we bumped into them again.We didn’t see the little pride again for a whole month after that.

Last week, however, we found the whole happy family eating away on an elephant carcass. The old cow died of old age and Etali, clever as she is, discovered the free meal first. To our utmost delight, we found her with all four babies, healthy and fat like anything because of the abundance of food! The father of the babies also came to join in the feast and to help fight off any other hungry visitors. Unfortunately the cubs were just too playful to ever pose for a picture properly. We could just never get all four of them into one photo, but you can take my word for it. Etali truly is one of the most amazing animal mothers in Madikwe!

Well, I am off to go and meet the guests on their return from another fabulous game drive and to have a warming glass of sherry with them around the fire before we will find out what kind of mouth watering meal the chefs have prepared for us for tonight’s dinner….

Don’t miss out. Phone our bookings office and come and visit us soonest.
You will love it!
Until we chat again next month.
With kindest regards.
Heidi and the cozy T-team

P.S. Take a look at our children’s fabulous art works!

For enquiries please contact :

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