Tuningi Newsletter May 2011

By gavintonkinson on May 1, 2011

Hallo everyone!

Greetings once again from the beautiful Tuningi Lodge and all of us lucky people who live here.

news01_lg news02_lg

Although Winter finally arrived with force two days ago, the month of May is arguably the most beautiful time of the year in the South African bushveld. news03_lgThe climate is hard to beat anywhere else in the world. The days are clear and sunny and are pleasantly warm instead of hot. Only at sundowner time do you need to slip into something warm to keep you comfortable.

Insect numbers start to dwindle and there is no more moth with your mouthful of merlot or other flying surprises in your starters. Most of the snakes have gone off to find a spot to curl up for the colder Winter months and all the animals are in top condition with full bellies and shining coats. In most of our opinions, May is definitely the best month to come for a visit!

news05_lg news04_lg

news06_lgIt has been a month filled with special occasions like the Easter weekend, a romantic engagement and the return of lots of our favourite guests (especially Jim and Isobel from Scottish Life), hosting a fantastic bush braai with the local marimba band providing the back ground music, handing over loads of presents and sports gear to the grade R class of our local school, and lots more!

news07_lg news08_lg

The Game drives have been as amazing as ever! I asked Christo to tell you about his most amazing day.

Greetings, from a cold and windy Madikwe. It is now official Winter has finely laid its icy claws on us but don’t for one moment think a little bit of cold weather is going to stop us from finding the most amazing sightings in Madikwe.

This month turned out to be one of my luckiest so far, it finally happened and after almost a year in the field I finally achieved the Grand slam, to see the big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) in one drive! It all started with a trip up North towards Tlou dam. First we found a big herd of buffalo just leisurely grassing and got to spend some time with them before the whole herd of ± 200 got swallowed up by the thick sickle bush on their way towards Tlou dam.

We made our way to the dam and as we drove on to the dam wall the first Elephants started to make their way towards the water and they just kept on coming. We were in luck as there were two family groups that came to the water at the same time. Few things are more amazing than to sit and watch and of course listen to about 50 elephants quenching their thirst, like one of my guests said “this makes the 17 hour flight so worth while, this is exactly how I pictured Africa”.

news09_lg news10_lg

Well what she didn’t now was that it was far from over, because two White Rhino’s also joined in on the fun at the dam.

As the Elephants moved off back in to the bush we went for sundowners at Nick’s View South at the foot of Tshwene Tshwene Mountain which gives one a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Enselbergs (islands of rock) and the waste plains surrounding them. We packed up our sundowners and were just heading off when the call on the radio came in “INKWE”.

Now if you are a ranger in Madikwe that one word will send your heart racing! Inkwe means Leopard and when ever you hear that on the radio everything stops and all become deadly quite. No matter what you are busy with, there can be an Elephant bull with a torn off ear (that will usually upset them even more) trying to disassemble your land cruisers’ engine, it doesn’t matter; all you are waiting for is the update on the location of this particular Inkwe.


So off we went hoping with all hopes that, that leopard would have some how got stuck or glued to the spot where it was seen at first, because so often you get there and the other rangers will show you exactly where the leopard was lying just a minute before you got there. Argh, GONE! But not this time. We got there and she was still lying on the rocks, we had to use our binoculars but we got a pretty good view of her. Some guests even saw glimpses of her two small cubs. A huge added bonus! We will definitely keep a look out for them in the future.

With the weight of the world off my shoulders, we took the road home and then it happened again. Lions were called in over the radio and it dawned on me, could this be my lucky day? Would the lions still be there by the time I got to them? How big will my disappointment be if I got there and someone told me exactly where they were lying just a minute before I got there? I tried to promise myself that this time I will not shoot the poor unlucky ranger with the bad news in the kneecap with a very powerful high calibre rifle… again.

news12_lg news13_lg

But as we came around the bend in the road there they were, a sub adult male and female lying just off the road with the rest of the pride a bit back and obscured by bushes. But that is all I needed, my first Grand slam the big 5 in one drive!!

But of course besides all my ramblings about the big 5 we also had our fare share of the other game species and they can provide you with just as much entertainment as any of the big 5.

Big news in the park is that the alpha female in the bigger one of our Wild dog packs is now heavily pregnant and it looks like they want to start denning on one of the Enselbergs in the west of the park. That would of course be great news for us as we can then keep a close eye on them and hopefully the puppies as well.

Well that is a little look into the excitement we as rangers had this month. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our passion for the bush with you.

Till next time, keep it on the wild side.

Well, that is all from me as well!
If you are so lucky to come and visit us in the next three months, do not forget to pack your beanie, gloves, woollen socks and a nice big warm jacket. From our side, we will keep the fires going, cook some hearty stews, fill up the hot water bottles and pour as much red wine as you may need to warm you up from the inside.

Also look out for our amazing specials on the website- (Stay three nights and fly from Jhb to Madikwe for FREE) and follow us on Face Book and Twitter for daily updates on our Game viewing!

Warmest regards
Heidi and the fabulous T-team.

For enquiries please contact :