Tuningi Newsletter May 2013

By gavintonkinson on May 1, 2013

Greetings as always!

May is generally a quiet month for us here at the lodge in terms of been flat out busy as we normally are, which gives us a good opportunity to catch up on some of the maintenance issues that need to be dealt with.

But as Christo experienced the other day, sightings of some amazing things will just find you no matter where you are, and in the next bit he will tell you all about this awesome sighting.

Sometimes the most amazing things happen right on your doorstep, literally. Yesterday morning a Yellow-bellied sand Snake caught a Yellow-throated plated Lizard in my garden. Had a chance to get some nice shots as the snake took about 20min to gulp down the lizard.

At first the snake held onto the lizard as the snake’s venom did its devastating work.
At first the snake held onto the lizard as the snake’s venom did its devastating work.


The snake then positioned the lizard head first in its mouth for easy swallowing.
The snake then positioned the lizard head first in its mouth for easy swallowing.


Down she goes!
Down she goes!


Till only the tail tip remained.
Till only the tail tip remained.

The news from the bush is brimming with expectation, as we are going crazy knowing that the small pack of wild dogs has denned up in the highest parts of the Dwarsberg mountains in the deep south of the reserve and is inaccessible to even our tough land cruisers!

So we are hoping that they will move soon, and show us their puppies. The reason why we are so excited is that there are 2 females which were pregnant which is extremely rare within the wild dog social system, as it is usually only the Alpha female which will fall pregnant.

So until they come down off of the Dwarsberg, we just have to wait for them to come hunting on the plains below, and then we have to make sure we are in the right place at the right time before they head off back to the den to feed the puppies.


Our resident pride of lions have been acting really strange this month with good reason. Cornelius located on 2 brand new cubs which are in the region of 2 weeks old, and unfortunately we don’t have any images of them, they are going to show them to us sooner or later. This means that the pride is now at a total of 2 adult females, and 5 cubs, and of coarse the 2 Naledi males which have been spending a lot of time with them to ensure the safety of the cubs.
Speaking of the territorial Naledi brothers, they are causing havoc with the Kgala male to the far north west of the park, and have been sighted fighting and chasing the Kgala male deep into the hills, and then stealing one of the females for a five day mating session, which gave us some splendid sightings.


Our cheetah brothers are doing extremely well, and have broadened their horizons in terms of expanding their home range. They have been travelling large distances and we think they are in search of a female, which alas we are not able of attaining at the moment, as there are no “lion aware” females” available for relocation to Madikwe at this time. There is hope for these boys however, and we will hopefully have a couple of females for them before the end of the year.


Other exciting news is that we have had a large clan of hyenas move into a culvert under the road close to the airstrip, and they have been giving us some extreme close ups, as the sub-adult cubs come sniffing under the wheel arches of our vehicles. Hopefully they will stay around that area for some time, as they are a real treat to witness and observe some of the most misunderstood animals in the animal kingdom.


We also had some special moments with a newly born elephant and its family. This little guy could not have been more than a few days old, and was still stumbling around at its mothers feet, before latching on to the nipple for some welcome nourishment.


Tshala the leopardess has been very scarce this month, but she did give us one phenomenal sighting, as we found her feeding on an impala kill she had made. She is moving across large distances at the moment, and we cannot help but think that she may be looking to mate with a male somewhere, as we have not seen her cub that we have been seeing with her a couple months ago. So we will be keeping a close eye on her movements over the next month or so.

The last of our serpentine friends are also making their final appearances, as they search for hibernating homes to spend the worst of the winter months that are on the way. This black mamba was sunning itself on the road one afternoon, and was very lethargic, and gave us a chance to grab our cameras to get an image of one of the most feared snakes in the world.


So that is it for this month, and we get ready for the cooler winter nights by having copious amounts of gluwein on standby for our guests coming back from the amazing Safaris we produce for all of you visiting us here at Tuningi Safari Lodge.


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Kindest regards
Gavin and the fabulous T-team

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