Tuningi Newsletter November 2008

By gavintonkinson on November 1, 2008

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It is almost time to say “ho ho ho” instead of hallo to you all!
Christmas is around the corner, the tree is already sparkling in the corner of the lounge and more presents are appearing every day. All of this creates a feeling of excitement and great anticipation in Tuningi.
The bush has now also started to decorate its self with natural Christmas decorations.

After the wonderful, long awaited rain has poured down to earth, (yes it came at last!) hundreds of new impala and wildebeest babies were born and an abundance of colour has appeared in the form of all sorts of different little wild flowers and blossoms on the trees. Multi coloured grasshoppers and butterflies are fluttering about while bright and shining bugs and insects of all sizes are buzzing around. Most of the colourful cuckoos are back from migration and most of the other birds have changed from normal grey into their bright breeding plumage. The dry savannah has turned into paradise over night.

All the animals are in fabulous condition as food and water is now in abundance again. You can clearly see it in their shining coats. The predators are also as healthy and fat as can be as they can just pick and choose when they need a little snack like a new born baby wildebeest or impala in between bigger meals. Although it sounds and seems cruel that so many babies get killed, it is unfortunately the natural way of controlling the numbers.

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Talking about lions, The Mica pride had four cubs about four months ago but they have been roaming the Eastern side of the reserve so we have not had much of a chance of seeing them. Last week, how ever, they teemed up with the handsome Kagali males and caught a nice fat wildebeest at Vlei pan. It was especially amazing to see how tolerant the big males were with the babies. They let them share in the feast as much as they wanted to, without ever turning grumpy and selfish on them. Usually the big males would not even let the mothers eat until they have stuffed themselves to the brim, let alone the kids! They must have also caught a bit of the Christmas spirit……..



Last month we told you about the baby wild dogs that are now out of their den.
We are very happy to announce that they are all doing just fine and providing us with wonderful and sometimes hilarious sightings. They are highly energetic, playful animals and always out exploring. The other day, they were ventured out of the grownups’ sight for a while when they bumped into a little group of zebra. The zebra were not impressed with these little curious puppies and promptly started chasing them down the road to much excitement of the viewers. Ironically, these dogs will finish off a zebra in no time once they are fully grown!



On a very different note, the Tuningi Team went to Sun City last week on a day trip just to have a good rest before the busy time ahead and also to have our Christmas party. We had lots of fun in the sun and just enjoyed each other’s company in a totally different environment far away from work. We are all revived now and ready to spoil and pamper you better than ever before!

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As usual, we bring you a short extract from one of our guide’s diaries from last month. Over to Gerry:

The rains have made sure that the latter parts of November’s game viewing has been quite challenging and some of the ‘big guys’ have been rather difficult to find. Yet, for those who pushed through, ponchos’ and all, there were a number of fantastic sightings. In no particular order, here are a few images from November’s game viewing at Tuningi.

It’s all in the eyes. Found this ‘blonde’ young leopard a few days ago. She is extremely chilled, but after we almost drove right over her as she was lying right next to the road she just did not want to come out from behind this bush. You can see that she is very light and almost blonde which makes her pretty easy to recognise. We have seen her with her sister and mother on a number of occasions but it seems like she is starting to move around on her own.

After a quick drinks break, a vital part of any drive, we drove back past the same spot again and this time she made it a little easier for us. She was checking out some impala from her elevated position but ultimately, after watching her for another 20 minutes or so, came down the tree and disappeared into the thickets Amazing sighting!

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These two young male impala was having a ‘friendly negotiation’ about nothing in particular. They were not very serious about their fight but made for a few interesting images as all the guests on the vehicle snapped away.

Nature is not all serious and sometimes you need a good sense of humour as well. Here, the Tshabalala female pulls another ‘funny face’ image that I am going to add to the book one day – ‘Funny Safari Faces’!

I was quite excited to get two Steenbok together. This was the first time I was ever able to capture a pair of them. These little dwarf antelope pair up for life and it was great to be able to photograph them as a pair. After a few images they decided to bolt together and I was able to get this shot.

To end off with something different. I took this image at Sun City’s ‘Valley of the Waves’. We took all the Tuningi staff there for the annual Xmas party. This Palace of the Lost City can be seen in the background. Even though the whole place is over the top ‘African’ it is still a great day out and worth a quick stop for anybody visiting Africa.

Anyway, time to go and see what else Madikwe has to offer on this afternoon’s drive! Hope to catch you in the bush soon!

As always I look forward to hearing from you!
Until next time.

Well, that is all from us for November!

We do hope that those of you, who will not be spending Christmas with us, will also have a wonderful holiday, a very merry Christmas and a great and happy new year.
With our kindest regards
The festive T-team

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