Tuningi Newsletter October 2007

By gavintonkinson on October 1, 2007



Hallo once again!
The last time we said goodbye, it was in huge anticipation!

We were desperately waiting for some rain in order to be sure that the animals will have enough to eat as they were slowly starting to lose condition. All the natural dams had already dried up by then and we had to make sure that every lodge was pumping water into their respective water holes in order to keep the animals going. It is always worrying when we are forced to use the underground water sources, as it would be devastating if those supplies ran dry.

Well, we are happy to announce that the rain came down in buckets full, only days after we sent out the last letter. How grateful we are! We have now had more than 80mm of rain in the last month. This is a record rainfall for October.

We are now proud to let you know that our Game Reserve is looking like the enchanted garden of our childhood dreams… You should really come and see this with your own eyes. Make a plan as soon as possible to come and visit us!

These are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to enable you to see the amazing difference a little bit of rain can bring forth in only a couple of days!!!!

The difference after the rain is not only apparent in the look of things. Absolutely EVERYTHING seems new, different and cleansed. All of a sudden the landscape is colourful. Tiny little flowers are pushing through the grass in every imaginable size and colour, the most gorgeous butterflies have appeared as if out of no-where, colourful moths are dive-bombing your evening cocktails with gusto and the most beautiful birds are flying around the lodge as if they have been there all the time! We can even hear that it has rained, as the persistent buzz of the cicadas, the busy zooming of the bees, screeching of the crickets and call of the ‘Piet my vrou” prevails right through the day. The evenings are long and comfortable and make for long, leisurely dinners on the deck under the stars. Knives and forks rhythmically click to the beat of the short, rasping sounds of the raucous toads trying to attract some females to their breeding site at the water hole.

As a matter of fact, this is the perfect time to ask your ranger to take you down to the water hole late at night, to inspect the world of frogs! You will be very surprised to find amazing little specimens with even more amazing names like, pigmy toads, ghost frogs, rattling frogs, painted reed frogs, snoring puddle frogs, and many more…. Each species has its own unique mating call and the female only responds to her own species. The sound is made by blowing air over the vocal sac that resonates loudly. Frogs are only active in the rainy season because moisture is essential for their survival.

Frogs are amphibians. They are very interesting animals as they have two stages to their lives – first as an aquatic tadpole and then as a terrestrial frog! Metamorphosis from tadpole to frog is another one of the amazing wonders of nature. In a matter of days the tadpole develops limbs, a skeleton and the ability to walk or hop, call, breed, hunt insects and breathe air. In short, tadpoles develop into a total different creature. Amphibians evolved from fish about 350 million years ago. They were the first vertebrate animals to inhabit the land and they are the ancestors, not only of modern frogs, but also of all reptiles, birds and mammals, even humans. So, if you happen to hear a frog or toad rasping or squawking away, give all of this another thought.

On the game drive side of things, we have named October the month of the cats. We have always considered ourselves extremely lucky to find a leopard and then be able to sit and watch it for a while. This month, however, we have seen leopard almost on a daily basis and some guests were even lucky enough to see three different leopards on one day! On another occasion our guests saw a cheetah, two adult leopards with a baby and a whole bunch of lions on one drive. This is extremely unusual as leopards generally move around alone. Although it seemed like a mommy, daddy, baby scenario, the male in this sighting most probably just popped in to come and steal the mom and baby’s food!

On another evening out, all kinds of other gorgeous cats were spotted. Caracal, civet, genet and an African wildcat were ticked off. These cats are seldom seen as they are nocturnal animals and very shy. They are as beautiful as leopard and cheetah, though and it is always a privilege to see them.

Last, but not the least! All the wild dogs are running free through the reserve now and are doing just fine. We still see the pack of 18 dogs all the time and now also the new pack of 8 dogs that were released from the enclosure in the middle of the month. They have bonded perfectly and are hunting together as if they have always been a team.

One evening this month our guests were just about to start on their main course in the boma, when the whole pack of 18 dogs came running past them chasing after an Impala. This happened so fast that every one had to confirm with each other that it was not just a figment of their imagination!

We are afraid that this is all we have for now! Until we chat again next month, keep well and plan your Christmas holidays carefully! If you come to Tuningi, you will have the joy of experiencing a loud African thunder storm, followed by a true colorful rainbow straight out of your childhood dreams……

Spot the rainbow!!!

We truly hope to see you soon.
Kindest regards
The sparkling, dust free, T-team

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