Tuningi Newsletter September 2009

By gavintonkinson on September 1, 2009

Warm greetings to all of you once again.
All is going well here at Tuningi and as usual, we have had a tremendous month full of excitement, great adventure and wonderful sightings.

Although we have already had bits of rain here and there, we are actually waiting in anticipation for the big thunder storms next month. This will bring on green, lush vegetation and all the beautiful Spring flowers will appear like little gems in the grass. With the bush being a bit less dense at the moment, the sightings of the elusive big cats were better than ever.

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Gavin was so kind as to pen down all the excitement in his ranger’s report for you…

Rangers Report
It has been a Cat prolific month with all kinds of different sightings having been enjoyed by our guests at Tuningi. Firstly, the lion sightings have been keeping us rangers on our toes when it comes to the tracking efforts we have to put in for hours on the safari, as the northern prides are up to all kinds of strange behavior.

The Etali female and her new youngsters which were born in February are now starting to travel with mom and are learning the everyday ways of life a lion must endure on the African savanna by observing the intricacies of the hunt, but are somewhat amateur at their efforts, and are often spoiling the hunt for mom.

The Etali’s youngsters from 3 years ago have now severed their ties to each other and have now started a new dimension to their sibling relationship. The male has now reached the age where he has to go out on his own and relinquish the comforts of lioness help. He is banished to bachelorship for at least two years before he may end up a territorial male elsewhere in the park. This is due to the dominant Sereti males driving him further and further away from his birth territory. His sister has now joined up with Etali after 2 years and seems to be taking on the responsibility of aunt by helping in the hunt to feed the ever hungry cubs.

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The Sereti males have now established themselves in the north western section of the park and seem to be growing by the minute as they are now coming in to their own with impressive manes and brute strength.

The Tchaba female and her offspring from 2 years ago have split up for the time being, as she has come on to her oestrus cycle and has been on honeymoon with the Sereti males for the last week. (Lions will copulate every 30 minutes for around four to five days non- stop ensuring impregnation).

The southern pride surprised us last week with tell tale signs that both the Tshabalala females are suckling cubs with dirty nipples being the evidence.

This caused great excitement amongst the rangers as the race is on to find their secret lair, for that incredible privilege of seeing the tiny cubs for the first time. However, we have discovered that the likely fathers, the Tsholo-Mateya coalition which have been the rulers of the southern territory are no longer the land lords in that area. They have had a territorial dispute with the Kgala-Etali coalition from the east, resulting in the Mateya male getting severely injured in the process and landing up second best forcing them to relinquish their thrones and seek asylum on the ridge to the north. We have not seen them that often and rumours are floating around the park that they may dead…… let’s hope not!!!

So the Kgala-Etali males are now our new land lords of the south and hopefully will provide us with some great photographic opportunities in the days to come.

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Ok, on to the spotted kind……
Our leopard sightings have now really started gathering momentum and we are encountering these awesomely beautiful cats more and more often. We are getting closer and closer to these secretive cats and it is all thanks to the rangers relentless efforts in tracking them down and habituating them to vehicles and people.

The one-eyed male known as Lesole (“Le-so-le”) which means “soldier” in Tswana, is really coming to the party with him even allowing us to view him at his dinner table one night as he was tucking into a juicy impala fillet up a tree last week.

The pale male known as “Sipooko” which means “ghost”, has also given us hours of viewing pleasure and is starting to establish himself on the ridge around the lodge and sightings of him at our waterhole at the lodge have become frequent. You must come and see this cat, as his coloration is very rare in the wild and to look into his blue eyes. Yes…blue is something you will never forget.

The female leopards around the western section of the park have been pretty shy with good reason. The female that hangs around the south of the lodge has two cubs and getting her to sit still for one second is proving very difficult as she probably feels slightly intimidated by the big safari vehicles buzzing around trying to capture the moment. She will probably bring her youngsters out in her own time. The female to the north around Tlou Dam has also been showing face and is ultra chilled; the trick is just to find her……

So that is all from the big cats and I am pleased to say we have also been lucky enough to encounter some of the smaller ones too. We have had good sightings of the African wild cat, Genets, and even Caracal this month.

Have to go on another drive just now so will leave it at that.


Well, there you have it from the horse’s mouth!

Back at the lodge, we are very proud to announce that we have just won the DIAMOND award for the Diners Club Wine List of the Year Awards.

This is the highest accolade and we have won it because we have enormous passion for wine and are trying our best to showcase the best of SA wines.

We also offer great value for money, and serve wine that is in harmony with our style of food. Our wine list boasts a good balance of grape varietals and represents loads of different districts of origin and includes Boutique, Garagiste and Organic wines. We also offer real French champagne, Bin Ends, Auction wines as well as rare wines difficult to buy.

It should be very clear that Tuningi is the ultimate destination for Nature lovers who enjoy a bit of good wine….
Make that booking today.
We can’t wait to meet you
Until next month when we chat again…
Kindest regards
The T-team.
P.S. Remember to have a look at the kid’s art!

For enquiries please contact :

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