March 2018 Newsletter

By gavintonkinson on April 2, 2018

Hi to all our Tuningi Fans once again !!

We hope you have all had a splendid Easter period, and are all well rested for the next onslaught of what we call work…

So, this month has been rather wet… Yes we have had the best rainfall figures in March for many years, which has resulted in the bush looking mighty healthy, and is the best I have seen it in the last 5 years. Now we are not sure if the rainfall pattern has moved on a couple months, but we will take the much-needed life giving resource.

giraffe drinks tsessebe and impala

Lets kick off with the best news that happened this month, which was that Munye, our resident male leopard managed to drop jaws and widen eyes, as we found him for a period of 4 days mating with a new female in the south western corner!!

munye on makanyane 2 munye on makanyane 1

To put it into perspective, most guides in Madikwe have never seen such a sighting, including Jacques, and the expression on his face was priceless, not to mention that the guests were knocked out of the park to having been privy to this once in a lifetime spectacle.

Munye mates in SW corner 1 Munye mates in SW corner 2 Munye mates in SW corner 4 Munye mates in SW corner 5 Munye mates in SW corner 6 Munye mates in SW corner 7 Munye mates in SW corner 8

So we are now going to focus on figuring out where exactly this new females territory is, and try to keep a close eye on her movements, as she will give birth to some cubs in around 110 days from now.

The larger paciderms such as the elephants and rhinos have been loving the lush green conditions with abundant food everywhere, and they have been really enjoying the grass plains of which is making up about 80% of their diets right now. They are fattening up nicely, and I am sure that they will get through this winter with a few pounds around the waistline to spare.

sleepy elephant eles on ophir plains eles on ophir plains 2

baby ele in grass 2 baby ele in grass 1

The Mica pride is, as always doing very well with the cubs growing so fast now, as their caring mothers and aunts have been providing food for them on a regular basis. The cubs have a level of energy that at times never seems to want to end, as they pounce and stalk on each other in a bid to hone their hunting skills and develop those muscles in a couple of years for when they will also be partaking in the providing role for the next batch of lion cubs.

bafefo and cubs play 6 bafefo and cubs play 5 bafefo and cubs play 4 bafefo and cubs play 3 bafefo and cubs play 2 bafefo and cubs play 1

The 3 Males looking after the pride have got what seems to be a winning recipe in keeping the pride safe from intruders, in that the Bafefo male always stays with the pride, while the 2 Chimbro boys are hanging out on the ridge to the north keeping the threat of the 2 males from the north well clear of their precious cargo in the core of the territory to the south.

chimbros on ab main 1

The Chimbro boys can be away from the pride for weeks at a time, and during that time they need to eat, so they have been very efficient this month on their own by making a few nice kills, and prove the theory that male lions don’t hunt, completely bogus.

chimbros eat zebra 2 chimbros eat zebra 3 chimbros eat zebra 1 chimbros eat zebra 8 chimbros eat zebra 7 chimbros eat zebra 6 chimbros eat zebra 9

With the amount of dampness around, the morning game drives have been absolutely stunning with the large amounts of dew forming in the mornings, which has created very beautiful scenes as the sun rises, capturing the light in all the water droplets in the grass and spider webs teleporting you to a fairy land in a split second.

dewy morning 3 dewy morning 1 dewy morning 2

The update on the cheetahs, is that they all doing very well, and the 3 females which were released last year have proven that they will survive, and are doing very well. 2 of them are moving and hunting together, while the third one has gone solo, which is the norm among female cheetahs, and even she is doing very well. They have encountered the males on a few occasions, but nobody has seen them mating yet, so we are still holding our breathes for this to happen, and would be the best news for Madikwe ever !!

cheetahs on airstrip 5 cheetahs on airstrip 4 cheetahs on airstrip 3 cheetahs on airstrip 2 cheetahs on airstrip 1 Cheetahs in SW corner 5 Cheetahs in SW corner 2

Tsala, and her cub are also doing very well, all be it a bit elusive at times as we struggle to find the leopards in the tall grass and dense bush at times.

african monarch 1

The wild dogs have been gearing up for the mating season, as the alpha male and female will pair off this season. However we have not seen them much this month as they are spending 98% of their time in the far north-eastern section of the reserve, and even making regular excursions into the private land on the eastern side of the Marico river. They will be looking for a den site soon, as the gestation period is only around 70 days. We will be following them closely over the next few weeks, to see where they will be denning this year, and we are hoping with bated breath, that they come back to the south.

So, until next month we hope to see you soon back at Tuningi….


Gavin and the T-Team !!

Motsumi sunrise

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