A warm Rocktober to all of our fans again….
Yes, this month has been ROCKING with some very exciting news, that our UNDERGROUND HIDE has been completed !!
If you are a keen wildlife photographic enthusiast (like me…. Hehehe), you will love the new edition to the lodge, and this has long been a priority goal for me to achieve here at Tuningi, and now we have one !!!
So, while you used spend some time at our awesome waterhole underneath the Fig Tree enjoying a cold beer or crispy G&T, which by the way was not too shabby either, you can now go underground and get on ground level with the wildlife that comes for a drink at the waterhole, and you will be blown away by the experience, as the elephants walk right past the windows, giving you some serious perspective of the size of these awesome creatures. You will be able to create some amazing images with a wide-angle lens, and even get some nice low angle photos of the giraffe, zebra, buffalo, kudu, impala etc. bending down to have drink.
So lets get into some of the highlights for this months sightings….
The temperatures have been soaring, and we have even had some early rain at the beginning of the month, which has kick started the savanna into a spurt of new growth much to the appreciation of the animals, as they were only expecting this to happen after “SUICIDE MONTH” which is October, the driest month of the year. So the bush has started turning much greener, and promises of a good rainy year lay ahead. We have had numerous sightings of the rare and highly endangered black rhino, and they are always going to get your blood pressure rising as they run towards the vehicle with some tenacious intent, but will always stop, snort and then run away into the undergrowth nearby. Please remember, that our rhinos in Madikwe are under threat from the scourge of poaching, and if you would like to help us fight this war, please don’t be shy to contact us so that we can give you the details of Madikwe’s own conservation fund, where you can make a difference by donating funds no matter how small or big it may be… every little bit helps !!
P.S There are a lot of online sites out there doing great work, but in most cases Madikwe never gets to see any of these funds, so please this is the best for Madikwe directly .
Speaking of rare… we also have been seeing a herd of Eland around the lodge, and when they are close enough to get a photo, you are reminded of the sheer size of especially the males, which can weigh around 850kg !! With the heat comes some awesome sightings of elephants at the waterholes quenching their never-ending thirst, and then taking a mud bath to cool down, spraying cool mud and water over their bodies to accelerate the cooling of blood via thousands of veins and arteries close to the skin surface where their body temps drop by as much as 5 degrees Celsius. Our local pride of lions with the 6 cubs are doing extremely well, and are been successfully protected by the 3 males which dominate the south west of the park. On one occasion the 2 Modimo males from the east made an incursion one day, which scattered the pride in all directions, but thanks to the quick response from the boys, they were soon pushed back into their own territory further east, and have not since returned.The 2 male from the north have also made several incursions tot the south, and one morning we followed them beein chased at high speed back north and over the ridge by 2 of the local boys, with a lot of accompanying roaring and scent marking to enforce the dominance they have put in place here.
The lionesses and their cubs are producing some amazing sightings, as the cubs have a never-ending desire to get the last bit of protein rich milk from mom, which is soon going to dry up, as the cubs approach the day they will be weaned off of this life-giving treasure. The Bafefo male, which seems to be spending a lot of time with the cubs, is slowly getting to know his offspring more and more intimately, as they push his levels of patience by biting his tail, mane or just jumping over him in their youthful games . On one amazing morning we were involved with the start to finish kill on an impala, which raised a few eyebrows, as the clinical coordination of the lionesses to catch one of the faster prey items awed the galleries on our vehicles. The prize was small, and the competition to grab the best part of the hapless impala was intense, and the images speak for themselves…. Cheetah sightings have been good, with the 2 coalitions of two males still patrolling the entire park in search of females, which until recently they have not yet found. The good news is that the park has acquired 3 females which are due for release into the park around December after their habituation process in the holding facility in the north. We are hoping with abated breath, that they will establish themselves into the system, and give us some cubs soon…. The other awesome news that we mentioned in previous newsletters was that we thought that Tsala, our resident leopardess had a cub, and we can now confirm that she has… She was spotted on a few occasions with a very healthy looking 8 month old ball of fur. Sightings of her however have been very scarce, as she is very crafty at evading us as only a leopard can. So we hope that she will finally be able to raise this cub to adulthood. We are going to be monitoring this very closely.Munye has also been a little scarce this month, but we did have one memorable sighting of him, as he moved his impala kill from the tree to a bush on the ground, and the stealth and strength that these cats possess is immense, and will blow your socks off if you lucky enough to witness them in action.
The Wild Dogs in the park, have started moving around with the puppies, and have been spending quite a bit of time in the south west, much to our great approval. The puppies have a voracious appetite and the pack has had to kill almost daily to satisfy the hunger of their offspring.All 6 puppies are looking very healthy and loving the free roaming lifestyle that wild dogs have, and are very inquisitive, exploring everything that roams in their kingdom.
On one afternoon, after a deserved G&T had by our guest on drive, we went in search of the wild dogs. As the temperatures started cooling, we managed to locate them, and they were keen to hunt ….
After following them for some time, they bumped into a big male giraffe, and the pups showed some cute antics as they tried to figure out whether or not this juggernaut of the savanna was edible. They soon lost interest in the giraffe, and came out at a waterhole, where the light was just sublime, and made for some awesome photos.
Wild dogs don’t drink too often, as they get most of their moisture requirements from the animals that they eat, but given an opportunity, will drink if they pass by the precious resource.
A Dazzle of zebra also pitched up at the waterhole at the same time, and one of the adults mock charged the herd as they were quenching their thirst, which created pandemonium, as they all tried franticly to get out of the water.
The break-away pack of 3 females have also been spending a lot of time on our side of the park this month, and are proving that they are a very efficient hunting unit, as they are creating havoc with the poor impala population wherever they seem to go. Lets hope that we can possibly find a male with new genetics to begin a new pack in the park….
Well… thats all folks….
Hope to see you all soon, back at Tuningi Safari lodge….. You know you will be back !!!
Gavin and the T-Team