Ranger Diaries & Press
April 2023 Wildlife Report
We are moving into that time of year when the grass is all yellow and the leaves are just starting to change colour. Animal paths are forming all over and watering holes are getting busier. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the bush has changed after returning from my off days and according to Shelley I say this every year. I just find it crazy how quickly this happens, but I have to say we have had a few very warm autumn days. The mornings and evenings are cooling down nicely though.
All images in this article were taken by Stefan Breuer, Owner and Ruan Ferreira, General Manager.
Leopard sightings have been really good (touch wood), they have been all over the traverse and Makumu property especially has been pumping with leopard sightings. Pale male has been very busy around the lodge area and also Manzi and her 2 youngsters. I have to say that Xivindzi has been a little scarcer. We also received the good news that the one female on our neighbouring property has 2 cubs that have really shown themselves very nicely to us and a few lucky guests. Hopefully, we now get a chance to view her at a distance across the river and get her to relax a little bit more.
The newish young male, coming in from the north and walking from windmill pan to Malembeni, has also been quite busy. He is such a beautiful individual and gaining more and more confidence, calling and marking. We actually saw him and Xivindzi walking together, so we were really hoping for some mating there and hoped that that might be the reason that she has been so scarce, guess only time will tell.
Lion sightings have been really good. The smaller group of 7 seem to hang out together on a more regular basis and we get to see them quite often, the larger group of 15 has changed their patterns slightly and is pushing a lot more to the west and then back onto Makumu. The two large males have been seen quite far up north with the Timbila pride and the other day a sighting of them was reported on the Olifants River, which is very far from where they usually walk.
The 2 young boys or should I rather call them young men walking with the group of 7 are turning into two very handsome lions. Looks like they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Was nice to see their tracks as cubs and now as young mature males.
Elephant sightings have been off the charts, they have been all over. Large herds, smaller herds and bachelors all over the place. And then babies, babies all over and even though all animal babies are cute, elephant babies are out-competing them all, especially with all that personality. The elephants are mostly responsible for most of these larger animal paths leading to the watering holes. We have many elephants feeding close to our house, and our 19-month-old daughter cannot get enough of them, she loves elephants, and even has a stuffed toy one.
Buffalo sightings have been the more difficult ones for us to find. We have only seen the odd buffalo bull down in the river. We do find their tracks and fresh dung on the roads, then they disappear into the long reeds to enjoy the cool water and walk around at night enjoying the cooler evenings for feeding. With the sand banks forming, lots of the short grass is starting to grow and is fairly easy to pull out.
Hyena sightings have been really good again, they have been moving to the Malembeni watering hole and the best time to see them is just as the sun goes down. They then seem to be crawling out from somewhere, where they spent the day resting, and they are super curious to see what the two-legged creatures are up to while we are enjoying a sundowner.
Highlight of the month:
This time it wasn’t a specific sighting, it was a specific day driving down Makumu highway. This is the main road leading to the lodge and to Malembeni watering hole. It started with a lion sighting at our lodge pan, then we had two different leopard sightings and then found the wild dogs at Malembeni itself. This all on one road, it was very special. I always say and still believe, you do need a lot of luck out here, but also that patience and persistence will eventually pay off.
Thank you for reliving this wonderful experience with us.