Ranger Diaries & Press
DECEMBER 2023 WILDLIFE REPORT
Summer has arrived at Makumu! This month we started to truly feel the heat. We started our summer strong with a two-week heat wave that didn’t stop the viewing of animals. Here is a look at our sightings so far.
All images in this article were taken by Julia Love, Front of House/Ranger
Once again we are blessed with our leopard sightings. Shivindzi has been spotted many times on drive including joining us while we had our drink stop! We had stopped at a watering hole not far from the lodge when all of sudden our tracker Ntiyiso pointed out Shivindzi making her way to the watering hole for a drink, we quickly packed up and made our way onto the cruiser to get a better look at her. She gave us a graceful walkby before disappearing into the bush.
The lions started their calls early in the morning letting us know which direction they were, which ultimately was how we started our morning drive this particular morning. They were calling east from the lodge close enough that they hadn’t crossed the river yet, so after a short drive out of Makumu, a few crested francolins started alarm calling in the river reeds. Our attention was immediately on that area and lucky enough the timing was perfect! Out popped a lion head from the tall reeds in the river, and then another, next thing we knew 7 lions walked through the reeds dodging the water and giving us a show. We found a suitable spot to view them, where we could hear the crunch of bones! They had made a kill. Though we never saw what had been killed, the size of the lions' bellies was enough to say they had quite the feast for the morning.
The hyenas have made their presence known during nearly every sundown gathering we've had! What's even more fortunate is our ability to witness them approaching for a drink while we enjoy ours. On a scorching day at 40 degrees Celsius, luck was on our side as a hyena emerged from the bushes and headed straight to the watering hole where we had stopped. It even took a dip to cool off from the intense heat. Observing hyenas is a delight, as their curiosity leads them to investigate our sundown snacks with keen interest.
It's not a topic we typically discuss, but this story is too adorable not to share.
While at the photographic bunker with our guests one afternoon, we experienced a hot day filled with impalas drinking and zebras playing. Suddenly, a pair of warthogs sprinted down to the water. Swiftly covering themselves in mud, their approving grunts were enough to melt our hearts. Fortunately, I was able to capture the precious moment when the warthogs affectionately cuddled before disappearing into the bush.
Until next time, we are going to go enjoy the heat and all the incredible sightings to come! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Makumu Private Game Lodge!