Ranger Diaries & Press
May/June 2021 Wildlife Report
Winter is slowly approaching, which means early morning coffees, hot water bottles and late night fires around the dinner table. Welcome to another update from the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and Makumu Private Game Lodge, your home away from home. I will be covering some of the exciting things that we encountered over the last 2 months.
All images in this article were taken by Cherie Bredenkamp and AD van Zyl the assistant managers.
The Vibrant colours of the bush are slowly fading to cooler soft tones. And with the thinning of the bush, we can start looking forward to some amazing wildlife viewings, especially predator activity. The morning and night temperatures are starting to drop to mid 10 and rise to mid 20 in the afternoons, which still allows for a lovely day to lounge around the pool area.
We have had some amazing sightings around the lodge. A favourite visitor is the African civet that has made numerous appearances around the lodge and even allowed for some amazing photo opportunities. The lodge pan has also been remarkably busy with giraffe, kudu, zebra, impala, and plenty of elephant herds that spent hours around the pan and lodge itself.
Leopard sightings have been quite the highlight these past two months with more visual clarity due to the dried-out bush. We were even lucky to have followed up on a leopard kill thanks to the nervous behaviour of giraffes and confirmation from the alarm calls of a kudu. It is always fascinating to experience our field guides make use of their knowledge and bush resources, whether it be following tracks, scent, audio, or wildlife behaviour, to lead them to an amazing sighting. And with focus to detail and persistence, we found a beautiful female leopard in a Jackalberry tree with an impala kill. To top it all off we had the magnificent full moon to highlight the silhouettes of an elephant heard passing by this leopard sighting with us right in the middle of it all.
Lion sightings at Makumu never seize to disappoint. Our beautiful pride of 25 are still doing well and are highly active around the lodge itself. We were lucky to have had the entire pride make an appearance at the lodge dam for a late-night drink. They clearly loved the dam as much as we do, as they decided to set up camp there for the next 3 days. Even though we had some sleepless nights due to a vocal choir of 25 right outside our window, we were so fortunate to enjoy all our meals with lions as our view.
The pride has been quite successful in their hunts the past month, with some larger animals like giraffe and even buffalo. This will be quite enough food to fill up all the members of this pride’s bellies. It is amazing to be able to witness the growth of this prides in terms of skills and strength.
We also had a nice sighting of the two new young males. They clearly had just had a big meal as their bellies were full. But these two males are still a bit skittish and nervous as the territories they are moving around in are not theirs. Because they are still young, they will be living a nomadic life for another few years before they stand a chance to compete with the dominant lions in the area.
We have really been fortunate with an abundance of Elephant sightings, not just on game drive but around the lodge as well. It is always an amazing safari experience when our guests can enjoy a relaxing breakfast with a heard of +- 100 elephants browsing around the lodge. They even made their way through the lodge at night leaving us with quite the clean-up duty the next morning. There are also plenty of baby elephants running around now and it is extremely cute to watch them figure out this new life and especially their new trunk.
May month we had buffalo herds move in and out of the property and spend some nights down by the river grazing. June was a bit quieter with just a one Dagga boy hanging around the dried upriver bed.
Wild dog sightings have been a highlight the past two months. In May we had an amazing sighting of a pack of dogs relaxing all day by. Malembeni Dam. We found them early that morning just lying around baking in the sun. Now and then, a few would get up and go drink some water and some would initiate some play time with each other. We knew that day would just be a lazy day for them and that they would be hanging around for a while. We went back for sundowners just to find them still huddled up under a tree together. But as the sun started to set, the legs started to stretch, and they made their way back out into the bush again. Throughout the two months there have been several quicker sightings of the wild dogs moving in and out of the property
A lovely day was spent out at our famous photographic bunker. It is always so peaceful out there waiting to see what visitors come say hello. We had a beautiful sun set with three giraffes that came for a drink. This made for absolute beautiful photos our guests thoroughly enjoyed it.