Ranger Diaries & Press
October 2021 Wildlife Report
“I bless the rains down in Africa”’ - Toto. Summer is here and we can’t be more excited for what’s to come. Beautiful, green, lush’s bushveld and African rainstorms. 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 Adrian van Zyl & Cherié Bredenkamp, our Assistant Managers.
The Vibrant colours of the bush are slowly starting to reappear. The temperatures are rising to the 30’s, which is the perfect excuse to lounge around the pool with a cold local beer and see what animals come visit our lodge’s famous water pan.
We kicked off this summer with our very first summer rainstorm. And that was just a taste of what’s to come. With Makumu’s endless views, we truly can appreciate those first few glimpses of the rainstorm moving in. It is amazing how our scenery can change overnight from brown, dry and dull colours to green, wet and vibrant colours.
October really started on a high note with an incredible sighting of +- 20 Wild dog pups. Wild dogs are always a favourite to see as they are endangered species and quite rare to see. These pups were giving our guests quite the show, running around and playing with each other. At this young age play time is a very good way for the little pups to practice their pouncing and hunting skills. And other than that, it is also socially beneficial, as playtime creates a strong bond within the pack. To top it off there was also hyenas in the area and the pups were quite curious about them, moving in closer and running around them. Hyenas tend to follow wild dogs to see what food they can steal from them.
Another amazing sighting of the wild dogs with their pups, was while our guests were enjoying their morning coffee with Amarula at Malembeni waterhole. The next moment the while wild dogs joined in for a drink at the waterhole. This was truly a very special South African safari experience.
Cheetah sightings are not a regular occurrence as the vegetation here is not suited for them. Cheetahs prefer more flat, open areas to benefit from their incredible speed. The competition amongst other predators also plays a big role in why they are such a rare sighting in this area. So, when one morning one of the game vehicles found 2 cheetahs walking down the road it was quite the highlight for many guides. They were busy hunting, looking for food but were unfortunately unsuccessful. They then rather found a nice shady spot to rest for a couple of minutes during the heat of the day and later on moved off.
We had such an amazing lion sighting this month. Our guests were woken up at 4 AM by the load noises of lions growling and roaring. And as they looked out their window there was the super pride taking down a kudu right between the rooms on the grass patch. In minutes the lions ate up everything leaving only the carcass behind. Our guests truly had a front row seat to and amazing lion encounter.
Clearly a kudu is very small to feed a super pride of 20 lions, so just a day later the lions were found on a buffalo kill as well. Our guests really enjoyed watching the tiny cubs of the pride trying to get in between all the big lions just to get a small taste of the food.
One of our favourite leopard sightings happened this month. After the lions left the carcass behind on our lodges grass patch, we decided to leave it there fore the night to see what scavengers would come around. While the guests were still out on drive, our assistant manager heard some baboons alarm calling. She went upstairs to shine her spotlight on the carcass and saw the tip of a leopard’s tale. She immediately called it in to the guide on drive and they headed back to the lodge. Luckily when they arrived back the leopard was still there, and she was very calm She walked up to the vehicle through the garden and up the lodges stairs. At one point we were worried that she might go inside the building. But luckily, she made her way to the swimming pool and then had a long drink. It was such an amazing experience for the guests to see this beautiful leopard walking through the camp.
Hyenas are quite interesting animals in the bushveld. They are amazing scavengers who can find their meals from leftover or abandoned kills. We were able to see this first-hand as we came across a giraffe kill covered in +- 20 vultures, and right there in between all of them were a couple of hyenas claiming something else lost treasure. It is quite a thrilling feeling to be so close to a kill sighting where you can hear the tearing of meat and crushing of bones.
We also have a very pregnant hyena hanging around Malembeni waterhole, so hopefully pretty soon we will have some hyena cubs running around.
Makumu is no stranger to regular elephant sightings. And October month was no different. We had huge herds moving past our lodge on their way to the Klaserie river. One day we were lucky enough to have a couple stray off and come drink from the lodge swimming pool while our guests were lounging around.
Our guest also had a cool sighting where they were surrounded by a big herd of elephants eating and drinking by the water dam. There was a very young calf in the herd that really entertained the guests when it is throwing its new trunk from side to side and wobbling on their new legs trying to walk.
Malembeni is quite popular at Makumu lodge, and it lives up to its expectations. As more guests are starting to flood in, we can share with them the amazing photographic bunker. They love it so much that they even book the bunker for the entire day enjoying its peaceful atmosphere and numerous visitors coming down for a drink. And if you spend enough time down there you might just strike lucky like our one pair of guests did with our guide.
Our guide spotted two male lions slowly making their way down to the waterhole. They however stopped at the outflow to drink and moved along. Our guest them jumped into the vehicle and followed them for a while.