THE MKUZE FALLS RANGERS REPORT


Summer 2010

We had great summer rains, starting late and continuing throughout summer with temperatures not climbing to high, which was perfect for game viewing. The rain caused a bit of havoc towards the end of January when the river flooded with the water level raising about 4-5 meters above normal. Nature is an incredible force, the raging water pulling out huge trees and carrying them down the river, altering the riverfront beyond recognition – what a sight! It did cause damage to one of our low water bridges, but that did not stop our game drives!

On the animal side, sightings could not have been better this season, leaving our guests in awe. From mid November we had our first Impala being born shortly followed by the Warthog and Wildebeest, in mid February the Buffalo and there is currently two very young giraffe on the airstrip.

The one morning we encountered an Elephant baby only hours old, still pink with long black hair covering his tiny body surrounded by a very excited and protective mother and herd, this was to be followed by another Elephant birth three days later. How exiting!

I can hear Impala ‘rutting’  in the background announcing the beginning of a new matting season, I have also noticed some big Warthog, Nyala and Kudu bulls joining the female herds. The skeletons of two Nyala bulls that locked horns where found the other day,  that shows how seriously it is taken.

The Lion population has grown to eighteen, one pride consist of two big dominant males (half brothers), the one a eight year old black manned beauty and the other half a year younger with two mature females and nine sub- adults of about two years of age. There are plenty of mouths to be fed and no opportunity is going wasted and with younger one helping, there are many intense moments while hunting and even more around a kill where the competition is stiff. The other pride got a new addition of two cubs, now in the region of four months of age. The female only recently started to show off with the cubs and sightings of them will improve gradually. There is nothing more magnificent than Lion cubs playing in the morning sun, ambushing “The king of the jungle”, jumping all over the proud dad, who will tolerate the young ones…. and sometimes (not very often) he even joins them in their fun. This provides for incredible photo opportunities only to be found in Africa.
 

   
 

We had the privilege of seeing a lion pride one evening, taking down first a zebra and then a wildebeest, all in one go, pretty amazing. The feast was something to experience and we stayed to watch for a long time. Then the time came to leave, the game viewers starter only clicked over and the big spotlight dimmed, Say no more, we had to stay a bit longer until backup arrived to give us a helping hand. What an amazing adventure for our guests and a not so great one for the ranger, but all in all definitely one to remember.

To name only a few, the cheetah sightings remain quite impressive with a group of four males roaming the area, joined by another group of two males, a big dominate male and several females. The most rare of the spotted cat family, the leopard are seen on a more irregular base, we had an impala killed several days ago in the tree line opposite the Main lodge by an young female, she was joined in the feast by a big male Leopard and later by some hyena, who didn’t like any company. 

Staying on the rare side, we also had a group of open billed stork visiting for some days over January, they are seen in the area but not on our property and the other day we were lucky enough to be the second group in many years to spot a honey badger, a big male who casually trotted down the road with no worry in the world.

Should I mention the aardvark? No! My fellow rangers won’t forgive me! An aardvark is in the area and has been sighted, it just doesn’t happen every day and is a truly rare honour.  This is what makes nature so special, you never know what is around the next corner, nothing can be planned which makes every game outing a truly unique experience.
 


See you in the bush!
Greetings

Head ranger
 

       
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