THE MKUZE FALLS RANGERS REPORT
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.
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!