To all our guests and followers of our monthly newsletter a warm welcome from our wonderful part of the Kruger National park where we have the privilege of taking our wonderful guests on safari on this 10 000-hectare wilderness. Winter is now coming to an end, the August winds have been blowing on and off all month. The last of the Cold fronts have been moving swiftly through the concession, with cold overcast days occurring more often. For the first time since the severe draughts which we have had in 2016 we have received some drizzle, Knobthorns and Shambok pods have already started flowering. Sightings on the concession have been more concentrated around the waterholes during this month with Leopard often seen drinking at Imbali and Hoyo Hoyo in the evenings while guests are enjoying dinner. Lion, Elephant, buffalo and even the occasion Honey Badger. The bush is looking very dry and brown, the grass being palatable mostly only for the bulk feeders.
Another spectacular month of various lion sightings both on and off the concession, Imbali pride is still doing well all guides now days are finding it hard to differentiate between the young females and adult females. Torchwood pride have been seen around Hoyo Hoyo again through the month all still looking good and healthy. Females from Hamiltons have been seen through the month again mating with the Scorro Mbiri male. Unknown adult male which was seen earlier in the month on Imbali access has been seen around Shumangwineni – unsure if this is one of the Skybed males. Looking forward to seeing young cubs from Hamiltons in a couple of months.
Leopards have been seen throughout the month this month with some really interesting developments – Wabayisa is still very active between Imbali and Hoyo Hoyo Safari lodge, venturing down towards Borehole area but not staying there for long. 2 young female leopards seen around Hoyo Hoyo often in the evenings drinking water with one large male seen occasionally unsure of which male this is. Shidulu made 2 kills in the same evening around Hamiltons – spent 4 days gorging himself while hyeana always remain in the background waiting for some scraps. After 4 days we suspect lions stole the remainder of the kills out of the tree. Nkhanye seems to remain well hidden after losing her one cub, keeping the little one and herself well hidden.
Only one sighting of Cheetah this month, seem to be staying in areas away from main roads where there is still sufficient cover for them. Sighting of Cheetah was very unique as it was seen while guests were out on bushwalk, watching elephants in the riverbed next minute Impala running in all directions and a flash of a cheetah running after them. Hoping once the bush becomes lush again we will have some more incredible sightings of these amazing animals.
The Hamiltons Pack have provided us with some incredible sightings especially around Imbali Lodge, Imbali staff village and also Imbali Waterhole. We have had sightings of the pups for the first time through the month being 13 in total. A group of 5 wild dogs have also been seen occasionally around Hamiltons not sure who they are or which pack they belonged to. Sightings which we had of the Leeupan Pack from Sabi Sands ended around Hamiltons with the pack denning in the block between Sabi Sands and S36. Constant updates of sightings are being sent through to EWT – Grant Beverley and also the State Vets. We will keep everyone updated as to the pups once they become more mobile at this stage they seem to be restricted to the den site and S36.
Elephant and Buffalo
With the dry season peaking we are seeing plenty of Elephant and Dagga boys throughout the concession, Imbali sees a lot of bulls and big breeding herds coming throughout the day to drink water. Hamiltons had a herd of 75 through the month coming for water which was an amazing sighting for everyone. A lot of little elephants around at the moment and they are always entertaining to watch. Elephant Bulls tend to try and take charge of the waterholes in the midday, one incident at Imbali with Elephant bull pushing a buffalo down the embankment into the river bed in front of the main deck.
Birdlife on the concession is always interesting. Vultures have been nesting throughout this month, good sightings of Martial Eagle and also Verreaux Eagle Owls. Mluwati concession is lucky enough to have a few breeding pairs in different parts of the concession. Francolin and Spurfowl chicks are growing up quickly now, Ground Hornbills very active feeding and calling around Hamiltons and Imbali every morning and late afternoon. Purple Rollers are being seen in large numbers around concession since the departure of the European Rollers. African Barred Owlets nesting again at Imbali. Evening chorus includes Scops Owls, Pearl Spotted Owls, Fiery Neck Nightjar to mention a few.
The concession is teaming with wildlife at the moment from the smallest of animals and birds to the largest Elephant Bulls and Ostrich there is always something for everyone to enjoy. “May the call of the African Fish Eagle ring out through the savannas and may the roar of the lion vibrate through your soul….”
THE GUIDES OF THE MLUWATI CONCESSION