Little Makalolo - August 2013

Sep 13, 2013 Little Makalolo
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Landscape / Vegetation & Water
It has been so easy to spot game now as the trees are continuously losing their foliage. Most of the ordeal and teak trees are shedding their leaves making the bush almost see-through. Acacias and some diaspora species are starting to get new leaves and this is always the place to find giraffes and other browsing animals. Our waterholes are starting to feel the pressure as animals start to drink mid-morning; however as they are pumped they still look healthy regardless of the animal population.

Climate & Temperature
Winter is resisting coming to an end. August offered mild mornings with the lowest temperature being 2.6 degrees Celsius, afternoons were hot and the highest being 40.7 degrees Celsius and cirrus clouds were common because of the winds. Ponchos played a big role in the mornings by keeping our guests warm, not to talk about the morning and the afternoon teas in the bush. Most guests opted for tea instead of a cool drinks to warm them up during afternoon / evening game drive.

Animal Sightings
We have had a great month in terms of animal sightings. We have seen a number of predators making kills in our concession. The big male cheetah was seen taking off in pursuit of waterbuck and after the chase we found the elegant cat resting next to the road after killing one of the sub-adults. He took his time before starting to feed as he knew it was a mid-morning and competitors were now snoozing.

On another day we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw two kudu running from a waterhole at midday with temperatures not conducive for hunting. A cheetah was in hot pursuit and it killed a kudu calf and dragged it under a blue bush for shade cover. Clearly the kill was a strategic move by the cheetah who did not want to share its lunch with any scavengers. That is survival of the fittest.

There seem to be a lot of nomadic lionesses about at the moment. Gone are the days when we see lions moving in large prides. All this is caused by males exploring the concession. For example, there were four big males seen recently in front of Little Makalolo. They must be the new kids on the block as our guides didn’t know them and they were very skittish. We are waiting in anticipation as to what will happen when they meet the coalition of two males who have taken over the concession as their territory.

Elephant, eland and sable still keep our guests entertained at the waterhole during siesta time and the population of animals is continuously increasing around the camp making it a guest’s delight.

Special Animal Sightings
The painted dogs (wild dogs) were seen a number of times hunting this month. Some of our guests had a treat when they saw three dogs killing a steenbok in the vicinity. The distress call of the poor steenbok also attracted lions which had been lying invisible in the grass.

Within a single moment we saw more than 300 buffalo, plenty of elephant, a pride of lion and a leopard sitting on a log pile in front of the camp. There was mayhem as we saw elephants chasing lions and other lions wanting a meal from one of the buffalo - all this while the leopard looked on. With all the fighting a buffalo calf got injured and the lions had something to easily kill and eat.

Probability sightings for the month
Lion 70%, leopard 10%, roan 60%, giraffe 80%, hyaena 20%, Cape buffalo 43%, side-striped jackal 47%, elephant 100%, black-backed jackal 100%,

Bird Sightings
The lapwings are nesting and we saw a crowned lapwing with two eggs. As we got close, the bird tried everything to conceal its eggs in the blending grass and even faked a broken wing.

A pair of ostriches were seen leading tiny chicks, which is a little early in the season for them to have hatched; however they don’t do well in places with too much water, so perhaps they will survive in our concession. The yellow-billed kites have started coming back as well as the violet-backed starlings.

Guest Comments
"Timba was a super guide, B and Timba were excellent managers and seemed to enjoy their work" Charles & Elizabeth

"Sitting in the log enclosure watching the animals in the waterhole. Thank you for a wonderful experience" Michelle

"Night drives and the lion pride, the waterhole lookout, elephants eating from a tree. The guides was also great and helped a lot with the lighting for our photography" John

“The staff were wonderful, so kind , hard working, happy and always welcoming. We really felt like part of the family. We enjoyed our special honeymoon and enjoyed our candle-lit dinner" Rob and Emilly

Staff in Camp
Managers: Themba & Buhle
Asst Manager: Charles
Trainee Manager: Tracy
Guides: Themba, Charles, Honest, Robert
Housekeeping: Ernest, Pagiwa, Angel
Maintenance: Pious, Mpindi, Khulumani
Waiters: Jabu, Tawanda, Valani, Pino
Kitchen: Mayisa, Sendy, Shepard, Benedict

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