Once again the Hyena shows herself!
Chef Kris and myself were on our way to work on the 24 July when just 300 meters from the Vuyani Safari Lodge, Kris hit the brakes as a female Spotted Hyena was walking across the road in front of us. The reason we knew this was a female Hyena is that we had seen her a number of times before. We noticed every time her injured back leg as she strolled off slowly away from us.
On arrival at the lodge Quinton and I quickly rounded up all the guests and headed out on safari to see if we could try and find her again. After circling the area where she had gone into the bush, it became present that she wasn't coming out, possibly indicating that she may have a den in the area somewhere closeby. We have seen her and others rather frequently in the area so are holding thumbs to find their den at some point soon.
Arran - Trainee Ranger
Once again Warren and I and our guests finished our morning coffee and set out for our morning safari drive. After viewing plenty of general game such as Kudu, Nyala, Giraffe, Impala and Wildebeest we decided to make our way towards an area we know has quite a lot of Rhino activity. As we were on our way, our one client Chris shouted out the word “Armadillo” and immediately Warren and I knew that he had seen a Pangolin (Scaly Ant Eater).
Warren reversed the vehicle until we saw it. We spotted the Pangolin trying to run into the bush, we all just had to have a better look! Warren and I jumped out of the vehicle with excitement and ran and picked up the Pangolin so that everyone could get a better look at it. Once we had put him down a little closer to the vehicle for everyone to see, he proceeded to roll himself into an armoury ball to protect himself. After watching him for a few minutes and telling everyone all he was about, he calmed down and unrolled himself, got up and sauntered off into the Bush again.
What a beautiful, awesome and rare creature to see!! A first for us all! Some guides have been working in the bush for decades and never had the chance to get even a glimpse of one. It shows agan the incredible wildlife wealth that is to be found on the Moditlo Private Game Reserve.
Arran and Warren – Trainee guides – Vuyani Safari Lodge.
Lions at a Zebra Kill
On the 30th June 2011 on another cold morning, we had all had our coffee at the lodge and had set off for our usual morning safari game drive. We were about 20 minutes out when Quinton radioed myself and Warren and told us about a lion kill not too far from our immediate position. We kept it a secret from our guests Allison, Chris, Joanna, Amanda, Justin and Shawna as we wanted to surprise them. As we approached the road where the action had taken place we saw a pool of blood and faeces on the road. A few meters ahead of us we saw the zebra carcass and one of the young males still feeding on it. We wanted to get a closer look so we went off road for a bit to be able to get a better view. The male then stopped eating, looked at us curiously and carried on eating after a short while. Then from behind the bushes appeared a 2nd male lion, he walked past his brother and lay down again behind a small shrub.
After viewing these majestic animals in such a calm environment we carried on with our drive and decided to return to that same spot in the afternoon to see if we could get the same kind of experience, and it paid off. When we returned after dark with me using the spotlight to scout the area we saw one of the lionesses in the middle of the road. She ignored the vehicle and walked right past it and not long afterwards gave a loud roar in order to communicate with the others. The 3 young males then responded to her call and came round the corner from the other side, they also walked right by the vehicle and let loose a great roar which we felt vibrate in our chests.
We then followed them for about 100m where they went and lay down in a small open area. They were resting about 10m away from the vehicle and started to roar, and in the distance you could hear another roar from the 2nd female (the young male’s aunt). We were with them for about 20 minutes watching them relax (sleep) like most cats do. They also would sit up and just flop down a few steps from where they were out of total exhaustion. Then out of nowhere the 2nd female appeared, her sister and the three males jumped up and rushed over to greet her, she then bared her teeth as a sign of dominance. After showing them who is the boss she also lay down with the others and had her paw over that of the other female.
We simply then sat there and took it all in for about half an hour then moved on back towards the lodge for a great dinner. We enjoyed to watch them interact with each other but had to keep in mind these cats were not your everyday housecat. For sure, observing lions in their natural habitat is always the highlight of any safari holiday in Africa!
Special thanks to Joanna, Chris, Amanda, Allison, Justin and Shawna and last but not least to our Ranger Warren for the great drive.
Over and Out
My first 3 weeks at the Vuyani Safari Lodge were great fun, getting to know all the staff, learning all the roads, getting up close to all the wonderful wildlife we offer the guest to see and also jumping back into the lodge life routine. I certainly was thrown into the deep end with a safari game drive on my first day. The week that followed I did three Kruger Park excursions and to end it off with a relaxing boat trip in the Blyde river canyon with the Emery family. Thanks to all my colleagues and new friends who have made me feel welcome and part of the team and always eager to lend a hand. The following two weeks breezed by. I ended off my first work cycle with an elephant interaction and ride at Elephant Whispers joined by fun guests and Quinton. I am looking forward to sharing in the safari adventures and making our guests' safari holidays as enjoyable and interesting as possible together with the Vuyani staff when I start my second work cycle on the 5th of July.
Erich Jamneck – Senior Ranger Vuyani Safari Lodge
Wow we have been having some awesome sightings on the Conservancy as well as in the Kruger Park lately. The lions have been spending a lot of time around our staff accommodation and we wake up most mornings to their roars. What a great alarm clock! Even though you wake up with the shivers it still brings a big smile to our faces knowing that we are not stuck in the city hearing sirens and other man made annoyances.
The Elephants have moved back down South for the winter and are spending more and more time around Vuyani and the Moditlo River bed which runs just West of the camp. Most mornings we need to clear fallen trees from our access roads which they have pushed over during the night. Keeps us busy!
Rhinos have been more elusive over the last couple of weeks, with us having fewer sightings on safari game drives, but at least still seeing them on occasion. This is probably because of the cold and they are sticking to thickets and drainage lines where there is less wind, thus keeping them warm. Rhinos don’t like the cold it would appear.
For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, we here at the Vuyani Safari Lodge wish you the greatest summer and hope you’re enjoying the warmth while it lasts. For us here in the Southern Hemisphere it’s bitterly cold this winter (only at night though) and we can’t wait for it to be over. Almost over guys hang in there!! July is the only "cold" month in this part of the world, so it's not too bad.
Quinton Chick - Lodge Manager and Head Ranger
The Vuyani Safari Lodge team would like to wish Julie Vara a very Happy Birthday for yesterday and thank her for spending it here with us. Hope there are many more to come! Enjoy your safari holiday!