It was going to be another beautiful day in Africa as we set off on an early morning Safari. We were spending the whole day in Kruger National Park and while we were driving, the sun rising in the east, we were all very quiet.
Early mornings are more difficult for some, not everyone can wake and go. Some need a cup of coffee and for others the best remedy is a exciting Leopard sighting!
Almost as if it was scripted, Sean called out 'Leopard'! There he was, sitting upright and proud, in a tall Marula tree. Everyone was suddenly wide awake. While we were watching him all was calm, apart from the hushed excitement in the vehicle. He stood up and went down the tree, disappearing into the tall grass. That's what we thought ... The peace of the early morning was shattered by a shrill squealing sound. That's when I realised that he didn't just go down the tree to carry on with his day, but he had just caught a Warthog! Just as suddenly as he had disappeared down, he got back up the tree, Warthog in his mouth. Unbelievable!!! Soon after that he went back down the tree and disappeared from view. What a start to the day for an africa safari!
The rest of the safari provided us with many exciting moments and experiences, from the clan of Hyena's to the family group of Ostriches. The Big Bull Elephant that came strolling down the road gave us some fantastic photo opportunities.
There were also moments of fun and laughter. Most entertaining was definitely the troop of Baboons we found swimming in a natural pool in the river. It was just like watching kids splashing and playing, as iof they were on some sort of Africa holidays.
As the sun was finally going down on a great day on Safari, we came across a majestic, old, bull Elephant. We watched him walking away from us down the road, almost as if he came to bid us farewell.
What a special day....!! Wow!
As many of you already know our area was recently hit by the worst flooding that had been seen for many years. Luckily the Vuyani Safari Lodge sustained no damages at all, as we are located at a healthy distance from the nearby riverbed.
On Tuesday the 17th of January 2012 the day started as any other day with no threat or prediction of even heavy rain. However, in the late afternoon the rain started falling, but as it was much needed we were all very grateful at the time.
By Wednesday morning (the 18th) we were greeted by swollen rivers and it was still raining. In total we received 570mm of rain over 48hour period. What makes this so remarkable is the fact that our annual rainfall is between 450mm-550mm per annum. We had that and more in 48hours. Then it all stopped and as quickly as the rivers had come up, their levels started to drop. We had just been hit by a Tropical Cyclone called Dando.
Vuyani Safari Lodge was one of the few lucky Safari Lodges in the area, we sustained no damage to the lodge and were able to continue as normal. We are very grateful for that fact, especially when we think of all our friends that are in the same industry as us whose Lodges not only sustained damage, but in some cases were washed away completely.
Many of the people in our community that live close to the very big rivers that caused most of the damage, sustained substantial damage to their property. As a community it has been remarkable to see all of us rally together and get infrastructure in the area back up to speed in no time.
Apart from some minor damage to our road infrastructure, which we were able to repair swiftly, we are all well and going strong. We have a phenomenal team at Vuyani Safari Lodge and I would like to say a special thank you to all of them for their dedication and professionalism through this trying time.
P.S. What has been quite incredible is how intuitive the animals have been. When we looked back at the event we realised that on the Monday, prior to the heavy rain and flooding, all the animals we saw on our Safaris had moved to higher ground. If only humans were as in tune with nature!
Hi all, man did we show Friday the 13th a thing or two about bad luck!
Early that morning I got word that Jacques and Byron, on their way to work, had spotted our 2 Male Cheetahs but were having a bit of trouble relocating them to show Colin and Pat.
I arrived at the safari lodge at around 7 and decided to head out to go and have a look if I could give the guys a hand. What luck, around 5 minutes later I gave Jacques a call on the wireless and told him I had found the 2 Boys lying flat cat and in no hurry to move at all.
Jacques who had then been following up on some fresh wild dog tracks joined me for the sighting. I then left the sleeping felines and went to go and see if my luck could improve by following up on the dogs. Gave Henry a call and asked if he was up for a bit of a tracking session.
Jumping into his car and only 2 mins from the Lodge, 2 wild dogs crossed the road in front of him. They were on the Hunt darting from Termite mount to Termite mount for vantage over the surroundings.
The Dogs moving so quickly through the thick summer bush it was difficult to keep up with them and visual of the dogs was soon lost.
Africa safaris might for many be about the much-marketed Big5, but for us rangers the rarest and most elusive animals are really what it's all about. And the Cheetah and Wild Dog are certainly two of those! What a lucky day for us and the guests!
Vuyani Safari Lodge Manager and Head Ranger
Our morning safari drive started off well with some good sightings of Kudu, Warthog and Impala. We hadn’t driven very far from the safari lodge when we found some fresh dung and signs of our elephant heard. After tracking them for the past two days I took the opportunity to follow up on the fresh signs they left behind and try to locate these massive animals. Driving along we could clearly see the destruction these animals had left behind on the vegetation, bark stripped off trees, and some trees were pushed over so that the elephants can get to the roots and loads of broken branches and shrubs. We followed the trail all the way to the dry river bed, knowing the elephants would be thirsty after consuming a great amount of vegetation. I knew about some puddles that dammed up after our recent rain and decided to make our way to the area as fast as possible. As we arrived at the first mud wallow we got our first glimpse of one of the female elephants who showed some interest in our arrival. We allowed her to settle down and continue to drink before we moved closer. The whole herd was playing, drinking and just having fun in the water. After they had their fill of water we followed them to a sandy area were we watched them dust bathing and one by one moved off into the dense bush. Rudi, Tracy, Sean and I were very lucky to have spent so much time with the elephants and observing their behaviour. Nice.
Vuyani Safari lodge