Everyone loves mummy! :-)

What little cutie pies these three little lion cubs are! They are now starting to grow up, but there is still some time to enjoy their sweetness towards mum and dad. They enjoy them very much (I do feel sorry for the mum trying to get some sleep actually), but who can fault them? They are very sweet indeed.

The mother has done a great job at raising them, and she has brought them all through. That’s a great result. Our reserve is of course a perfect environment for rare and fragile animals to prosper, as seen by the reproduction of our cheetahs also, wild dogs, leopards, and all others as well. And this is the truly great news: the bigger picture. It’s heart-warming to witness the success of the reserve as a whole, a pure haven for many of Africa’s (and hence also the world’s) rarest and most endangered species.

Just visit us here at the Vuyani Safari Lodge, and your visit alone helps to maintain, and grow, the reserve. Our guests should always be pleased and proud of visiting here. If it wasn’t for them, then this reserve would not be what it is. And so our three little lion cubs are sending their many thanks to you all, and they would love to see you here :-)

 

What is it like for guests here?

I do get this question very often … and the answer is: well, what it looks like on photos, just even more fun and interesting! But for our guests, it is not all about the amazing animals sightings, but of course about spending time with the Vuyani team as well. Very often friendships develop, and many of our guests stay in touch. I am proud to say that a stay here at the Vuyani Safari Lodge teaches not only about the hundreds of fascinating African animals, but also about its lovely people, its cultures, history and its quirks, but of course also about the universality of human nature and dignity. In other words, it brings people from all over the world together, and that is just fantastic! If this helps to bring about world peace, along with wildlife conservation, and I am sure it does, then this is a legacy that is above and beyond words that I know to describe it.

So here some photos that Fran, from Australia, sent us in a few days ago. They had a blast here, they got engaged here, and we are thrilled to hear that they will come back here, hopefully with friends and family.

Many thanks to Fran for sharing these lovely photos with us, it’s so heart-warming, and real. Lovely! :-)

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Hopefully it is over now

We always can’t wait for the end of the dry season … wildlife is exhausted, hungry, lethargic … it’s a tough time. But that’s nature! Such yearly periods of harsh weather make sure that nature remains healthy by eliminating old and weak elements in its system. This is a reality that we humans, through ingenuity, have managed to escape to a very large extent (thank God for us!), but in real nature, that’s the rule, and that’s the rythm of life.

So over recent days the weather has been way warmer than average, and we have had first rains. Seems like an early rainy season might be upon us. We are excited.

Regarding sightings, the last weeks have been simply stuning. Having more game drivers out, with more eyes on the ground, has made epic sightings even more frequent. But see for yourselves!

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Guest photos :-)

I do get the comment sometimes … “Nice photos, but what do the guests actually see?”. Well, the same! Exactly the same, actually. Our photos are taken by the tracker, which he happily does, while on safari. So what he sees, that’s what our guests see.

Sometimes we are lucky, and a guest sends in some of their best shots while here, and, boy oh boy, there are always real treats amongst them. Our guests are a lucky bunch. And some of them are amazing photographers!

Theresa took about 1400 photos while here (!!!!!), and these are just some of the best. There were hundreds of stunning shots, I just can’t post them all. Here a selection. Many thanks for sharing them with us, that’s awesome!

Please visit us again, it was a pleasure having you here with us!

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Dry season in full swing

August is usually the driest month of the year, and indeed, it’s dry out there. The grass is yellow, and all leaves are brown. And yet … we’ve had a bit of rain this month: twice! That’s a first, I don’t remember that ever happening in August. Is it a good omen for a good upcoming rainy season? We certainly wouldn’t mind. We love rain here! Speaking of which, rainy season! We do get a lot of questions about that. When we mean “rainy season”, we are not talking about miserable wet drizzle for weeks on end like a European (or worse, dare I say, a British) winter. Our rainy season falls into the warm summer, and by rain we mean quite regular (2-3 times/month only) of strong but short-lived downpours. We would love to have rain for days on end, but we almost never have that. When we do, we celebrate.

But our guests can be reassured: losing several days of safari due to rain is rare here. It happens, but it really doesn’t happen much. You’d have to be unlucky.

Back to the current dry season: it lasts usually from May to early September. There are variations, of course, but that is broadly speaking the pattern.

If you look at the last days’ pictures, you will see what “dry season” means. A lot of game is showing signs of lack of nutrition, and many simply can’t wait for the end of it all. Our predators are doing well though. The game is slower and more lethargic. ;-)

Cheetah brothers
Cheetah brothers
Giraffe
Giraffe
Elephant eating awy close to the game driver
Elephant eating awy close to the game driver
Crocodile chilling away at one of our lakes.
Crocodile chilling away at one of our lakes.
Lioness out for a drink!
Lioness out for a drink!

Spectacular cheetah kill

I wasn’t sure whether I should share this with our many fans and future guests … or not. In a way, it is brutal, ugly, gruesome, and yet, in a way, it is honest. This is nature. True nature. Eat and be eaten. Evade a predator, as best as you can, until that one day when you run out of luck.

We as humans like to think that we have nothing to do with this cycle of life, but the truth is, we all run out of luck one day. It just isn’t a cheeatah or lion, usually. ;-)

As our guests were absolutely blown away by what they saw, I decided that best is to just share how absolutely spectacular animal sightings can be here on our reserve.

So here is last week’s cheetah kill!

 

Very regular good sightings

When we started off, almost a decade ago, we were the only lodge on the reserve, with only one game driver. As a result, tracking and finding game was a tough game. It took time, very hard work, and quite a bit of luck. We got there, but there were “quiet” days.

No more!

There are now 2 lodges, with a total of 6 game drivers (which is still extremely low density for a 36,000 acre private game reserve), and as all guides share sightings and intell, we now have quasi guaranteed daily sightings, whether it be one of the “Big5″ (I hate that term), or one of the many hundreds of other spectacular animals.

Just a quick example of some of what we saw over two days, between the 7th and 9th of July. Great stuff indeed! This is not all we saw, very far from it, but just the best shots our tracker took. The reality is that you see an animal on average every 5-10 minutes. It’s that spectacular here.

Giraffes

Up-close leopard sighting in the evening

Elephant encounter!

And a well-known, and quirky, yellow bill hornbill

Amazing news!

Sometimes, despite “suspicions”, even we get surprised. But see for yourselves, a surprise sighting a few days ago:

 

Bam! 3 little lion cubs, 2-3 months old! That is what the lioness has been hiding all this time.

Lionesses hide their little ones for the first 3 months or so, as they are in big danger of being preyed upon by predators who see lions as big competitors, and also future predators (for just cause!).

So this is the big news: we have 3 new cubs on our reserve. Very, very exciting!

 

The stand-off

I often get the question … how close can we get to the animals? I always think to myself: close enough to get your heart pumping and making you all going very quiet … because of the adrenaline rush!

It is one thing to know that an elephant can weigh in excess of 10 tons, standing up to 4m tall … but it is quite another to be facing off one of these monsters. Photos don’t really do justice … but they give you a vague idea. And that is one of the things that makes safaris so exciting! It is a bit of a challenge with your senses. These animals are VERY unusual, and very, VERY big.

So here an elephant encounter last week. Close enough? ;-)

June is kicking off in truly outstanding fashion

We have had some amazing sightings the last couple of days!

Lions were tracked and found on the Bloubergbos cutline. The youngsters had taken down a Kudu and we only saw them chomping on the last bits of the carcass.

The Cheetahs were spotted on Kudu Road and on the move.

We had a spectacular sighting of the elephants at Badger Pan, taking a drink and the full moon. It really was a great sighting (sadly full moon is not good news for APU units ☹ ) Here the video of it all!

The wild dogs were tracked and found by both MRL and Vuyani guides. They had taken down a Grey Duiker at Kudu Pan – they devoured this duiker in seconds, and I don’t think everyone got a taste, it was more like a snack than an appetizer.

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We tracked and found the Lions again they were snoozing near Leopards Bend cutline, the Big male and young males came together and tolerated each other for a bit. However, you can see many scars on all of them. So the fighting for dominance has started for sure.

We had a VERY cool sighting at the APU camp – the Cheetah had taken down a Bushbuck right in the middle of camp! As in RIGHT THERE! Hahaha. The APU unit called the sighting in. Thereafter they lay right next to the office to have a little snooze. Truly spectacular sightings for our guests, and they were understandably beyond excited. This is simply amazing.