May 2017 Ranger's Letter
After a long and wet few months, Madikwe is starting to dry out. Everything is still lovely and green but the dams are slowly starting to empty out and the puddles have disappeared. And with the rains moving off, the cold is starting to creep in!
Once again, Madikwe has not disappointed with the sightings!
Our beautiful resident big male leopard, Munye, was seen a few times over the past few months. One particularly memorable sighting involved him wandering through the bush scent marking and scraping. We followed him for a short time and were lucky enough to have him parade right past the vehicle for us with some beautiful afternoon light falling on him and providing a wonderful photo opportunity for our guests.
Spooko was also seen one night as guests were returning from a Full Moon Drumming session, and although it was a brief sighting it is always nice to see him.
One spotted cat wasn’t enough, and our guests were treated to multiple sightings of the cheetah over the months. Both coalitions of males have been moving from one side of the park to the other and have been keeping the guides busy trying to locate them. Once they were found though we had some beautiful sightings of them. On one occasion we were lucky enough to witness an encounter with a pair of lions. Fortunately, both cheetah made it out of the encounter unharmed and ran off into the sunset.
Thanks to sponsorship of guests to the park, both of the males which were collared were caught, darted and had the collars removed, making life more comfortable for them and photo opportunities for our guests much better! On one darting occasion, guides kept a good eye on the cheetah for the whole day as a female lion was seen in the area and a sedated cheetah is an easy target for her. She was successfully kept away and the cheetah is now fully recovered.
A very special sighting for guests came in the form of a black rhino as we came round the corner to one of our drinks stops. Although brief, it is always a treat to see these highly endangered animals.
As per usual, our lion sightings have been fantastic and abundant! Both Chimbro males were seen mating with females from the Mica Jamala Pride, so fingers crossed we will be seeing some little ones soon. The lions were seen multiple times on a kill, making for some interesting sightings. Monomogolo and the Mica Jamala pride were both seen feeding of separate giraffe carcasses, while the Bafefue male hung around a rhino carcass for a few days near the lodge being very vocal.
The cubs from the Mica Jamala pride are starting to get big, and at around 7 months old they are bundles of energy. Watching them is a treat as they explore their surroundings and climb on dead trees and termite mounds.
Elephant sightings have been abundant, and with quite a few of the males in musth our adrenaline has been pushed up a few times! As the park is getting drier, the herds are concentrated around the dams and watering holes and watching them splash and play in the water is a wonderful experience.
Our herds of buffalo have been seen on occasion, with a few occasions where a large herd visited our water hole to have a swim in the evenings.
Apart from the big 5, we have had some wonderful sightings of general game around the reserve, including giraffe.
As always, the animals are the main attraction in the reserve. However, there are so many smaller sights to focus on, like some interesting mushrooms seen on the termite mounds. Our beautiful sunsets are definitely one of the highlights and occurrences like rainbows are very special.
Until next time!