March Ranger’s Report

Elephants, Porcupines, and Predatory Standoffs

Oh the madness of March! Whether it is something in the air or in the water, this month sure has been busy at Umzolozolo.

We have welcomed many guests from beyond the continent of Africa but also enjoyed the company of local visitors who continue to put their trust in our team to deliver a world class safari experience at our piece of heaven on Earth.

Our two White Stinkwood trees that we planted down at our new dam succumbed to the playful attention of two young elephant bulls. They were exploring our bush breakfast site and decided to snap the tree trunks with the utmost of ease. A plastic table was also maimed in the process and some pipes provided them with props to practise their pulling power. They entertained guests with their swimming shenanigans at one of the larger dams nearby, and popped in for a visit at the management house late one evening.

On at least four evening game drives, I was fortunate enough to find porcupines on my way back to camp. The large rodents and a couple of their babies were foraging close to our access road. They are a nocturnal species and with the season changing we are more likely to see them out on drive. Yay!

Most of our migratory birds have left the reserve to embark on their journey north. The Barn Swallows are gathering on transmission lines and the cuckoos have fallen silent.

The most interesting sightings for the month have involved our Tswalu lionesses and the two dominant males. On a morning drive we were watching the cheetah brothers just after they had brought down a young zebra. One cheetah was on the kill and the other was on the fence line. Moments later, the four lions popped up on the horizon and our blood ran cold. Could they see the smaller cats? Would the cheetahs escape in time? Had the lions heard them make the kill?

The encounter unfolded in slow motion, it seemed. The cheetahs could see the big cats and were keeping a low profile. Once the lionesses saw the boys, it was clear that the faster species needed to abandon their breakfast to survive another day. Thankfully. The male lions found the free meal before anything happened to threaten the more endangered cats.

Until next month, happy travels!

Head Guide Noleen Turner