As we say goodbye to winter and welcome seasonal shifts, we’re reminded of the fortunate location of Zululand, the home of mFulaWozi Wilderness, that allows for mild winters. In August, the reserve was bustling with exciting sightings. One standout moment was the collaborative effort with the Wildlife Act to collar a female wild dog. Continue reading for an in-depth look into the last month.

The vegetation is undergoing a seasonal transformation, becoming greener despite limited rainfall, thanks to the influence of the nearby Indian Ocean.

Controlled burning, also known as prescribed burning, is being employed to maintain Veld health. These burns are carefully scheduled to avoid public threats, with weather conditions closely monitored. They aim to preserve the benefits historically provided by regular fires while managing alien plant populations and protecting endemic species. Herbivores are poised to benefit from the fresh, nutritious vegetation.

Our resident lioness, despite nearing the later phase of her life, is becoming more active with her two cubs, one male and one female. She hunts successfully to nourish her offspring, who are beginning to participate in the hunt, showcasing their instinctive behaviours.

Three sub-adult males, possibly forming a coalition of brothers, have been observed at night, marking territory and vocalising.

Two fully grown resident males have been captured on camera, appearing healthy and robust. Anticipation grows as everyone awaits potential encounters between them and the sub-adults.

A female with two cubs, not older than three months, has been frequently sighted this month. The survival odds for cheetah cubs in nature are notoriously low due to various factors, including maternal instincts and the challenges posed by adult males. To spread their genes and force the female cheetah into oestrous, male cheetahs kill cubs that aren’t their own. This shows the competitive nature of cheetah reproduction, driven by the survival of the fittest.

Various buffalo herds are thriving within the reserve. These herds are often seen near water sources, particularly from Biyela Lodge Terrace, where they come to drink and mud-wallow.
Older buffalo bulls, typically in groups of 5 to 10, are frequently spotted near water sources due to their need for soft, nutritious grass as their teeth wear down with age.

Similar to buffaloes and other migratory animals, elephants move in herds led by matriarchs. Mature bulls may either leave the herd or get expelled, often roaming alone or following older males to learn survival strategies.

This month featured remarkable close encounters with an old bull, easily recognisable by his severed tail and droopy ear. A massive herd of over 200 elephants congregated at the river in front of Biyela Lodge, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

A solitary Black Rhino was spotted around Courser Pan, displaying skittish behaviour.
In contrast, White Rhinos have been thriving along the riverside, with many individuals grazing in the area. This is particularly special given the ongoing challenges faced by rhinos, such as habitat loss and poaching.

Spotted Hyenas:
One of our guests eyed a spotted hyena in front of Biyela Lodge while enjoying morning coffee before a Game Drive.

Wild Dogs:
This month, in collaboration with @Wildlife ACT, we had the opportunity to collar a female wild dog, also known as a Painted Wolf. Wild dogs possess a unique and highly social structure, making collaring them a significant conservation achievement.

Radio collars provide crucial data on animal movements, home range, territory, and activity patterns. The importance of timely intervention during passive periods and the delicate process of darting the animal were highlighted.

Collaring operations, while vital for conservation, can be challenging and require expert teamwork. A successful operation was conducted, with the female awakening after four minutes and rejoining her pack.

As we transition into summer, birdlife in the reserve is flourishing. You don’t need to venture far for birdwatching; both lodges offer rich bird activity.

Species commonly spotted on the lodge terrace include Swallows, Swifts, Martins, Sunbirds, Storks, Egrets, Herons, Coucals, Geese, Bee-eaters, Honeyguides, Crows/Ravens, Starlings, Bulbuls, Cisticolas, Camaropteras, Larks, Vultures, Eagles, Shrikes, Boubou, Falcons, and more.

Noteworthy sightings in the reserve include Secretary Birds, Wattled Starlings, and Gurneys Sugarbirds.

Photo Credit – Camilla Irene Sala

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This