October 2017 News Blog
What is it about the African skies that draw people out into the wilderness time and time again? The clarity of the stars on cool nights, and deafening cracks of thunder and lightning that we associate with thick summer clouds, and the psychedelic sunsets that bring each day to an unforgettable end. We live under an enormous canvas of artwork, ever changing, and always inspiring. Right at the end of this past month, while some of our guests might have been celebrating Halloween, our evening skies put on the best performance we’ve seen. Complete with scary props!
FEATURED TEAM: MAINTENANCE
Our featured team for October is our Maintenance team! Working closely with Chris, the men in our Maintenance department oversee the wellbeing of the reserve and lodge surrounds. They are responsible for a long list of tasks that are crucial to the efficient running of Tshukudu. We are incredibly proud to have these men on our side, working to protect and preserve what we have, with some individuals having spent many years with us. In total, our Maintenance Team has spent 57 years and 7 months at Tshukudu!
Here they are, from back to front, left to right: Piet Mahlo, Abram Mkhonto, Elphas Monareng, Eric Silinda (Mechanic), Selby Nkosi, Lucky Rapeulane, Lennox Shipalane.
Absent: Jairus Shai.
Thank you to these guys for taking care of the following duties: checking fences, maintaining roads, feeding the animals during times of drought, clearing alien plants and overgrown bush, landscaping, collecting waste, preparing the boma, and cleaning the pools. Eric – our Mechanic – is responsible for keeping all vehicles, water pumps, generators, and other equipment in tip top shape.
Reserve management is a full time job and these staff members have large shoes to fill, especially during busy times. They work outside in the hot sun as well as in the pouring rain – the work continues no matter the elements, in order to safeguard our animals and ensure our guests have the best possible experience.
WILDLIFE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
We have been abundantly fortunate this month with endless wildlife sightings worth writing home about. The safari quality is top notch, and our guests have enjoyed up close and personal encounters with some of our wild family members. By up close – we mean metres away from a basking crocodile, and at arm’s length to a pair of feasting cheetahs! Also up there with some close encounters has to be the morning bush walk that included watching two rhino chase a male lion. That was something we will never forget!
Our guests met and spent quality time with all three cheetahs on numerous occasions this month, which we can say with confidence is perhaps the greatest highlight for many visitors. Experiences like these are unique to Tshukudu, and time and time again we are reminded of the extraordinarily special bond we share with our cheetahs. An unofficially selected favourite moment was spent with Ntombi at sunset: we found her relaxing at her favourite waterhole, just as the sun was sinking low on the horizon, and joined her to enjoy the moment. Just then, a journey of giraffe emerged from the bush to get to the waterhole. They stopped and watched us and Ntombi until they decided it was safe to approach the water and quench their thirst. What a magical moment!
Other undeniable highlights from our beloved wilderness included this sighting caught on video. Guide David and his guests watched as a crash of rhino interacted with one another, emitting amazing vocal sounds we don’t hear too often. David reported the sighting as follows:
“There were 2 young rhino bulls and 1 older bull, and a cow and her calf. It looked like the two young bulls were intruding on the dominant male’s territory, and when the female came closer, the dominant bull wanted to get in between the younger males and the cow. He got too close to the female rhino and her calf, and she instinctively tried to chase him away, which resulted in the vocalisations and stomping activity we saw”
A few blissful moments spent with male cheetahs, Hunter and Floppy, were also some of the wildlife highlights this month...