7 June: Umlani’s May Blog Entry

May has seen huge activity on the game viewing front with several highlights. Most notable was the witnessing by some of our guests of lions killing a female buffalo – unfortunately the lions did not wait for the buffalo to die – much to the consternation of some of our guests – no – it is not the same as a national geographic documentary!








During May we saw a great deal of activity within the camp as the surrounding bush is dring out, now that we are heading into Winter. It makes walking to the rooms after dinner very interesting – totally safe of course but a reminder that Umlani is based in the African bush and that we are the visitors and not the animals! Most notable was a herd of about 300 buffalo which not only made a great deal of noise in camp, but they left a great deal of processed grass behind 🙂

Where you have buffalo you often have lions, and this was no exception! Towards the end of May we had one of the old lionesses from the Machaton pride lying up in the river bed near camp and occasionally going to the water hole to drink. I was standing on the bar deck overlooking the dry river bed and water hole as she started calling one evening. Loud rustling 5 metres to my left turned out to be one of the other lionesses, followed by two of the 12 month old cubs! They had been lying up somewhere between our Room 7 and bar all day – and we never knew! Shortly after, they were joined by the third lioness who walked right through our camp to join them!

We have also had our fair share of leopard and hyena sightings and both are regular visitors to Umlani. We have found a hyena den not too far from camp, so we are anticipating more regular hyena visits!

Our tree-house continues to be popular, especially at night. Whilst taking some guest to spend a few hours there recently after breakfast, we saw a lot of general game, and when we got the the treehouse overlooking Marco’s Dam, we met 7 hyenas with the remains of the giraffe leg stolen from the Machaton lion pride!

Talking of lions - we have had two big males coming into the area – and sadly killed one of the Machaton cubs at a kill. This is natural behavior of course, but nevertheless it leaves the pride with 6 male cubs now after starting out with 8 males and 1 female. The male lions didn’t stay long but I am sure that they will be back as there are some changes afoot amongst the lion territories here.

Moving into winter, our snake sightings in camp have plummeted although the occasional one still appears on the warmest days.

Now that the bush is drying out we are expected an increase in activity from our resident honey badgers trying their luck in our kitchen. We are trying to mitigate against any serious losses, but this is nearly impossible with these animals. I have a sneaking admiration for their persistence and sheer guts!

Our plans for the new kitchen are in the final stages and we have already started preparing the area and making bricks! We are all very excited to have our proper kitchen and office back, but in the meantime we have all become very much fitter going up and down the hill! I will report on progress in next month’s blog!

Herewith a few images: