It is not often these days that you will head out on a game drive or outing in the bush without coming across the unique birds that are associated with several of the larger herbivores. Hopping around on the backs of buffalo, rhino or giraffe, these little brown birds with their distinct red bills and yellow ring around the eyes are an incredibly important species in the ecosystem. These are the red-billed oxpeckers.Read More
We’ve said it so many times and will continue to do so… life at Makweti is never dull and no two days are the same. There’s always something to see or do and we are frequently blessed with the most incredible sightings that any wildlife lover would wish for.
Walking around Makweti Safari Lodge during the day, one cannot miss the activity of the resident colony of little creatures living amongst and around the rocks, rooms and main lodge. This small ‘rodent-like’ animal is the Rock Dassie or Rock Hyrax.
These little mammals are nowhere close to rodents, other than in general appearance and their distant relatives’ evolutionary paths are linked to elephants and dugongs. They are unique little mammals and form the order HYRACOIDEAE within the mammal group. They have complex social structures, unique appearances, efficient daily feeding habits and digestive systems and live in well organised colonies with segregated areas for different daily activities.
For the past 18 years of my life in and out of the bush, I have been fervently searching for a jewel, and at last I have found one. It was late Friday afternoon when we were heading into a valley, south of the Taaibos River. Our attention was fixed on a cheetah female that we had not seen for some time and had been sighted about 10 minutes away from where we were. This is the female cheetah we featured in April this year on our blog. Her cubs left her on the evening of the 27th of June and became independent, and we have not seen her since then, although her cubs have been sighted regularly. I was keen to see how she was and if she was showing any signs of new cubs being born. But, I digress.
We are privileged to live in such an amazing environment and are reminded of this daily. Makweti Safari Lodge is not only home to our incredible team and a home-away-from-home for our guests, but we also share this space with several resident camp creatures.
On occasions at night whilst heading back to the rooms, guests will catch a glimpse of the shy Jameson’s Red Rock Rabbit, which lives amongst the rocks and boulders of the camp and surrounding hillside. Like the other species of the Lagomorph Order of Mammals (Rabbits and Hares), they are mostly nocturnal, although not exclusively.
Many guests are tempted to skip the morning drive and have the proverbial ‘lie in’, but few are willing to forego it in fear of missing out on whatever may be seen. Two days ago, one of our guests decided to skip the morning drive, but in doing so was fortunate enough to witness a cheetah kill, a mere three meters below the deck of their pool!
Very few (if any) of our guests are aware of the “behind the scenes” activity that takes place as we while away the day or night in camp. There is so much activity that we miss and are unaware of.
Ever since I started guiding and conducting trails, I have been fascinated with the precision, commitment and consistency that the shy and seldom seen Brown Hyena goes about during its daily routine. Brown Hyena lead very secretive lives, which we hardly ever get to witness. Often, we will happen upon signs of their activity all over the Welgevonden Reserve, indicating just how active they are.
One of the most frequently asked questions by most (if not all) our guests is: “What does Makweti mean?” Well, the answer is as simple as it is not. The camp is built in an area of the Welgevonden Game Reserve that is referred to as the “Makweti Gorge.” This gorge lies north of the camp and is the area we look onto from our breakfast deck down towards the Taaibos River Valley.
As the prime species of the big 5, lions are always high on the ‘must see’ list during any safari or game reserve visit. Fortunately for all Makweti visitors, the Welgevonden Game Reserve is home to a bustling lion population.
Woodland kingfisher – Halcyon senegalensis In late October, we look forward to the woodland kingfisher returning to the Waterberg, seeking suitable nesting sites to raise their young. They come back to the reach of Makweti at this time because of the abundance of food available with the onset of the summer rains. It truly is a special time for us. Read More