What a jam packed month it has been with Christmas, New years and the bush tales all in one.

With lots of baby animals being born in November the cats made a big appearance in December. Lions, Leopards and Cheetah were everywhere and provided us with the most memorable of sightings. One such sighting which will go down in my books as the most incredible. Nkarula, our female leopardess and her 2 cubs with a three metre long python. Nkarula caught a python and bit its head so that it could not get away, then she gave it to her boys to play with. What ensued was an amazing battle with one of the cubs trying to eat this very awkward meal. We sat in the sighting for 2 hours and got some once in a lifetime footage.

Another sighting which should be noted was the Nkuhuma pride of Lions that killed a buffalo and had it stolen by other Lions. Six of the Nkuhumas, 3 sub-adult males and three adult females killed a buffalo then the 2 manyeleti brothers, which are 2 huge male Lions, together with 2 of the other Nkuhuma females came in to the sighting roaring and charging at the existing pride, chasing them off their kill! Once the new owners of the kill were settled, a herd of elephant came and chased the lions from the carcass! Lots of trumpeting and roaring was heard.

Our 4 male cheetahs made an appearance as well. They were around for about a week during which we saw them hunting which is amazing to see as they are the planets fastest land mammal. We werenít lucky enough to witness a successful kill, but itís good to know that these boys like our area and are here to stay.

Our big herds of buffalo have been a bit scarce as have elephant, although we have been seeing a lot of bachelor groups of buffalo and the occasional breeding herd of ellies but mostly the big solitary bulls. As usual we are having to work especially hard for our rhino which are playing hide and seek in the long grass. The rangers & trackers having to track them down on foot most of the time. The reason for all this scarcity is the vegetation and water. Animals arenít moving around as much as they do in winter in search of good food so you find that they are focusing on the smaller less animal populated pans that are in the middle of the bush. There is less competition now with all the food & water about and the animals are in no rush to be anywhere.

Other news of significance was that our dam wall in front of the camp broke after a night of heavy rain on the 1st of December.
Some girls from Bush Lodge & Vuyatela enjoyed a day in town where they could be girls for a change on the 11th. They went out for lunch and did a little bit of shopping and drink sampling in a Hoedspruit establishment! The boys went the following day and went to see the largest Baobab tree in the world at Tzaneen and also did a bit of quad biking.
We had our staff party which was very fun, with lots of dancing and tasting of Rinneas fruit juice da loop!

Christmas dinner was good fun as Anet, Kim, Nick, trackers Terrance & Abraham sat with myself and Andrew and the guests. We pulled crackers and sang songs and we were surprised by a lioness walking over our dam wall in front of the dining room!

On the 31st we did sundowners for all our guests in the Mlowati dry river bed which was beautifully arranged. There were 2 different cocktails from each lodge (Vuyatela & Bush Lodge), lots of snacks and traditional dancers for all to enjoy. We also invited the landowners to say thank you for the fantastic year gone by.

Happy birthday to Patricia one of our laundry ladies and two guests Eveline & Sabinne for the 24th December. Also Happy Birthday to Ed Harris for the 31st December.
May you all have many more happy birthdays to come.

Congratulations to our Honeymooners this month.
Denis & Marion Da Silva
Dia & Sari Thomas
Denis & Jana Fajardo
May you all have a fruitful future together.

Have a fantastic 2010, travel safe and god bless.
From Greg and the Bush Lodge Family.