Oktoberfest at Deception Valley Lodge…..

¨….Once back on form, he’s set to pounce!
He’s on all fours again!
As if on springs, he’ll leap and bounce
Before he counts to ten!
This little jewel is known to prowl
And ambush suddenly…
He even makes his Mother growl,
While Dad stares solemnly…¨ – Lion cub – Dennis Martindale

The amazing and rare experiences that took place the last two weeks were truly an epic festival!! Firstly, it was a special, yet extremely sad sight that occurred. Our guests were soaking up the sun next to the pool, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a Honey Badger decided to join them! He slipped into the pool and just floated. Although it was very cute at first, we discovered something was off. It is very rare for a Honey Badger to be so relaxed and lifeless. Our guide, Knowledge came to the rescue, and lifted him out of the pool. Everyone was concerned….but relaxed a little bit when the Honey Badger´s breathing went back to normal. Unfortunately, this was not the end. For quite a while the weak, black and white body just laid there next to the pool. We realised something severely was wrong, and Braam (the founder of Deception Valley Lodge) was the one to assist us. He took the Honey Badger to a quiet place away from the lodge´s noise, so it can rest and regain its strengths and energy. Just as we were getting our hopes up, Braam noticed that a very bad incident had happened to this Honey Badger. Either a snake or Porcupine must have got hold of him, since he was missing both of his eyes. That explained why he just leapt into the pool in broad daylight. The Honey badger was very weak, and with great sadness he did not survive through the night.

Within the next few days, events luckily turned. Lately, the lions are visiting the lodge almost every day! Just after dusk they leave their resting place and come to the watering hole to quench their thirst. The cubs see this as an opportunity for more playtime. These days they are ever so keen to express their new, developing hunting skills. They have a profound new hobby of chasing the Helmeted Guineafowl. Not even to talk about their shenanigans the past few nights!!! One evening, our resident Porcupine thought he would have his dinner in peace and quiet. However, the cubs decided to be a great nuisance to him. All of us were astonished by this magnificent sight. First, the cubs constantly tried to go for the Porcupine, but the Porcupine knew these are just youngsters and he had the major advantage of the sharp quills. Giving up his dinner was out of the question. Every time they approached him, he turned his quills towards them to scare them away. Mom, Dad and the Aunties just watched from a distance.

Later on, when the cubs started losing interest in the Porcupine, they decided to investigate the fire and its tools. One was running at the fire, just to turn back in his tracks last minute, and then went playing with the spade. It was quite a show! Just as our guests sat down for their own dinner, the cubs decided that they are not quite finished entertaining. Next up, was another Honey Badger. They chased him first around the lodge and then went in hot pursuit of him under the deck. The poor honey badger ran for its life! But, then it turned around, to teach these youngsters a valuable lesson. However,Mom and Dad decided that they must show the children how it is done…. Luckily for the honey badger he got away.

During all these festivities, our resident Small-Spotted Genet, just sat safely on top of the roof, away from all the trouble, watching the comedy play off. The guests from Chalet 5 were enlightened one morning, when the Genet decided that he will be spending the day with them in the chalet. He made himself comfortable, on top of the mosquito net, for a prolonged daydream session. It is also with great pride to say, he has finally found a mate, and he brings her to the lodge. Hopefully soon we will have little Genets running around the lodge!!

The excitement did not stop here! One night, when Knowledge walked his last guests to the chalet, for a peaceful night´s sleep, he saw a faint movement towards the right of him. Everything was so quiet, what could it possibly be? Suddenly, a Leopard ran out in front of him and the guests!!! After the leopard was relaxed, she was just casually strolling in front them as if to show them the way to the chalet. This ¨hostess with the mostest¨ made sure it was an exquisite end to the day!!

The last, but not the least, were two different sights of Brown Hyena on one drive!! Absolutely unbelievable!! Since Brown Hyaena forage alone, they are often mistaken for being solitary. They do form clans but their home ranges are much larger- an average of about 300km². While foraging alone they may travel as much as 30km in one night, walking at a speed of ±4 km/hour.

So, even though we will celebrate Oktoberfest a bit different from the original one in Germany, you can still enjoy an ice cold St. Louis beer and delicious food while watching all the animals doing their own kind of parade for you. It is truly an unique experience you will always remember…..

Have a fabulous October!!

Janie Swart
General Manager