September 2021 Newsletter

September in the southern hemisphere spells spring! Spring in the bush is a great time of year as it brings with it a plethora of new life. Along with spring, September has brought an abundance of joys, highlights, and marvelous memory-making magic for the PDTV pack.

Heritage Day

The 24th of September is Heritage Day in South Africa. As we are a diverse, and proudly South African bunch (we have, with her permission, deemed Yuka an honorary South African), the PDTV crew made sure to celebrate the day as elaborately and with as much festivity as possible. 

The day began with a Live Safari for all of our treasured Pack Members. Khaya and I (yes, the one who is usually behind the scenes) hopped into the guiding seats to explore what Pridelands had to offer on a cool, Heritage Day morning. Following the fresh tracks of at least two lions was an exciting start to the drive. Having two guides added an extra dimension as Khaya could follow the lion tracks for longer periods while I remained on the vehicle and interpreted what Khaya was doing and what little clues he would be looking for. 

The intensity of the drive multiplied when reports of a trapped pangolin were received. We chased around the reserve hoping to be the heroes in the rescue operation (how many people get to see a real live pangolin, let alone rescue one?!). Unfortunately for us, but very fortunate for the pangolin, he had already been rescued by some super-efficient Eco-Training students who, in great wisdom, had already sent him off to the vet for a once over before he was re-released later that day. 

Wildlife is always the focus, but the highlight of the drive, for me at least, was Khaya’s traditional dance. Our presenter with the most rhythm (don’t tell Brent and Yuka), brought great amusement, and earned himself a large degree of respect for his impressive athletic ability, as he closed the show with a traditional dance! Well done Khaya, next year could you please do it in the traditional gear too?

The next bit of Heritage Day excitement came in the form of a Japanese show. Yuka, as host, and Khaya as guest put on a spectacular show that involved beautiful attire and Khaya teaching Yuka how to cook and eat traditional African food. Yuka put on a sterling performance as she attempted to eat a chicken foot, one of the traditional delicacies in Khaya’s Ndebele culture. Much fun was had by all, and one viewer enjoyed the show so much she proposed to Khaya in the comments section… 

The rest of the day was spent off-air, preparing and enjoying a very traditional South African meal, a braai (barbecue).

News from the Den

The breeding herds of elephants made their return this month. After a few months of lower than normal herd activity, Charles, our bush savvy CFO spotted a breeding herd, with a full complement of babies and mommas. And we rejoiced.

Along with the breeding herds, I (Victoria) returned to the den for two nights in September. My stay fell over Heritage Day, and as I’m sure you gathered from the previous section, it was a day of great fun! A highlight of the stay was definitely when Khaya, Bavu, and Matthew conspired to surprise me with a spot in the presenter’s seat on a Pack Members drive. Despite not having brushed my hair or even looked in the mirror (the boys have no time for this sort of vanity) I was plonked in the hot-seat and told to get on with it. As it turned out, the drive was thoroughly enjoyable with Khaya being an amazing host, knowledgeable, fun, and engaging.

In the final few days of September, we welcomed British-born Margot Raggett, an award-winning photographer and the brains, and brawn for that matter, behind the Remembering Wildlife project. The project takes the form of a series of photographic books that encourages industry collaboration in order to combat poaching. The books include Remembering Elephants, Remembering Rhinos, Remembering Great Apes, and the much anticipated Remembering Wild dogs. This isn’t necessarily a book punt but since the Wild dog is our spirit animal, and we are totally behind this cause, we highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of Remembering Wild dogs.

Margot’s visit extends into October so you will be able to read about the details of her stay in next month’s newsletter.

Animal World LIVE & Bush Cams Chat

On the 12th of September, the focus of AWL was on cheetahs. Right in the middle of the live cams segment, Brent’s phone rang, it was Anton, the owner of Pridelands. Anton called to inform Brent that there were lions on the move and hyenas feeding on a buffalo carcass. 

Brent immediately deployed the troops (Khaya and Matthew) to broadcast from the bush. As Khaya and Matthew arrived at Leopard Dam, AWL viewers were treated to a hyena trying to dislodge a buffalo carcass from a very viscous patch of mud, and then, the very first live leopard on AWL! Needless to say, less time was dedicated to talking about cheetahs than was initially expected. In fact, nearly none. 

The leopard at Leopard Dam must have known she was making AWL history because she chased a scrub hare, walked within 4m of the car, and put on a first-class show. 

The next AWL took a more natural sequence, Khaya was the host and after several entertaining live cams, Khaya jumped straight into the topic for the evening, Heritage Day.

Khaya showed some pre-recorded clips of himself teaching Yuka to prepare and eat traditional dishes. Some of these dishes were well out of Yuka’s normal food scope but she handled the new cuisine like a champion and became a little more African in the process. 

If you have been keeping up with the pack, you may have noticed that in addition to AWL, we have introduced a new studio show, Bush Cams Chat. This is a new weekly live show, where Khaya goes over the Live Bush Cam highlights and answers your questions. Click on the below image/link to watch the latest and previous episodes.

With winter in our rear-view mirror, October holds the promise of rain and a shift in what the bush will offer. In the spirit of life in the wild, October will be every bit as brilliant as the months that have preceded it. We hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter as much as we enjoyed compiling it!

Finally, thank you to our Pack Members and our sponsors – LedLenser SARogue Outdoor GearUntamed Brewing Company – as well as Pridelands Conservancy and Kwenga Lodge, where you will find our ‘dog den’. And of course, to all our supporters for running with the pack.

Be sure to keep an eye on the app, as well as on YouTube, Instagram on @painteddogtv, and Facebook.

A special thanks to

Victoria Craddock

A safari guide, writer and friend of the pack.
With a passion for wildlife, conservation and the written word, Victoria is the perfect person to have composing our monthly newsletter.

Follow her journey on Instagram @vicvic_craddock2.0 and TikTok @vicvic_craddock2.0

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