The little things do count

Many of our clients know Africa to be the home of the famous “Big 5” – Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard. Therefore, in order to please them we try and show them these amazing, large animals. So I set out on my game drive with a goal, to see some lions. While we were looking for our pride of lions we came across a dung beetle pushing, or rather trying to push, a ball of buffalo dung. Many do not realise how strong these beetles really are.

As he was struggling to get this ball out of the road, I heard one of my fellow rangers call in a lion sighting. I told my guests about it but to my surprise, they wanted to stay with the dung beetle because it was the first time they had ever seen something like this. So we sat with the dung beetle for about 20 minutes enjoying the sighting and laughing at the poor creature trying to get the ball of dung home.

John – River Lodge
22/06/2012

An unforgettable story

The game drives that we do daily can sometimes be amazing. On the 19th of May 2012 we went out with guests who were interested mainly in Elephants and cheetahs. We started on a very cold morning but what was most interesting was when we watched an African Fish Eagle catch a rather large cat fish. He took it up into a tree just outside the water and unfortunately dropped it while trying to secure it nicely. The fish was still alive and tried to crawl back into the water but unlucky for him, he could not make it on time and the eagle crabbed the poor fish again. We witnessed the entire feeding.

Afterwards, we continued with our drive until we found two male cheetahs. It was a great sighting, especially when they started stalking Impala. Unfortunately, they could not manage to catch anything. But, within the next half an hour, towards the end of our drive, we also managed to locate big herd of Elephants – something that was unexpected and made a brilliant finish to our morning drive.

20/06/2012

Nature at its best

The day started with a warm African sunrise and everyone on the vehicle was excited for game drive.

That morning we did not see too much, reason being that the bush had other plans for us. We were tracking some lions all morning and the trails were scattered all over, one going north then one going north-west which made it really difficult.

I was out on drive with my fellow ranger Michael and even though all of us were excited and keen on finding the big male lion, unfortunately, we had no luck. So at about 10 am we retuned to the lodge with a little disappointment, but at least we had a chance to see many other animals such as Nyala, Impala, Kudu, etc.

That afternoon we went out again and we were very determined to find our dominant male lion. So after about an hour of tracking through some rugged terrain, we got a call on the radio saying that they have found fresh tracks. So we drove to the designated area and started searching and scanning the bush. Suddenly, we herd a distress call in the distance.

It came from a young Wildebeest so we decided that we were going to drive into the bush to see what was happening. All of a sudden we found him – the big male lion on a kill with his powerful jaws wrapped around the animal’s throat. It was really a spectacular sighting and everyone on the vehicle had a glimpse of nature at its best…

All of Africa is a stage and all the animals are merely actors…

Pieter – River Lodge
19/06/2012

The Secret Seven

These are the animals that are very rarely seen, usually because of their secretive and nocturnal lifestyles.

Many guests that visit game lodges around South Africa will definitely have heard of the big 5, but very few would have heard anything about the secret seven.

So who are these mysterious animals?

The first is a Civet, this is a small cat like animal that looks very similar to a raccoon.

Second is a small or large spotted Genet, this is also a small cat like animal with a very slender black and white body.

Third is the spiky Porcupine.

Fourth is the solitary White Tailed Mongoose.

Fifth is the Caracal, also known as the Desert Lynx.

Sixth is the Aardvark which is also known as the Antbear.

And last but lot least is the Pangolin or Scaly Anteater.

Next time you go on a safari try to see if you guys can spot any of these very elusive and special creatures.

Wayne – River Lodge
18/06/2012

What killed the duiker?

One evening we were looking for a leopard in an area where we were sure there was one. As we were looking for signs of leopard we stopped and observed normal plains game as well. We saw a Duiker (a small antelope) in the bush and when we stopped I told the guests that this animal is a guaranteed runaway, they always run when we stop the cruiser. As I predicted, the animal took off deeper into the bush.

We switched on the vehicle and drove a few meters further and then we heard the screaming sound of the Duiker. There it was, a Leopard had killed the duiker that we just saw. We turned aroun as fast as possible and went into the direction of the sound. Through the bushes and through the trees we drove. How we got in there, I don’t know.

There it was. To our amazement, a Leopard ha not killed the Duiker, but a big python. It was busy smothering the duiker with its muscular body around the small antelope. This is something one may see once in a lifetime. What an amazing sighting it was. We were so amazed by this and just to put the cherry on top, as we left this sighting, just a few hundred meters from this spot we saw two leopards.

What a night!

By Janco Du Plessis
17/06/2012