Unexpected surprise

On one of my night drives, I had guests from one of the other lodges that spent a night at river lodge. At the other lodge they had already seen 4 of the big 5 – lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant. So I knew I had to try find rhino and something rare.

I went out to look for rhino. After driving for 20 minutes on fresh tracks I took a corner and there they were standing in the middle of road, as if they were waiting for us to find them.

After viewing them for a good 30 minutes, we decided to move on to see what other suppressers were in stall for us. An hour and a half went by so we decided to make our way back slowly.

Just before we turned onto the road to the lodge, a surprise visitor walked out of the bush. It was a spotted hyena coming to see what this big object in the road was. The hyena decided to have closer look – a real close look – walking around the car. After a good 15 minutes we decided it was time to go back to the lodge. Nothing could beat that.

Bryan – River Lodge

Why is the rhino so special?

The are 5 species of Rhino

Rhinos are part of a very complex family. There are five different species.

  1. The white rhino
  2. The black rhino
  3. The Sumatran rhino
  4. The Indian rhino
  5. The Javan rhino

The biggest problem is that rhinos cannot breed like antelope. The reason for that is because their gestation period is extremely long – 15 to 16 months. The calf stays with the mother for at least three years and she will protect them at all costs.

The rhino bulls will fend off all other males in the area even the calves if he wants to mate with a female. Rhino males are extremely territorial and will only allow another bull into the area if he shows submission.

Rhinos have very bad eye sight but have an extremely acute sense of hearing and smell. But as sad is it might be, only three of the rhino species still exist and that is the white rhino, black rhino and the Indian rhino.

White rhinos Are bulk grazers which means they eat a very large amount of grass. Black rhinos are bulk browsers, which means they eat a large amount of leaves.

Rhino horns have no value, contrary to popular belief, and is made out of the same material as human hair and nails called keratin. Humans are rhino’s main predators and if we don’t do something to save them then they will be extinct in less than ten yeas.

Pieter – River Lodge

Commotion at the Klaserie

The Klaserie River is low now due to low rainfall and that enables us to view the hippos nicely. This afternoon we got them sleeping on the sandbank just out side the water. While watching the hippos, we saw a Pied Kingfisher trying to get his last fish before the sun set.

He took several attempts and came out empty handed, that is, until he dove even deeper and came out with a fish as big as him. Unfortunately, its size was weighing him down while he was flying so he flew towards the bank so that he does not drop it. However, the fish was still alive and ‘kicking’ as he flew and he accidentally dropped it onto the spine of one of the hippos. The hippo got such a fright that it jumped up, gave the other hippos a fright, and ran straight into the water with a massive splash. With all this commotion all the other animals around, such as a grey heron, flew away.

Nevertheless, I think the fish was relieved to be back in the water.

Nelson – River Lodge

Relaxing and fulfilling

It was a very beautiful day when we started our afternoon game drive. I had shown my guests the infamous “big five”; hence some drives are just magic. We were going to find whatever would come our way.

We did our general game and we were lucky to find a few interesting birds, e.g. Lilac bested roller, white backed vultures, fish eagle, darters and some extra birding that we did. The most interesting sighting that we have had was when we stopped for our sundowner drinks. We set up our table and drinks.

There were two female rhinos that were grazing far from us and then they came for water. We did not realize that they were coming towards the dam at which we had stopped. When we all realized that the rhinos were coming towards us, they were about 70 – 90 meters away. As we were about to get into our Land cruiser, they went to drink the water on the side of the dam and did not show any interest on us.

To end our drive off, we saw the rare Serval cat. A perfect end to a relaxing and fulfilling drive.

Tinyiko – River Lodge

A night full of surprises

It all started one afternoon at 4:00pm in our search for elephants.

On our way to the area, we came across a herd of buffalo at one of the watering holes having a refreshing afternoon drink to get ready for the night ahead. After viewing them for a good 20 minutes, we moved on to look for the elephants and eventually found them. We watched the herd feeding vigorously.

When elephants push over trees they create a new eco system for smaller animals such as mice and it also combats erosion and helps grass to grow. They also provide the smaller animals with the nutritious leaves that are situated at the top of the trees.

When we left the elephants, on our way back to the lodge, we went around a corner and all of a sudden there was a leopard in the road. What a way to end a drive.

Bryan – River Lodge