Snake..!

Stay Away!!

A good sighting of a snake in the wild can be quite a rare event, and as it is so difficult to spot snakes in the wild it is somehow always an exhilarating experience for guides and guest alike.

Most of our snake “sightings” are mostly met with a scream from someone, and soon afterwards the excitement will set in. This morning we were driving along in search of animals when we spotted a snake sailing across the road ahead of us. We pulled up alongside the spot the snake went of the road and entered the bush. A bit disappointed we thought our changes of spotting him were spoiled, but in true style my tracker spotted it again a short distance from the roads’ edge. Having the opportunity to identify the snake was very cool, and me and my tracker immediately new this was one of those you do not want to mess with… a Mozambique Spitting Cobra.

The snake rose up above the grass and spreaded it’s hood in true cobra style with the distinct black bands on it’s throat clearly visible! The rest of the body is a lighter brown colour and it is quite difficult to miss-id this snake with its aggressive demeanor.

It kept it’s defensive pose for longer than I would have expected, making us understand clearly to stay away from him, before disappearing into the bushes.

Mozambique Spitting Cobras are fairly widespread in our region and because of their aggressiveness and bad temper they have quite a bad reputation amongst most people here and in local villages. Luckily their warning signs are loud and clear and only a fool would dare to not take heed… If not you would probably be met with a stream of venom from the fangs aimed directly at your eyes. This in itself would be a very uncomfortable and painful experience. Most people however understand their behaviour and they are suprisingly enough responsible for very little snakebite incidences around the area!

Should you get bitten, a deadly cocktail of cyto- and nuero-toxic venom would be injected through hypodermic needle like fangs and cause you severe pain, discomfort and gradual collapse of your whole neurological system.  Luckily it is quite a “slow working” venom and you should have ample time getting to a doctor who should be able to reverse the effect of the bite. You should make a full recovery unless you develop a massive allergic reaction to the proteins in the venom, in which case death might be a very real possibility…

As always it is normally a VERY good idea to stay away from snakes you encounter, even more so if you don’t’ know which type they are. If you understand the warning signs, do not ever ignore them as they are there for a reason, and these will save you a very unpleasant trip to the emergency room.

Westley Lombard – Senior Ranger

Kapama Southern Camp

 

 

Cheetah kill…

Two days ago our resident Cheetah males managed to bring down a young Kudu cow in a well wooded area just outside Southern Camp lodge entrance. Rather than a full out chase for which they are known for, we imagined that they probably altered their hunting style a bit and opted for an “ambush” attack. The combined weight of these to males was probably to much for the Kudu cow, and they should have managed to bring her down quite easily despite the prey animal out-weighing the predators by far.

Male Cheetah are known to form coalitions, who together will fight off rival males and this also allows them to “tackle” much larger prey than they would normally be able to handle by themselves.

One of the males  injured his paw during the struggle, but it luckily it doesn’t appear to be too serious and he should make a full recovery.

We will however monitor him over the next few days , as even slight injuries can sometimes be fatal for Cheetah, more so if it renders them incapable to fend off other predators or even unable to hunt. Luckily we see them quite often around this area and they are already known as the Southern Camp boys.

We will keep you updated on their progress…

Westley Lombard – Southern Camp Senior Ranger

(Photos, courtesy of Mrs Julia Chan… Thank you Julia!)

New Arrival

This morning we once again braved the wet weather conditions and went on drive sort of expecting not to see too much. Boy was I wrong!

Not long after we left Southern Camp we happen upon a herd of Blue Wildebeest crossing the road, and noticed that two of the cows were in labour. As this is something few people witness, we decided to sit in the pouring rain and experience the birth of a brand new baby wildebeest.

Gestation period for a Wildebeast is roughly about 8 and a half months, with calves arriving from around September into December and even as late as towards the end of January.

It is truly an amazing experience witnessing a birth, even in soaking rain and see a newborn taking its first wobbly steps.

Westley Lombard – Southern Camp

Luck…

The last few days have proved to be quite demanding wile searching for animals. With the combination of rain and cold, the animals seems to be hiding and find shelter in the most “unreachable” places.

We knew the lions have been in an inaccessible area through a sodic site on which we cannot drive, and the elephants kept on the move since the birth of a new calf into the herd. Maybe they are trying to show the new addition to the herd the area in which he will spend the  next 60 years. We’ll never know!

I had the privilege of driving a group of German guests who, after running the Two Oceans marathon in South Africa, decided to come on a short safari here with us at Kapama Lodge.  The first three drives were somewhat difficult because of the weather conditions, but this morning everything came together nicely and we  had an awesome drive which more than made up for the previous “slower” ones…

About five minutes into the drive we finaly found a breeding herd of elephants with the new born following closely behind mom’s heels. After spending some time here we found a Rhino mother and calf, just waking up after spending the night sleeping in a dry river bed.

Upon leaving them we all then decided that we could do with a nice cup of coffee and we stopped at one of the many scenic waterholes on the Eastern side of the reserve. When we were just about done and ready to go a whole herd of Buffalo came wandering to the waters edge for a drink and what a fantastic sighting this was.

It soon became time to head back to the lodge for breakfast, but not before we spotted 3 young lioneses sleeping under an Acacia tree a mere 5 metres from the road.

This dramatic end to a two day safari was as memorable for me as it was to my lovely German guests…

Tim Verryenne

Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge

(Video) Cheetah on our doorstep…

It is often that adjectives  like “awesome”, “wonderful” & “incredible” find their way onto this blog because of all that nature’s got to offer. Not always though does it describe the truly “UNBELIEVABLE” occurrences that sometimes happen…

Two days ago me and Westley were standing just outside the Kapama Lodge main entrance door when we suddenly heard the herd of Impala going ballistic were they were grazing happily just minutes ago. We immediately knew something was up, as you could hear by their alarm snorts that they were deeply distressed. We were aware of a female Cheetah in the vicinity of the lodge, and we had some idea that they might just have spotted her…. Nothing however could prepare us for what happened next…

As we tried to figure out which direction the Impala were looking, they suddenly just scattered in all directions in full flight. Me and Westley stood there not knowing if we should maybe also run amids all the chaos. It was then when we spotted the cheetah coming from the bushes towards the door and immediately she targeted a young impala lamb that managed to make it’s way toward the lodge onto our driveway.  The cheetah did not stop her charge because of our presence and got a hold of the poor impala lamb who desperately tried to free it self from the firm strangle hold in which the cheetah had it.

In true cheetah style the impala lamb was dismissed quickly and efficiently and she immediately started dragging the carcass away to the bushes just opposite the lodge where they found her later on drive, thoroughly enjoying  her “not so hard earned” meal.

This whole incident lasted mere seconds but it took us almost half an hour getting over the hysterical laughs and total dis- believe at what we just witnessed. As luck would have it, Suzette  had been playing around with a video camera that day and above all odd’s happen to be at the right time and the right place to capture the last moments of this truly amazing incident…

Just shows again that you never know what is going to happen next in the African bush.

Johan Esterhuizen