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Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Pangolin digging in sand hill part of pangolin conservation in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Manyoni Pangolin Conservation Success ‘Scales’ Up

By Conservation, Manyoni Private Game Reserve

There have been some truly heart-warming tales of the Manyoni pangolins lately. So this World Pangolin Day this year, we are celebrating the pangolin conservation success stories unfolding right here in our ‘back-yard’.For two years now, the Temminck’s ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) has been given refuge in Manyoni Private Game Reserve, which forms part of an area where they had become locally extinct about 60 years ago. The incredible work of the Zululand Conservation Trust, African Pangolin Working Group and Johannesburg Wildlife Vet (JWV) with the Manyoni team is turning this tragic situation into a story of pangolin conservation inspiration. Most importantly, it is critical in ensuring the survival of what is currently the world’s most trafficked animal.

Stevie gets his second chance

Pangolin Stevie is currently in his ‘soft-release’ phase, although not for too much longer. He is just about ready to be fully released and rehabilitated back into the wild, to roam freely like he was always meant to. Each pangolin rescued from the illegal wildlife trade is given a second chance at a happy and healthy life. After receiving intensive care by the dedicated JWV team, the pangolin will start the soft-release process in a suitable reserve, like Manyoni. This program ensures the pangolin acclimatizes, can forage for suitable food, and gains weight, which can only be achieved through round-the-clock monitoring by a small, dedicated group of people.

Find out what Stevie has been up by following Manyoni’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Callen and Neria fall in love

After his seven-month soft-release phase, young Callen was given a clean bill of health and fully released into the reserve in November. Then, in early January, he picked up on the scent of Neria, a female pangolin who had wandered into his territory. He began following her and by the next night, they had joined up and spent the whole night together. Pangolin shepherd Donald Davis found them together, completely relaxed with each other and Callen doing his best to mate with Neria.Collage of images of pangolin conservation success in ManyoniWe’re all holding thumbs that the mating was successful and that a little pango pup might be born in the reserve in a couple of months. Regardless of the outcome, the team’s continued monitoring of the pair enables greater understanding of these fascinating creatures. Ultimately, just to witness these gentle creatures now fully rehabilitated and living out in the wild, as they should be, is such a privilege.Pangolin looking up with hands in waterThank you to those of you that have supported the pangolin conservation in Manyoni and beyond. This includes our guests, who just by staying at Rhino River Lodge, are helping fund this work. You have all had a part to play in these success stories. If you would like to support the rehabilitation and protection of pangolins back into Zululand, please get in touch with the Zululand Conservation Trust via email, make a donation online, or find out more here.

You can also contact us to enquire or book your safari experience with us in Manyoni. If, during your stay with us, there is a pangolin in soft-release phase, you may have the opportunity to join a shepherd as they walk with the pangolin under their care.

Feature image by Casey Pratt (Love Africa Marketing). All other images by Manyoni.

People on game drive watch buffalo standing in water drinking

Failproof Tips for an Epic Family Safari in South Africa

By Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Rhino River Lodge, Safaris

What better way to renew and refresh ties than on a family safari in South Africa? Mixing up a long school holiday by taking the family to the bush is an exciting way to escape the busyness of the city and the routines of home. And our four tried and tested simple tips will take your holiday from good to epic!

Have a guide that inspires a love for the wild

With the right guide, the wilderness becomes an endless outdoor classroom to be explored together with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable teachers. Whether out on an adventure in the game vehicle or learning on foot about the language of the bush, a great guide will have everyone engaged on your family safari in South Africa. More than that, this is a guide that inspires a deep appreciation for nature and understanding of why caring for it is vital. These things aren’t measurable, but they will stick with your kids and possibly even shape their lives.

Guide in game drive vehicle looks at a pair of giraffe on family safari in South Africa

Bongani, Stuart and Kyle are some of the best rangers and guides in the business! By finding out the interests of both young and old, these guys share this special part of KwaZulu-Natal in a way that makes the safari experience meaningful for each guest. They are the encyclopedias of the bushveld and by the end of your family safari you will all be a little more fluent in reading the ‘bush newspaper’. When you’re back at camp, sitting around the firepit under the stars, don’t be shy to ask them to share their funny wildlife stories, intriguing folktales and cultural traditions.

Re-energise with healthy and tasty meals

Locally-sourced fresh ingredients and talented kitchen staff are a match made in safari cuisine heaven. Throughout your safari, you can count on healthy and delicious food served with the heartwarming hospitality that South Africans are famous for. Meals are often influenced by modern and traditional local flavours; but alternatives are always offered for those that want something more familiar to them. It’s important to make the lodge aware of any dietary preferences or allergies well before your arrival.

Guests of Rhino River Lodge enjoy breakfast by a pool of water during their family safari in South Africa

Getting up before sunrise for a game drive might not sound appealing to all (or maybe any!) family members. But we promise that the incredible wildlife sightings and golden landscape of Manyoni in the morning makes it absolutely worth it. Of course you won’t be asked to do so without that all-important first cup of coffee or tea.

A midway break involves warm beverages (the grown-ups can enjoy a cup of Amarula coffee), our famous homemade cookies and rusks, and much stretching of legs and arms. The second and last game drive for the day is in the late afternoon and, just before the sun does down, your guide will setup a table of chilled drinks and snacks, like biltong and nuts, to enjoy with the view.

Pack the binocs and books

But even with these stops, kids can become restless in between sightings. It’s a good idea to pack at least one pair of binoculars, some wildlife books and notebooks for them to scribble down or what they’ve seen so far. Alternatively, you can ask for an animal and bird species checklist that can be marked off throughout the game drive. Young budding photographers will be in their element, with plenty opportunities to practice their craft and take home a camera filled with landscape and wildlife snaps.

Cheetah walks in front of game drive vehicle with family on safari

Children under four years’ old are not allowed to go on game drives in Manyoni Private Game Reserve. This is to ensure respect for and safety of all participants – guides and guests alike – on the game drive and the wildlife that you encounter along the way. Our lovely babysitter is trained and experienced in looking after little ones, so you are welcome to book her services before arrival at the lodge.

Choose spacious and private accommodation

Privacy, space and comfort are at the heart of a happy holiday together, and these travel qualities have always been particularly important for family safaris in South Africa and beyond. It gives you the freedom to enjoy the beauty, tranquility and joy in nature together in house that feels like your home-away-from-home, with all the creature comforts and amenities that child-friendly safari accommodation should have.

Swimming pool, wooden deck and loungers at The Homestead that is perfect for private family safaris

We can accommodate four people in our two Family Loft Chalets and The Homestead, and six in our newly renovated Cottage. each with special features like a private boma (Family Loft Chalets) and a pool and deck (The Cottage and Homestead). These are large and spacious for a small family or friend groups that need more privacy and space, which is great for the kids because they can be noisy and let off steam without worrying about other lodge guests. At the main lodge, there is also a pool, garden and comfy indoor lounge. So you’re spoilt for choice!

Our team of lodge staff and rangers are ready to take absolute care of the most important people in your life – your family. Contact us to book your next family holiday in the bush!

African wild dog stands looking away from camera in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Join Our Wildlife Conservation Safari in Zululand

By Conservation, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Safaris

The Wildlife Conservation Safari in Manyoni Private Game Reserve is a specialised itinerary for those who are interested in joining the Wildlife ACT professionals on the ground, participating in and understanding what is happening in the field of South African wildlife conservation.

Wildlife conservation safari

If this is you, consider joining us for this unique safari experience to have the privilege of working alongside active and passionate conservationists in carrying out vital work which forms part of the conservation strategy of Wildlife ACT locally and in the KwaZulu-Natal province more broadly. These are some of the activities you could participate in:

  • Orientation and conservation game drives
  • Participation in a rhino dehorning
  • A rhino tracking walk and monitoring
  • A bush walk to collect camera trap data
  • Endangered species monitoring sessions

Camera trap work contributes vital information to and aligns with the long-term leopard survey of the province. Rhino conservation efforts, like rhino monitoring and dehorning, reduce incentives for poachers to enter protected areas. Endangered species monitoring enables reserve Management to make well-informed decisions on crucial conservation actions.

Stationary game vehicle with people next to water in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

You get to connect in a truly meaningfully way to the beautiful bushveld, its fascinating language, and the animals that call it home, while still enjoying the comforts and luxuries that a private game reserve offers. This, of course, includes those all important evening sundowners to celebrate and discuss the day’s activities!

Rhino dehorning

Unfortunately the Zululand region has become one of the focal points for wildlife criminal syndicates and rhino poaching continues to have a big impact in the region. Wildlife ACT is a co-founder of Project Rhino, which is an association of like-minded organisations facilitating rhino conservation interventions that work towards eliminating rhino poaching and securing the white and black rhino populations of KwaZulu-Natal.

Rhino dehorning during wildlife conservation safari in Zululand

As this pressure continued, the last resort was to dehorn rhinos populations, and this has since become a key strategy in reserves with smaller populations as it acts as an effective deterrent to poachers. Wildlife ACT fundraises to support the unfortunately much-needed dehorning of rhino to protect them in this way. As part of the wildlife safari you can choose to participate in the capture operation and witness the team at work over the course of a day. We may have to be flexible on the dates of this work due to weather, so have set it for the first morning to account for this.

Endangered species monitoring

Wildlife ACT’s main focus on Manyoni is the monitoring of the African wild dogs, cheetah, elephant and lion. During these monitoring sessions, any incidental sightings of other priority species including rhino, vultures and leopard, will also be recorded. Our team also occasionally assists with game counts and vegetation assessments on the reserve. 

Cheetah and cubs sedated during wildlife conservation safari in Zululand

Monitoring endangered species is an essential and critical step in their ongoing conservation as it keeps track of animal movement patterns, habitat utilisation, population demographics, snaring and poaching incidents, and breakouts. This valuable information, which Wildlife ACT gathers on various projects, has numerous management applications, including the planning of successful introduction and removal strategies of Southern Africa’s wildlife.

Leopard survey

Camera trapping is one of the most effective ways to monitor leopards and other elusive, nocturnal species. Wildlife ACT works in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and Panthera to carry out an annual provincial leopard survey.

Leopard lying in grass at night

The data from camera trap images is used to determine leopard densities, demographics, and population trends at various key sites in KwaZulu-Natal. This information is used in provincial and national management planning and decision making. Traditional monitoring techniques, such as direct observation, are somewhat ineffective for leopards due to their elusive and solitary behaviour, wide home ranges, and ability to move in and out of protected areas.

Rhino dehorning during wildlife conservation safari in Zululand

One of the key strategies is to dehorn rhino populations in reserves with smaller populations, which acts as an effective deterrent to poachers. You will participate in the capture operation and witness the team at work over the course of a day. We may have to be flexible on the dates of this work due to weather, so have set it for the first morning to account for this.

Contact us for more information and to book your spot with us on the next Wildlife Conservation Safari.

cheetah conservation in kwazulu natal

Manyoni’s Thriving Cheetah Population

By Conservation, Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Manyoni Private Game Reserve has a thriving cheetah population, and we are becoming well known for the outstanding cheetah sightings that guests often experience while staying with us.

Cheetahs have disappeared from 90% of their original historic roaming grounds in Africa, and it is estimated that there are only approximately 7100 cheetahs left in the wild. Currently classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, some scientists are calling for them to be uplisted to ‘Endangered’ after recent studies revealed a significant decline in their population.

cheetah in Manyoni

On top of this, the cheetahs that remain in the wild, have quite a low genetic variation due to a population bottleneck about 10 000 years ago. This is why genetic management is so critical in game reserves. Due to Manyoni having such a healthy cheetah population, regular swaps are performed with other reserves in order to exchange genetics and stimulate the population. The Endangered Wildlife Trust helps to manage the meta-population of cheetahs in South Africa by assisting with the management of the various cheetah populations. With the help of EWT, Manyoni recently agreed to swap a coalition of two males with another reserve. These two males have been breeding with the existing females in Manyoni for four years, therefore an injection of new genetics has become critical.

cheetah coalition in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Once the two males had been transported to their new home, which was fortunately just a short drive away, they were released into a temporary holding enclosure for six weeks. This allows them to acclimatize to their new environment and helps to lull their natural homing extinct which could cause them to try and break out of the reserve in an attempt to return to Manyoni. The same process applies to the two new males that will arrive in Manyoni shortly.

We look forward to being able to spot these new spotted felines while on game drives once they have been released!

two cheetahs in the wild

Vultures pull rank in the Zululand Bush

By Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Sightings

The trees were heavily laden with vultures, like balloons at a party. Everywhere we looked they stared down at us, eager eyes, menacing grins, perched ready and waiting. White-backed vultures crowded the low branches of the acacia tree, anticipating the feast that was soon to come. 
vulture
 “There must be a kill around here somewhere guys, keep your eyes peeled,” I said as I glanced over my shoulder at a cruiser full of our wide eyed Rhino River Lodge guests. The ‘bush telegraph’ had spread far and wide and these large feathered scavengers were flocking in by the hordes. At a time like this, under cloudy skies you can’t help but hum the Jungle Books’ “we are friends till the bitter end” song which puts vultures in a sullen, grim reaper-type of stance.

white-backed-vultures-roosting
vultures-zululand
vultures
“There it is!” a guest shouted, waking me from my Disney daydream. I swung around to see cheetahs on a large impala carcass under a thick thorny bush. The cats were making good progress on their meal, but the tension between the vultures and the spotted cats was evident. One cheetah would tuck into the meal whilst the others kept a watchful eye on the sharp beaked intruders, spitting and snarling at the enclosing beady-eyed vultures.
white-backed-vulture
cheetah-family
cheetah-and-cubs
With a pregnant belly full of food, one of the cheetahs staggered away from the feeding frenzy and located a shady spot to let his meal settle. The vultures noted the security force was down one and they started to make their move. One by one they dropped from branches like a SWAT team onto the ground. They scuttled over the grassy plains like crabs, their wings stretched out in a theatrical display. The remaining cheetahs panicked as a sea of feathers came crashing towards them. With a mouthful of meat the remaining cheetah leapt over the impala carcass and retreated to the safety of the shade.

With a pregnant belly full of food, one of the cheetahs staggered away from the feeding frenzy and located a shady spot to let his meal settle. The vultures noted the security force was down one and they started to make their move. One by one they dropped from branches like a SWAT team onto the ground. They scuttled over the grassy plains like crabs, their wings stretched out in a theatrical display. The remaining cheetahs panicked as a sea of feathers came crashing towards them. With a mouthful of meat the remaining cheetah leapt over the impala carcass and retreated to the safety of the shade. – See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/vultures-pull-rank-zululand-bush/#sthash.D8R1JyFc.dpuf

cheetah-impala-kill
cheetah-impala-carcass

Within seconds the carcass was lost from sight as a pile of hungry scavengers battled for scraps. The cheetahs watched on from a distance as their hard earned meal was polished off  right down to the bone. The vultures’ shouts and screams disturbed the peace and the area was no longer a place of rest for the cheetahs. The cats admitted defeat and slowly lumbered their bulging bellies to a more tranquil setting and left the birds to squabble over the remains. – See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/vultures-pull-rank-zululand-bush/#sthash.D8R1JyFc.dpuf

Within seconds the carcass was lost from sight as a pile of hungry scavengers battled for scraps. The cheetahs watched on from a distance as their hard earned meal was polished off  right down to the bone. The vultures’ shouts and screams disturbed the peace and the area was no longer a place of rest for the cheetahs. The cats admitted defeat and slowly lumbered their bulging bellies to a more tranquil setting and left the birds to squabble over the remains.

Written by Frances Hannah
Photos by Kyle Naude
Previously published on Africa Geographic.

Within seconds the carcass was lost from sight as a pile of hungry scavengers battled for scraps. The cheetahs watched on from a distance as their hard earned meal was polished off  right down to the bone. The vultures’ shouts and screams disturbed the peace and the area was no longer a place of rest for the cheetahs. The cats admitted defeat and slowly lumbered their bulging bellies to a more tranquil setting and left the birds to squabble over the remains. – See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/vultures-pull-rank-zululand-bush/#sthash.D8R1JyFc.dpuf

 

New kids on the block in Zululand Rhino Reserve

By Cheetah, Elephant, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Sightings, White Rhino

Written by Hillary Gaertner

Good things come in threes. From fairytales to Hollywood blockbusters or, in this case, animal babies in the bush, the “rule of three” seems to always apply.

Zululand Rhino Reserve has recently been blessed with three different species of young. The reserve welcomed elephant calves, cheetah cubs and a rhino calf, which make a grand total of six new kids on the block.

Love has clearly been in the air and Rhino River Lodge rangers and guests have been soaking up the cute factor whenever the little ones decide to show their faces.

baby-elephant-at-rhino-river-lodge

Ranger Frances Hannah tells us about her encounters with the youth of today as they so comically settle into life in the bush.

Elephant calves

“The two new elephant calves were born only one week apart, and I had a sighting of the elephant herd welcoming the little one into the clan. It was a lot of trunk hugging and flapping ears. A birth sac was found just up the river so it was definitely a newborn baby!”

baby-elephant
baby-elephant

White rhino calf

“We had a baby white rhino using the ‘speed humps’ as a ramp. He would speed up and almost lift off the ground as he sped over them as fast as he could. He would halt in a cloud of dust, turn around and start again. All the while his mom chomped grass in the field next to the road.”

baby-rhino

Cheetah cubs

“We have two female cheetahs with cubs that we know of; one has two and the other has three. We spotted the mom and her two cubs on a red duiker kill, and the cubs resembled honey badgers with their lightening white fluffy backs. Only spotted legs and black tear marks gave them away as cheetah. Though they were less than three months old, they were tucking into their dinner with extreme gusto.”

cheetah-cub
cheetah-cubs-at-rhino-river-lodge

There’s been a baby boom over the past couple of months but Ranger Frances hints that it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. “Not to let the cat out of the bag (pun intended), but we are led to believe that more lion cubs might be on the way.”

Hopefully there will be three new sets of cubs causing havoc in the private reserve soon, and the lodge’s “rule of three” will continue complete with great stories to be told.

Previously published on Africa Geographic.

A Rhino Update

By Manyoni Private Game Reserve, White Rhino
After all the great rains, everything is a lot greener, which means a lot of food around and therefore all the game has started giving birth.
This is young mother with her calf, only a few days old and still wobbly on its feet.  It is nice to see how well she is taking care of it.  Rhinos have an amazing maternal bond with their offspring. They are very protective, which makes it very difficult for predators to catch any of the calves.  This mother will protect her calf until it is about 2-3 years old, then it will have to fend for itself, for the mother would more than likely have another calf on the way, and it would be difficult for her to protect them both. It is possible that this calf might join another female who is calf less or another group of sub -adult rhinos, due to safety in numbers.  When rhino calves are about 6.5-7 years old they are sexually mature, and the males especially  will then try and find a mate of  their own with which they can bread.  Rhinos are not monogamous , as their gestation periods are very long, and it takes them a while to reach sexual maturity,  so this means that one female can only give birth to one calf about ever 2-3 years, so a male rhino will have to impregnate as many females he can so the rhino population can grow.
Rhino’s can Reach a dashing age or 30 years, and then they will still be able to give birth to 1 calf every two years, but rhino like any other animal also has one major enemy, man, unfortunately that is one to many.

The BIG 5… We have them!

By Conservation, Lions, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Rhino River Lodge, Safaris

On the 1st of July 2011, Zululand Rhino Reserve officially became a Big 5 reserve with the introduction of 3 male lions. An historical day for conservation, returning lions to an area that they previously inhabited. 

The 3 young males have been in a boma at Phinda Game Reserve for the last couple of weeks, until finally the go-ahead was given and they could be bought over to their new home. A few days before they were bought over to us, they were fitted with telemetry collars so that we can keep track of their movements and whereabouts. Once the lions have settled in, and we have an idea of their range, the collars will be removed. 

Lion sedated and about to be fitted with the telemetry collar

Right now the lions are in a boma here with us, and they will spend a few more weeks in the boma so that they can acclimatise and monitored for any disease that they may have contracted. If they do need any medical assistance, it is much easier for them to be treated in a boma than if they were out roaming around. 

If all goes to plan, the females which are from a completely different reserve, and therefore completely new bloodlines, will be joining the males in the boma soon so that they can form bonds and create a cohesive pride. 

Young male fast asleep under sedation



Exciting times here at Rhino River Lodge, and the competition is fierce between all the rangers at the different lodges situated inside the Zululand Rhino Reserve as to who will spot the lions out on game drive first! 
 

The day we had a Big 4 sighting…

By Black Rhino, Elephant, Game Drive, Hippo, Leopard, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Night Drive, Rhino River Lodge, White Rhino

It all started with a great black rhino sighting on our morning drive. It was a big bull, and he came right up to the vehicle to investigate us. I had to ask him very nicely to move away before switching on the vehicles ignition and getting ready to move off. He kindly obliged and moved off slowly, turning back at us every so often and just to check to see if we were still there. From there, we moved accross to Zen Zulu (our neighbours who we dropped fences with about 4 months ago) where they have these great open plains that the white Rhino love to graze. To our surprise, the open fields were full of Buffalo! There were about 3 different breeding herds and about 200 Buffalo in total, just grazing out in the open along with about 18 white Rhino scattered out amoungst them! After sitting with the Buffalo we moved off and spent some time with Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, and quite a few Warthog with their new little piglets, we called it a day and headed back home to camp. What a busy morning!

That afternoon we headed out again, kind of thinking that the morning drive was pretty much it, and it would be hard to top. My radio cackled to life, and I got a call saying that there were some Elephant out on the open plains where we had seen the buffalo and white Rhino’s that morning. Off we went, although I wasn’t so convinced we would be able to see them as our breeding herd of Elephant is not the most social and they move pretty fast! Well, we never saw the breeding herd, but we did manage to find a solitary bull Elephant just wondering around seemingly aimless. We caught up to him where he was just standing around in an open field where he promptly fell asleep on his feet without a care in the world! Every now and then he would shift positions and rest a different leg, or flop his big heavy trunk over a tusk. His eyes were closed and I swear if we were any closer we would have been able to hear him snore. After leaving the old guy in his slumber, we went across to the dam where our resident Hippo hang out. In the evenings they are a bit more active than usual, just before they go out grazing. They were playing with each other and chasing each other, and just generally bonding.

On our way home that evening we bought out the spotlights and we did a bit of a night drive hoping to catch a few nocturnal creatures heading out for the night. On the main road, not even a kilometre from camp, one of the guests who was with me asked me to stop because he had seen some eyes. I reversed a bit and shone my spotlight over to where he was shining, and lo and behold, sitting right on the main road was the Little Leopard! We watched her for some time as she moved into a herd of Impala (they knew she was around as they all started alarm calling) and then slumped down into the grass. We pulled up in our vehicles next to her and watched her while she groomed herself and lazed around for a bit. We left her like that and called it an evening – we prefer to leave a sighting the same way as we arrive on the sighting, with as little disturbance to the animals natural behaviour as possible. 
That was the day we had a Big 4 sighting!

Rangers Report – September 2010

By Cheetah, Kudu, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Pythons, Rhino River Lodge, Rhino River Lodge Rangers Report, Sightings, Steenbok, Tawny Eagle

So last month ended with a fantastic sighting of a Leopard with an Impala carcass. We were truly spoilt with that sighting and we really couldn’t have asked for anything more, but Mother Nature had another surprise in store for us…

With the traversing that we are doing across Zululand Rhino Reserve, all the rangers from the different lodges have decided that to make sure our guests experience everything the reserve has to offer we will now call in Big 4 sightings or any other sightings that guests may find interesting.
Isaac was out on the morning game drive, when the call came through over the radio that there was a Cheetah kill on our boundary. Off Isaac went and luckily enough he had the sighting to himself as the other game drive vehicles had already driven off. The two male cheetahs had taken down a Kudu ram and were lazily looking on from a shady overhang. They had obviously had their fill. Around the kill the vultures had already settled and were waiting for their opportunity to go ahead and devour what was left. A Marabou stork was also prowling around and snatching up any meat that might have been discarded during the Cheetahs feeding frenzy. What a great experience!

Dale, our Reserve Manager had an interesting find when he came across a massive African Rock python out in the reserve. We have been keeping an eye out for it as pythons of that size are really hard to come by these days what with all the threats they have against them. It seems to have made itself at home in a Warthog burrow right next to our main road and it has been spotted out sunning himself on quite a few occasions.

Back to birding, I had a very strange experience with a Tawny Eagle and a Steenbok. We had stopped off on a ridge to watch the birds flying down below us, when we a Tawny Eagle landed just a few metres away from a Steenbok who was out on an open piece of veld grazing. The Tawny then proceeded to run after the Steenbok and when it was close enough, it would jump up in the air and try and grab the Steenbok with its talons. Well the Steenbok did not seem at all phased about it as they were about the same size. The Steenbok would walk a few paces away and the Tawny would try his luck again running along and jumping up once the Steenbok was close enough. He was obviously convinced about his strategy as he went on to repeat the performance a few times before the Steenbok decided enough was enough and ran away!
Well that’s all until next month, signing off for now…