Game Lodges

Leopard gets revenge

Our intention that morning was to go back to an area where we had heard lions calling the night before, to see if they had crossed into our property – well, that was the plan anyway…

Not long out of Bush Lodge, we spotted a hyena crossing the road in front of us. It crossed rather hurriedly and looked as if it was carrying something in its mouth. We followed up, and sure enough, it was a female spotted hyena carrying the remains of a bushbuck kill. The actions of the hyena told us that the kill had been stolen from another predator – in this case, more than likely a leopard. We understood why she was in such a hurry.

Knowing that the hyenas had a den on the property, we decided to keep following. It was evident by the fullness of her stomach that this female had already eaten her fill from the carcass. Carrying a half eaten bushbuck isn’t all that easy, and she had to keep stopping to adjust her grip on the carcass, each time looking very nervously behind her for the predator who might be following the drag marks and scent being left behind. She was right to be nervous.

The hyena stopped to drink from a small pan, dropping the carcass in the water for protection. It is very unlikely that a cat would go into the water to fetch it. She had a drink, picked up the carcass again and as she got to the edge of the pan, dropped it and spun around, facing the direction she had just come from, looking as alert as ever and extremely nervous.

As we watched, a male leopard came bursting out of the surrounding bush, growling and intent on getting his kill back. The sound of the charge is something I never want to experience on foot, and I’m not surprised the hyena took the sensible choice and tucked tail and ran, as this is one of the biggest male leopards on our reserve. He searched frantically around the water for the carcass, located it, and with what seemed like lightning speed, snapped it up. True to my tracker’s predictions, he went straight to the nearest Marula tree and hoisted himself and the kill out of reach of the hyena, which had come running back onto the scene.

The power and strength of the leopard was awesome. It was up in the tree in no time. By the time we had moved around for a better angle, the hyena was back and the leopard had positioned the kill securely. He stood proud in the tree over his kill catching his breath and surveying the surrounding bush for any other possible intruders. Once satisfied he settled in to eat what remained of his bushbuck.

After a short while another twist unfolded. A young female leopard had obviously also come across the drag marks and followed them. She sheepishly approached the area, going first to the pan of water, sniffing around and then made her way over towards the tree. We thought we were in for a tussle between the two leopards, but the male appeared too engrossed in eating and only gave a few warning growls. The female took up position under the tree and in a way begged for some food. All she was going to get were scraps that would fall as the male ate – definitely not enough to satisfy her hunger. The male had now eaten most of the kill and the remains could no longer be secured in the tree, so he brought the little that was left down to finish on the floor under a nearby thicket of vegetation. The female went up the tree to see what scraps had been left there, but after seeing there wasn’t much, she came down and went to drink some water from the pan.

The leopard, triumphant on this occasion and with a satisfied hunger, lay in the shade of the thicket to sleep the day away, recovering his energy levels to be ready for another night of hunting.

Written by

Malcolm Stirk

Website: www.sabisabi.com


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Leopard gets revenge

Our intention that morning was to go back to an area where we had heard lions calling the night before, to see if they had crossed into our property – well, that was the plan anyway…

Not long out of Bush Lodge, we spotted a hyena crossing the road in front of us. It crossed rather hurriedly and looked as if it was carrying something in its mouth. We followed up, and sure enough, it was a female spotted hyena carrying the remains of a bushbuck kill. The actions of the hyena told us that the kill had been stolen from another predator – in this case, more than likely a leopard. We understood why she was in such a hurry.

Knowing that the hyenas had a den on the property, we decided to keep following. It was evident by the fullness of her stomach that this female had already eaten her fill from the carcass. Carrying a half eaten bushbuck isn’t all that easy, and she had to keep stopping to adjust her grip on the carcass, each time looking very nervously behind her for the predator who might be following the drag marks and scent being left behind. She was right to be nervous.

The hyena stopped to drink from a small pan, dropping the carcass in the water for protection. It is very unlikely that a cat would go into the water to fetch it. She had a drink, picked up the carcass again and as she got to the edge of the pan, dropped it and spun around, facing the direction she had just come from, looking as alert as ever and extremely nervous.

As we watched, a male leopard came bursting out of the surrounding bush, growling and intent on getting his kill back. The sound of the charge is something I never want to experience on foot, and I’m not surprised the hyena took the sensible choice and tucked tail and ran, as this is one of the biggest male leopards on our reserve. He searched frantically around the water for the carcass, located it, and with what seemed like lightning speed, snapped it up. True to my tracker’s predictions, he went straight to the nearest Marula tree and hoisted himself and the kill out of reach of the hyena, which had come running back onto the scene.

The power and strength of the leopard was awesome. It was up in the tree in no time. By the time we had moved around for a better angle, the hyena was back and the leopard had positioned the kill securely. He stood proud in the tree over his kill catching his breath and surveying the surrounding bush for any other possible intruders. Once satisfied he settled in to eat what remained of his bushbuck.

After a short while another twist unfolded. A young female leopard had obviously also come across the drag marks and followed them. She sheepishly approached the area, going first to the pan of water, sniffing around and then made her way over towards the tree. We thought we were in for a tussle between the two leopards, but the male appeared too engrossed in eating and only gave a few warning growls. The female took up position under the tree and in a way begged for some food. All she was going to get were scraps that would fall as the male ate – definitely not enough to satisfy her hunger. The male had now eaten most of the kill and the remains could no longer be secured in the tree, so he brought the little that was left down to finish on the floor under a nearby thicket of vegetation. The female went up the tree to see what scraps had been left there, but after seeing there wasn’t much, she came down and went to drink some water from the pan.

The leopard, triumphant on this occasion and with a satisfied hunger, lay in the shade of the thicket to sleep the day away, recovering his energy levels to be ready for another night of hunting.

Written by

Malcolm Stirk

Website: www.sabisabi.com


View Larger Map

 

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Klipspringer

via sabisabi.com

1. The Klipspringer (‘rock jumper’ in Afrikaans) is a small African antelope that lives…

on rocky outcrops from the Cape of Good Hope all the way up East Africa and into Ethiopia

2. Known for their remarkable jumping ability, klipspringers live singly or in life-long monogamous relationships – in which pairs spend most of their time within a few metres of each other. The males are fiercely territorial.

3. Their enemies include leopards, hyaenas, baboons and large birds of prey. Klipspringer pair behavior relative to predators is that, while one klipspringer eats, the other acts as a lookout.

4. Klipspringers have specially adapted hoofs for living in their rocky territories. They stand, walk, leap, and land on their tiny hoof tips like ballerinas constantly on tip toe. Their hooves are the consistency of hard rubber, absorbing the shock of their huge leaps.

5. Klipspringers have remarkable dense, coarse coats consisting of hollow hairs that rustle when shaken or touched. This unique quality hair helps to cushion their bodies from any abrasion from sharp rocks.

6. Klipspringers attain a mass of only around 12 kgs, with the females being slightly larger than the males. Only males have horns.

More Sabi Sabi Wild Facts

Website: www.sabisabi.com


View Larger Map

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Klipspringer

via sabisabi.com

1. The Klipspringer (‘rock jumper’ in Afrikaans) is a small African antelope that lives…

on rocky outcrops from the Cape of Good Hope all the way up East Africa and into Ethiopia

2. Known for their remarkable jumping ability, klipspringers live singly or in life-long monogamous relationships – in which pairs spend most of their time within a few metres of each other. The males are fiercely territorial.

3. Their enemies include leopards, hyaenas, baboons and large birds of prey. Klipspringer pair behavior relative to predators is that, while one klipspringer eats, the other acts as a lookout.

4. Klipspringers have specially adapted hoofs for living in their rocky territories. They stand, walk, leap, and land on their tiny hoof tips like ballerinas constantly on tip toe. Their hooves are the consistency of hard rubber, absorbing the shock of their huge leaps.

5. Klipspringers have remarkable dense, coarse coats consisting of hollow hairs that rustle when shaken or touched. This unique quality hair helps to cushion their bodies from any abrasion from sharp rocks.

6. Klipspringers attain a mass of only around 12 kgs, with the females being slightly larger than the males. Only males have horns.

More Sabi Sabi Wild Facts

Website: www.sabisabi.com


View Larger Map

Wildlife sightings in Phinda

ELUSIVE KINGFISHER!

The gentle breeze was sweeping through the canopy of Riverine Trees and every now and then a large yellow leaf of the Sycamore Fig floated to the ground next to us. The previous evening we had a great downpour and once again the Munyawana River that cuts through Phinda Private Game Reserve was flowing.

We were on a Specialist Safari, comfortably lying in hammocks, serene and relaxed in the cool shade. It felt as though we were the only people in this pristine wilderness! More →

Wildlife sightings in Phinda

ELUSIVE KINGFISHER!

The gentle breeze was sweeping through the canopy of Riverine Trees and every now and then a large yellow leaf of the Sycamore Fig floated to the ground next to us. The previous evening we had a great downpour and once again the Munyawana River that cuts through Phinda Private Game Reserve was flowing.

We were on a Specialist Safari, comfortably lying in hammocks, serene and relaxed in the cool shade. It felt as though we were the only people in this pristine wilderness! More →

The Boomslang vs. the Chameleon

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In the bush, anything can happen. Elephants can block the road, or rivers can overflow making roads a bit of an obstacle course, and sometimes, when guests are being escorted to their suites, little creatures emerge and get in the way. More →

Bush Medicine – Part One

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Traditional healing has a centuries long history in Africa. For eons before the advent of modern medicine, extremely skilled and knowledgeable indigenous healers developed cures for a myriad of illnesses, using the trees, plants and shrubs which grew in their vicinity. And even though it is now simple to buy western medications in most urban areas, many African people, including some of Sabi Sabi’s Shangaan staff, still prefer to visit the local sangoma or turn to nature for a homemade herbal cure. The Sabi Sabi Reserve is filled with trees, plants and shrubs which have proven medicinal value. More →

Face time with a wild bunch

via smh.com.au
At an exclusive game lodge that looked to nature for inspiration, Rob McFarland discovers how easy it is for nature to look right back.

DEIDRE in the driver’s seat turns around and whispers to me: “Did you hear that?”

I can’t hear anything apart from my heart pounding between my ears. I’m in an open-top Land Rover in an area teeming with lions and my nerves are jangling from a heady mixture of fear and excitement.

Read the rest of this post at http://www.smh.com.au/travel/face-time-with-a-wild-bunch-20101111-17ox2.html

Face time with a wild bunch

via smh.com.au
At an exclusive game lodge that looked to nature for inspiration, Rob McFarland discovers how easy it is for nature to look right back.

DEIDRE in the driver’s seat turns around and whispers to me: “Did you hear that?”

I can’t hear anything apart from my heart pounding between my ears. I’m in an open-top Land Rover in an area teeming with lions and my nerves are jangling from a heady mixture of fear and excitement.

Read the rest of this post at http://www.smh.com.au/travel/face-time-with-a-wild-bunch-20101111-17ox2.html

Ben Groundwater’s South Africa adventure

So, what’s this South Africa place about? It’s game parks, right? Elephants, lions, G&Ts at sundown in your safari lodge?
After 10 days in the country recently, I now know that the answer is yes. And no. Um…

Game parks? Yeah, we did game parks. We did Phinda Reserve, an amazing private game reserve where you need a guide to take you to your room each night so you don’t accidentally get mauled by the wildlife.

You take breaks during your morning game drive for biscuits washed down with hot chocolate and Amarula. You stop off on evening game drives for G&Ts and biltong.

It’s game driving as it should be done – lots of animals, not many tourists, and a comfortable bed at the end of the day (as long as you avoid those animals).

But there was more to the trip than just annoying the safari animals.

We scuba dived at Aliwal Shoal on the KwaZulu Natal south coast, watching warily as ragged-tooth sharks glided by and watched us warily.

We jumped off the top of a football stadium in Durban. We rode quad bikes through a banana plantation on the south coast. We rode horses on the beach in Trafalgar. We reeled in a couple of tuna off Shelly Beach. We jumped off a cliff at Oribi Gorge.

In fact, if there was a South African activity that was even slightly dangerous or stupid that we missed out on, I’d be very surprised.

By the time we got home, I realised there was only one thing we hadn’t got the chance to do: sleep.

 

Ben Groundwater’s South Africa adventure

So, what’s this South Africa place about? It’s game parks, right? Elephants, lions, G&Ts at sundown in your safari lodge?
After 10 days in the country recently, I now know that the answer is yes. And no. Um…

Game parks? Yeah, we did game parks. We did Phinda Reserve, an amazing private game reserve where you need a guide to take you to your room each night so you don’t accidentally get mauled by the wildlife.

You take breaks during your morning game drive for biscuits washed down with hot chocolate and Amarula. You stop off on evening game drives for G&Ts and biltong.

It’s game driving as it should be done – lots of animals, not many tourists, and a comfortable bed at the end of the day (as long as you avoid those animals).

But there was more to the trip than just annoying the safari animals.

We scuba dived at Aliwal Shoal on the KwaZulu Natal south coast, watching warily as ragged-tooth sharks glided by and watched us warily.

We jumped off the top of a football stadium in Durban. We rode quad bikes through a banana plantation on the south coast. We rode horses on the beach in Trafalgar. We reeled in a couple of tuna off Shelly Beach. We jumped off a cliff at Oribi Gorge.

In fact, if there was a South African activity that was even slightly dangerous or stupid that we missed out on, I’d be very surprised.

By the time we got home, I realised there was only one thing we hadn’t got the chance to do: sleep.

 

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Vultures

1. Vultures play a very important role in the environment by helping to remove carcasses of animals, which prevents the spread of disease.

2. There are 2 distinct families of vultures. The family Accipitridae has 16 vulture species, which are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are called Old World vultures and are thought to be most closely related to hawks and eagles. Family Cathartidae with 7 species including condors, are found in North and South America. They are the New World vultures and are genetically linked to storks and ibises.

3. Most vultures have elongated necks and featherless heads. This helps them stay cleaner when they delve deep into carcasses to feed.

4. Unlike raptors which have strong talons for killing prey, vultures generally have weak feet adapted more for walking than for clutching.

5. The Old World vultures find food purely by remarkable eyesight. The New World Turkey Vulture however, has as well, a very well developed sense of smell, and is one of the few birds in the world able to scent out food.

6. All vultures feed on carrion (animal carcasses), except for palm-nut vultures which are generally vegetarian and feed mainly on the fruit of the oil palm.

7. A group of vultures on the ground is called a venue, but a group circling in the air is called a kettle

8. The most common vulture species found at Sabi Sabi are the White-backed, Hooded, Lappet-Faced, White-Headed and Cape Griffon Vultures.

Vulture-small

Web Site: http://www.sabisabi.com

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Vultures

1. Vultures play a very important role in the environment by helping to remove carcasses of animals, which prevents the spread of disease.

2. There are 2 distinct families of vultures. The family Accipitridae has 16 vulture species, which are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are called Old World vultures and are thought to be most closely related to hawks and eagles. Family Cathartidae with 7 species including condors, are found in North and South America. They are the New World vultures and are genetically linked to storks and ibises.

3. Most vultures have elongated necks and featherless heads. This helps them stay cleaner when they delve deep into carcasses to feed.

4. Unlike raptors which have strong talons for killing prey, vultures generally have weak feet adapted more for walking than for clutching.

5. The Old World vultures find food purely by remarkable eyesight. The New World Turkey Vulture however, has as well, a very well developed sense of smell, and is one of the few birds in the world able to scent out food.

6. All vultures feed on carrion (animal carcasses), except for palm-nut vultures which are generally vegetarian and feed mainly on the fruit of the oil palm.

7. A group of vultures on the ground is called a venue, but a group circling in the air is called a kettle

8. The most common vulture species found at Sabi Sabi are the White-backed, Hooded, Lappet-Faced, White-Headed and Cape Griffon Vultures.

Vulture-small

Web Site: http://www.sabisabi.com

Mike Dolan’s South African Experience

South Africa is a country with so many spectacular attractions that once visited, it’s never forgotten. Scenic Cape Town is a hip and happening city with magnificent scenery and the starting point of the Garden Route – a fly-drive adventure for all the family.

Then there’s the seaside town of Hermanus, where you can watch hundreds of humpback whales gather in a bay on a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline. Yet, my two favourite destinations are the Kruger National Park, where you enjoy a DIY camping safari, and KwaZulu Natal, where private game reserves provide luxurious lodgings, fine food and remarkable game viewing. Once, when dozing by the swimming pool at Phinda Forest Lodge, I was woken by a low rumbling sound. There, on the other side of the terrace, was a big bull elephant having an afternoon drink from the pool. After he finished, he raised his trunk, gave a short toot and slowly ambled back into the bush. After all, to an elephant, a swimming pool is just another waterhole.


Mike Dolan
Travel Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly

To plan your own South African Adventure visit www.southafrica.net

Mike Dolan’s South African Experience

South Africa is a country with so many spectacular attractions that once visited, it’s never forgotten. Scenic Cape Town is a hip and happening city with magnificent scenery and the starting point of the Garden Route – a fly-drive adventure for all the family.

Then there’s the seaside town of Hermanus, where you can watch hundreds of humpback whales gather in a bay on a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline. Yet, my two favourite destinations are the Kruger National Park, where you enjoy a DIY camping safari, and KwaZulu Natal, where private game reserves provide luxurious lodgings, fine food and remarkable game viewing. Once, when dozing by the swimming pool at Phinda Forest Lodge, I was woken by a low rumbling sound. There, on the other side of the terrace, was a big bull elephant having an afternoon drink from the pool. After he finished, he raised his trunk, gave a short toot and slowly ambled back into the bush. After all, to an elephant, a swimming pool is just another waterhole.


Mike Dolan
Travel Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly

To plan your own South African Adventure visit www.southafrica.net

&Beyond wildlife sightings – Kirkman’s Kamp

Meet the newest addition at Kirkman’s Kamp

This tiny leopard cub was first seen by &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp rangers on 14 August and has been melting hearts ever since! At just six weeks old, the cub is very relaxed and guests have been seeing it nearly every day, out playing with its mother. It’s a bit early to be able to determine the gender, but watch this space as the little one grows.

I’ve just come back from leave and one of my highlights in the first days back has definitely been our 8 week old leopard cub. We had a fantastic sighting of the female trying to teach her youngster how to take its first steps in climbing over obstacles. The mother would climb from rock to rock, making the task of following her a little more difficult every time.It is very important for the young leopard cub to learn how to save itself from potential threats in the near future by learning to climb trees. We had quite a laugh as the youngster got stuck in a branch and fell out, not having the skills perfected just yet. The mother immediately understood and moved the cub towards another den site. They are now tucked into a cave in the riverbed, so the chances of the cub surviving are higher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately that makes it more difficult for us to be able to view the female and her cub. As soon as the little one has perfected its climbing skills, we will have a lot more fantastic sightings.

By Stephanie Mast, Kirkman’s Kamp

Web Site: http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/luxury_safari/south_africa/sabi_sand_game_reserve/and_beyond_kirkmans

Kirkman’s Kamp

Kirkman’s Kamp has spectacular views of the unspoilt wilderness and the Sabi Sand River. A well known historic camp, originally built in the early 1920’s Kirkmans Kamp celebrates the atmosphere of an early South African lowveld homestead.

To book &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp contact Classic Safari Co http://www.classicsafaricompany.com.au/south_africa.php or 1300 130 218

&Beyond wildlife sightings – Kirkman’s Kamp

Meet the newest addition at Kirkman’s Kamp

This tiny leopard cub was first seen by &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp rangers on 14 August and has been melting hearts ever since! At just six weeks old, the cub is very relaxed and guests have been seeing it nearly every day, out playing with its mother. It’s a bit early to be able to determine the gender, but watch this space as the little one grows.

I’ve just come back from leave and one of my highlights in the first days back has definitely been our 8 week old leopard cub. We had a fantastic sighting of the female trying to teach her youngster how to take its first steps in climbing over obstacles. The mother would climb from rock to rock, making the task of following her a little more difficult every time.It is very important for the young leopard cub to learn how to save itself from potential threats in the near future by learning to climb trees. We had quite a laugh as the youngster got stuck in a branch and fell out, not having the skills perfected just yet. The mother immediately understood and moved the cub towards another den site. They are now tucked into a cave in the riverbed, so the chances of the cub surviving are higher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately that makes it more difficult for us to be able to view the female and her cub. As soon as the little one has perfected its climbing skills, we will have a lot more fantastic sightings.

By Stephanie Mast, Kirkman’s Kamp

Web Site: http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/luxury_safari/south_africa/sabi_sand_game_reserve/and_beyond_kirkmans

Kirkman’s Kamp

Kirkman’s Kamp has spectacular views of the unspoilt wilderness and the Sabi Sand River. A well known historic camp, originally built in the early 1920’s Kirkmans Kamp celebrates the atmosphere of an early South African lowveld homestead.

To book &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp contact Classic Safari Co http://www.classicsafaricompany.com.au/south_africa.php or 1300 130 218