Sabi Sabi

Getaway in South Africa

Catriona from Getaway recently joined Scenic Tours on an 18 day luxury all-inclusive South Africa and Garden Route tour which formed a three-part special on Southern African adventures.

Check out the start of their journey here:

Getaway to Africa with Catriona Rowntree & Scenic Tours Episode 1 of 3 from Scenic Tours on Vimeo.

The trip began in Sabi Sands, a group of game reserves next to the Kruger National Park where they set off to meet the Big 5.

Touring in a private reserve had benefits for the Getaway team. Private reserves have fewer people so it gave them the opportunity to get closer to the animals.  In addition, they were able to drive off-road for special sightings.

CatrionaSabiSandsCatriona stayed at the luxurious Lion Sands River Lodge  which is located on the banks of the Sabie River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in South Africa and home to Africa’s highest density of leopards.

The next destination involved some myth busting. Once notorious, Johannesburg is transforming into a tourist hot spot.

The team visited the Maboneng district – a neighbourhood on the east side of Johannesburg’s CBD which has been transformed into a bustling entertainment hub with vibrant restaurants and coffee shops alongside galleries, theatres, shopping and walking tours.

Whilst in Johannesburg the Getaway team visited Soweto and chatted to locals to discover the new South Africa after 20 years of democracy.

There is a huge amount of pride from Soweto residents for their hometown which includes two noble laureates – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – from the same street!

Not only that, but in Soweto people claim they have the best barbecues, known as braai, ‘this side of the Indian Ocean’.  At Chaf Pozi  under the iconic Soweto chimney stacks, customers choose their meat from the counter, which is then cooked to perfection for them!  ChafPozi

The Details
The Getaway team did an 18 day luxury journey of South Africa and the Garden Route from Cape Town to Johannesburg with Scenic Tours.

To celebrate Getaway’s visit, Scenic tours are offering  up to $200 off selected Africa tours. Offer valid until December 31, 2014.  Click here for more information,

To book, request a free brochure or to attend a free information session, visit www.scenictours.com.au or call 1300 723 642.

Getaway in South Africa

Catriona from Getaway recently joined Scenic Tours on an 18 day luxury all-inclusive South Africa and Garden Route tour which formed a three-part special on Southern African adventures.

Check out the start of their journey here:

Getaway to Africa with Catriona Rowntree & Scenic Tours Episode 1 of 3 from Scenic Tours on Vimeo.

The trip began in Sabi Sands, a group of game reserves next to the Kruger National Park where they set off to meet the Big 5.

Touring in a private reserve had benefits for the Getaway team. Private reserves have fewer people so it gave them the opportunity to get closer to the animals.  In addition, they were able to drive off-road for special sightings.

CatrionaSabiSandsCatriona stayed at the luxurious Lion Sands River Lodge  which is located on the banks of the Sabie River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in South Africa and home to Africa’s highest density of leopards.

The next destination involved some myth busting. Once notorious, Johannesburg is transforming into a tourist hot spot.

The team visited the Maboneng district – a neighbourhood on the east side of Johannesburg’s CBD which has been transformed into a bustling entertainment hub with vibrant restaurants and coffee shops alongside galleries, theatres, shopping and walking tours.

Whilst in Johannesburg the Getaway team visited Soweto and chatted to locals to discover the new South Africa after 20 years of democracy.

There is a huge amount of pride from Soweto residents for their hometown which includes two noble laureates – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – from the same street!

Not only that, but in Soweto people claim they have the best barbecues, known as braai, ‘this side of the Indian Ocean’.  At Chaf Pozi  under the iconic Soweto chimney stacks, customers choose their meat from the counter, which is then cooked to perfection for them!  ChafPozi

The Details
The Getaway team did an 18 day luxury journey of South Africa and the Garden Route from Cape Town to Johannesburg with Scenic Tours.

To celebrate Getaway’s visit, Scenic tours are offering  up to $200 off selected Africa tours. Offer valid until December 31, 2014.  Click here for more information,

To book, request a free brochure or to attend a free information session, visit www.scenictours.com.au or call 1300 723 642.

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

 

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

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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

Sabi Sabi Bush Sighting – Life in the Fast Lane

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Streamlined and elegant, the cheetah strode purposely down the road in front of us. The late afternoon sun glinted off his eyes, giving them the impression of polished amber; his velvet coat glowing gold in the receding light. His long legs and slight frame hinted at the explosive power that lay beneath them. His eyes, perfectly adapted to diurnal hunting, scanned the bush on either side for his next meal. Driven by the need to find food, and constantly aware of the stronger competition that might take it from him, the cheetah leads one of the harshest lives of Africa’s most revered predators. Rarely is he able to finish a meal without the interruption of hyena or lion.

Today he was hungry. His beautiful eyes betrayed the need to eat as they analyzed every inch of the landscape, searching for potential prey. His sharp vision soon picked out a herd of impala casually grazing close to a waterhole. Instantly his demeanor changed. With delicate precision, the cheetah circled his prey. His deliberate approach was borne out of a life of missed opportunities and experience; the ability to see but not be seen essential in his success as a species. Keeping plenty of cover between him and his target, the cheetah finally settled in the lengthening shadows of a knobthorn tree to plan his attack. Between him lay a no-man’s-land of short grass, affording him no cover. For some of the larger predators this would be an unassailable obstacle but this would pose no problem for the blistering speed of the cheetah.

Trained to observe for hours and wait for the perfect moment, he watched the movements and actions of the impala. His long thick tail, so important for balance and maneuverability at high speeds, twitched occasionally, the only sign of his growing excitement. Finally, the trap was set. Inching forward, low on his belly, the cheetah positioned himself, ready to strike. Like a coiled spring, toned muscles rippled as they tensed for action. We waited, breath held as we watched for their release. We knew we were about to witness something special. A cheetah in full flight in the wild is not often seen by people, especially in thick savanna vegetation such as where he had now chosen to hunt. They have to develop new hunting strategies to compensate for less room to operate at high speeds. This time the cheetah had worked the opening that nature had designed it for.

Cheetah-on-the-run

Without warning, the attack came. With incredible speed the cheetah exploded from his concealed position with acceleration that defies belief. Faster than some of the top production cars on the planet, the cheetah hit 60km/h inside 2 seconds. He was a bolt of black and gold streaking across the grass, a feat of natural engineering doing what natural selection has chosen it for. The lightweight frame, enlarged nostrils, non-retractable claws for grip all worked in perfect harmony to propel him towards his target. The impala saw him coming and fled, they themselves also aware that danger can come from any side at any moment. For an instant the cheetah looked beaten but then he hit the afterburners… With so little time to get up to speed, the impala stood no chance. Legs pumping like pistons, massive strides eating the ground beneath him, the cheetah singled out one of the ewes and employed the classic ankle tap. His over-sized dew claw clipped the impala’s back leg and sent it stumbling into the turf. Like a flash, the cheetah was on top of her, strong jaws clamped down on her neck stifling any cries that would alert other predators and cutting off oxygen to the already exhausted impala.

We watched in awe as the entire event unfolded in front of us in the blink of an eye. However, we were not the only audience to this performance. As the cheetah lay beside his prize, panting heavily, trying to get air back to his oxygen-starved limbs, 3 rhinos now approached the spectacle. With no real enemies to worry them, they approached the scene with apparent curiosity, their poor eyesight unable to resolve the situation to their satisfaction. A sighting is always magnified by having interactions between species. It lends itself to the bigger picture, rather than just witnessing individual characters go about their business. Though out gunned and facing about 2000kgs in body weight, the cheetah stood its ground, ready to defend his kill against these armoured giants. Nose to nose, with only a meter or so separating them, the cheetah stood resolute over his kill, hissing and spitting at the spectators. Seemingly perplexed by this fiery little adversary, the rhinos soon moved on no doubt chuckling at the plucky little cat’s defiance.

With the battle won and his prize defended, the cheetah settled down to a well-earned meal. With relish, his sharp teeth opened the soft flesh of the hind quarters and he began to eat, needing to replenish some of the energy expended during the hunt. But this unbelievable sighting was not over for us yet! From the tree line skulked the unmistakable figure of a spotted hyena, the cheetah’s arch nemesis. We knew instantly that all the hard work would come to nothing with the arrival of natures’ principal scavenger. Although quite capable of hunting for themselves, hyenas are brilliantly adapted to reaping the rewards of others labour. The cheetah knew that his meal was lost. He stood his ground trying to get as much nourishment as possible before the inevitable happened. In the human world we always say that death and taxes are inevitable, but I’m sure in the cheetah world, it’s death and hyenas! For a moment, we thought that the two would share the spoils but with a look that could kill, the hyena took one bite and casually dragged his plunder away. The cheetah knew it had met its match and merely watched, before turning away and continuing his unending fight for survival.

Watching this filled me with so many emotions. The excitement of witnessing my first ever kill will live long in my memory but the interactions that followed will make this unforgettable. To see just one of the 3 principle characters in this soap opera would have been special in itself but to see them all was special. Of course we were rooting for the cheetah. It is not often we see this fascinating animal and get to marvel at its abilities, but also to see its weaknesses first hand. To possess such blistering speed means sacrificing strength – a point perfectly highlighted in his decision not even to defend his kill against the more powerful hyena.

by: rika venter – bush lodge ranger

Website: www.sabisabi.com

Sabi Sabi Bush Sighting – Life in the Fast Lane

via sabisabi.com

Streamlined and elegant, the cheetah strode purposely down the road in front of us. The late afternoon sun glinted off his eyes, giving them the impression of polished amber; his velvet coat glowing gold in the receding light. His long legs and slight frame hinted at the explosive power that lay beneath them. His eyes, perfectly adapted to diurnal hunting, scanned the bush on either side for his next meal. Driven by the need to find food, and constantly aware of the stronger competition that might take it from him, the cheetah leads one of the harshest lives of Africa’s most revered predators. Rarely is he able to finish a meal without the interruption of hyena or lion.

Today he was hungry. His beautiful eyes betrayed the need to eat as they analyzed every inch of the landscape, searching for potential prey. His sharp vision soon picked out a herd of impala casually grazing close to a waterhole. Instantly his demeanor changed. With delicate precision, the cheetah circled his prey. His deliberate approach was borne out of a life of missed opportunities and experience; the ability to see but not be seen essential in his success as a species. Keeping plenty of cover between him and his target, the cheetah finally settled in the lengthening shadows of a knobthorn tree to plan his attack. Between him lay a no-man’s-land of short grass, affording him no cover. For some of the larger predators this would be an unassailable obstacle but this would pose no problem for the blistering speed of the cheetah.

Trained to observe for hours and wait for the perfect moment, he watched the movements and actions of the impala. His long thick tail, so important for balance and maneuverability at high speeds, twitched occasionally, the only sign of his growing excitement. Finally, the trap was set. Inching forward, low on his belly, the cheetah positioned himself, ready to strike. Like a coiled spring, toned muscles rippled as they tensed for action. We waited, breath held as we watched for their release. We knew we were about to witness something special. A cheetah in full flight in the wild is not often seen by people, especially in thick savanna vegetation such as where he had now chosen to hunt. They have to develop new hunting strategies to compensate for less room to operate at high speeds. This time the cheetah had worked the opening that nature had designed it for.

Cheetah-on-the-run

Without warning, the attack came. With incredible speed the cheetah exploded from his concealed position with acceleration that defies belief. Faster than some of the top production cars on the planet, the cheetah hit 60km/h inside 2 seconds. He was a bolt of black and gold streaking across the grass, a feat of natural engineering doing what natural selection has chosen it for. The lightweight frame, enlarged nostrils, non-retractable claws for grip all worked in perfect harmony to propel him towards his target. The impala saw him coming and fled, they themselves also aware that danger can come from any side at any moment. For an instant the cheetah looked beaten but then he hit the afterburners… With so little time to get up to speed, the impala stood no chance. Legs pumping like pistons, massive strides eating the ground beneath him, the cheetah singled out one of the ewes and employed the classic ankle tap. His over-sized dew claw clipped the impala’s back leg and sent it stumbling into the turf. Like a flash, the cheetah was on top of her, strong jaws clamped down on her neck stifling any cries that would alert other predators and cutting off oxygen to the already exhausted impala.

We watched in awe as the entire event unfolded in front of us in the blink of an eye. However, we were not the only audience to this performance. As the cheetah lay beside his prize, panting heavily, trying to get air back to his oxygen-starved limbs, 3 rhinos now approached the spectacle. With no real enemies to worry them, they approached the scene with apparent curiosity, their poor eyesight unable to resolve the situation to their satisfaction. A sighting is always magnified by having interactions between species. It lends itself to the bigger picture, rather than just witnessing individual characters go about their business. Though out gunned and facing about 2000kgs in body weight, the cheetah stood its ground, ready to defend his kill against these armoured giants. Nose to nose, with only a meter or so separating them, the cheetah stood resolute over his kill, hissing and spitting at the spectators. Seemingly perplexed by this fiery little adversary, the rhinos soon moved on no doubt chuckling at the plucky little cat’s defiance.

With the battle won and his prize defended, the cheetah settled down to a well-earned meal. With relish, his sharp teeth opened the soft flesh of the hind quarters and he began to eat, needing to replenish some of the energy expended during the hunt. But this unbelievable sighting was not over for us yet! From the tree line skulked the unmistakable figure of a spotted hyena, the cheetah’s arch nemesis. We knew instantly that all the hard work would come to nothing with the arrival of natures’ principal scavenger. Although quite capable of hunting for themselves, hyenas are brilliantly adapted to reaping the rewards of others labour. The cheetah knew that his meal was lost. He stood his ground trying to get as much nourishment as possible before the inevitable happened. In the human world we always say that death and taxes are inevitable, but I’m sure in the cheetah world, it’s death and hyenas! For a moment, we thought that the two would share the spoils but with a look that could kill, the hyena took one bite and casually dragged his plunder away. The cheetah knew it had met its match and merely watched, before turning away and continuing his unending fight for survival.

Watching this filled me with so many emotions. The excitement of witnessing my first ever kill will live long in my memory but the interactions that followed will make this unforgettable. To see just one of the 3 principle characters in this soap opera would have been special in itself but to see them all was special. Of course we were rooting for the cheetah. It is not often we see this fascinating animal and get to marvel at its abilities, but also to see its weaknesses first hand. To possess such blistering speed means sacrificing strength – a point perfectly highlighted in his decision not even to defend his kill against the more powerful hyena.

by: rika venter – bush lodge ranger

Website: www.sabisabi.com

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 →

Sabi Sabi Wildfacts – Termites

via sabisabi.com

1. Insects, including termites, are the most successful group of living creatures in the world today. Termites are the only insect order in which all species are highly social. They have been on Earth for over 50 million years, and although they are sometimes called “white ants”, they are not ants, nor are they closely related to them..

2. In a termite colony there is a caste family structure: the workers – blind, sexless nymphs: the soldiers – with large heads and long jaws: and the reproductives including the queen.

3. The termite queen is the largest of all individual social insects. She produces one egg approximately every 3 seconds.

4. Just before the rainy season, some of the worker termites complete their development and become winged adults. These leave the nest in swarms and eventually land on the ground, shed their wings and mate, and create new colonies.

5. Termites are probably the most efficient creatures contributing to decomposition in the bushveld. They are also an important food source in Africa.

6. The termite species Macrotermes are the builders of nearly all the large termite mounds in Africa. There are many wonderful examples of these termitaria at Sabi Sabi. Macrotermes termites are fungus-growers, bringing plant material back to the colony, chewing it to a pulp and using it to cultivate the fungus on which they feed.

Website: http://www.sabisabi.com

Sabi Sabi Wildfacts – Termites

1. Insects, including termites, are the most successful group of living creatures in the world today. Termites are the only insect order in which all species are highly social. They have been on Earth for over 50 million years, and although they are sometimes called “white ants”, they are not ants, nor are they closely related to them..

2. In a termite colony there is a caste family structure: the workers – blind, sexless nymphs: the soldiers – with large heads and long jaws: and the reproductives including the queen.

3. The termite queen is the largest of all individual social insects. She produces one egg approximately every 3 seconds.

4. Just before the rainy season, some of the worker termites complete their development and become winged adults. These leave the nest in swarms and eventually land on the ground, shed their wings and mate, and create new colonies.

5. Termites are probably the most efficient creatures contributing to decomposition in the bushveld. They are also an important food source in Africa.

6. The termite species Macrotermes are the builders of nearly all the large termite mounds in Africa. There are many wonderful examples of these termitaria at Sabi Sabi. Macrotermes termites are fungus-growers, bringing plant material back to the colony, chewing it to a pulp and using it to cultivate the fungus on which they feed.

Website: http://www.sabisabi.com

Sabi Sabi Ranger Story – Ultimate Walk

It was a sunny morning at Selati Camp when we started off on a walking safari. My guests, Ian and Heather MacPherson (father and daughter), as well as a honeymoon couple, Neil and Tracy Bantleman, who had been staying with us for 3 nights, were unaware of the extraordinary walk they wer about to experience.
They were all wildlife enthusiasts and loved their walking safaris, so I asked them whether or not they would be interested in doing a longer walk than usual. They were excited at the idea.

After having a wonderful breakfast in the comfort of the camp, we all set off with our backpacks, water and walking shoes. The sun was getting higher in the sky and the temperature was beginning to soar. This meant that the animals were most likely starting to take to shady spots to keep themselves cool. That would make also make it harder for us to find them.

Shortly after leaving the camp, I found up some fresh Giraffe spoor. The tracks were larger than normal, which suggested that they were from a big male. I estimated that he had walked there within the past hour. My guests were very keen to see the giraffe, so off we went to track him.

Sometimes people think that because Giraffes are so tall they are easy to spot, and it always amazes them just how camouflaged the tallest animal in the world can actually be. We followed the tracks through an Acacia thicket, and into and out of a small drainage line. As we came over a small hill, there, 50-60 meters away was the Giraffe we had been searching for. He was a nice big male, with a darker than normal coat. I tried using the cover of trees and bushes to get closer in order for my guests to get some good photographs, but with the Giraffes keen eyesight he spotted us creeping towards him. We still managed to get within a short distance of him, while he stared at us with a cautious eye. We got some great shots and Heather was amazed at just how tall the Giraffe really was. When you are sitting in a vehicle, it can give you a false sense of the size of animals, but by going on a walk, you become fully aware of just how big they really are. That’s one thing that makes a walking safari so worthwhile, as you are now on foot in the animals kingdom, walking on their terms.

During the walk Tracy started talking and asking about scorpions. I decided to head towards a rocky outcrop which is usually a good place to look for them. After scouting out a couple of rocks, I found the perfect one. Rock scorpions normally like to hide under rocks that are fairly large, ones that baboons will find difficult to lift as they search for their scorpion snacks. With a bit of effort we managed to lift the rock just far enough off the ground for me to be able to get a good look underneath. There lay a medium sized rock scorpion. I picked it up by the small tail and began to explain to my intrigued guests just how advanced a scorpion’s senses are. With tiny little hairs called trichobothria, they can detect a termite walking 40cm away, and they can feel the vibrations of thunderstorms still hundreds of kilometers away. Every animal big and small is just so interesting in its own way, which makes my job one of the best in the world. We managed to get some great photographs of our arachnid friend before placing him back underneath its rock home.

We carried on with our walk looking at all sorts of interesting trees, plants and tracks while I shared as much knowledge as I could. After some time we stopped under a big shady tree, where we drank water and took in the peace that the bush has to offer. We saw some fresh buffalo tracks and we could hear the lone bull disturbing all the dry, fallen leaves on the ground as he moved off in the far distance.

After rehydrating ourselves, we put our bags back onto our backs and began to make our way back to the camp which was still about an hour away. We were walking across a big open area, when Neil spotted a beautiful pinkish flower. It was an Impala lily, which even for a colour blind person like myself, is really just so beautiful. We moved closer to it to take some photographs. Ian hadn’t brought a camera, so he stood a few meters away from us, looking around with his binoculars.

Once we had got all our photos, we carried on walking. We hadn’t gone more than 10 meters when we heard a growl, a growl so deep and distinctive that you could feel it throughout your whole body. I raised my head, and there, lying in the shade of a lowveld mikberry tree about 20 meters away, was a big, dark maned male lion. His tail was lashing from side to side, which, combined with the deep growl, is a very definite warning not to come any closer. At this stage Neil, Tracy, and Heather, who were right behind me, were fully aware of what was happening. Ian on the other hand, who was still standing a little way away, had heard the sound, but due to his older age and weaker eyesight, could not see where it was coming from. With a calm soft voice I told Ian ‘Please get behind me.” He was more interested in putting the binoculars to his eyes to see if he could pinpoint what was making that terrifying noise. So, once again, but this time with more firmness, I said, “Ian get behind me now”. He reacted straight away, and joined the rest of the group.

I told them all to back away 10 steps, while I kept a very close eye on our angry lion. After backing off our 10 steps, the lion was still growling and his tail was still lashing from side to side. I told the group to back off another 10 steps. At this point, the lion stopped growling and his posture became a lot more relaxed. I assessed the situation, and deciding that we were now safe, we all took the opportunity to quickly and quietly take a few photographs, being very careful at the same time not to overstay our welcome. At this stage we were all just smiling hugely from ear to ear, as we couldn’t believe what had just happened.

We began moving again, giving our lion friend a nice wide berth as we passed by him. We could see Selati Camp in the distance, but it was still a fair way off. We moved off the open area and entered the tree line on a big game path that animals often use to go to and from the waterhole in front of the camp. On the path I found some more male lion tracks. These were going in the same direction as we were, but I thought that they were possibly the tracks of the same male we had just encountered. However, the fact that the spoor was going in our direction, left a little niggling doubt in my mind.

As we exited the tree line and onto the open area in front of the camp we saw another male lion about 70 meters away. He had heard us coming, but due to the distance between us, he was still very relaxed. I couldn’t believe that in the space of 30 minutes we had walked into two separate male lions. It was just so extraordinary. We were a safe distance away, so we took some more photographs, and then began to move off.

The lion was, however, lying right on our path home, so for safety we once again had to make a wide detour. This meant that we would have to get back via a drainage line, where the bush is a little bit denser. Before we descended into the drainage line, I explained to the guests that with the presence of 2 males around, there was a chance that there could also be some lionesses in the vicinity. I needed them all to stay very close behind me, and remain completely quiet as we passed in and out of the drainage line. We revised our hand signals and then carefully started to make our way through.

We encountered no more animals and proceeded back to the camp which was now only a short distance away. On arriving at the camp, we were all just so ecstatic about this incredible 3 hour walk we had just experienced, that we couldn’t wait to share our amazing saga with the staff and the rest of the guests.

We were all standing on the deck telling our story, when, from exactly where we had entered the drainage line 10 minutes earlier, out came 2 lionesses. They were on their way to drink water and join the male.

Everyone just looked at each other in amazement and laughed. It was one of the most incredible days in my game ranging history.

Craig Foaden – Ranger

Read more ranger stories at http://www.sabisabi.com/

Sabi Sabi Ranger Story – Ultimate Walk

It was a sunny morning at Selati Camp when we started off on a walking safari. My guests, Ian and Heather MacPherson (father and daughter), as well as a honeymoon couple, Neil and Tracy Bantleman, who had been staying with us for 3 nights, were unaware of the extraordinary walk they wer about to experience.
They were all wildlife enthusiasts and loved their walking safaris, so I asked them whether or not they would be interested in doing a longer walk than usual. They were excited at the idea.

After having a wonderful breakfast in the comfort of the camp, we all set off with our backpacks, water and walking shoes. The sun was getting higher in the sky and the temperature was beginning to soar. This meant that the animals were most likely starting to take to shady spots to keep themselves cool. That would make also make it harder for us to find them.

Shortly after leaving the camp, I found up some fresh Giraffe spoor. The tracks were larger than normal, which suggested that they were from a big male. I estimated that he had walked there within the past hour. My guests were very keen to see the giraffe, so off we went to track him.

Sometimes people think that because Giraffes are so tall they are easy to spot, and it always amazes them just how camouflaged the tallest animal in the world can actually be. We followed the tracks through an Acacia thicket, and into and out of a small drainage line. As we came over a small hill, there, 50-60 meters away was the Giraffe we had been searching for. He was a nice big male, with a darker than normal coat. I tried using the cover of trees and bushes to get closer in order for my guests to get some good photographs, but with the Giraffes keen eyesight he spotted us creeping towards him. We still managed to get within a short distance of him, while he stared at us with a cautious eye. We got some great shots and Heather was amazed at just how tall the Giraffe really was. When you are sitting in a vehicle, it can give you a false sense of the size of animals, but by going on a walk, you become fully aware of just how big they really are. That’s one thing that makes a walking safari so worthwhile, as you are now on foot in the animals kingdom, walking on their terms.

During the walk Tracy started talking and asking about scorpions. I decided to head towards a rocky outcrop which is usually a good place to look for them. After scouting out a couple of rocks, I found the perfect one. Rock scorpions normally like to hide under rocks that are fairly large, ones that baboons will find difficult to lift as they search for their scorpion snacks. With a bit of effort we managed to lift the rock just far enough off the ground for me to be able to get a good look underneath. There lay a medium sized rock scorpion. I picked it up by the small tail and began to explain to my intrigued guests just how advanced a scorpion’s senses are. With tiny little hairs called trichobothria, they can detect a termite walking 40cm away, and they can feel the vibrations of thunderstorms still hundreds of kilometers away. Every animal big and small is just so interesting in its own way, which makes my job one of the best in the world. We managed to get some great photographs of our arachnid friend before placing him back underneath its rock home.

We carried on with our walk looking at all sorts of interesting trees, plants and tracks while I shared as much knowledge as I could. After some time we stopped under a big shady tree, where we drank water and took in the peace that the bush has to offer. We saw some fresh buffalo tracks and we could hear the lone bull disturbing all the dry, fallen leaves on the ground as he moved off in the far distance.

After rehydrating ourselves, we put our bags back onto our backs and began to make our way back to the camp which was still about an hour away. We were walking across a big open area, when Neil spotted a beautiful pinkish flower. It was an Impala lily, which even for a colour blind person like myself, is really just so beautiful. We moved closer to it to take some photographs. Ian hadn’t brought a camera, so he stood a few meters away from us, looking around with his binoculars.

Once we had got all our photos, we carried on walking. We hadn’t gone more than 10 meters when we heard a growl, a growl so deep and distinctive that you could feel it throughout your whole body. I raised my head, and there, lying in the shade of a lowveld mikberry tree about 20 meters away, was a big, dark maned male lion. His tail was lashing from side to side, which, combined with the deep growl, is a very definite warning not to come any closer. At this stage Neil, Tracy, and Heather, who were right behind me, were fully aware of what was happening. Ian on the other hand, who was still standing a little way away, had heard the sound, but due to his older age and weaker eyesight, could not see where it was coming from. With a calm soft voice I told Ian ‘Please get behind me.” He was more interested in putting the binoculars to his eyes to see if he could pinpoint what was making that terrifying noise. So, once again, but this time with more firmness, I said, “Ian get behind me now”. He reacted straight away, and joined the rest of the group.

I told them all to back away 10 steps, while I kept a very close eye on our angry lion. After backing off our 10 steps, the lion was still growling and his tail was still lashing from side to side. I told the group to back off another 10 steps. At this point, the lion stopped growling and his posture became a lot more relaxed. I assessed the situation, and deciding that we were now safe, we all took the opportunity to quickly and quietly take a few photographs, being very careful at the same time not to overstay our welcome. At this stage we were all just smiling hugely from ear to ear, as we couldn’t believe what had just happened.

We began moving again, giving our lion friend a nice wide berth as we passed by him. We could see Selati Camp in the distance, but it was still a fair way off. We moved off the open area and entered the tree line on a big game path that animals often use to go to and from the waterhole in front of the camp. On the path I found some more male lion tracks. These were going in the same direction as we were, but I thought that they were possibly the tracks of the same male we had just encountered. However, the fact that the spoor was going in our direction, left a little niggling doubt in my mind.

As we exited the tree line and onto the open area in front of the camp we saw another male lion about 70 meters away. He had heard us coming, but due to the distance between us, he was still very relaxed. I couldn’t believe that in the space of 30 minutes we had walked into two separate male lions. It was just so extraordinary. We were a safe distance away, so we took some more photographs, and then began to move off.

The lion was, however, lying right on our path home, so for safety we once again had to make a wide detour. This meant that we would have to get back via a drainage line, where the bush is a little bit denser. Before we descended into the drainage line, I explained to the guests that with the presence of 2 males around, there was a chance that there could also be some lionesses in the vicinity. I needed them all to stay very close behind me, and remain completely quiet as we passed in and out of the drainage line. We revised our hand signals and then carefully started to make our way through.

We encountered no more animals and proceeded back to the camp which was now only a short distance away. On arriving at the camp, we were all just so ecstatic about this incredible 3 hour walk we had just experienced, that we couldn’t wait to share our amazing saga with the staff and the rest of the guests.

We were all standing on the deck telling our story, when, from exactly where we had entered the drainage line 10 minutes earlier, out came 2 lionesses. They were on their way to drink water and join the male.

Everyone just looked at each other in amazement and laughed. It was one of the most incredible days in my game ranging history.

Craig Foaden – Ranger

Read more ranger stories at http://www.sabisabi.com/

Sabi Sabi Bush Sighting – Very Lucky Pangolin Sighting

After completing a lodge inspection, I was making my way from Little Bush Camp to do a safari rendezvous (meet up with another Land Rover) for the guest I had with me. I slowed down when we came across what I initially thought was a pushed over Bushmans’ Lantern (a small fibrous shrub, so-called because indigenous Bushmen used it to transport fire between camps). This ‘lantern’ was about a meter from my vehicle in the grass, keeping very still. I thought that it looked a bit odd and it was not really the right area for the plant, when the realisation hit me as to what it was. Just a few paces from me was my very first Pangolin sighting!!

I’m pretty sure that the guest I was with must have thought I had seen several leopards given my excitement as I tried to explain to her what I had just found. For an elusive creature the pangolin was certainly very relaxed with our presence. As it is traditionally a nocturnal animal, at half past three in the afternoon it was possibly the rarest daylight sighting in Africa.

After several minutes I managed to calm down and called it in on the radio for the other guides. What followed next was an exodus to come and see the Pangolin and a two vehicle limit was placed at the sighting to avoid any stress being placed on the animal. The Pangolin was happy, staying astonishingly relaxed, foraging for ants on the ground in full view and offering his best side for photographs!

One of our guides has worked in the bush for nine years and this was her first ever sighting of a Pangolin. The experience was truly magical, a definite once in a lifetime for some of the people who live and work in the bush and a treasure for our friends just visiting.

By Matt Brennan, Ranger at Sabi Sabi

Web Site: http://www.sabisabi.com/

To book Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve visit http://www.adventureworld.com.au/destination/south-africa/ or phone 1300 363 055

Sabi Sabi Bush Sightings: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful, World!

By Brett Heasman

As we were finishing our sundowners while watching the sun setting, a sighting was called in over the radio.  So we quickly packed up and set off.  My guests had no idea what was in store for them! As we arrived at the sighting we spotted a young male leopard. My guests were thrilled as this was the last of the Big 5 for them. All of a sudden this young male leopard started stalking a herd of impala. It took him some time to get close, and the sun had already set. It was pitch black, our lights were off, and all that we could see were the stars in the sky and hear the noises of the bush.

Suddenly we heard a rustle, so we turned on the lights and found that the impala had fled; the reason for this was a hyena that had disturbed the hunt for the leopard. Immediately the leopard started making his way towards another herd of impala – at this time I had told my guests that the chances of him hunting again and being successful were very slim, as the impala were aware of both him and the hyena.  So once again we allowed nature to take its course and turned off the lights. We assumed that the leopard was behind a termite mound which was in front of us and the impala were on our right. The impala started making alarm calls so we thought he had been busted.  We once again turned on the lights to see if we could find the leopard; but he had disappeared. I then told my guests it was time to move on and head home, so I started making my way back through the bush to the road.

All of a sudden a loud noise on my side of the vehicle; an impala had been caught by the leopard! The leopard started to suffocate the impala by biting into her jugular. The chances of seeing a leopard making a kill right next to you is unbelievably rare!  Then, out of nowhere, the hyena appeared.  The leopard saw the hyena and he tried to bolt towards the tree in order to save his kill. Unfortunately for him the impala managed to kick which led to him dropping his prey and he then headed up the tree. The hyena then quickly gripped the impala which ended the battle.  This is nature and we cannot interfere.

My guests and myself were absolutely astounded, a sighting that will be talked about forever. This is the circle of life, only the strong will survive.

Brett Heasman is a ranger at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

Read More Bush Sightings & Interesting Facts

Sabi Sabi Bush Sightings: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful, World!

By Brett Heasman

As we were finishing our sundowners while watching the sun setting, a sighting was called in over the radio.  So we quickly packed up and set off.  My guests had no idea what was in store for them! As we arrived at the sighting we spotted a young male leopard. My guests were thrilled as this was the last of the Big 5 for them. All of a sudden this young male leopard started stalking a herd of impala. It took him some time to get close, and the sun had already set. It was pitch black, our lights were off, and all that we could see were the stars in the sky and hear the noises of the bush.

Suddenly we heard a rustle, so we turned on the lights and found that the impala had fled; the reason for this was a hyena that had disturbed the hunt for the leopard. Immediately the leopard started making his way towards another herd of impala – at this time I had told my guests that the chances of him hunting again and being successful were very slim, as the impala were aware of both him and the hyena.  So once again we allowed nature to take its course and turned off the lights. We assumed that the leopard was behind a termite mound which was in front of us and the impala were on our right. The impala started making alarm calls so we thought he had been busted.  We once again turned on the lights to see if we could find the leopard; but he had disappeared. I then told my guests it was time to move on and head home, so I started making my way back through the bush to the road.

All of a sudden a loud noise on my side of the vehicle; an impala had been caught by the leopard! The leopard started to suffocate the impala by biting into her jugular. The chances of seeing a leopard making a kill right next to you is unbelievably rare!  Then, out of nowhere, the hyena appeared.  The leopard saw the hyena and he tried to bolt towards the tree in order to save his kill. Unfortunately for him the impala managed to kick which led to him dropping his prey and he then headed up the tree. The hyena then quickly gripped the impala which ended the battle.  This is nature and we cannot interfere.

My guests and myself were absolutely astounded, a sighting that will be talked about forever. This is the circle of life, only the strong will survive.

Brett Heasman is a ranger at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

Read More Bush Sightings & Interesting Facts

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Warthog

The Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus, a common resident of the Sabi Sabi bushveld, is widely spread throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. With a flat head and large warts, this is a really unattractive member of the pig family. The male of the species can weigh as much as 100kgs, with the female much smaller, weighing in at only 70kgs.
Both the males (boars) and females (sows) have 2 sets of ivory tusks – an upper set which is curved into a semi-circle, and a lower set which is extremely sharp and dangerous. The tusks are formidable weapons, and in males can reach a length of 25cms. Both sexes have distinctive wart-like bumps on their faces, but on the male these are much more pronounced, with the upper “warts” growing extremely large, possibly to protect their eyes during fights with other males in the mating season.

Warthogs have a naked grey skin, covered with occasional sparse bits of bristly hair. Along the backbone there is a little more hair, forming a small mane, and finally, it sports a tuft of coarse hair right at the tip of its tail. As with many other bushveld animals, oxpeckers assist in keeping insects and ticks off these bare creatures, and wallowing in the mud completes the job of removing pests.

The males of the species are generally solitary, while the females live in small social groups called soundings, made up of one or two mothers with their 3-4 piglets. When running through the grass, their tails stand straight up, with the hair on the end waving like a little pennant, making it easy for members of the family to follow each other.

Warthogs are herbivores, eating plants, grasses, roots and bulbs. They are often seen kneeling on their calloused front legs, using their snouts and tusks to dig for buried tubers.

Although capable of digging their own homes, warthogs generally live in abandoned holes and burrows, their favourite being aardvark burrows. When chased by predators, their instinct is flight rather than fight. Given the opportunity, they will flee to their burrows at speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour and scurry in backwards, leaving those menacing tusks facing outwards. Many guests on safari have had the opportunity of seeing hungry lion or leopard prowling around a termite mound, unable to safely dig out the warthog inside its den.

For more Sabi Sabi Wild Facts and information about Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve visit http://www.sabisabi.com

Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve – Warthog

The Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus, a common resident of the Sabi Sabi bushveld, is widely spread throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. With a flat head and large warts, this is a really unattractive member of the pig family. The male of the species can weigh as much as 100kgs, with the female much smaller, weighing in at only 70kgs.
Both the males (boars) and females (sows) have 2 sets of ivory tusks – an upper set which is curved into a semi-circle, and a lower set which is extremely sharp and dangerous. The tusks are formidable weapons, and in males can reach a length of 25cms. Both sexes have distinctive wart-like bumps on their faces, but on the male these are much more pronounced, with the upper “warts” growing extremely large, possibly to protect their eyes during fights with other males in the mating season.

Warthogs have a naked grey skin, covered with occasional sparse bits of bristly hair. Along the backbone there is a little more hair, forming a small mane, and finally, it sports a tuft of coarse hair right at the tip of its tail. As with many other bushveld animals, oxpeckers assist in keeping insects and ticks off these bare creatures, and wallowing in the mud completes the job of removing pests.

The males of the species are generally solitary, while the females live in small social groups called soundings, made up of one or two mothers with their 3-4 piglets. When running through the grass, their tails stand straight up, with the hair on the end waving like a little pennant, making it easy for members of the family to follow each other.

Warthogs are herbivores, eating plants, grasses, roots and bulbs. They are often seen kneeling on their calloused front legs, using their snouts and tusks to dig for buried tubers.

Although capable of digging their own homes, warthogs generally live in abandoned holes and burrows, their favourite being aardvark burrows. When chased by predators, their instinct is flight rather than fight. Given the opportunity, they will flee to their burrows at speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour and scurry in backwards, leaving those menacing tusks facing outwards. Many guests on safari have had the opportunity of seeing hungry lion or leopard prowling around a termite mound, unable to safely dig out the warthog inside its den.

For more Sabi Sabi Wild Facts and information about Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve visit http://www.sabisabi.com