Wildlife

Our commitment to Conservation

South Africa is a place of beauty and depicts so vividly the majestic nature of its wildlife. A huge part of that wildlife is the rhino and although a rhino may look quite indestructible (it’s the second largest animal on land and weighs on average two tonnes!), populations have plummeted in the past and now there are fears that the rhino is facing renewed risk of extinction. As the demand for rhino horn increases in the Far East there has been a rapid increase in poaching of the beautiful white and black rhinos.

More →

Our commitment to Conservation

South Africa is a place of beauty and depicts so vividly the majestic nature of its wildlife. A huge part of that wildlife is the rhino and although a rhino may look quite indestructible (it’s the second largest animal on land and weighs on average two tonnes!), populations have plummeted in the past and now there are fears that the rhino is facing renewed risk of extinction. As the demand for rhino horn increases in the Far East there has been a rapid increase in poaching of the beautiful white and black rhinos.

More →

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

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

Cheetah kill commotion attracts leopard

When we joined another vehicle at a cheetah sighting, the animal was on the move walking with intent. The sun was directly behind us catching the morning dew on the tall grass as we weaved through the thick bush quietly behind him. He then stopped, focusing directly in front on a herd of kudu that we had already spotted. At that moment, without hesitation, he took off out of sight as we saw the herd flee, jumping in all directions, avoiding bushes as they scurried off with him in hot pursuit.

We followed quickly but only found him again about 5 minutes later. Panting heavily as he sat upright, we watched the steam coming out his mouth with the morning chill still in the air. It was only a few minutes later when he put his head down that we realised that he had actually been successful with his hunt. He then started to feed on his well-earned meal popping his head up every couple of moments looking around for any possible threats.

All of a sudden he stood tall and alert staring directly at something behind us. I turned around and saw a big male leopard just 2 metres away from our vehicle which was parked some 15 metres from the cheetah and his kill. For a split second, both animals froze dead still. The leopard then jumped forwards and chased the cheetah, which sprinted off. At that point we knew that we would no longer see the cheetah and waited near the kill, a young kudu calf, for the leopard to return. Moments later he was back and with great strength, dragged the kudu into the shade of the nearest big marula tree and started to feed on the carcass. It had barely even been touched by the poor cheetah.

What we had just seen was mind-blowing, predator interaction and a kill all in the space of approximately 20 minutes. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to think about taking any other photographs.

A day later we returned to the area and found the carcass up the Marula tree with the leopard busy feeding.

Cheetah kill commotion attracts leopard

When we joined another vehicle at a cheetah sighting, the animal was on the move walking with intent. The sun was directly behind us catching the morning dew on the tall grass as we weaved through the thick bush quietly behind him. He then stopped, focusing directly in front on a herd of kudu that we had already spotted. At that moment, without hesitation, he took off out of sight as we saw the herd flee, jumping in all directions, avoiding bushes as they scurried off with him in hot pursuit.

We followed quickly but only found him again about 5 minutes later. Panting heavily as he sat upright, we watched the steam coming out his mouth with the morning chill still in the air. It was only a few minutes later when he put his head down that we realised that he had actually been successful with his hunt. He then started to feed on his well-earned meal popping his head up every couple of moments looking around for any possible threats.

All of a sudden he stood tall and alert staring directly at something behind us. I turned around and saw a big male leopard just 2 metres away from our vehicle which was parked some 15 metres from the cheetah and his kill. For a split second, both animals froze dead still. The leopard then jumped forwards and chased the cheetah, which sprinted off. At that point we knew that we would no longer see the cheetah and waited near the kill, a young kudu calf, for the leopard to return. Moments later he was back and with great strength, dragged the kudu into the shade of the nearest big marula tree and started to feed on the carcass. It had barely even been touched by the poor cheetah.

What we had just seen was mind-blowing, predator interaction and a kill all in the space of approximately 20 minutes. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to think about taking any other photographs.

A day later we returned to the area and found the carcass up the Marula tree with the leopard busy feeding.

Baby Elephant rescue

Female elephants resuce a baby elephant from drowning in a waterhole. For Africa tour details visit www.gardenroutetrail.co.za.

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


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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


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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 →

Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari Lodges, Ranger Story – Its Never A Surprise!

It’s never a surprise to see game at Xivambelane, our staff village about one kilometre from the lodge. Unfenced, we often have an elephant drinking from our pool or lions walking past our doors.

So once again, one morning, while waiting for our staff vehicle, I had the pleasure of looking at a male bushbuck. He was eating the new grass in front of my neighbour’s room. I always marvel at how much these wild animals are at ease around us, because he was less than ten meters away from me.

A female cheetah caught my attention as she was sprinting at great speed towards the bushbuck. She might have come from the top of a termite mound about fifty meters to my left. The only object dividing us was a tree that was pushed over by elephants a couple of days ago.

She obviously never noticed me standing there, because she had kept her eyes on her prey. She seemed to be moving in on her kill exceedingly fast with head up and ears alert. Her movements reminded me of a greyhound, but with the added stealth of a cat. I had her in full sight for only a couple of seconds before she reached the bushbuck.

She did not alter her speed for a second as she yanked the buck off its legs and on its rear with her paw. It almost seemed as if they fell together, but she rammed him in mid-air, with force, into my neighbour’s door.

The loud bang drowned out the sound of her ferocious growl and the agonizing bleat of the buck for only a moment. In one movement was she on top of him, pinning the struggling buck down with both claws and chest while lunging for his throat. She somehow ended up behind the buck, with her death hold secured, still pinning him down. His flailing hoofs did not help him escape from such a vice like grip, even though he was almost bigger than she was.

The moment the bushbuck’s struggle has ceased, her sub adult cub, making a high pitched yapping sound, came over to join her. It was at this moment that I realized I was still standing at my open doorway. Quickly reaching over to close it, I alerted them of my presence. She started dragging her kill away, keeping it between her legs. It was a task that proved difficult for her since it was so heavy. She also kept her attention on the predator that has interrupted her kill – me.

I was a threat and even when she dragged her kill away into the long grass, she didn’t relax. They did not lose sight of where I was standing for a second, by then I was inside my room, dialling my sleeping neighbour’s numbers to have them share in my experience.

Our guides have told me that out of hundreds of studied cheetah kills, only half of them are successful and that I was extremely privileged to have experienced one of nature’s most amazing hunts. I agree with them – it was almost indescribable.

Johalien Coetzee

Receptionist – Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

Read More Ranger Stories

Website: www.sabisabi.com


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Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari Lodges, Ranger Story – Its Never A Surprise!

It’s never a surprise to see game at Xivambelane, our staff village about one kilometre from the lodge. Unfenced, we often have an elephant drinking from our pool or lions walking past our doors.

So once again, one morning, while waiting for our staff vehicle, I had the pleasure of looking at a male bushbuck. He was eating the new grass in front of my neighbour’s room. I always marvel at how much these wild animals are at ease around us, because he was less than ten meters away from me.

A female cheetah caught my attention as she was sprinting at great speed towards the bushbuck. She might have come from the top of a termite mound about fifty meters to my left. The only object dividing us was a tree that was pushed over by elephants a couple of days ago.

She obviously never noticed me standing there, because she had kept her eyes on her prey. She seemed to be moving in on her kill exceedingly fast with head up and ears alert. Her movements reminded me of a greyhound, but with the added stealth of a cat. I had her in full sight for only a couple of seconds before she reached the bushbuck.

She did not alter her speed for a second as she yanked the buck off its legs and on its rear with her paw. It almost seemed as if they fell together, but she rammed him in mid-air, with force, into my neighbour’s door.

The loud bang drowned out the sound of her ferocious growl and the agonizing bleat of the buck for only a moment. In one movement was she on top of him, pinning the struggling buck down with both claws and chest while lunging for his throat. She somehow ended up behind the buck, with her death hold secured, still pinning him down. His flailing hoofs did not help him escape from such a vice like grip, even though he was almost bigger than she was.

The moment the bushbuck’s struggle has ceased, her sub adult cub, making a high pitched yapping sound, came over to join her. It was at this moment that I realized I was still standing at my open doorway. Quickly reaching over to close it, I alerted them of my presence. She started dragging her kill away, keeping it between her legs. It was a task that proved difficult for her since it was so heavy. She also kept her attention on the predator that has interrupted her kill – me.

I was a threat and even when she dragged her kill away into the long grass, she didn’t relax. They did not lose sight of where I was standing for a second, by then I was inside my room, dialling my sleeping neighbour’s numbers to have them share in my experience.

Our guides have told me that out of hundreds of studied cheetah kills, only half of them are successful and that I was extremely privileged to have experienced one of nature’s most amazing hunts. I agree with them – it was almost indescribable.

Johalien Coetzee

Receptionist – Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

Read More Ranger Stories

Website: www.sabisabi.com


View Larger Map

Another Conservation Victory at Kwandwe

As part of their ongoing carnivore research programme, Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve recently released two adult cheetah onto the 22 000 hectare wilderness area. Both cheetah were fitted with radio collars to enable Kwandwe’s conservation team to monitor them closely as they settle into their new habitat.

These cats are brothers and will play an important role in establishing the genetic diversity of Kwandwe’s cheetah population, as well as enhancing the exhilarating Big Five game viewing experience for our guests. Kwandwe has played a significant role in cheetah conservation since 2001, and has been responsible for establishing numerous cheetah colonies in other game reserves throughout South Africa.

 Website: www.andbeyond.com


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Another Conservation Victory at Kwandwe

As part of their ongoing carnivore research programme, Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve recently released two adult cheetah onto the 22 000 hectare wilderness area. Both cheetah were fitted with radio collars to enable Kwandwe’s conservation team to monitor them closely as they settle into their new habitat.

These cats are brothers and will play an important role in establishing the genetic diversity of Kwandwe’s cheetah population, as well as enhancing the exhilarating Big Five game viewing experience for our guests. Kwandwe has played a significant role in cheetah conservation since 2001, and has been responsible for establishing numerous cheetah colonies in other game reserves throughout South Africa.

 Website: www.andbeyond.com


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Lion Cubs! (Southern Pride)

Yesterday morning started off with, “Good morning! For our last drive, please could we look for a leopard in a tree?” A few hours later we headed off on a mad rush to follow up on reports that a lioness had crossed onto our property followed by 2 cubs! On the morning game drive, however, all we could find were just tiny tracks… During the afternoon game drive we heard that someone had found them on a buffalo carcass with 2 big male lions!
More →

Lion Cubs! (Southern Pride)

Yesterday morning started off with, “Good morning! For our last drive, please could we look for a leopard in a tree?” A few hours later we headed off on a mad rush to follow up on reports that a lioness had crossed onto our property followed by 2 cubs! On the morning game drive, however, all we could find were just tiny tracks… During the afternoon game drive we heard that someone had found them on a buffalo carcass with 2 big male lions!
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 →