Archive for January, 2012

What we can learn from Nepal


 
Despite poaching levels reaching record levels last year, Nepal’s rhino population did not take a single hit. That’s right – not a single rhino died at the hands of poachers in Nepal last year. Contrasted with South Africa’s grisly statistics (448 rhinos poached in 2011, and another 11 thus far in 2012) the feat seems nothing less than miraculous. Read the rest of this entry »

Where are the Migrants?


Being a bird enthusiast or “twitcher” as we are known, I stay regularly informed on bird migrations and patterns. What has been apparent over the last couple of decades is the decline in certain migrating species. This is particularly apparent in species that visit us from Europe for our Summer months. Read the rest of this entry »

Focus on: Rhino Post


 
What it must have been like for the intrepid explorers of the late 19th century, who came to Africa when it was wholly untouched – the thrill of exploration and the unknown, surrounded by the exotic wilderness of the bush. Imagine spending nights under the wide African skies, blanketed by stars, cooking meals over an open fire, senses heightened by the sounds of nocturnal animals foraging in the bush. There are few places on the continent where this is still possible (and few souls brave enough to try it!) Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife photo of the day

Almost a week after serious floods engulfed the Kruger National Park, wrecking several bridges and roads and forcing lodges to evacuate guests, it seems the worst is over. The gates have been reopened and the Park is once again accepting visitors from all over the world. While clean-up operations continue, roads have been temporarily fixed to allow access to the various camps. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate symbol of the resilience of nature in the face of disaster than a rainbow over the verdant veld, as captured here by Ben Viljoen.

Kruger’s 2012 floods may be worse than 2000′s

Pic: The Global Forecast System showing the expected total rainfall forecast for the  eastern coast over the weekend. Negative values(eg. -10) indicate possible heavy falls. (Credit wxmaps.org)

 
The Kruger National Park has been inundated by heavy rains and floods for the first time since the infamous flooding of 2000. Many guests are saying that the floods have surpassed the levels of those experienced 12 years ago, with most of the major rivers in full flood – including the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers. Social networking sites have been abuzz with pictures and videos made by guests and park staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Birding Thursday: the humble Ostrich


 
Despite being the universal metaphor for denial (it doesn’t actually stick its head in the sand) and having a face that bears a striking resemblance to Mr Bean’s dopey grin when viewed from the front, we think the Ostrich – or Struthio Camelus – is a noble bird and we are honoured to have them at the Kruger National Park.
 
The ostrich may be the original inspiration for the term ‘bird-brain’, with a brain that is actually smaller than either one of its eyeballs. Coupled with the fact that these birds tend to run in circles when advanced on by predators, it’s hard to believe they’ve been around for more than 120 million years!
 
The fastest bipedal runner in the world, the ostrich is capable of reaching speeds of 70 kilometres per hour —that’s twice as fast as Usain Bolt’s 38.11. What’s more, an ostrich can maintain this speed for up to half an hour, albeit running in circles.
 
You can find ostriches hanging out with their antelope and zebra companions, as well as the Kori Bustard and Red-crested Korhaan in the grasslands around Lower Sabie.
 

Do you have any amazing ostrich facts to add? Leave us a comment below!

Focus on Imbali

Photo credit: Ralph van Vuuren

 
Softly lit by the glow of flickering hurricane lamps, with private Jacuzzis, king-size beds and romantic antique-styled baths, not to mention spa treatments in the privacy of your own room, and private dinners on your deck beneath the stars – it’s difficult to imagine that you’d even want to leave your suite at Imbali Safari Lodge. Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife photo of the day

AndyBiggs: ‘ElephantsClouds’, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

 

With all the serious effort going into the protection of rhinos over the last couple of weeks, we thought we’d share a photograph that pretty much sums up why we need to protect not just the rhino, but all of Africa’s wildlife. There is no place in the world like this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mopani: Cusine that takes courage

 

In a recent article exploring the regions of the Kruger National Park, we mentioned the Humble Mopani Worm, found in the Mid North region, near Letaba Restcamp. Once you’ve had a taste of the delicious creepy-crawly, you’ll be chomping at the bit for more slightly-squishy-slightly-crunchy goodness. We found the best recipe for preparing Mopani Worms, so you can enjoy them just about every night of the week. Read the rest of this entry »

Resolution: Make 2012 the Year We Save the Rhino

(Credit: Alexander von Reiswitz)

(Photo credit: Alexander von Reiswitz)

After yesterday’s news about the loss of eight rhinos at the Kruger National Park, our Facebook and Twitter fans were scrambling to think of solutions to this devastating crisis. A total of 443 rhinos were lost to poaching in 2011. Where does the blame lie and, more importantly, who is responsible for putting an end to the carnage? The answer, on both counts, is – we are. Human beings are responsible for the near extinction of the species and, if we are concerned about the plight of any animal that is powerless to defend itself from us, then it is up to us to act. We all feel powerless as individuals and often wonder what difference we could really make alone. But taking some sort of action, no matter how small, is better than taking none. As Jane Goodall has said, “Whatever you do makes a difference. You just have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Information is empowerment, so we wanted to share some ideas on how you can help save the rhino. Read the rest of this entry »