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Found 149 results

  1. ~ These articles with photographs show the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma to Kruger National Park where he opened a Joint Operations Centre. His visit on Anti-Poaching Awareness Day highlighted the work of those directly combatting illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching.
  2. ~ This article from Nature World News tells how the Rainforest Trust, the Turtle Conservancy and the South African Turtle Conservation Trust joined to establish a reserve for the highly endangered Geometric Tortoise. The very small tortoise species has suffered the loss of 95% of its shrubland habitat.
  3. Last minute in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Prior to leaving for South Africa I'd been in contact with Lindy Duffield from iSimangaliso Wetland Park, (, we hoped to meet up following Kosi Bay but plans remained fluid until my last full day: a telephone call as well left Tembe saw us arranging to visit her at St Lucia which was still a couple of hours drive south. We checked into a basic and budget bed and breakfast hotel on the main road as it offered cheap lodging and after quickly freshening up, we set off to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park administration offices where we were greeted by Thandi Shabalala, the Tourism Information Officer who was to be our guide for the afternoon. Entering via Bhangazi Gate, Thandi drove us to some of her favourite places on the Eastern shores of Lake St Lucia, (details, entry times and prices here), a well maintained tarred road takes you up as far as Cape Vidal, (from which split a number of viewing loops), the vast lake on your left, (80 kms long and 23 kms wide at its widest, Africa’s largest estuarine system), and the Indian Ocean to your right. There is no need for a 4wd. But honestly, we only scratched the surface of the Eastern Shores in the short time before sunset. Mission Rocks is approximately 30 minutes drive from the gate and there is a lookout point, a short and easy climb, (however not accessible to wheelchair users), up through the coastal dune forest. At this point, one can look west over stretching plains reminiscent somewhat of the Serengeti, (this being a mini-version but no less stunning), and the vast Lake St Lucia, whilst turning around to face east, one has the impressive view to the Indian Ocean with its crashing surf and sea anglers standing atop the rocks. We dropped down a path to stand on the rocky foreshore overlooking the ocean, it was high tide and the surf crashed in: it did not deter the anglers and Thandi said that it would soon be the season to watch the whale migration. First thing in the morning one should make Mission Rocks their destination and set up here to photograph the sun rise. Checking the time, we were still able make Jock's Mess lookout to watch the sunset over Catalina Bay, so named due to it being a US airforce base during WWII from where Catalina seaplanes were flown from the lake. A stunning lookout point from where Lake St Lucia spreads out in front of you, small pods of hippos can be seen, we are not the only ones at this well patronized spot: all that was missing was a G&T to make it perfect. The amount of restoration work that has been undertaken thus far is impressive: what used to be alien eucalyptus and pine plantations is now gone; (approx 12,000 hectares recovered), regular and manpower intensive sessions to rid areas of invasive plant species are being undertaken employing people from local communities. Old roads and tracks have been dug out and their scars being regrassed: you could see evidence of this, it's still a work in progress but those involved throughout the whole process have every reason to be proud of their achievements, not only for the improved environment but for the way it has united people of all backgrounds: the iSimangaliso project is taking the area back to a beautiful wilderness it must have once been and alot of the hard work has already been done. The victory over Richards Bay Minerals, (a subsidy of Rio Tinto), saw the huge mining threat to the dunes on iSimangaliso's eastern shore, (for titaninium and other heavy metals) defeated bringing together the public and organisations: the 1994 government decision to prohibit future mining and protect the area's fragile ecosystems. In 1999, iSimangaliso was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 2007, what until that date had been called Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, became iSimangaliso Wetland Park following a public consultation, (meaning miracle in Zulu), and now totals 332,000 hectares. Working with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the intention for iSimangaliso has been the reintroduction of all historical wildlife species, including, in 2013, lions to Mkhuze - more details of which can be found here. One of the many hippo we saw strolling about on land. We see kudu, waterbuck, buffalo, hippos strolling through the grass between the main road and lake. Thandi tells us her own story - she is another example of one of the enthusiastic and passionate people we meet on this tour of KZN, someone who loves her job and loves iSimangaliso. That was plain to see after only a few minutes in her company. It was something that stood out for me as well at Mkhuze, from the gate staff to the guides, the lady in the restaurant and the cleaners: the receptionists. I came away with a really positive impression, how proud people were of their parks...
  4. ~ This illustrated article, from the U.K. Daily Mail, tells of the rescue of five lions from a Romanian circus by the animal charity, Four Paws. They had been bred to perform for the Romanian State Circus. The small lion pride was relocated to the Lionsrock sanctuary in South Africa, north of Lesotho. Another lion from the Netherlands was shipped with them, in accordance with EU directives concerning large animal care.
  5. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Dulini Lodge, South Africa 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). August 2015, pricing is the same year-round. 4) Length of stay: 5 days 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I chose Dulini because it's smaller and more intimate than many other properties in the Sabi Sands and has a strong reputation for guiding. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? I was going to book directly, but I found a discount through and so ended up booking though them. Enquiries were dealt with promptly from both Dulini and MTBeds. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was my first (but not my last!). 8) To which countries? N/A 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? N/A 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? I think it had one high wire going around it to keep out elephants (though apparently that didn't work all the time), but was otherwise unfenced. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? It has six. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We stayed in room two. I requested that room as it has a reputation for attracting wildlife to the patio -- sometimes even leopards! We ended up not seeing anything more than impala and nyala from the room, but that was still exciting for first-timers, and the room itself was absolutely lovely. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Honestly, pretty over-the-top. There's a seating area, a free mini-bar, a decanter with sherry, a bathroom the size of my living room in DC, and an outside shower too. Honestly, I don't mind the luxury -- and it was certainly very comfortable -- but I can also definitely see how some people would feel uncomfortable with the chandelier-level of excess. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. It was really good -- maybe sometimes a little repetitive, but that was probably our fault. Michael keeps Kosher (he eats a pescatarian diet when we're out and about), and had just started a new medication that imposes a new set of extra dietary restrictions, so we are a little hard to cook for. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Despite the restrictions mentioned above, they did a great job cooking for Michael, often preparing something just for him. We did let them know in advance of our arrival about his food restrictions. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Breakfast was always with the other people in your vehicle, lunch was pretty much always with the other people in your booking group (in my case, with Michael), and dinner varied quite a bit. We had two couples dinners (one in the room, and quite romantic), two dinners in the boma hosted by the guides, and one group dinner in the dining area hosted by one of the managers. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. 19) How many guests per row? Two 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? They were generally about 3.5 to 4 hours each, but could go longer depending on what we saw. The routes varied quite a bit. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Game drives started at 6 am and came back around 10 am; afternoon game drives started at 3:30 pm and came back around 7 or 7:30 pm. I don't think we could have stayed out all day without getting a private vehicle. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? It is a private concession, with a pretty high lodge density. We frequently saw vehicles from other lodges on the tracks. On the bright side, that did mean that there were a lot of people out looking for the wildlife. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? N/A 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes, there was a limit of three vehicles at a sighting, sometimes two vehicles if the animal seemed skittish. We did sometimes wait to see something or move to let another vehicle in, but I didn't find myself bothered by this; it was well managed, and there was always something else to see, and I always felt I got plenty of time with the "big ticket" sighting. I'm generally a pretty laid-back person, though, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt if you're not. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Leopards is what it's known for, and leopards is what we got. A leopard with a cub, a leopard drinking, leopards mating, more leopard cub time ... it was a leopard bonanza, especially considering leopards can be such a reclusive animal. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent. We really appreciated our guide and ranger's motto of quality over quantity. They were both experienced trackers, and often if everyone in the concession was looking for X, it was our guide and ranger who found them. If you go to Dulini, I recommend requesting them: Fred and Martin are their names. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: See above. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Very much so. Michael needed a medic to come check out his toe while we were there (he had broken it in Cape Town), and they not only arranged for that but had another staff member sit in so that she could do the re-bandaging if necessary if the medic was unavailable later on. In general, they were very solicitous of Michael and his injury. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. I don't believe it does, but I'm not sure. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: I know it's my first safari, and so I would probably gush about anywhere, but really, I had a wonderful time here. I'm planning on returning (as well as visiting some other places) in 2016. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. The grounds, with nyala. A seating area overlooking the grounds. The seating area in the room, overlooking the seating area on the patio. The room, with the writing desk, bed, and the bathroom beyond. The bathroom.
  6. My wife and I took our first safari this summer to the country of South Africa. We visited the Sabi Sands reserve, located just outside the Kruger National Park. In preparing for our trip, I have enjoyed reading the trip reports here on SafariTalk, and I hope that my report can be useful to fellow travelers. While in the Sabi Sands, we visited two camps--Notten's Bush Camp and Idube Game Lodge--spending 3 nights at each lodge. Many words have been spent arguing about what constitutes a "real safari" and whether or not such a safari can be found in the Sabi Sands. Ultimately, that must be a personal decision. For a first-timer to Africa, we found the Sabi Sands to be exciting and wild, while also comfortable. For us, the comfort of our lodging did not diminish the wilderness that surrounded us. In the future, I'd like to explore other safari destinations, not because I disliked Sabi Sands but because there is simply so much more to see. I hope to visit Kenya/Tanzania on my next trip and perhaps Zimbabwe even further in the future. Notten's Bush Camp is a family run camp in the southern part of the Sabi Sands reserve. It is unique in that it keeps electricity use to a minimum, lighting the camp with candles and paraffin lanterns in the evening. Outlets are available for charging camera and phone batteries, but this is not a camp where people spend a lot of time staring at their electronics. We had a wonderful game drive on our first night. In fact, in one waterhole scene we saw two hyenas (guarding a leftover bit of carcass), three rhino, and a leopard. The leopard was the coolest... Yawning... Before walking away... As I mentioned before, nighttime at camp was lit only by fire. This was a very cool environment. Also, the food at Notten's was amazing. Cocktails are included, which helps make the place feel more like a home than a hotel. Simply put, I loved the environment and hospitality here at Notten's. Bar... Fireplace... Dinner table...
  7. Please note this review is a copy and paste from @@bushmaniac's Tswalu trip report. It is not my own review.
  8. At the recent World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, civil society groups protested against the increase in “fake forests” in Africa. Monoculture plantings and introduced species promotes the interests of the global timber industry while disrupting established local ecosystems and communities dependent on them.
  9. The South African Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit has received the Champions of the Earth Award environmental prize from the United Nations. At the Balule Private Game Reserve the mostly female 26-member Black Mambas have interdicted poachers, broken up poacher camps and bush meat kitchens.
  10. ~ Despite protests from South African animal welfare activists, a week-long ‘driven hunt’ of various wildlife species occurred in Limpopo Province near Alldays. In an enclosed area, metal drums are beaten to corral wildlife to pass in a straight line past hunters, chiefly from Europe.
  11. Wilderness Safaris have announced their Six Countries Special much earlier this year and the prices are below: FEATURES OF THIS SPECIAL • Inclusion of the NEW Linkwasha Camp • Reduction in rate for Toka Leya, Little Makalolo and Davison’s • 2015 rates extended into 2016 for flights and road transfers • No single supplement on accommodation • Applicable at camps with family accommodation – children 6 to 16 years sharing in a family room with full paying adults pay 50% of the adult rate • Valid for travel from 10 November 2015 up to and including 20 March 2016. Excludes the festive season from 20 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 for all camps, except Rocktail Beach Camp whose exclusion period is from 5 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 Click here to see our Botswana Premier example itinerary - US$7,400.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Maun) Click here to see our Botswana Classic example itinerary - US$6,650.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Maun) Click here to see our Namibia Classic example itinerary - US$4,450.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Windhoek Internationl Airport)* *based on a conversion from South African Rand and subject to change due to currency fluctuations. Please get in touch for your own quote EXCLUDED FROM THE NIGHTLY ACCOMMODATION RATE • All circuit charter flights and applicable taxes • All road transfers where applicable • Any scheduled commercial flights and related taxes • Cancellation, baggage, travel and medical insurance • All drinks at Rocktail Beach Camp • All premium imported drinks and champagnes • Park fees and entrance fees in South Africa – however these will be specified in the quote • Any Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases beyond our control • Visas and associated fees • Staff gratuities • Any items of a personal nature INCLUDED IN THE NIGHTLY ACCOMMODATION RATE • All meals • Two scheduled activities per day • Local brand drinks included (except at Rocktail Beach Camp). Drink inclusions may differ between camps/lodges • Laundry • Accommodation taxes, the applicable Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax (VAT) or Government Sales/Tax (GST)
  12. My first visit to South Africa took place in 1998 and included a 2 day stay in Sabi Sands. I managed to see the big 5 and all the other usual suspects. Even though I have loved animals and nature all my life I cant really say that I fell in love. In 2002 I was invited to South Africa to see some friends including a selfdrive in Kruger. I combined this with a trip to Botswana and I got the bug. Now therewas no way back! We drove from Joburg to Mopane restcamp which is more or less in the middle of Kruger. An area with many Mopane trees an therefore also Buffalo and Elephant. The next morning we saw a Buffalo carcass. We later found out that it had been killed by a delivery truck. Sofar no activity at the carcass. A curious Giraffe The highlight of the trip happened when we saw a car parked closed to a drainage pipe. When we enquired we learned that a Hyena was giving birth and a relative were moving the cubs. The relative We could hear sounds indicating that there was another cub to come and a few minutes later mommy appeared. On the way back to camp we drove past the Buffalo carcass. A single Hyena ran away and there were a few Vultures in the nearby trees. 3species of vultures Morning in camp. The next morning there was a Leopard and a lot of vehicles at the Buffalo carcass. However I have to say that all vehicles behaved quite well. After a few minutes other vehicles congregated just up the road. Lions and Buffaloes! The Lions took down a Buffalo 50m from the road not knowing that there was a much easier prey available just down the road. Unfortunately it happened behind some bushes so we could not see it but there was a lot of growling and snarling so I am quite sure they made a kill. On the way back to camp we saw Martial Eagles mating (sorry for the poor quality of the picture. In camp I got a nice portrait of a Yellowbilled hornbill
  13. ~ Is this report truly so? I lack the experience or insight to evaluate this report, which was forwarded to me by one of my ecology graduate student working groups.
  14. Reports To read the full article, click here. If these figures are correct, then rhino are in seriously peril indeed.
  15. Reports in a press release dated 2015-07-03 To read the full press release click here.
  16. Day 1. Afternoon drive. The trip to Kirkman’s kamp was long but uneventful and nothing could have stopped me from going to the bush as soon as possible. I was waiting for this for long 6 months. I did not expect to see a lot and the fact that I was on safari drive already made me absolutely happy. My ranger in Kirkman was JP, and my tracker was Eckson. After a short rhino walk (Eckson noticed sleeping rhinos from the road and we walked there to stretch legs. It was successful as rhinos never found out that we were there) we went to check if Charleston pride had crossed the river or they were still on the property. We found them on the beach near the crossing and they were absolutely flat. The maximum action that they were ready to show us was to raise a head and look around. JP was telling stories about the pride. This pride suffered a lot from fights with another pride. At the end only one lioness with two small cubs (her nephews) managed to survive. And this lioness did an awesome job. Both boys are now 4 years old and look great. She also taught them to hunt and this pride is famous for bringing down giraffes. The lioness herself is an amazing hunter, if I remember it correctly, during one year she brought down around 15 kudus without any help (and these are only animals that rangers know about). The evening was slow, nobody else was willing to join us and we were having the pride all to ourselves. We were sitting in the car and discussing lions’ dreams. JP suggested to wait as lions might have decided to cross the river and these would be great shots…Everything changed in seconds. Mala Mala ranger who was on another side of the river told us that he could see wild dogs moving in our direction. So we went closer to make some pictures This year dogs are denning on Kirkman’s property but they still like to cross Sand river for hunting. Dogs were running along the river and did not see lions. However the lioness noticed them immediately and she turned into hunting mode immediately. Boys were not so enthusiastic. They were raising heads, watching dogs for a few seconds and then returning to a flat position. Lions were behind bushes and dogs could not see them at all. And then even worse, dogs went down to the water and their sighting was blocked by the river band. Lioness did not lose a second. The river was a huge handicap for dogs as they could not move in water as fast as more powerful lions were able to. Alfa male did not have any chances: It is more than two weeks since that day but I can still hear how the dog was screaming. I am not one of people who dream to see a kill. I love to see predators but in a lot of cases I like to be blind and deaf. And although I started to think that I might tolerate without a hysteric a quick antelope kill this was far beyond my limits. So I was crying like a kid. To make the scene even harder the rest of the pack was staying not far and was calling from there. JP was very kind to ask a few times if I wanted to leave. My emotional part was ready to leave immediately but brains were saying that even if we had left nothing would have changed so I asked to stay and even continued to make pictures. In split seconds a lioness was joined by males I was glad that the death seemed to be quite quick, but I was so wrong. As soon as lions started to pull the dog back to the beach, he started to scream again. I was ready to join him in this, only the fact that it was our first drive with JP and he might have decided that I was totally uncontrollable made me to sit silently, I just started to sob more. After another few minutes when lions calmed down and were just resting near the dog I noticed that the dog was blinking. I asked JP if dog was still alive, he answered that dog was dead and these were just eyeballs moving when lions were touching the body. Couple minutes later dog screamed again. Thanks God, more cars arrived to see a sighting and we left. When we were starting the drive early afternoon I told JP that I did not like sundowners and I did not want to spend time on them but after this sighting I changed my mind completely. I asked JP to stop and to give me something really strong. So the rest of the evening I spent with brandy. And these are photos made by Roan Ravenhill (Mala Mala ranger) he was watching the scene from another bank. So he made photos of us watching the sighting: I learned my lesson. When I was asking the bush to show me cats, dogs and maybe a kill, I should have been more specific and I should have stressed that I did not want it all to be one sighting. We were discussing a lot after this if we should have tried to do something, and decided that it could have turned into even worse situation and it would have been very hard to live with it.
  17. This article from the Pretoria News explains the steep challenges for wild dogs, which require substantial habitat in which to roam. Brendan Whittington-Jones lived in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game park in KwaZulu-Natal, monitoring and protecting wild dogs.
  18. Wilderness Safaris 6 countries Special During the Southern Hemisphere Summer (November to March) Wilderness Safaris offers some fantastic discounts on the their lodges throughout the six countries they operate in. These rates apply to specific camps in the countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Kwando Botswana 2015/16 Special This seasonal offer applies to all the camps that Kwando Safaris has in Botswana. Giving you great contrast of the Desert and the The Okavango Delta these superb camps all come at the same price. The camps to choose from are Tau Pan Camp, Nxai Pan Camp, Kwara Camp, Lagoon Camp and Lebala Camp. From the 15th November 2015 to 31st March 2016 Unbeatable Tanzania &Beyond has exclusively secured the best rates for the most luxurious properties in Tanzania. Offering a sea and African safari adventure off the beaten track, this itinerary combines a journey through one of Tanzania’s more remote and undisturbed wildlife areas, the glorious Selous Game Reserve (home to Beho Beho), with rest and relaxation on the silky sand shoreline of &Beyond Mnemba Island, Zimbabwe Flying Special Offer This Safari Offers a 50% discount on your flights between camps. This discount applies to all flights between Wilderness Safaris properties in Zimbabwe with the requirement that you stay for a minimum of 3 nights per camp. It is possible, at extra cost, to upgrade from Davison's Camp to Little Makololo Camp or Linkwasha Camp. This special offer runs until the end of the year. 2016 it becomes a 35% discount. Great Plains Botswana Free flights to and from their camps Valid for all scheduled intercamp air transfers, that we book for you, starting/ending at Maun or Kasane airports and/or from all other camps within thegreater Delta and Chobe region; Not valid for additional camera (freight) seats, pilot / guides rates; Free flight offer applicable to all standard guest rate accommodation reservations. No minimum stay requirements, however, for stays of a combination of 6 nights or more at Duba Plains and/or Selinda/Zarafa, a free helicopter transfer is available; See our Heli The Spillway special offer; This offer is valid for all new reservations that travel between 01 November 2015 to 31 May 2016. Heli Special For guests staying at Selinda Camp, Zarafa Camp or Zarafa Dhow Suites combined with Duba Plains for a minimum of 6 nights, the inter-camp air transfer will now be a FREE helicopter transfer ! This 35 minute helicopter flight offers a uniquely spectacular aerial view of the Northern Okavango Delta region between the Selinda Reserve and Duba Plains. Valid for all new reservations travelling until 19 December 2015 Not valid for guides and tour leaders Minimum 6 night stay required between Duba Plains and either Selinda or Zarafa camp in any combination of nights Normal Rates apply Minimum 2 guests per transfer Also ask for long-stay discounts (6+ nights in total per itinerary) at African Bush Camps (Botswana & Zimbabwe), Desert & Delta Safaris (Botswana) and &Beyond (Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique & South Africa).
  19. Please visit Jackie's blog to see her experiences with us at Elephants Alive in the Greater Kruger region of South Africa: For more information, please see:
  20. Manguzi. The Safaritalk brief was this: following stays at iMfolozi, Mkhuze and Ndumo Game Reserves, (and squeezing in a brief stop at Zimanga Private Game Reserve), Bugs and I were to conclude our visit to northern Kwa-Zulu Natal by spending a couple of nights in Kosi Bay exploring the nature reserve, its world renowned lake system and discovering what this area has to offer the self-driving safari tourist: time permitting we also hoped to go on a day’s safari at Tembe Elephant Park. In the end, the experience turned out to surpass all expectations I had and one cannot truly say they’ve done KZN without having been to Kosi Bay… Kosi Bay is situated on South Africa’s east coast, at the north east point of Kwa-Zulu Natal, approximately five kms south of the Mozambique border and comprises a series of four lakes which are linked by natural channels, (passable by smaller water craft), which, as they flow out to the Indian Ocean at Kosi Mouth go from being fresh water to salt water. An area of varied ecosystems and biomes, this spectacular area forms part of the greater iSimangaliso Wetlands Park stretching from St Lucia up to Mozambique. For an overview of Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, visit the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife website here, or the iSimangaliso Wetland Park website here. Self driving, we relied heavily on a map I’d obtained from the Elephant Coast Tourism stand at Indaba, a road map of KZN from Mtubatuba north, an online virtual version of which can be accessed here. Of course we had a sat nav unit with its incessant chatter but being old school, I navigated from the map spread across my knees... Once on the main road from Ndumo to Kosi Bay it’s a long straight drive on a newly laid tarmac highway: it takes you past the entrance to Tembe Elephant Park. We stopped briefly at the gate, where it states that you can only access the park in a 4wd – therefore we’d have to alter our plans somewhat. Close to a town named Phelandaba you join the R22 at a roundabout, the direct road to Mozambique heading north, whilst south linking up with Hluhluwe and then the N2 to Durban, (approximately five hours drive away). Noticably the environment changes once past Tembe: the surrounds become more tropical, palm trees, flat stretching sand plains, one leaves the more typical safari veldt behind. Our destination is Manguzi: we arrive early, not expecting to make such good time, (in fact the last time Bugs drove this way 20 odd years ago it was a tyre shredding graded gravel track), and thus we are thinking to grab some bites and head up to the border with Mozambique before our scheduled pick up at 1600 hrs. Manguzi is a throbbing, exciting town, markets and shops line the main road, masses of people, bright and colourful, a procession of cars, of minibus taxis stopping to pick up passengers and blaring loud music, a ubiquitous Boxer Superstore. On the northern most edge of town, almost on the outskirts on the left of the road is the Total complex and we pull in, our little white hire car the colour of red African soil. It’s been a solid performer and at 200 +/- rand per day covering 200 kms, a bargain, especially with such good fuel consumption. It’s ground clearance is somewhat limiting though… Our instructions from Kosi Forest Lodge, (where we'd be staying for the first night), was to meet at Total where we'd be picked up for a 4wd transfer. A 2wd has its limitations. In the Kosi Bay area you are made aware of this. Whilst the main road through town is good, side roads are less so, and tracks into the reserve soon turn sandy... The Total Garage complex is like an oasis in the desert. Clean, well run, reassuringly welcome and safe, featuring an ever present Steers, (which, alas, I believe to have caused the only case of runny tummy on the trip and it wasn’t just me affected…), and an excellent fishing tackle and sports hardware shop and store which sells an amazing range of nibbles, wasabi peanuts, biltong, droewors, drinks and self catering supplies etc. We stocked up on biltong and droewors which would see us through until we left for St Lucia. Grab a bite to eat, (though avoid the burgers), something to drink and sit in the shade whilst awaiting the transfer to Kosi Forest Lodge. Stock up on biltong too, it was great! Whilst sorting the car, the owner of the whole concession came over to chat, Allistair McCann. Such an approachable and friendly chap, we talked about our trip so far, where we were staying in Kosi Bay etc., and in exchange I heard about Manguzi and Allistair's background in the town, how being part of the iSimangaliso World Heritage site has really been a boost for tourism. In fact, he said to include his contacts in case you are passing through and needed help as he knows just about everyone, so if in Manguzi, give him a shout on 082 337 5668 and mention Safaritalk. He’s someone who knows the town, has done a lot for it and helped encourage tourism thus is well respected. If you need anything, he's your man, and if he can't personally assist, he knows the right person who can. Whilst we chowed on those fated burgers, he called Kosi Forest Lodge and arranged for an earlier pick up which was much appreciated...
  21. Our trip to Londolozi started on the 12th of March for 3 nights. On arrival we were welcomed by the friendly camp managers and butlers of Founders camp. On our 1st afternoon game drive we headed over the Sand River to the northern section of the property. We had a drink stop in the Manyelethi river bed with rangers Andrea, Nick, tracker joy and Kim. On our way back to camp we saw a crocodile on the causeway fishing. Beautiful view across the Sand River towards the western section of the property. Sunset over the Sand River.
  22. Report from Elephants Alive Facebook Page: As we had the privilege of recollaring Umbabat yesterday, we thought to feature her. We first collared her in July of 2008 and with her new collar we hope to follow her everyday movements for another 7 years! It is always a humbling experience to collar an elephant. Words come short of the emotions one feels when you touch their warm skin, hear their constant snoring or look at the storylines of the African landscape etched on the weathered soles of their feet... We would like to thank Save the Elephants for donating the collar. Gail and Alan Kelly kindly sponsored the costs of the very deserving veterinarian (Dr. Cobus Raath) and pilot (Jacques Saayman). Colin Rowles, Warden of Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is thanked for all his effort and competent participation. To the Elephants Alive team members....thank you for all the hard work as it clearly paid off!
  23. Report via the Elephants Alive Facebook page: "What a wonderful day spent in the wintery African sun...recollaring one of our majestic study animals! We watched the sun rise as we headed towards Jejane Private Nature Reserve where ‘General’ was sighted. We spent hours watching his thirsty and hungry companions while waiting for a sighting of him. We first collared General in 2005 and then recollared him in 2011. We were keen to replace his collar as he has developed into a majestic bull, deserving of the highest protection that man’s technology has to offer. We watched him rise slowly and gracefully after having his new collar fitted. Amidst the awe of the spectators, he melted away into the autumn-clad bush. We salute you General for another unforgettable day in your presence...may you make many tracks along many a dusty path in the years to come! We would like to thank the professional team that made for a successful day: the Warden Glen Thomson accompanied by Tracey, Ryan and Shannon Thomson went the extra mile. Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Rodgers and his assistant Janelle Goodrich. Bruce McDonald controlled the whole scene from the air in a suburb manner. Craig Spencer and Amy Clark are thanked for assisting with obtaining a permit. Last but no t least, thank you to Colin Anderson for reporting the sighting of our long-lost friend in the first place!"
  24. Itinerary: 8th-22nd May 2015 8th Arrive Durban, overnight Pietermaritzburg. 9th-11th Indaba Durban, overnight 11th St. Lucia. 12-16th Primitive Trail, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, overnight 16th in Hluhluwe. 17th Visit to Zimanga Private Game Reserve and then Mkhuze Game Reserve, overnight 17th at Mkhuze.. 18th Drive to Ndumo Game Reserve, overnight Ndumo. 19th Drive to Kosi Bay, overnight Kosi Bay. 20th Kosi Bay, overnight Kosi Bay. 21st Morning Tembe Elephant Park, then drive to St. Lucia and explore iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Night Drive iSimangaliso, overnight St. Lucia. 22nd Drive to Durban, depart for home. At various times in this report, @@Bugs, @@Soukous and @@Peter Connan will be adding their thoughts and images. Some parts of the report will feature as seperate linked articles here on ST. Photos still to be edited, however, as an introduction, I will precede the report by saying what a fantastic trip this was, in accompany with great Safaritalkers, South Africa once again delivering a fantastic experience: meeting incredibly committed people working in conservation, privately and for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and iSimangaliso Wetland Park, seeing real positives in South Africa and exploring an area which has incredible potential for Safari tourism and offering incredible value for money. Matt.
  25. Have you heard of the drink called Amarula? This cream liqueur is made from the fruit of Marula trees that make up part of the ecosystem of the iconic Kruger National Park in South Africa. These iconic trees are not only picturesque as they stud the African plains with their shady presence but they also represent important food sources in more ways than one to both humans and elephants. Marula fruits are annually harvested by local indigenous communities and provide an important economic benefit to these communities. Consequently, we now sit with potential Human-Elephant-Conflict over an iconic tree! People don’t want to see these trees disappearing from the landscape because of elephant’s large appetites and feeding preference for them. Conservationists would like to preserve some trees to ensure seed stock and in keeping with the biodiversity objectives of the Greater Kruger Region. Elephants, on the other hand, can feed on numerous other species and can be taught to avoid so-called botanical reserves created in areas with many marula trees. But how? In Kenya, Dr. Lucy King has provided evidence that elephants are afraid of honey bees and their stings. Lucy constructed fence-lines with beehives around crop fields and found that crop-raiding elephants avoided these fields and also ran away when the recorded sounds of swarming honey bees were played back. As an MSc graduate student at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, I would like to research and find a solution to protect iconic trees, including the Marula tree, from elephant impact using bees to keep elephants alive. I will be conducting this important research for the non-profit organisation: Elephants Alive ( We will be requiring 100 beehives for an experimental site of 50 marula trees in a nature reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. Each tree will have two wire-connected beehives hung from it preventing the elephants from feeding on the trees without disturbing the beehives. Each beehive will cost £35, resulting in a total amount of £3500. We are also hoping for your support with purchasing bee-suits, veils and gloves (£100). This will enable us to approach the hives safely during field days and harvest any available honey to support the local community through the sales of honey to tourists. We would love to keep everyone up to date with the development of this project through messages, pictures and videos from our site, and would really like to call on your support to help us purchase these beehives. Please share this campaign on your social networking pages and help us make this conservation project a reality in South Africa.

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