“So taai soos ‘n ratel!”

“So taai soos ‘n ratel!” 

An Afrikaans expression used to describe something which is “as tough as nails… or a badger”.  An expression which I thought wasn’t true until a huge thump on the side of my Land Cruiser one early morning game drive had the guests and myself off our seats in search of the cause. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and by the sound I had just heard I was sure I had a flat tyre or had even lost a wheel! On further inspection of my vehicle I realized that everything seemed to be OK. I scanned my surroundings amidst all the chaos and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a small black and white figure motionless in some bushes on the side of the road. It lay as still as possible until I approached and then kicked up a storm of dust and disappeared. It was indeed a Honey Badger.

Weighing only around 12kg these little guys pack quite a bit of strength. Well known for their ferocity when disturbed, they have been observed driving lions off their kills and yes, even attacking large vehicles that may be in their way. With their contrasting black and white pattern, other animals have clear warning of their approach and know all too well to steer clear of these feisty animals. Having a very thick and loosly fitted skin, the Honey Badger has few enemies because of its ability to twist full circle within its skin and turn on potential threats.

Do not be deceived by the cute face and name given to the Honey Badger as a sweet and cuddly Pooh like creature with only the goal of gobbling down fragrant honey. The Honey Badger gets its name from its ability to enter bee infested hives; usually with the help of a well-known friend, the Honey Guide bird, and calm the bees with a suffocating smell released from an anal pouch during a raid.

Little is known about this solitary creature which is only sometimes seen in pairs during the breeding season. They are extremely intelligent animals and only one of few species with the ability to utilize tools ; as can be seen in the footage filmed at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre where a pair use a rake, sticks, stones and pile up some mud to escape their pit.  At Amakhosi we have survey cameras in place, to monitor the game on the reserve and document their behaviour.  We were recently fortunate enough to have captured this honey badger on our night camera.

This tough and relentless creature is very difficult to spot in the wild but if you are lucky enough to have one ram the side of your tyre, be sure to stay in your car.

Blog by Ranger Simone

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low for High SAVE R1400.00pppn

 

Wishing all our wonderful guests a very prosperous 2015! to celebrate we have extended our special into the month of love!

PAY ONLY  R 2450.00  per person per night sharing, fully inclusive:

WHICH IS THE LOW SEASON RATE!!

Normal rate R3850.00 pppns SAVE R1400.00 PER PERSON

Rate Includes:

- Accommodation in our luxurious River Suite

- 3 Meals excludes drinks.

-2  game drives per day with qualified  guides

VALID to 28 Feb. 2015  for NEW  bookings only, min two night stay subject to availability.  T&C apply Block out period do apply.

Amakhosi Safari Lodge – Pongola  – South Africa  Phone 034 4141157 -

Email:  info@amakhosi.com

Posted in Specials | Leave a comment

Give a dog a bone!

 

The festive season is always a very busy time in the hospitality industry. Not only is everybody bustling about for family vacations and Christmas shopping, love is in the air and Christmas time also means wedding season and of course… baby season, but who would of thought we would also have four unexpected visitors? The lodge has seen two beautiful weddings this month in the lush green bushveld and lurking around every corner was a baby animal for guests to fuss and coo over. Amongst all the excitement and festivities however, what has really taken centre stage this season is the temporary arrival of the painted wolves to Amakhosi Safari Lodge.

One early and rainy morning whilst wedding party guests nursed hangovers on a game drive, we noticed a female impala staring intensely in to the thickets on a hill. She took no notice of our vehicle and focused all her attention into the distance. Wrapped in ponchos and soaking wet, ranger Corne braved the wet grass grasping his rifle and walking off into the direction where the impala was staring. As he reached the top of the hill a broad smile grew on his face and he looked over to us loudly whispering, “Wild Dogs!” We all looked at each other in confusion… Amakhosi does not have any wild dogs on the property; he must be mistaken. He gestured for us to join him on the hillside and forgetting about the rain we all climbed out and up the rocky slope. Indeed there they were; four Wild Dogs, two playing tug of war with the leg of a small antelope (presumably a friend of the impala) and the other two bouncing about in the background. One lifted her head taking notice of us when the breeze changed direction but then continued with her battle.

We watched the painted wolves as they playfully fought over their bone and skipped from one side to the other reminding the guests of how lucky they were to be witnessing four of the 400 dogs left in Southern Africa. This critically endangered predator is often mistaken for a feral animal and prosecuted for the killing of livestock by subsistence farmers whose animals are their livelihood. Wild dogs are not only depleting in numbers but are also extremely difficult to see due to their nomadic lifestyle and their ability to cover huge distances in short periods of time. For many, it is a once in a lifetime experience to view a Wild Dog in its natural wild environment, but for us, it was like hitting a gold mine to view the dogs, on foot, for over 30 minutes.

This keystone species is a must see on any visit to South Africa and while we know that the dogs won’t stay put for very long here at Amakhosi, us rangers will be on the prowl for the next few months in the hope that they will throw us a bone one more time this festive season.

Best wishes from Rangers Simone and Corne

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildebeest, Brindled Gnu….!!

Now it’s a bit unfair to base an animal’s intelligence on its ability to solve an algebra equation,  but certain animal’s make me wonder. The wildebeest is case and point.

According to local folklore, when the Maker had finished making all the animals, there were some parts left over, so he put them all together, and boom, the wildebeest. They claim that it has the stripes of the zebra, the back of the hyena, and the horns of a buffalo to name a few. Though I think that when all the parts where put together, there wasn’t a brain. Or if there was one, it must have come from a spatula.

I shall further my case.

Some time ago, I was at a sighting of our male lion, who at the time was taking a rest after a long bout of shouting at the neighbours, and as a result was on the fenceline.  In the distance, a small herd wildebeest appeared, looked around, saw the lion, gave the necessary alarm calls and then ran away. Nothing unusual there, so far at least.

A short time later, the herd reappeared, looked around, saw the lion, gave the necessary alarm calls and then ran away. This happened FIVE times while we  sat with this lion, FIVE. Do they have the memory span of a twig?

On a walk recently, I disturbed a herd of wildebeest, who then promptly ran off. The herd of zebra that were there, just looked on as the wildebeest ran off then returned, then off again, and then back again. Maybe that’s why zebra hang out with wildebeest, for the entertainment value.

And have you looked at a wildebeest, they just look like they are a few sandwiches short of a full picnic.

Or maybe evolution just got high one century and left us them as some sort of practical joke.

But to end on a serious note, if you are lucky enough to witness the great migration through the Serengeti, you will see them in a different light. To see that may together ( I’ve heard its over a million animals) is truly amazing. Probably one of the most incredible things I have seen in my ten years of guiding..

by Ranger Nicholas Hindson.. For a good giggle see the attached!

http://youtu.be/JMJXvsCLu6s

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Birth New Hope!

Did you know that there are 5 different species of Rhinos in the world and that here in South Africa, the two largest of the species reside; the Black Rhino and the White Rhino? The naming of these large pachyderms has no reference to the actual colour of the animal and is really accredited to the very opposite behaviours of these two species.

To many people across the globe, today is just another Monday dated September 22nd, but to us here at Amakhosi, we are celebrating World Rhino Day remembering all the reasons why we love Rhinos so much and why it is so important for us to participate in their protection. These days when the word “Rhino” is mentioned we all conjure thoughts of criminals, slaughter and possibly even rich foreign folk with a Rhino horn resting on a dining room table to boast wealth and success. While all of these thoughts remind us of the realities regarding the plight of our Rhinos, it is also important that we keep positive and remember the good that people are doing to fight for their survival.

It’s not all bad news! On September 19th, authorities arrested an alleged Rhino poaching syndicate boss and nine other members in Pretoria. The syndicate is thought to have illegally procured 84 Rhino horns worth an estimated value of R16 million and will be facing 318 different charges. The 10 suspects will appear in court today. Closer to home, one of our female White Rhino has given birth to a healthy baby girl bringing our Rhino population up by one!  So with the new birth, brings new hope to our Amakhosi Family!

We can be proud of the fact that although Rhinos face a dire threat, the sacrifices of many brave people are enabling Rhino populations to continue to fight another day.

Keep Fighting to save our Rhino – Ranger Nic Hindson

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment