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

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Low for High SAVE R1400.00pppn

 

We have a few rooms available in October, so we are offering this amazing Low for High Special.

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 01 – 30 OCTOBER 2014 for NEW  bookings only, min two night stay subject to availability.  T&C apply

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

Email:  info@amakhosi.com

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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

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International Vulture Awareness Day

The Committee has spoken -International Vulture Awareness Day

Every year on the first Saturday of September, bird conservationists worldwide band together for International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) in order to raise awareness about this ecologically vital group of birds. Out of the 23 different species worldwide, 14 of these are either threatened or endangered due to human impact and our misunderstanding of these alien looking avians.

Vultures are the “clean-up” crew of nature fulfilling a very specific niche in the web of life. Found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, vultures play a unique role in preventing the spread of life threatening diseases, such as anthrax , rabies and cholera, by feeding on carrion (dead animal matter) and even rotting meat that could be filled with bacteria dangerous to other animals. These large raptors have incredible eyesight and can spot a 6cm object from a height of 1km above the ground. They are a social bird which pair bond and will work cooperatively in spotting a meal and enjoy their find together, this group is collectively called a committee.

On IVAD, many conservation groups in South Africa will put out an animal carcass in order to attract vultures to a specific location where a count will take place. This count helps to keep a record of vulture numbers locally and internationally in the efforts to save this unique and important bird. Together with the various programmes aimed at increasing vulture numbers, IVAD acts as a unique education tool changing the mind sets of individuals regarding the negative associations with vultures.

Some of the main threats to vultures in South Africa are traditional belief systems and non-eco-friendly farming methods. Beliefs dictating that vultures are symbolic of death and are able to predict the future has led to the poaching of these raptors for the procuring of the head to predict lottery numbers and death. Farmers who use toxic digestible tick repellents for livestock or poisons to deter pest species from crops can indirectly affect hundreds of vultures who feed off the carcasses of these animals.

By monitoring vulture numbers and the movements of these incredible birds, we are able to establish safe breeding areas and continue to try and attract them to protected zones where they will not be threatened. This year IVAD took place on 6th September and here at Amakhosi we enlisted the help of our rangers and guests to assist us in counting, to attract the birds we along with many others put out a carcass to entice them to visit us, with already full bellies we managed to count only 4, 1 lappet face and 3 white back vultures, which is not too bad considering that last year they feasted at our neighbours !

We want to thank all the associations that have taken this cause to heart and long may they continue the good work.

To next year…The Amakhosi Ranger Team

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy at the top?? By Ranger Nick Hindson

 

Easy at the top? by Ranger Nick Hindson

To eat or not to eat, something that Shakespeare never said. Now it’s fairly straight forward, if you are hungry you eat, and if not, then you don’t. Though something happened recently that made me question this ‘pearl of wisdom’.

Not long to ago, my guests and I,  were privileged to witness our two lionesses kill a male wildebeest. We saw pretty much the whole thing, the stalk, the chase, heard the take down, and then saw the suffocation. Awesome. Then.

The lioness that killed the wildebeest then got up and left…….It’s like driving to the KFC, waiting in the queue, placing your order and then walking out. You go to all this effort then get bored.

So there went 50 percent of the lion viewing for the morning. Anyway, a short while later, one of my guests asked where the male was, and I remember saying that he was more than likely somewhere else, and probably sleeping, and also probably waiting for the ladies to bring him the food.

“What an awesome life that is” he said……..wait, rewind….what. I would not want to be a male lion, even if you paid me a million rand (and if I was a male lion, what the hell would I do with a million bucks. I can’t exactly put a deposit down on a new den or anything, and can you imagine, all my lionesses would spend it on getting their nails done, or getting a new set of furs. Madness).

Now contrary to popular belief, lions do NOT have easy lives. For the first 2 or 3 years, everything goes well. They are part of the pride, mom or moms bring home the food, and dad fights with the neighbours, sorted. Then. You are forced to leave the pride, and this isn’t peaceful. There’s much anger. I guess it’s like crashing your dads vintage motorcycle and then trying to blame it on the cat….you’re going to get a beating.

So you are alone, or if you’re lucky you have a brother with you, and then spend the next few years trying to avoid getting beaten up by the neighbours that your dad fought with until you are older enough to fight for your own pride.

Now assuming you win the first fight, you then get the privilege of fighting with the next set of  neighbours for about four years, before you are finally overthrown. And once this has happened, you not going to be around for much longer, a year or two if you’re lucky.

So no, I do not want to be a lion. And getting back to the wildebeest, you have to chase your food, which has a good chance of getting away, why do you want to do this, no.

I would prefer to be a herbivore, all you have to do is eat grass or leaves, both of which can’t get away from you. So for all those of you who want to a lion because it’s an easy life, be a herbivore, it’s even easier.

Easy at the bottom.

 

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