Monday, January 21, 2013

Ranger Diaries January 2013

The Festive Season is over and we all had a great time celebrating Christmas and New Year with our guests from all over the World.  We also celebrated two engagements as well as Anniversaries, post wedding safaris and birthdays with our guests over the this special holiday period.

The babies have all arrived! The bush is buzzing with array of big eyed baby Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Impala, Zebra, Jackal, Elephant and even the Warthog are proudly showing off their cute little piglets.
The Impala, Eland and Wildebeest mothers are putting their babies into creches and so all the little ones can be seen together, while two or three females look after them while the other mothers are busy feeding. The little 2 month old Elephant baby is too cute to describe – you need to come and see ‘it’ for yourselves. It’s always up for fun and play with its siblings. The little trunk doesn't yet want to follow the brains instruction and it’s hilarious to watch him trying to copy the adults.

Long legged and cute (the only time in their lifeJ) are the Wildebeest babies chasing each other over the plains, then sleep exhausted in the long grass while ever so watchful mom grazes near by.
The Eland have been seen in herds of about 150 animals on the different plains. It is such a special sight and to have this very impressive animal in such abundance in our reserve and is a real treat. Some Eland bulls are so big, from a distance they are easily confused with rhino. We've also seen them jump over (imaginary) obstacles. It’s just unbelievable and so impressive.

Our guests got a very special treat when they saw a 3 meter Rock-Python crossing the road right in front of our Lodge access gate. As it was quite a chilly evening the Python was crossing the road very slowly, and had its last third of the body sticking out into the road. The ranger first believed it to be a stick lying across the road, but suddenly saw the snake patterns and managed to stop the car just centimetres before the snake. Unimpressed the snake continued to make its way very slowly into grass on the side of the road. This gave the guests about 10 minutes to watch and study it carefully.
African Rock Pythons are not venomous snakes; they suffocate  their pray by wrapping themselves around it. They usually hunt at night by using their heat sensors on their lips to detect warm blooded animals like birds, small mammals, monkeys or other reptiles.

The secretive leopard has started to be less secretive and we had some great sightings in the reserve. It seems that there are two young male leopards that don’t seem to mind the noisy game viewers and are even posing for a few pictures.

Our lion ‘babies’ have gotten big and the three little males, now as tall as their mother, are starting to grow their mane’s.  Mom has started to teach them to hunt and will probably be very glad when they start catching their own food as it is hard work for her to feed 4 hungry teenagers.
The two young male lions are challenging dad at the moment and would like to take over territory and pride. So we were witness to some very intense and interesting interactions between the three of them. It seems nobody has won the battle yet, but it is just a question of time until the two beautiful young male lions will rule the reserve.

Our Rhino dehorning just before Christmas went well and hopefully it will protect our Rhino from poachers.  668 Rhinos were poached in 2012 in South Africa!!!!   A figure that scares us; if this onslaught continues our children will probably never be able to see a Rhino in the wild!
We wish everybody a wonderful and successful 2013 and hope to see you soon at Springbok Lodge to experience a Very Special Time in a Very Special Place.

We welcome Michael and Holly to our Springbok Lodge and Ranger family … they look forward to meeting you on your next visit to the Lodge.

Your rangers
Nicole, Stephanie, Jonathan, Michael and Holly