Giraffe spoor

While on a game drive at Samara Private Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape I spotted a set of tracks next to the road. Too big for an antelope and definitely not a horse or a cow as it's inside a game reserve. Possibly a buffalo? Hoofprint from a giraffe was the answer from our game ranger. A hoof is the foot of certain animals known as ungulates. These animals walk on their toes which have a hard cover made out…

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Tracking and double tots at Samara

Rangers are like the cowboys of a game reserve with their game viewing vehicle as their steed, a cap rather than a cowboy hat and bino's at their side in the place of a revolver. But what about the dude sitting on the bonnet jump seat? Is he the Tonto to our Lone Ranger? Who is the guy with the thing in his hand that looks like a tv aerial? What is he supposed to do? Why does he get…

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Lion paw prints

Going on a game drive is nothing like visiting a zoo. The animals in a game reserve are free to roam all over which means there's never a guarantee that you will see them. A recent game drive I went on produced everything we wanted to see except for lion. I have a question though. How do you know the lion crossed the road if nobody saw him? He leaves his footprints. As we were watching a couple of giraffe…

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Blue Cranes at sunset

As the sun was setting in the west after an amazing game drive at Samara Private Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet, we stood with gin and tonics in hand enjoying the end of another stunning late winter Karoo Heartland day. Suddenly we heard a noise over a nearby rise. The 'krraaarrr krraaarr’ call of blue cranes. Not one or two, but a flock of at least 60 or 70 coming in to overnight at the nearby waterhole. They first did us…

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Mountainside cycads at Kuzuko

Cycads, or as we know them in Afrikaans, Broodbome, (all Encephalartos species and Stangeria eriopus) are the most threatened plant group in South Africa. They are also one of the most threatened groups of plants in the world. In South Africa almost 70% of our cycad species are threatened with extinction, with four species on the brink of extinction and seven species with fewer than 100 plants left in the wild. In South Africa it is illegal to buy or…

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Going on a game drive at Kuzuko Lodge

Over the Zuurberg mountains in the southern part of the Eastern Cape's Karoo Heartland lies a place of glory. That bit should actually be written with caps as Kuzuko Lodge's slogan is Place of Glory. Most game reserves are located in a part of the province where lush subtropical thicket vegetation is prevalent which makes Kuzuko different. Wide-open spaces, sparse vegetation, dry climate and often warmer temperatures. Due to this Kuzuko doesn't have big numbers of animals like the other…

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Addo roadblocks, big butts and all

Don't you just hate a road block? A lady or gent in uniform with a reflector jacket walking around your car and then asking you for your license. Or the "in thing" lately, the burning tires and throwing stones type roadblock. Or the pothole in the road roadblock where you have to wait for cars from the other side to pass before you can drive around it. Then there are the roadblocks you encounter on the roads in the old…

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Mamma elephant in the lead

A group of elephants is called a herd and is usually made up of females and youngsters. As soon as a young bull reaches sexual maturity he gets nudged out and joins other bulls in a bachelor herd of some sorts. Each herd is basically a family group led by a matriarch, an older and more experienced female, and is made up of her sisters, daughters and their calves. The matriarch needs to be a lady of wisdom, strong connections…

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Yawn!

It's a lazy and hot Friday morning at Kuzuko Lodge. The sun's already baking down without a cloud in the sky. The pride spots a kudu and the two female take the lead in the hunt. It's a patient wait watching it through the spekboom as it stands browsing unaware. Then the chase is on. Adrenalin pumping. Excitement. Hunger. Fear. Everything happens so fast yet everything else stands still. The kudu stood no chance as she gets taken down in…

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The endangered African Unicorn

"Look mom, tourist types!" One of the most precious things one can probably see in nature is a mother and her baby. Even more precious if it is an endangered animal like the White Rhino. The sad part of spotting and photographing rhino is that people get all up in arms when you publish your photos to show off these magnificent animals. I took the photos in this post somewhere in 2018 and as much as I would like to…

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