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The Safari Awards 2018 Inyati Game Lodge,Sabi Sand Reserve Nominated

Inyati Game LodgeWe are so proud to announce that Inyati Game Lodge has been nominated for the 2018 Safari Awards, sponsored by The Good Safari Guide.
If it weren’t for our guests continued support throughout the years we’d never be in the position we’re in today. Your positive reviews, constructive criticism and contribution to Inyati Game Lodge, has ensured we’ve secured a place in the Safari Awards, a prestigious annual award bestowed upon camps and lodges displaying excellence in specific categories. Inyati Game Lodge has been nominated in 8 categories. We’d really like to rally your support to secure an award.

Voting is easy! Here’s how you do it:
1. Go to this page, search and click on the property: Safari Awards Voting Selection Page
2. Log in with your username and password, or register if this is your first time voting.
3. You will be redirected to the camp page, where you click on the big “vote” button.

Follow the prompts, rate us out of 10 and leave a comment if you’d like!

Here are the categories in which Inyati Game Lodge, have been nominated in the Safari Awards:

2018 Best Safari Guiding Team category (Nominee)Guiding team
The Inyati guides and Shangaan trackers make for an outstanding team while out on safari, while they share their intimate knowledge and incomparable intuition of the African bush. At Inyati, you can look forward to fantastic close-up experiences with Africa’s wildlife on every game drive

2018 Best Walking Safari (Nominee)
Guided interpretive bush walks are one of the highlights of staying in a private reserve. You can experience the thrill of tracking animals such as the Big Five on foot. They are not hikes, and are usually tailored to your fitness level. The walks are led by qualified guides who will tell you interesting facts about the plants and animals that you encounterFamily park run
2018 Best Value Safari Property (Nominee)#travel Tuesday
Inyati offers exceptional value for money at a fraction of the price of other private lodges in the reserve. The predator sightings in the Sabi Same Game Reserve are in abundance and the sands offers unparalleled game viewing opportunities in an uncrowded reserve. Rates include game drives, walks, accommodation and meals.

2018 Best Design Category (Nominee)Inyati Pool
With our veranda dining and bar area, there’s plenty of flow throughout the lodge. No fencing which means wildlife can roam freely throughout.

2018 Best Service category (Nominee)Nelson Inyati safari
Inyati Game Lodge offers guests attentive service, fine African cuisine, expert game rangers, and an array of activities including big 5 game drives, bush walks, fishing and the popular junior ranger program.

2018 Best Family Safari Experience (Nominee)Cheetah
2018 Best Safari Cuisine category (Nominee)
Relish fascinating combinations of African dishes while sipping fabulous champagne and fine wines.family2018 Best Location category (Nominee)Still waters
Set on the lush banks of the Sand River, Inyati Game Lodge offers the ultimate safari experience combining diverse wildlife with authentic African hospitality. From the warm welcome you receive upon arrival, to our comfortable chalets, hearty home style cuisine and highly experienced guides, every guest departs with unforgettable memories and the imprint of Africa in their soul.

2018 Best Ecologically Responsible Safari Property (Nominee)Elephant dust herd
Inyati is committed long term sustainability and to respecting the local community and environment in which we live. We care about our people and the communities around us. Inyati employs about 45 permanent staff, most of which are from the local community. Many of our staff has been with Inyati for more than 10 years making Inyati their home and creating that family atmosphere that the lodge has become renowned for.

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The bush revived by Matt

big-skiesAt its worst the drought left the bush barren of life. Mother Nature herself wanted us to see the value of water and the suffering that happens when it doesn’t fall. Mercifully though one afternoon a giant cumulonimbus cloud rolled up from the south, bringing with it a light show of thunder and lightning, tempestuous winds whirled and whipped the dust bowl and finally a light sprinkling of the most precious fluid on earth. This auspicious start has compounded over the rainy season, and as I write this we have had non-stop rain for five days. The revival has been astounding, the browns, greys and whites have all but faded and the greens have taken over. The soil left an open canvas by the drought has been painted by the pioneering wild flowers and grasses, the insects that follow cycles and held on through the drought then went about making enough offspring to fertilise all the wonderful plants.

othawa cubsTraditionally predators do better in the dryer seasons as the herbivores lose condition, but with three new Othawa cubs and two cubs for Tlangisa it appears that the cats do well no matter what the conditions are. tlangisas-2nd-babyXhikavi’s adult offspring is still hanging around his mom almost two years into his life, Dewane seems to like him more than his mom does. His name is Mondzo and he really is a beautiful leopard and even has blue eyes. Ravenscourt has been pushing further and further into Dewane’s territory. Schotia had cubs several months ago but she hasn’t brought them out for inspection yet. Torchwood took some heavy beatings of late and has faded a bit into obscurity as he licks his wounds.

mondzo #leopardWith the dams filling up nicely and the river flooding regularly I think we will sail through the next winter and while it will take a few years for the smaller animal populations to recover, the drought is truly behind us.

glorious-waterThat’s all from Matt for this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.

tlangisa-never-disappointsRegards, THE INYATI TEAM

Keith & Francis – Managers
George , Solly, Khimbini , Matthew , Nelson  ,Omega  & Rodger

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Keith and Matthew

Lodge recognised for offering the best visitors’ experience.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards gives us the opportunity to celebrate trailblazers, as well as service excellence in the South African tourism industry in general.
A local lodge recently received top honours at the fourth Lilizela Tourism Awards, in which the South African tourism industry celebrated its top business owners and service providers.

Inyati Game Lodge,situated about 60 kilometres from Hazyview, walked away with the Visitor’s Experience Award for Best Wildlife Encounters.

Inyati is set in 65 000 hectares of unspoiled bushveld within the Sabi Sands Reserve, on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park and on the banks of the Sand River. Diversity of species and relaxed big game allow for close-up game viewing and photography.

“The gives us the opportunity to celebrate trailblazers, as well as service excellence in the South African tourism industry in general. The awards is an opportunity to pause and thank these individuals and businesses for their contribution to putting South Africa firmly on the global stage by ensuring their product and service offerings are of the highest standard,” said minister for tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom.

“With 5,8 million people having visited South Africa from January to July this year, the number of tourists is on the rise. By being service oriented, the businesses celebrated today help to ensure that this growth path continues, guaranteeing memorable experiences for all tourists,” he added.

The awards were established in 2013 to recognise and reward exemplary service among businesses in the local tourism sector, ranging from accommodation establishments and tour operators to scenic attractions and cultural heritage sites.

In 2016, the awards attracted a record number of 1 122 entries, up 18 per cent from the previous year’s total. Tourism businesses across the nine provinces were encouraged to enter, with a great call that they be graded with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, a unit of South African Tourism.

Members of the public were then invited to have their say on the Lilizela Tourism Awards website by voting. These votes, together with those from various platforms such as TripAdvisor and TGCSA’s Tourism Analytics Programme, formed 80 per cent of the score for each entry.

A panel of high-level judges, drawn from the industry and academia, contributed the remaining 20 per cent of each establishment’s score. From these calculations, 589 finalists were selected nationwide and each province held its own awards ceremony in the run-up to the national finals.

During these provincial award ceremonies, 262 provincial winners were celebrated. This was further narrowed down to 53 national winners, who were honoured on Sunday night.

Awards were made in a number of categories including the Service Excellence Award (with subcategories Accommodation, Visitor Experience, Tourist Guides and Tour Operators), Entrepreneurship (for emerging tourism businesses), Sustainability and Good Governance, and the prestigious Minister’s Award.

Source – http://hazyviewherald.co.za/199219/lodge-recognised-for-offering-the-best-visitors-experience/

 

Inyati – Winner of the Wildlife Encounters category : Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016

Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve – Winner of the Wildlife Encounters category @ the Provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016 – Mpumalanga.

“Being awarded the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Award for the Visitor Experience category – Wildlife Encounters in ‪#‎Mpumalanga for a third year in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”

Billed to recognise only the best in the South African tourism industry, the Lilizela Tourism Awards aim to recognise and reward the highest levels of excellence in the tourism value chain. They are the ultimate reward for entrepreneurial and service excellence that sets global benchmark standards.

The National Winners will be announced at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on 16th of October 2016.Winner of the Wildlife Encounters 2016.jpg

Inyati Game Lodge by Elaine McArdle

Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sands: the perfect South Africa Safari!

From the second we came across the Inyati Game Lodge in our search for the perfect South Africa safari accommodation we were certain it was the perfect luxury safari retreat for us. We had a short and undemanding list of requests: luxury accommodation, good food, drinks and company and the best chance of sighting the big 5. It’s not much to ask really! After a glorious morning spent exploring the Panorama route we arrived at Inyati. With its amazing rooms, fantastic rangers and the gorgeous surrounds of Sabi Sands we knew we were in for a treat on our first South Africa safari. We couldn’t wait to experience the best of what Inyati and Sabi Sands had to offer!

Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Inyati Game Lodge

The Inyati Game Lodge is located deep within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is situated on the banks of the Sabi River. After a morning of sightseeing on the Panorama route we couldn’t resist the safari call any longer and set off for our stay at Inyati. The heavy, end of summer rains had taken their toll on the gravel roads and it was a slow and bumpy ride to the Newington Gate of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The drive was soon forgotten as we turned the corner into the entrance of the gorgeous Inyati where the reception staff had assembled to greet us and whisk our luggage away. Welcome drinks awaited us and we were instantly transported into holiday mode! Bliss!

Welcome to Inyati!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe lodge:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

As we sipped our drinks we finally had the chance to absorb our incredible surroundings and we were absolutely blown away! The lodge itself is stunning and the African decor blends seamlessly with the surroundings of the Sabi Sands bush. The focal point of Inyati is the main lodge with its chill out lounge area and terrace and the views over the Sabi River are mesmerising.

Terrace views! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe Sabi River:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The grounds of Inyati:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Chalet time!

It was time to check out our safari home and we were escorted to our Chalet, No 1, to settle in and freshen up before our first game drive. With only 11 rooms the lodge is intimate and luxurious, with the chalets dotted in clusters around the main lodge. We opted for a family chalet as we were travelling as a trio with my lovely mum accompanying Dave and I on the trip.

Our chalet was perfect and we instantly felt at home in Inyati. The room was spacious and we were spoiled with a huge King Size bed and two spacious doubles, one of which Dave used to tuck his beloved camera equipment in at night. Seriously! The room was equipped with everything we’d expect from 5* accommodations: a walk in closet, a generous sitting area, a well equipped mini bar and a beautiful bathroom. We knew we were in for a treat!

Our chalet:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The bathroom:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe view from our room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Game Drives at Inyati

Why we chose Sabi Sands and Inyati

The quality of the game drives and the frequent reported sightings of the Big 5 were the main reason we opted to stay at Inyati. Inyati is located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which shares an open boundary with Kruger National Park meaning the animals roam freely between the two. Game drives take place in an open topped truck and the vehicles are allowed to go off road to get closer to the animals. It’s widely accepted that Kruger and Sabi Sands offer some of the best game drives in Africa, with Sabi Sands being particularly renowned for leopard spotting. It’s said the leopards are more relaxed in the Sabi Sands surroundings.

The Inyati game trucks:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Our Game Drives at Inyati

Our pre lunch arrival on day 1 allowed us to enjoy four game drives, two morning and two evening, during our two night stay at Inyati. Morning drives required an early start with a 5am wake up call courtesy of a gentle knock on the door from our lovely guides!

In search of greatness:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

There’s only one word to describe our game drives at Inyati: INCREDIBLE! Cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, buffalos, impalas, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, warthogs, dung beetles, lizards and vultures. Our ranger George and tracker Solly were amazing in their pursuit to show us everything the Sabi Sands bush had to offer.

Our memories of our Inyati game drives are like scenes from a movie. It’s difficult to narrow down our favourite moments but sitting in the middle of a herd of 40 elephants as they made their way through the bush is one of our highlights. I still have to pinch myself when I think of that moment!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Our favourite Inyati sightings:

A leopard mama and her two month old cub:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

The elusive cheetah:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Rhino bath time:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundA softer side to the king of the bush:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundAlways watching us, the buffalo herds:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundSniffing out a kill, the hyena:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundMeandering across our path, the lofty giraffe:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Wildlife on site!

Inyati is an unfenced game lodge meaning the wild animals can wander in and out of the property as they please. This was a real treat although it did mean that all our night time movements outside our room had to be accompanied by a ranger!

We woke up from a post breakfast nap to find a troop of monkeys with some bushbuck wandering among them on our private veranda. One of the monkeys went so far as to try and open our door and we were glad we’d heeded our arrival warning of locking the doors at all times! Another highlight came as we were leaving the lodge and a family of giraffe rambled alongside us! Returning guests regaled us with tales of lions wandering through the grounds on their previous stay but we weren’t so lucky. Here’s hoping for next time!

Hello there! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Do you mind if I come in?!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Food and drinks

Inyati rates are all inclusive meaning breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee and water are included in the price. Bar purchases were extra but the reasonable pricing was a pleasant surprise (we spent around US $15 to US $20 each on soft and alcoholic drinks over our 48 hours at Inyati). We were totally spoiled on the food front and our biggest fear, that we would starve in the bush, was totally unfounded as we enjoyed a constant supply of food! Our food schedule went something like this:

  • 5:30am: pre game drive breakfast of pastries, fruit and museli served with tea, coffee, water and fruit juice.
  • 7:30am: morning tea in the bush! Flapjacks, tea, coffee and biscuits during a quick bush stop on the morning safari.
  • 9am: post game drive brunch with a delicious selection of cold and hot foods where we munched on salads, fruits, sausages, eggs, pastries and cereals.

As good as it looks! Brunch at Inyati:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 1pm: a small lunch menu with toasted sandwiches and a snack is available during the day. Given the late breakfast indulgence it’s geared towards the arriving guests!
  • 4pm: afternoon tea is served prior to the evening game drive.

Afternoon tea time:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 6:30pm: the highlight of the day for us! Sundowners and savoury snacks watching the sun go down in the bush.

Gin and tonic sundowners, amazing company and this view:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 8pm: dinner time! Dinner was a 3 course communal affair with delicious soup, meat, fish, vegetables and salads choices plentiful.

One of the highlights of our dining at Inyati was the rotating locations the team used. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner on the main terrace during our first meals but the real highlight was the outdoor dinner in the Boma, where at one point the background noise was a pride of lions roaring, and breakfast on the river terrace!

Breakfast views!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Facilities

For us, staying at Inyati was all about the safari experience but the surroundings and facilities did much to add to our stay. The communal guest areas are beautifully equipped with relaxing seating, books and a television. A small gym is located on site and the outdoor pool is a lovely spot for relaxing between the drives.

Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Wi-fi

Limited wi-fi is available around this main spot but it is very slow and this was a common occurrence across most of our South Africa travels. With all that was going on we weren’t bothered about having wi-fi so it wasn’t an issue!

The bar and chill out area:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Beautiful touches:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Overall

We absolutely adored our stay at Inyati and from the moment we crossed the Newington Gate to enter Sabi Sands we were instantly transported into another world filled with the delightful sights and sounds of the South African Bush. The Lodge and its staff were incredible and we were totally spoiled for every second of our 2 nights in Inyati.

Staying at the lodge is a luxurious experience but the real star of the show is the Inyati game drives: the rangers and trackers are warm and funny and have an amazing safari knowledge allowing them to answer every random question we came up with! Of which there were many! Our dream of seeing the Big 5 was quickly realised and we made incredible bucket list memories which still give us goosebumps.Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Worth the cost?

The private game reserves of Sabi Sands come at a price and we spent a lot of time considering our safari options. For us, the luxury, the experience and the private game drives are worth the extra cost. We couldn’t think of a more perfect spot to spend our first safari experience and, despite our reluctance to visit the same place more than once, we really, really hope to return to Inyati in the future!

Disclaimer: Inyati Game Lodge provided us with a media rate during our stay. Our opinions, as always, are our own.

 

November 2015

Roger one of the Inyati Trackers sharing the shade of a Sjambok pod with Khokovela.

With barely a sprinkle of rain this last month the animals are starting to feel the pinch. Grazing especially is hard, with the pathfinding females of the giant buffalo herds having to really on all their experience to lead their charges to the grass that remains, or two the grass responding to the light intensities turns green in anticipation of rain that never seems to come.Ellies at Sand River show of their new calvesImpala herd Zebra herdMatriarchal elephants lead their families to the river and often three or four herds can be seen munching away on the Phragmites reeds, the newly established sedge grasses and other pioneer species. These plants are taking advantage the newly emerging islands in the river, and as such there are swathes of green all along the river. A mighty elephant bull at Inyati Game LodgeThe crusty old dagga boys are so plentiful along the river, might as well open up a golf course for them.Buffalo herd

Monkey businessThe impalas have started lambing and it is open season for the carnivores. The wild dogs take at least three or four lambs every drive, the strategy is always the same at sunrise and sunset, the adults get up, play with the youngsters a bit and head off all in one direction and spread out. The first animal they see the chase it down and rip it apart in a few minutes, this whole process may only last 15 minutes or so as they are such efficient hunters. All you have to do is hope you are in the right place at the right time. The adults then return to the pups and regurgitate a portion of their meal for the pups. As such the dogs are always full and the pups are growing quickly as they have too; as it is a tough life to be a Painted Wolf.Wild dog posing on the rock.

Wild Dogs playingNot to be out done the leopards are working day and night to keep up with the tally of the dogs. Tlangisa has had cubs but we haven’t found them yet, so she has a few mouths to feed.

Tlangisa taking down Impala lambXhikavi’s little boy is still doing very well, he is still quite shy and takes a while to calm down to his mother’s level. He is ticking all the growth boxes though as she is a terrific hunter.

Dewane - Copy
Magnificent Dewane leopard

Dewane is constantly putting pressure on his neighbors and as such we see him in the north a lot. Torchwood is often seen killing warthogs in the south and Schotia is steadily sailing her ship into her future. The magnificent Dewane male staring at the hyenas — at Inyati Game Lodge.Basile and Khokovela are giving cameos in the north and seem to be embracing their newfound freedom with the grace we have come to expect from Tlangisa.

Basile leopard
Basile (Tlangisa’s adult cub) Her name means the light one and is situated just North of the camp.

Majingilane male lions on a buffalo carcassThe bush is really dry and the river looks like it might run dry this year. So please pray for rain.Water thick-knee, Water dikkop (Burhinus vermiculatus)

 

That’s all from Matt for this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.

Regards, THE INYATI TEAM

Keith & Francis – Managers
George (Head Guide) & Solly (Tracker)
Khimbini (Senior Guide) & Rodger (Tracker)
Matthew (Senior Guide) & Nelson (Tracker)

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Khimbini, Keith and MatthewWe have had an unusually dry start to spring and summer

Lilizela Tourism Awards held on 22 October 2015

The South African Tourism Industry spent the better part of last night honouring the crème de la crème of the sector. The industry hosted by the esteemed Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, were treated to an evening of splendour and entertainment from local musicians.

Derek HanekomThe Lilizela Tourism Awards, is a platform to celebrate service excellence in the South African tourism industry, and its third instalment did not disappoint.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. South Africa has, without a doubt, among the most service-orientated tourism industry on earth. Ours is an industry that’s characterised by excellence and by an intensely guest-focussed culture. Our industry is made up of a team of committed people whose passion is on show for all to see and experience.

In such an industry that takes product and service excellence to truly world class levels, the best of the best are recognised and honoured through the annual Lilizela Tourism Awards. These awards are not only an integral part of South Africa’s strategy to remain a globally competitive destination,  but  are pivotal to setting the excellence bar for the entire sector: giving all tourism businesses standards of excellence to aspire to and building South Africa’s reputation the world over as one of the best tourism destinations on earth.

Starting in the provinces where provincial champions are rewarded for their service excellence, national Lilizela Tourism Award winners are selected from the shortlist of provincial winners for the ultimate accolade of tourism excellence in the country at a glittering national event that attracts both the attendance and the attention of the industry, reflecting on a job well done.

Lilizela JoanneHosted by former Miss South Africa, now businesswoman Joanne Strauss and musician Stoan Seate of Bongo Maffin fame, last night’s Lilizela Tourism Awards have grown substantially since they were launched in 2013. This year, over 1 100 entries were received across all categories – making these awards far reaching and widely representative of the national tourism industry.

During the country-wide provincial awards, 219 tourism product owners and service providers in the industry were recognised and rewarded for their contribution to service excellence in tourism and upholding the promise of quality assurance.

Minister Hanekom, congratulated those who work in this ever growing industry in South Africa and commended them for contributing in the transformation and growth of the South African tourism industry.Thulani Nzima

South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima also congratulated the night’s finalists and winners.

“The contribution of tourism businesses nominated for the Lilizela Tourism Awards keeps the sector on an upward trend. We congratulate all the winners and hope they will continue to serve as tourism ambassadors by continuing to showcase the best of our country to the world as tourism continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors,” said Nzima.

Multi-award winning songstress, Lira; popular music band, The Soil together with Brenda and the Band added to the entertainment for this glamorous night.

Inyati winner 2015
“Being awarded the Lilizela award for the best wildlife encounter in #Mpumalanga two years in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”

Grant Thornton were appointed as the independent auditors for this year’s Lilizela Tourism Awards.

Some highlights of recipients of these prestigious industry awards were:

Lilizela Best of the BestWinner of ETEYA 2015 – Simeliza Tours
Winner of Best Social Involvement Programme – Large business – Aquila Game Reserve
Winner of the Five-star hotel  – The Oyster Box Hotel
Winner of  the Wildlife Encounters award – Inyati Game Lodge
Tourist Guides  winners  –  Nelson Maphaha and Michael Keith Jones
Recipient of the Minister’s Awards – Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo Managing Director of Birchwood Hotel.

For the full list of winners from last night’s awards ceremony, to view finalist and pictures, please visit the Lilizela Awards website, http://www.lilizela.co.za

Winners Table

Inyati – Provincial Winner of Visitor Experience of the Year 2015

Lilizela 2 3rdThe Mpumalanga Province announced the names of the provincial winners of the 2015 Lilizela Tourism Awards. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony held on September 8, 2015 at Emnotweni Arena in Mbombela where all the province’s finalists were publically honoured for their contribution to service excellence and quality assurance in the tourism industry.

“Being awarded the Lilizela award for the best wildlife encounter in ‪#‎Mpumalanga‬ two years in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”

Continue reading Inyati – Provincial Winner of Visitor Experience of the Year 2015

If Rhinos Go Extinct

Fight for Rhinos

To every thing there is a yin and yang, a balance. The web of all species is intricately connected, each relies on the others.

When we let a species go extinct, we upset the balance. So if we fail the rhino, what will happen to the rest of the savanna?

Rhinos are mega-herbivores, the lawn maintenance crew of the savanna. Their job to the ecosystem is to carve out paths for other creatures (eating), make water holes (digging), and to help germinate plants (defecating).

rhinos eating grass

It may seem simplistic, but they are the only sizable creatures in this habitat to do it. The other mega-herbivores, elephants affect different parts of the savanna, as they eat from a different menu, browsing on taller bushes and trees.

Rhinos eat an average of 23.6 kg during the course of each day. The dung piles they share can be 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep. That’s a sizable…

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Ranger Diaries – Khaki Fever

Khaki Fever

Khimbini Hlongwane from Inyati Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand was captivated by animals from an early age.

“Growing up in a village in the eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) got me exposed to wildlife from a young age and I was fascinated by the behaviours of various animals,” he says. “I loved being out there with brothers herding cattle and goats while interacting with wildlife. It was really fun, yet challenging, because every day we had to try to find food with without becoming food!”

Hlongwane says he battled when he grew older and had to divide his days between going to school and spending time having fun outdoors.

When his community was separated from wildlife, he knew he had to find a way back to live closer to and learn more about animals. However, guiding wasn’t his first choice. “I was terrified of being responsible for entertaining people of different cultures, coming from all corners of the globe,” he says. “You have to understand why that was a challenge for me – I was raised by people who couldn’t read and write, never left the Transvaal and hardly had any exposure to the outside world.”

Initially, Hlongwane had his sights set on becoming a wildlife veterinarian but says after graduating from high school, it was clear this wasn’t going to happen. He moved on to plan B and started as a tracker at Inyati Game Lodge in 1994.

“The training went smoothly because the man training me happened to the same man who taught me the ins and outs of surviving in the bush as a herd boy, Simon George Hlongwane, an older brother, a friend, a mentor, a custodian and a role model to many of us in the community.”Khimbini

Changing t(r)ack

“One of the first things Simon told me was: ‘Remember, we used to see lion tracks and we would herd the livestock in the opposite direction to protect them? Now when we see lion tracks, we follow until we find the lions, so be more vigilant!’”

Hlongwane spent five years as a tracker before becoming a ranger. “I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I got when seeing the astonishment and excitement on my guests’ faces after successfully tracking a leopard where it seemed impossible.”

He didn’t think he would like guiding as much as he did tracking but Hlongwane says, 15 years later he’s still loving it and has found a new passion in the form of wildlife photography.

Khimbini photography
Khimbini ‘s picture of the leopard stalking was featured in the National Geographic top 25 wilderness photographs.

Close call

While he has had a few close calls with wild animals, the incident that stands out involves guests. “One of the biggest fears as guide is losing a guest,” he says.

One afternoon, after tracking for about half an hour, Hlongwane found a pride of four lionesses and 10 cubs. Because the lions were still resting, he continued the drive and returned to the pride at dusk.

“As we arrived, the lions started yawning, indicating that they would soon start moving. We followed the lions and, as we negotiated our way through the bushes, it became difficult to keep up. I was focused on keeping an eye on the movement of the lions while warning guests to mind the branches coming their way.

“All of a sudden there were loud screams behind me in the vehicle. I turned around to find that, of the party of six Germans, only four were left in the vehicle. Two were standing on the seats, two were on the bars we used to embark the vehicle and the other two had jumped out of the vehicle.”

Hlongwane stopped the engine, picked up his rifle and hopped out the vehicle.

“Trying to figure out what was going on was difficult. Even though we had all been speaking English earlier, suddenly the guests were only speaking German. In the midst of the shouting I heard the word ‘schlange’ which sounded like the Afrikaans word ‘slang’, meaning snake.

“With the tracker watching the lions I decided to open the tailgate of the vehicle. Sure enough there was a harmless variegated bush snake underneath the seats.”

Tree-scaling impala

Hlongwane reckons he could fill a book with the strange questions some guests ask. One of his favourites was at a leopard sighting.

“We followed drag marks and found a leopard in jackalberry tree. Beside the leopard was a half-eaten impala carcass. It was the guests’ first leopard sighting so I waited for the excitement to die down a bit before talking more about leopards.”

“The guest sitting at the back asked: ‘What was the impala doing up there in the first place?’ I turned to look at my tracker and before I could answer she hit me with another: ‘Is the impala dead?’.”

Hlongwane politely explained that impala don’t climb trees and it had been dragged up the tree by the leopard.

Khim photoDon’t stop learning

The most valuable lesson Hlongwane has learnt is to never allow yourself to think you know everything, because that will be the day you stop learning. “Especially in wildlife there is so much to learn. Animals continue to prove to us that they don’t live by the theories we write about them.”

http://tourismupdate.co.za/Contents/Editions/2014/June2014/Ranger_Diaries.html

 

Rhino Dog Deployed in Sabi Sand Reserve

Sponsored by The Dis-Chem Foundation via Jacaranda’s Purple Rhino Project, Bobby Rhino Dog – a Springer Spaniel – has been successfully deployed in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin.

Rhino Dog Deployed
Rhino Dog Deployed

Bobby was trained by the MECHEM Dog Unit and is a detection dog, able to sniff out both rhino horn as well as ammunitions. This combination of scent imprinting is new –  traditionally dogs are trained as either ammunitions dogs or endangered species dogs. Bobby has bonded very closely with his new handler-dad and will play an active role in the fight against rhino poaching in this reserve.

The Writing on the Wall

Fight for Rhinos

“There is another menacing storm heading south through Africa and the first ominous drops of blood fell on SA soil this week. ” -Will Fowlds

With poaching taking its toll  on 383 rhinos so far this year, South Africa is not new to the epidemic. But with rhino horn worth twenty times more than ivory, elephants haven’t been poached in the country for a decade… until now.

elephant with sun In 2012 there were 16,700 elephants in Kruger National Park.

On Thursday, rangers found the dead bull elephant with missing tusks. They noted four sets of footprints leaving the park headed toward Mozambique.
Unfortunately this would be just “one more elephant” if it were Zimbabwe or Mozambique. But with the start of it in SA, this is devastating news. Proof of things to come.
“We have been alarmed about the elephant poaching happening in Central Africa and its more recent spread and escalation into East…

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Bird Migration by Matthew Brennan

Book of Job (39:26) – Doth the hawk fly by Thy wisdom and stretch her wings toward the south?”

Early ornithologists noted changes in the birds based on the different seasons, references to migration date back to 3000 years ago when Aristotle postulated the phenomenon of birds disappearing and reappearing every year at the same time. He noted cranes travelled from the steppes of Scythia to the marshes at the headwaters of the Nile, and pelicans, geese, swans, rails, doves, and many other birds likewise passed to warmer regions to spend the winter. Aristotle can also lay claim to many of the superstitions that surround bird migration, as he concluded that birds hibernate during the cold months as well as what he termed transmutation, the theory of transmutation is the seasonal change of one species into another. Frequently one species would arrive from the north just as another species departed for more southerly latitudes. From this he reasoned the two different species were actually one and assumed different plumages to correspond to the summer and winter seasons.
We have come a long way from the days of Aristotle and research these days mainly focus on the way birds navigate their way around, they are able to fly in a particular constant direction, regardless of the position of the release point with respect to the bird’s home area. It has also been shown that birds are capable of relating the release point to their home area and of determining which direction to take, then maintaining that direction in flight. The navigational ability of birds has long been understood in terms of a presumed sensitivity to both the intensity and the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. It has also been suggested that birds are sensitive to forces produced by the rotation of the Earth (Coriolis Effect); however, no sense organ or physiological process sensitive to such forces has yet been demonstrated to support this hypothesis.
African Stonechat - Altitudinal migrant

Experiments have shown that the orientation of birds is based on celestial bearings. The Sun is the point of orientation during the day, and birds are able to compensate for the movement of the Sun throughout the day. A so-called internal clock mechanism in birds involves the ability to gauge the angle of the Sun above the horizon. Similar mechanisms are known in many animals and are closely related to the rhythm of daylight, or photoperiodism. When the internal rhythm of birds is disturbed by subjecting them first to several days of irregular light/dark sequences, then to an artificial rhythm that is delayed or advanced in relation to the normal rhythm, corresponding anomalies occur in the homing behaviour. Two theories have been formulated to explain how birds use the Sun for orientation. Neither, however, has so far been substantiated with proof. One theory holds that birds find the right direction by determining the horizontal angle measured on the horizon from the Sun’s projection. They correct for the Sun’s movement by compensating for the changing angle and thus are able to maintain the same direction. According to this theory, the Sun is a compass that enables the birds to find and maintain their direction. This theory does not explain, however, the manner in which a bird, transported and released in an experimental situation, determines the relationship between the point at which it is released and its goal.
The second theory, proposed by British ornithologist G.V.T. Matthews, is based on other aspects of the Sun’s position, the most important of which is the arc of the Sun, for example the angle made by the plane through which the Sun is moving in relation to the horizontal. Each day in the Northern Hemisphere, the highest point reached by the Sun lies in the south, thus indicating direction; the highest point is reached at noon, thus indicating time. In its native area a bird is familiar with the characteristics of the Sun’s movement. Placed in different surroundings, the bird can project the curve of the Sun’s movement after watching only a small segment of its course. By measuring maximum altitude (the Sun’s angle in relation to the horizontal) and comparing it with circumstances in the usual habitat, the bird obtains a sense of latitude. Details of longitude are provided by the Sun’s position in relation to both the highest point and position it will reach as revealed by a precise internal clock.
Migrant birds that travel at night are also capable of directional orientation. Studies have shown that these birds use the stars to determine their bearings. In clear weather, captive migrants head immediately in the right direction using only the stars. They are even able to orient themselves correctly to the arrangement of night skies projected on the dome of a planetarium; true celestial navigation is involved because the birds determine their latitude and longitude by the position of the stars. In a planetarium in Germany, blackcaps and garden warblers, under an artificial autumn sky, headed southwest toward their normal direction; lesser whitethroats headed southeast, their normal direction of migration in that season.
It is known, then, that birds are able to navigate by two types of orientation. One, simple and directional, is compass orientation; the second, complex and directed to a point, is true navigation, or goal orientation. Both types apparently are based on celestial bearings, which provide a navigational grid.

Carmine bee-eater Afro tropical migrant
Carmine bee-eater Afro tropical migrant

The types of migrants here in South Africa are known as;
Palearctic migrants (species that migrate between Europe/Asia and southern Africa)
Intra ‐ African migrants (species that migrate within Africa)
Altitudinal migrants– Species that tend to follow rainfall patterns up the varying altitudes.

An example of one of our migratory species is the European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is the only member of the roller family of birds to breed in Europe. Its overall range extends into the Middle East and Central Asia and Morocco.The European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

There are two subspecies: the nominate garrulus, which breeds from north Africa from Morocco east to Tunisia, southwest and south-central Europe and Asia Minor east through northwest Iran to southwest Siberia; and semenowi, which breeds in Iraq and Iran (except northwest) east to Kashmir and north to Turkmenistan, south Kazakhstan and northwest China (west Xinjiang). The European Roller is a long-distance migrant, wintering in southern Africa in two distinct regions, from Senegal east to Cameroon and from Ethiopia west to Congo and south to South Africa.

It is a bird of warm, dry, open country with scattered trees, preferring lowland open countryside with patches of oak Quercus forest, mature pine Pinus woodland with heathery clearings, orchards, mixed farmland, river valleys, and plains with scattered thorny or leafy trees. It winters primarily in dry wooded savanna and bushy plains, where it typically nests in tree holes.
The European Roller is a stocky bird, the size of a Jackdaw at 29–32 cm in length with a 52–58 cm wingspan; it is mainly blue with an orange-brown back. Rollers often perch prominently on trees, posts or overhead wires, like giant shrikes, whilst watching for the large insects, small reptiles, rodents and frogs that they eat.

The European Roller (Coracias garrulus)This species is striking in its strong direct flight, with the brilliant blue contrasting with black flight feathers. Sexes are similar, but the juvenile is a drabber version of the adult.

The display of this bird is a lapwing-like display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. It nests in an unlined tree or cliff hole, and lays up to six eggs.
The European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is the only member of the roller family of birds to breed in Europe. Its overall range extends into the Middle East and Central Asia and Morocco.

The call is a harsh crow-like sound. It gives a raucous series of calls when nervous.

To be continued………..

Red winged pratincole

The word migration comes from the Latin migratus that means “to change” and refers to how birds change their geographic locations seasonally.

Experience fantastic close-up’s with Africa’s wildlife by Matt Brennan

Walking is my favourite activity on offer in the bush, I feel that you get a much more personal experience and that the special moments come thick and fast. I recently took a walk that holds out for me as one of the most exciting walks I’ve ever been on in a long while. I think I need to give you a bit of background first. Walks tend to be less big animals and more an opportunity to walk in the bush and get a feeling for the environment on a very personal level. So most guided walks tend to be in slightly more open areas and they concentrate on the smaller aspects of the bush that would escape you in a game viewer, like the tracks, tree’s and flowers. On this particular morning I had quite a large group on the walk with me and I had decided to walk from hippo dam, which is to the west of the lodge and south of the Sand River. Inyati’s position on the river means that pretty much anywhere we walk is very thick. So as a trails guide we use other mechanisms to identify that there are animals around us on the walks. Things we like to identify are tracks and signs, Red-Billed Oxpeckers and any noise that might give away an animal.

On this particular morning I was slowly navigating my way through the drainage line and the confluence of the sand river close to the lodge, when I noticed a single set of buffalo tracks. I then got the guests around me and got them down on their knees as we were going through the steps of trying to identify what it was. While I was pointing out its features I realised just how fresh the track was, aging can be a tricky process but let me assure you when I say that if the track is still crisp on a blustering day then it is fresh. I then rapidly concluded what I was telling the guests and added that the track was very fresh, I pointed out that in the area we were in the buffalo would have the upper hand and so I turned 90 degrees away from the track and was preparing to loop around it. The buffalo had other ideas though and had cut back on itself right into our pathway. So as I was moving down into the Madje Mbhirri drainage line, I noticed about a hundred meters in front of the group, the distinct shape and curve of the dagga boy’s horns whose tracks we had moments before been inspecting. The situation could not have been more perfect for us. There was a giant termite hill that would give us the best view and safest options and so I moved the group onto the mound and got them all seated. The buffalo was exhibiting beautiful behaviour that gives them their reputation for being dangerous; He was lying up on the bank of the river in the shade of a tree. He had no idea we were there watching him. While he gently ruminated in the cool of the shade I explained as much as I could remember on buffalo as the moment had got me excited which tends to cause me to babble a lot. After half an hour we slowly got up and snuck out of the area and around him and continued back towards the lodge.

The excitement wasn’t over though because the pan just west of the lodge always attracts animals and as we came to the edge of the treeline we noticed a big bull elephant wallowing in the mud and spraying himself. He was there for at least 20 minutes and we enjoyed his antics. He made it clear that, that was to be his morning activity and so when I started to hear the guest’s stomach grumbling for a well-earned brunch I got the group moving and we moved down onto the river and walked past the hippos lazing in the water and finally crossed onto the lawns of the lodge.

The reason why I loved this walk so much is that we engaged with these animals and they were unaware of our presence, we viewed them in exactly the manner they would be acting if we weren’t there and so got to see a truth, a perfect moment in those animals behaviour. It is why walking has become my firm favourite thing to do in the bush with guests.
Matthew bush walk
Keith Jenkinson