Tag Archives: Safari

RhinoWarriors visit Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary

A few of the Rhinowarriors were privileged to visit Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary. In short the sanctuary cares for calves that have been orphaned by savage poaching attacks.
Many of these calves bare the physical and mental scars of the incidents that left them orphaned, but the good people of Care for Wild have created a safe environment for rehabilitation and release into safe reserves in future.
Please help us support their cause and gi

ve these beautiful animals a chance at survival. Care For Wild relies on donations and sponsors to keep the Sanctuary afloat. Every penny is dedicated to security, and health of the orphans. #careforwild #careforwildrhinosanctuary

Follow and support at www.careforwild.co.za

INYATI GAME LODGE, SABI SAND RESERVE EARNS 2017 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve Earns 2017 Tripadvisor Certificate Of Excellence
Inyati Game Lodge, Earns 2017 TripAdvisor Certificate Of Excellence

SABI SAND RESERVE, MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA – 22nd June 2017 Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its seventh year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

“Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence seven years in a row and inducted into the 2015 ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s guests. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

“TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2017 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers”, said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honour businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travellers identify and confidently book the right property at the right price.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

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Inyati prides itself in our guiding team!

Our guides and trackers are highly trained and deeply committed to conserving the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and revealing its secrets. Learn more about this talented team:

Simon George
George Hlongwane

Georgie is a living legend in the reserve. He was born on the property and as a result started honing his bush craft skills as a toddler. George is still living and working on the reserve with his family. Tracking and anticipating animal movements and behaviour is second nature to George and his guests are guaranteed to be where action is taking place.

Kief
Keith Jenkinson

Keith studied to become a conservationist and moved to the Kruger Park after qualifying, here he fell in love with guiding and furthered his career as a field Guide. Keith loves tracking big game, and all the small wonders the Sabi Sand has to offer.

Matthew Brennan
Matthew Brennan

After qualifying Matt cut his teeth in a walking concession in the Kruger Park, this sparked his passion for Guiding on foot. Matt enjoys safe responsible interactions with big game and has an intricate knowledge of everything from big game to insects.

Omega Godi
Omega Godi

Like most of the best guides Omega started his career as a tracker. This moulded his understanding of the animals he lives and works with. Omega quickly moved through the ranks and is now a trails Guide at Inyati. Omega brings a huge amount of energy to the team with a larger than life bubbly personality.

Darren Muller
Darren Muller

Darren has a lot of experience guiding in the Sabi Sand, and has now found his niche. His passion for wildlife and his guest is always evident as he goes the extra mile. His humble nature, brimming smile and bush lore keep his guest enthralled on game drives and walks.

INY George & Solly
(George and Solly) – Solly Sibuyi (right)

Solly is one of the most respected trackers in the reserve. His immense trailing talent is evident in his relaxed yet confident approach to tracking. He is one of a handful of trackers that managed full marks on his first ever tracking assessment and has been growing even stronger since.

Inyati safari Nelson
Nelson Valoi

 

Nelson has over 30 year tracking experience at Inyati and has an intricate knowledge of the land, and knows most of the animal’s individual habits. His local knowledge, tracking skill, sparkling personality and work ethic make him privilege to be with.

Roger Hlongwane
Roger Hlongwane

 

Roger is one of the most multi skilled trackers in the team. He has strong tracking and hospitality background and treats every guest like gold. He tracking skills and passion for the bush enthral every guest that he guides.

Joel Mkabele
Joel Mkhabela

 

Joel has been with Inyati for almost twenty years he has a quiet calm demeanour that suits his profession perfectly. He loves every aspect of the bush but tracking and spending time with guests are his firm favourites.

Clif Ndlovu
Cliff Ndlovu

 

Cliff came to Inyati after finishing top of his class at the Tracker Academy. His tracking skill meant that he slotted into this experiences team very well and his fresh and youthful perspective motivates the old salts to stay on their game.

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 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

Is Faux Rhino Horn a Solution?

Fight for Rhinos

Each day at least three rhino die for two reasons: the belief that horn cures medical ailments, and as a status symbol in Vietnamese high society. But, attention rhino horn users: the vast majority of the horn you purchase is fake, according to an Oxpeckers report.

Karl Ammann from Natural History Magazine stated “probably up to 90 percent of end consumers (of rhino horn) unknowingly purchase products made of water buffalo or other bovine horn.”

rhinos unknown The myth of rhino horn having medicinal value has survived for centuries.

Now a Seattle-based company, Pembient,  is adding to the market of “faux horn”. They are using biotechnology to fabricate rhino horn at prices below the level of poached horns. Their goal is to use this substitution to meet the demand. According to the company, you can’t physically tell the difference.

According to  one of Pembient’s founders, many wildlife traders would be happy to use a genetically…

View original post 74 more words

February ’15 Field Guide Report by Matt

INY cape hunting So at some point in this year it was January, the next thing I know a cycle has flown by and February came to an end. Admittedly February is a short month but it seems to have flown past. Ellie babyWe still have had no rain and the bush is prematurely turning the beautiful blonde colour that suggests the rain might not come this season. The last few years have seen really plentiful with rain and when I drove in a drainage line a few days ago the ruts filled with water. So the crests have this golden colour and in the valleys it is still largely green. There are no almost no pans of water left, so all the animals have been spending more and more time along the river. This is really good news as Inyati is perfectly positioned to have excellent game viewing all day long. INY playing

So in this last month we have seen Hlaba Nkunzi a few times and had the privilege of seeing her new cub who is around three months or so. She crosses into our neighbouring property and so we don’t see her as much as we used to so it’s nice to see little cubs. Tlangisa is still thriving in the North and it is quite difficult to tell at a glance between her and her cubs. They are fast approaching a year old and are so big. INY posingThey must surely be thinking about starting to learn to hunt. Dewane has now officially displaced Nyeleti and has been seen far east of our traverse which has historically been Nyeleti’s territory. Nyeleti has moved east out of our traverse and south, so we don’t see him all too often anymore. Xhikavi, Schotia, Ravenscourt and Torchwood have all put on cameo displays for us but they are not seen all that regularly.

Ravenscourt male
Ravenscourt male leopard

Leopards like Boulders haven’t been seen in a few months. Dewane has been around a lot and we have seen him patrolling his territory and feeding on kills and generally posing like the rock star he is! INY territoryThe Ximungwe’s are still at a composition of six and doing pretty well, they are a clever bunch of lions and I’m sure the Majingies don’t even know they exist. The sub-adults are looking really big at the moment and should be in the clear. Male cheetah sunsetThe two Othawa sub-adults have not been seen with the adults in weeks, yet they are doing well and by all accounts have started hunting for themselves as the few times I’ve seen them they have both been full and looking happy.Coqui Spurfowl

There have been hundreds of buffalo and elephants all over the property, they have taken it upon themselves to redecorate the reserve for us and we are constantly having to clear the roads of big trees they keep pushing over.INY buffalo resting

So I have saved the best for last, only for the few people who read on to the end of the blogs. I’ll let you into the secret… One of the Othawa’s has cubs. She has been seen in the north/eastern part of the territory but I haven’t seen them yet. I cant wait to get my first glimpse of the Majingilanes hard earned reward.

INY Tlangisa cub
One of Tlangisa’s cubs

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 Matthew

Ebola in Africa – should you panic? by Onne , 01 August 2014

Africa is a huge continent, containing 47 different countries (not counting the surrounding island nations). It is over 7000km from north to south. “We’re going to Africa” is therefore a very vague description of destination. It’s like saying we’re going to Asia. A good first step is to pull out a map of Africa and look at where the current outbreak of Ebola is found:

Ebola map

The countries affected at the moment are all in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria has had one case that was identified on an inbound flight. Subsequently, all flights from affected areas have been cancelled and all countries in the region (including South Africa) are on high alert and have stepped up measures to screen travellers and identify possible victims.

We are certainly not downplaying the crisis and this is without doubt the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with over 700 deaths so far since February. But cancelling a trip to South Africa makes just as much sense as cancelling a trip to Spain because of Ebola. In fact, Spain is closer to the epicentre of the outbreak than South Africa is. All the popular safari destinations in Southern and East Africa remain unaffected by the Ebola outbreak. There is absolutely no reason to cancel your safari trip now. The biggest risk as a traveller right now is that you might have an elevated temperature due to the common flu or cold, and are then quarantined at the airport as a precaution.

How is Ebola spread?

This is an important question to help asses the risk. Thankfully and significantly, Ebola is not an airborne virus. It is spread through direct person-to-person contact, and contact with body fluids of infected persons – blood, saliva and other secretions. The WHO has a helpful factsheet about Ebola, which is worth a read. This means that the risk for ordinary travellers remains low, even in high risk areas, as long as you take basic precautions and avoid intimate contact with others.

Protective clothing

South Africa is not only an interesting mix of cultures, but also of third world and first world conditions. While many people unfortunately still live in third world conditions, the infrastructure in South Africa is very much first world, and the public health system is good. The department of health is very conservative when it comes to public health policy and disease prevention. For example, South Africa was the first country to require yellow fever vaccines for travellers arriving from Zambia, after a part of western Zambia was reclassified from “vaccine not recommended” to “vaccine generally not recommended” a few years ago. A minor change by the WHO, but the health department responded swiftly and firmly with new regulations (considered unnecessary by many). South Africa also has world class airports with excellent screening, medical and quarantine facilities.

Info Ebola 

So these are the facts. There is no Ebola in South Africa or any of its neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, when panic sets in the facts are not always considered in the decision making. During 2012-2013, we had cancellations for trips to South Africa because of the political protests and unrest in Egypt, 7000km away at the opposite end of the content. A major fail of geographical comprehension, and a pity for that family that they cancelled a fantastic trip for a completely unnecessary reason. Let’s hope the same does not happen with this Ebola outbreak.

http://wild-wings-safaris.com/blog/ebola-in-africa-should-you-panic/#.U-osDywbrFd.wordpress

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

50 million years on Earth….Disappearing in 6?!

Fight for Rhinos

If the current rate of poaching continues, rhinos in the wild will be extinct by 2020. That is just 6 years away!

black and white rhinos by ryan hillier There are only 5,000 black rhinos (L) and 20,000 white rhinos (R) remaining in the wild. (photo by Ryan Hillier)

According to Will Travers, chief executive of the Born Free Foundation,

“There will probably be no free-living rhinos as the remaining numbers will be fenced off in military-style compounds which are alarmed and heavily guarded by armed patrols.”

Are we prepared to let this happen? How will the world look without them?

The Savanna 

Rhinos are an umbrella species. This means their survival or demise directly impacts the survival or demise of other species of rhino in tall grass by chiu pangmammals, birds, insects, fish and plants. They play a big role in their ecosystem.

When they browse, they keep the areas trimmed, making paths and more accessible areas for smaller mammals. They also enrich…

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