Beautiful sunsets and close encounters of our favourite kind; wild sightings, proud posers and intimate moments caught on camera. These are just some of the wonderful things that we were lucky enough to sight see this month. While every day here at Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve is different, the feelings we get are the same: wonder, awe and a sense of pride to be a part of the African wildlife magic.
Finding a disintegrating Giraffe carcass right on the side of our safari trail brought about a collective exclamation from the guests in our game viewer.There’s no doubt about it; seeing something like this for the first time can be disturbing. But with a moment’s thought, one soon realises that this is the nature of the African wild.
Animals are born, they feed, they hunt, they fight, they run, they die… and then they decompose; back into the earth as a full completion in the Circle of Life.
Survival was unlikely for this defenceless Giraffe, as he was surrounded by the reserve’s Lion pride. It didn’t take long before they were enjoying a meal; and then reluctantly sharing it with loitering scavengers who took their pickings.
Now, an eerily beautiful pelt and skeletal remains serve as a reminder that out here, life is both precious and expendable. And even though there is a darkness to the way that life ends, it serves its purpose as part of the greater wildlife picture.
Arguably the most important substance on earth!
Humans need and use it for most of our daily tasks, nature needs it to grow and flourish and animals need it for basic survival. It is so intrinsically entwined into our lives that often; we take it for granted.
Which is why today, the 22nd of March, has been declared World Water Day. It’s an opportunity to observe and learn about water issues; to become inspired to tell others about its value and its scarcity, and above all, to take action to make a difference in the world, by protecting it.
In light of the recent drought that South Africa has been experiencing, at Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve, we are particularly aware of our reliance on water, and its true life-giving value.
Recent rains have fallen in the Ladysmith region and we could not be more grateful. It’s a beautiful sight to see, as the land saps up every vital drop and begins to sprout in a tapestry of greens and khaki hues.
There seems to be a renewed sense of energy among the wildlife too, as we are seeing more and more game venture to the rising water holes to quench their thirst and play about. Bird life is plentiful and herds graze alongside each other to share the buffet of restored tufts, while the healthy long grass renders them practically invisible because it’s so healthy and tall.
We’re really excited about the recent rains here at the reserve and can’t wait to show you how a little rain, goes a long way in restoring our beautiful earth.
Spread the word this #WorldWaterDay, and do your bit to protect our precious water. Until next time, stay water conscious and join us soon.
It’s been a special time for us Rangers at Nambiti Hills, witnessing the capture and release of a beautiful but endangered species – the African Rock Python.
We were in Ladysmith when we received a call from Bryce, telling us that the team from “Ladysmith Snake Removal” had just caught a female African Rock Python in Ezakeni. They wished to bring it to Nambiti to release it. We were excited to meet this interesting team of people who’ve spent their lifetime catching and relocating snakes in Ladysmith.
Kingsley and I were to be the “deliverers” of that special package and were very proud to be part of this important mission. When we arrived, they introduced us to the gorgeous female snake who was about 3.8m long, 9.8 Kl and approximately 5-6 years of age, judging by her size. She was then placed carefully into a bag before we headed back to the reserve.
The 45 minute journey to the lodge was very noisy. From the bottom of the bag we could hear her hissing louder than the radio, almost telling us “Listen both of you, I’m being shaken left and right here. Go slower on the bumps!” Of course, we were aware of the road’s terrain and were careful to ensure that she was transported quickly and safely.
We brought her to the lodge and kept her in the bag near a shady and quiet area so that she could feel relaxed. Twenty minutes later, after she settled, Kingsley put his hand into the bag – we could hear her hiss louder. He gently but firmly caught her behind her head so that she wouldn’t be able to bite us. I quickly caught the rest of her body which was very heavy, thick and long. Surprisingly, she stopped hissing – she probably sensed that we were only trying to help her.
We quickly held her up for a photo – proof that we were completely crazy handling an almost 4m snake. She wrapped 1/3 of her body around my arm to balance herself and only a person that has touched such a snake would understand how easy it would be for her to strangle and kill her prey.
We gently placed her onto the ground and she headed straight toward the water where we left her to the peace and quite of the dam. Hopefully, she will readjust to her new surroundings and find a mate close by.
We are very proud of this unforgettable day, working with other teams within the community to ensure that our wildlife is always safe and protected.
BFE, pronounced Beefy, is about 54 years old. He originally came from the Makalali Game Reserve just outside the Kruger National Park, and was brought into the reserve as the biggest bull elephant to dominate the younger bulls in the herd. “Respect your elders” is a phrase that rings true in elephant herds; as the hierarchy of power amongst male elephants is determined by their age.
BFE’s most distinguishing feature, his half-tusk, intrigues everyone who sees him. No one quite knows the story behind it, but it has been suggested that a serious fight with another bull could have shattered the tip, or perhaps a simple show of dominance by pushing over a tree caused the super-strong ivory to snap in half.
We’re always spoilt with sightings of BFE, mostly at the central basin, where he can be seen flapping his ears and grazing happily. He forages on acacia trees, spends his time rummaging through the thickets, and sometimes, can be seen following the breeding herd.
Join us at Nambiti Hills and we’ll introduce you to a very special old elephant named BFE, who will warm your heart and have you conjuring up your own adventure stories of the half-tusk.