Let us move in.. - 2016-04-25

New residents moved in ... Last year August we bought a couple of Owl boxes.. Fortunately, or unfortunately for the Barn Owls, a Bushbaby family found a new home. As the owl box was not occupied the bushbabies moved in during the last couple of weeks. We often went to the site with the hope that we might spot owls. This af... more

Farewell kiss for the night - 2016-04-24

Days are getting shorter and nights are getting longer. Morning air is biting and it is inevitable that colder winter weather is creeping closer and closer! It is often said that sunrise and sunset in Africa is unlike anywhere else in the world! We believe that our photograph from March 2016 proofs just that. We love our specta... more

Autumn Colours - 2016-04-23

Some trees in our backyard have started putting on their autumn jackets one of these our pride that tall Mountain Seringa. Autumn is here and the colour display has started in preparation for those leaves to fall. This photo was taken earlier this year. During the growing season (chiefly summer), leaves are so dominated by the green of ch... more

Pearls of Life - 2016-04-22

This morning you can really feel that those hot hot hot summer days for now are gone! Not sure if we are glad or sad.... Grass stalks and all those long thatching grasses are all bowing down this morning hanging low and heavy from all the dew drops collected at dawn. Dew forms during calm, clear nights, when the ground surface and othe... more

Towering Giant - 2016-04-21

2004 Tree of the year : Kirkia wilmsii Engl. Family: Kirkiaceae Common names: mountain kirkia, wild pepper tree, mountain seringa (Eng.); bergsering, wildepeperboom (Afr.); Modumela (Northern Sotho) In our backyard we planted a beautiful Mountain Seringa 20 years ago and look how this tree ha... more

Enormous Thorny House - 2016-04-20

We found at Pride of Africa mating Red-billed Buffalo Weavers this afternoon. We do not see this specie often and was thrilled to get a couple of photos. Now Albert must help find the nest! Most likely to be found in the northern parts of South Africa, the red-billed buffalo weaver is the messiest nest-maker of all weavers. ... more

Morph - 2016-04-19

We waited for a long time to take our first photo of a Red-collard Widowbird. Only a couple of days after this we sighted a Yellow morph and took a photo in the Kaallaagte section. A Morph is a bird that has distinctly different plumage than the standard colors for its species. This classification applies only to adult ... more

Be a Conservationist - 2016-04-18

When you walk in the grass lots of white moths with a  solid pinkish red line flies up just to go sit on a grass stalk a few steps further. The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria (Linnaeus, 1767) Wingspan 22-28 mm. The Vestal is a migrant species, The amount and intensity of the pink pigmentation is somewhat variable. The ca... more

Finally Foam - 2016-04-17

We have been waiting for this day... We have seen this insect in books and have been looking out for it and today we spotted it... Spittlebug in our backyard! If you wonder why your trees, plants or grass are covered with white foam, you could blame the spittlebug. Named for the secretions they produce, spittlebugs—also known as ... more

Speckled Beauty - 2016-04-16

First sighting in our backyard of the Crimson-speckled Footman Moth last night at twilight caused some excitement especially since we thought it was just a butterfly but took a photo anyway! We were walking inside our fenced perimeter when we noticed the flatter towards us. What we thought was one of the Tips specifically maybe Orange Tip Butter... more

Heavy-weight Fruit - 2016-04-15

 N1 Sausage tree We have two Sausage Trees in our backyard and on the N1 we found these trees bearing fruit now. The trees in our garden were planted 20 years ago but have stuggled a bit due to frost and black frost. Here are some interesting facts about this vegetarian sausage: Setswana Name: Moporoto Scientific Name:... more

Health Indicator - 2016-04-14

Sometimes we forget that every living thing has a purpose. We see the big things and forget about the smaller ones. Who would have thought that butterfly and moth numbers could mean anything!     Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems.   They indicate a wide range... more

Fragile! - 2016-04-13

  We Love Butterflies! Most Delicate Patient! Last night we saved a butterfly from drowning in our pool. We separated the wings which were sticking to each other because it was drenched with water. Then blew gently over them to dry them, whilst it was clinging on. Eventually we left it in a flower pot in the foliage in order to be saf... more

First Aid 4 Butterflies - 2016-04-12

Whenever we see a butterfly with a tattered wing we are amazed to see how it still flies and goes around from flower to flower. In fact we actually feel sorry for it! A Spotted Joker in our backyard with a tattered wing. Butterflies are NOT as fragile and dainty as we believe. Wings break and scales come off their wings. Their ... more

Egg to Ladybird in 35 days! - 2016-04-11

Without realizing it we took photos of some of the stages in the life cycle of a ladybug. Remember our blog yesterday and the photo of the mating ladybugs? We have witnessed various stages of the ladybug lifecycle the last couple of weeks. At first we did not know what we took pictures of. But if it moves and we notice it, it will be phot... more

Everybody Loves Ladybugs - 2016-04-10

We have not seen as many ladybirds in a long time. During the last couple of weeks whilst working in the veld we found ladybugs often. We also found many of these insects mating. Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consum... more

Beautiful Cannibal - 2016-04-09

Spiny Flower Mantis While working in the veld today we came across a beautiful Mantid, the Flower Mantid. The spiny Flower Mantis, or Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, is a beautiful and colorful flower mantis. They are white with orange and green stripes, and as adults they have a beautiful patch of color on their wings that looks like a... more

Hearty Cuteness Overload - 2016-04-08

We were driving in the Kaallaagte section close to the DulaNokeng area when we saw a Waterbuck she was standing still grazing looking at us. Little did we know that she was not alone.... We noticed movement in the bush.... And at first did not realise what it was. With her was the most adorable little calf By now we have switche... more

Wearing socks - 2016-04-07

We had a cool rainy day yesterday and measured 4mm of rain. Due to the cold wind animal sightings were fewer. And those animals that did not lie down were standing bundled under trees. As we approached our gate on Sambane Drive lots of animals were standing under the trees. A big herd of Red-hartebeest, a Dazzle of Zebra with a very youn... more

Yet another fungus - 2016-04-06

Now that we have seen a couple of mushrooms in our backyard we recalled a mushroom spotted on a game drive at Mongena during March. This 'shroom shot up in the middle of the road. This is why we said the other day you can find them everywhere and anywhere. With the help of Andrew Kilian on the facebook group Mushrooms of Southern Afri... more

Copper 'shroom - 2016-04-05

Another found in our backyard, Bolete Mushrooms which are Busveld bolete's (Phaeogyroporus sudanicus) Inedible Boletus is a genus of mushroom-producing fungi, comprising over 100 species. Cep ... Boletus edulis Suillus granulatus. Suillus sp.. the sponge yellow spores Phaeogyroporus sudanicus ( previously Phlebopus s... more

Stinkhorn Toadstool - 2016-04-04

After rains when the soil is moist mushrooms shoot out everywhere and you will be amazed to see the variety in your surrounds. When you walk in the garden or drive around look out for fungi.   In the reserve we find all kinds various colours, shapes and sizes,   We found this Stinkhorn with a strong mushroom smell hang... more

Pinkish tiny calf - 2016-04-03

A week ago we found a Hippo next to the road. At the time of the sighting we thought that this was a massive Hippopotamus! We have now learned that later that morning another person drove past and saw the Hippo with a very tiny very pink calf. She must have gone to this marshy area with its shallow water to give birth. On Saturd... more

Treasures Unfold - 2016-04-02

#WondersOfNature - "An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." Henry David Thoreau Mother nature has so many treasures and so often we miss the small things. Mother Teresa said : See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… ... more

Roaming at night-time - 2016-04-01

At 3am this morning we heard a Lion roar, close to our waterhole. This morning on our way out, on Sambane drive and also on Aardvark drive, we found Lion spoor. At our main entrance we found more spoor of more than one Lion pacing up and down there was also Wildebeest spoor present - all fresh! The spoor were that of smaller lion... more

The Unexpected Story - 2016-03-31

They say when you go to the bush Expect the Unexpected ! Sometime you have a story ready and you know what you will write about.... and then there are those days where you just do not get a hint form nature and writing does not come easy but then there is the odd occasion where you have more than one story! Well we had a story for ... more

Surrounded by Long necks - 2016-03-30

We were driving around, searching for animals on a game drive when we spotted Giraffe. We took a turn to the left to approach them... we saw four of them... but as we came closer the number grew to eight.... and ten...and twelve.... Then from behind the trees one after the other they lifted their long necks from where they were brows... more

Prolonged Absence - 2016-03-29

It has been a while but we hope to get back into our blogging ritual soon. We had lots of encounters and very special sightings during our prolonged absence. Even discovered new things. The past weekend was Easter Weekend and guests were treated to our customary goodies and some Easter eggs of course. We were fortunate to see som... more

Little houses and tiny little birds - 2015-10-23

Still warm and dry but at least winds bring cloud which might build up to a downpour. Birds are still collecting nesting material Cape Wagtail collecting nesting material  Cape Wagtail nest under our thatch roof. Whilst others are feeding their hatchlings. A nest from last season might be occupied again this season.... more

Change - 2015-10-22

Yesterday just after 6:30am we also spotted a Rain Locust at our swimming pool. Also known to announce that it is going to rain. Although only a few drops in our surrounds there were other areas that had more rain and the conclusion is that the Cuckoo was right, we had rain only 1mm though. This morning we spotted for the first time t... more

Surprise Announcement - 2015-10-21

Then last night there was an announcement.... We have been waiting for rain, it is hot an dry and water is scarce. At 18:00 we were caught by surprise when we heard the first Piet-my-vrou calls for the season. Surprise announcement or is it not? We browsed through our old photos and found this photo of this oh so very shy visitor. ... more

I smell dirty socks - 2015-10-20

Late yesterday there was a unfamiliar smell hanging in the air. We sniffed and sniffed and sniffed in order to identify because in a way our senses told us that it did smell familiar. And the verdict was..... DURING spring and summer the silver cluster-leaf stands out against the other vegetation due to its beautiful silvery ... more

Returning - 2015-10-19

The return of the first Dung beetles and Western Cattle Egret was noticed the past weekend. Since their return or rather the return of some of the summer visiting birds Cuckoos have been on the quite side. The past weekend the Diedrick Cuckoo made it known that it is back. Another first for the season is the Pin-tailed Whydah sigh... more

Night time Fragrance - 2015-10-18 - 2015-10-19

We had a close encounter with a snouted cobra at twilight on our stoep. It was captured and released in the bush without any casualties. Bush veld Gardenia in our backyard also started blossoming. The flowers are large, showy, creamy white and heavily perfumed, particularly at night. They open from elegantly furled creamy-green buds. The ... more

Deafening Chorus - 2015-10-17 - 2015-10-19

We had a very interesting week with lots of new critters sighted.From Robberflies to Hoverflies. We had a beautiful thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning on Thursday that left us with 8mm of blessings in the form of rain. During Wednesday it was much cooler and where the late afternoon temperature the last weeks vari... more

No Biting only Mopping up - 2015-10-16 - 2015-10-19

We found a very interesting insect at our grey water system in the reeds. It looked like a bee and a fly. There was quite a number of them buzzing and hovering..... And upon searching through our insect books we discovered that they are called guess what.... Hoverflies! Hoverflies, sometimes called flower flies, sweat bees or syrphid flies... more

Survival Tool - 2015-10-15

We have noticed many fungus species in our surrounds. The Horses Hoof or Horse shoe Fungus or bracket fungi one of the most recent sightings. One of the other bracket fungus sighted was the Turkey tail. Bracket fungi, or shelf fungi, are among the many groups of fungi that comprise the phylum Basidiomycota. Characteristically, they pr... more

Appetite for Bees & Wasps - 2015-10-14

We found this interesting critter sitting on our perimeter fence, look at those eyes! Common name: Robber flies scientific name: Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera: Asilidae) Robber Fly, any of a family of medium to large predatory flies known for their fast flight, excellent vision, and their habit of catching large prey while in flight. Also c... more

Fast and Robust Beauty - 2015-10-13

On Sunday despite the wind and the heat this beautiful butterfly visited the oranges placed at the bird feeder. This Foxy Charaxes dived and swirled so much and no matter how hard we tried we could not get a photo of it with open wings. Herbert Otto   Butterflies are delicate, aes... more

Birds everywhere just look and C - 2015-10-12

This morning the air smell of water and we wish it would rain.... Our backyard was a buzz of activity and bird song echoed through the heat! During a seven day period monitoring only half an hour in the morning and another half an hour in the late afternoon around dusk we identify by sight and by call between forty and sixty bird species... more

Carpenter collecting pollen - 2015-10-11 - 2015-10-12

Our maximum temperatures varied between 38 & 42 degrees Celsius the last week. Our animals were suffering, they stayed close to water resources in the shade of trees with lots of activity during the first two and last two hours of the day. Warm wind made it difficult for butterflies to maneuver. Lots of blossoms attracts many insects. Almost... more

Collection or Inspection - 2015-10-10 - 2015-10-12

The first sighting of the season of the African Hoopoe An African Hoopoe pair was inspecting our roof this morning! If they were looking for a nest site or just collecting bedding we will find out in due coarse. African Hoopoes favour open and bushy areas, thornveld and riverine woodlands in dry areas. They are widely distribut... more

Baby Season & Hope - 2015-10-09

We love this time of year.... O so many reasons why October is the month loved by many. Beginning of the season Spring has sprung and the veld is GREEN. The month brings HOPE New growth new trees new leaves new blossoms lots of birds foraging and visitors returning to our shores. And it is baby season.... Here is our first sig... more

Insect Hotel - 2015-10-08

We are seeking a perfect spot for the little insect box The addition of a bug box to your garden is a great way to offer lodgings to your six-legged friends and suitable for even the smallest outside space. Bug boxes come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and are also known as insect hotels, bug hotels and insect boxes (to name but a f... more

Another House - 2015-10-07 - 2015-10-08

We love Hornbills and their loud happy wakeup calls. We found this specie of bird quite entertaining and even more entertaining is there breeding habits. This species nests in naturally occurring holes in trees or in abandoned woodpecker or barbet nests. Hornbills are a sociable species, generally living in small groups. They have a very dist... more

1st & Lifers - 2015-10-06 - 2015-10-06

The heat has been unbearable. with 41 Degrees Celsius yesterday! The veld is looking so much better after the early rains, however we really need rain as water resources are scares. We were fortunate to add another three birds to our personal lodge sighting list the past week of which two of these species can also be added to the Dinoken... more

Habitat - 2015-10-05

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day.The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of... more

Love Animals - 2015-10-04 - 2015-10-05

4th October the World celebrated Animal Day MISSION OF WORLD ANIMAL DAY To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.  It'... more

Bat Hotel - 2015-10-03 - 2015-10-05

Like everywhere else we have bat activity in our surrounds. Installing a Bat House can provide a safe environment for hundreds of bats. Bat houses give females a safe, warm place to raise their young. Because bats typically only have one pup each year, populations are slow to grow. Plus, because of habitat loss, bats are finding it harder to ... more

Discovery - 2015-10-02 - 2015-10-05

Whilst Frans & Eddie were working inside our fenced area they discovered something This nest with two small eggs belongs to the feathered friend hereunder Fiery-necked Nightjar nesting inside our perimeter. A very special time in the bushveld occurs during the full moon phase. This is even more so during the warm summer months ... more

Wooden Cabin - 2015-10-01

We often find these very interesting insects in our surrounds and recently found another one inside our fenced perimeter, Like many other leaf-eating caterpillars, the bagworm falls under the order Lepidoptera and its adult stage is a moth. Bagworms are very unusual caterpillars in the sense that they construct their own silken bags, which t... more

Mauve attraction - 2015-09-30

Mundulea sericea Papilionoideae - Leguminosae (Pea subfamily - Pod-bearing family) Cork Bush (E) Kurkbos (A) umHlalantethe (Z) Native to Southern Africa The Cork Bush started blooming. This is an attractive small tree or shrub bearing beautiful mauve flowers. This small tree has a light grey, corky bark. The flower stalks are c... more

Noisy Heat - 2015-09-29

Days have been extremely hot and dry and noisy, Cicada bugs started calling last week and yesterday the beautiful noise they make was a bit louder than normal, which made it quite easy to find this one in the photograph above in a tree close to one of the newly erected Owl Boxes, inside our fenced perimeter. We are all t... more

Whoo Whooo Hoo Hooo - 2015-09-28

What are owls? Birds of prey from the order Strigiformes How many owls are there in the world? 216 species worldwide 18 of the barn owl family (Tytonidae), 198 of the typical owl family (Strigidae) Have you ever heard of an owl year? The owl year runs from June to June. The reason that we run the ‘owl’ year from June t... more

Arteries of Our Planet - 2015-09-27

Riverside cleanups, habitat restoration.... World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world's waterways. It highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world. “Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sens... more

1Billion Small Actions BIG IMPACT - 2015-09-26

Tomorrow is World Tourism Day Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism. The purpose of this day is to raise awarenes... more

Early Recovery - 2015-09-25

After the rain in early September the veld is showing some recovery. Succulent juicy new growth, Giraffe loving it! Our rainy season normally does not start this early but we were very blessed as our animals were really struggling. Rains came just at the right time! What did you see first, the green trees or the Buffalo? Ev... more

Protected Herbal Medicine - 2015-09-24 - 2015-09-25

    ALOE Family : Asphodelaceae Common names: aloe (English); aalwyn (Afrikaans); aalwee (Afrikaans; Dutch); hlaba, lekhala (Southern Sotho); icena (Ndebele); imboma (Zulu).  Small Spotted Aloe typical in the Bushveld Aloe still showing its drought curls at the end of the leav... more

Fascinating Friendships - 2015-09-23

Symbiosis refers to a protracted relationship between two species where one species may benefit from the association while the other is affected positively or negatively of is not affected at all. There are three kinds of symbiotic relationships: Mutualistic, Commensialistic and Parasitic. In a mutualistic relationship both parties benefit from bei... more

Celebrations -2015-09-22 - 2015-09-23

That roaring Lion was walking around again purring last night and later in the early hours of the morning that Ostrich that sounds like a lion was probably disturbed and not so happy as it was booming. Today is a day of celebrations. The whole World celebrates 5 Rhino species and Dinokeng Game Reserve celebrates its 4th birthday. The fir... more

LXI - 2015-09-21

We were chasing a small butterfly and after some time managed to take some photographs which we submitted to the Lepimap project of the Animal Demography Unit Virtual Museum for identification purposes. Our identification was confirmed and we add number 61 (Roman numerical LXI) to our list of butterflies spotted in our surrounds. This be... more

Eggs & Hatchlings - 2015-09-20 - 2015-09-21

A cold unpleasant day with a strong easterly wind with cloud build up but no rain. In our fenced perimeter we have sighted three nests. We were aware of two which are that of a Laughing Dove, with three hatchlings approximately 10 days old and a Cape Turtle Dove nest with three eggs. We were cleaning up inside the fenced area collec... more

Good mate or not - 2015-09-19

Wind blowing strong with some loose cloud about. Actually it was a very unpleasant day as the August winds arrived today !! On a mid morning game drive we found a Journey of Giraffe walking from tree to tree browsing, there were two young calves with them. What was of particular interest was the intrest the old male was showing in the ... more

Looming Death - 2015-09-18

Another beautiful morning and a special African Sunrise We found at least 10 Giraffe next to the Rust de Winter road they are loving the new succulent sweet juicy leaves so much that they do not even notice the traffic. Some of them half their normal size as they bend over to eat from the smaller trees. At 5:15 it started ... Alarm cal... more

Medieval Maces - 2015-09-17

We found a lot of Giraffe this morning next to the Rust de Winter Road amongst them two fighting bulls How do giraffes fight? When giraffes fights the bulls swing their heads like medieval maces. The one animal lands a  thundering blow on the body of the opponent with its head. The neck is so long that the swing looks slowe... more

Silent & Solitary - 2015-09-16 - 2015-09-17

A year ago we were treated to very special sightings of a pair of Black-chested Snake Eagles and later also a juvenile bird. We could never find the nest site  Last year perching from this tree regularly  The Juvenile sighted a couple of times last year. During August this year we noticed the Eagles presence a couple of times... more

Pinkish Cinnamon Down Discovery - 2015-09-15 - 2015-09-17

Whilst cleaning up some of the branches laying around since the Elephants entered our fenced off area and destroyed some trees we found something special. This phenomenon is now noticed everywhere.... It is that time of the year mating, nesting, breeding, raising chicks! A laughing dove nest in the fenced area with two chicks about ten... more

Who is leading the formation - 2015-09-14 - 2015-09-17

A flock of 6 Egyptian Geese flying in a V-formation Ever wondered why birds fly in the V-shaped formation we often see ? Birds flying in formation – V-formation Geese, ducks and other migratory birds are often seen flying in a symmetric V-shaped formation (also called a skein). Apart from the V-shaped formation, birds also use a ... more

Smelly Tick Removers - 2015-09-13 - 2015-09-17

We found a couple of Terrapins in Larry's dam on a game drive earlier today Two Species of Terrapins can be found in the Bushveld region : Marsh Terrapin & Serrated Hinged Marsh Terrapin has a  broader flatter shell and cannot close its shell so one eye is often visible once the head is retracted inside. Marsh Ter... more

Sambane Welcomes OWLS - 2015-09-12

We love Conservation and Wildlife ! In order to help create a successful reserve we decided on a project ... to help our Owls! We ticked another box when we fixed our Barn Owl & Spotted Egle Owl boxes to some of the bigger trees in our fenced perimeter.  Barm Owl Box  Spotted Eagle Owl Box And Roxy were supervis... more

Jewel by a fine painter - 2015-09-11

There are estimated to be 10,000 species of birds in the world and nature has blessed some with the most incredible, colorful plumage. From bright blues to radiant reds and gorgeous greens, it is hard to believe that these birds are real and not the invention of a fine painter. Or we can call our Creator the fine painter! Kee... more

Everything Important - 2015-09-10

We found this Crocodile on a game drive at Larry's dam where it made a quick catch and snacked on a Lapwing. Crocodiles are an important predator in river ecosystems, especially for the control of catfish population numbers. Currently, crocodiles are only found in reserves and it is estimated that there is only about 12 000 remainin... more

Vision - 2015-09-09

Did you know that all snakes, many lizard species and most geckos have fused eyelids? This means that their eyes are permanently closed. They ‘see’ through a thin transparent lid covering the eye. Fused eyelids are thought to protect the eyes (especially burrowing species) or to reduce water loss from the body. In lizards with movab... more

Consume - 2015-09-08

In the veld we see animals eating various strange things. Geophagia means animals eat soil Osteophagia means that they chew on bones Coprophagia means that they eat dung Cecumtrophy is when an animal eats their own dung directly from the anus and is a form of Coprophagia. Cecumtrophy is practised by hares. Hares produce tw... more

Observe and Protect - 2015-09-07 - 2015-09-08

During the years we observed our surrounds and just helped to add 14 bird species to the Dinokeng seen by all list compiled by BIRP. The number of species seen in the reserve was confimed at 242 this morning adding our confirmed sighting of Marsh Sandpiper will take this to 243 species.  Wood Sandpiper  Marsh Sandpiper The Wood S... more

More Precious Rain - 2015-09-06 - 2015-09-08

We checked our rain meter and during the last 24hours we had another 11mm of soft soaking rain. The soil is drenched and smells fresh and alive! Everything is crisp and clear! You can almost hear the plants waking up and growing... Acacias are showing leaflets that almost shot out overnight The bare branches have lost th... more

The Skies Opened - 2015-09-05 - 2015-09-08

At 2am the skies burst open accompanied with thunder and lightning and it rained and rained and rained. In the early morning we received 24mm of precious water and the drizzle was cold   ... more

Potential Sky Juice - 2015-09-04 - 2015-09-08

During the night it was cool the reserve is covered in a blanket of cloud and we cannot wait for the first drops. We smell the rain we almost can feel its quench...... It was a quite morning, animals were hiding from a cold wind. We could see some birds but mainly heard more calls. We are sure there is a good reason for the singing...... Did ... more

Sweet Flowerets - 2015-09-03

Another tree within our fenced perimeter started blooming. We did not see them but are convinced that the fairies with their magic wands paid us a visit. In the morning there was only bare branches and later in the afternoon this  tree was covered in the most beautiful flowerets   Dombeya rotundifolia Hochst. Wild Pear (Eng... more

Novices & the Professors - 2015-09-02

We are so excited and chuffed with our achievement. The Birders of Note, the Professors at the University and the beautiful people at the ADU & BIRP have compiled a list with 229 bird species sighted in our reserve. Citizen Scientists have been compiling list forwarded them to Peter Greaves and the data was captured on the Birds in Rese... more

Spring into Spring - 2015-09-02

1st of September marks the arrival of Spring!! We spotted this beautiful tiny purple flower at the waterhole went to fetch the camera and almost did not find it again.   Common names: carpet flower, Karoo violet (Eng.); kankerbos (Afr.) An ideal water wise ground cover plant for dry gardens, Aptosimum procumbens is one of the treasure... more

Springtime Yeah! - 2015-08-31

Like with the arrival of the Swallows ... Saturday we saw one blossom... then on Sunday morning we saw another two. And later in the afternoon we noticed many of the Acacias covered in blossoms. Now the only thing we are waiting for are those liquid blessings from the sky! Typically Spring day is very col... more

Blooming Surprise - 2015-08-30

Last night out on the deck we noticed something white in a tree and decided to have a closer look Can you believe what we found the first signs of spring. New growths means the bush is alive and we have something splendid awaiting us. Soon there will be blooms and blossoms everywhere. Another picture of that b... more

Spice of Life - 2015-08-29

Game drives delivered good sightings today. At dusk a Gabar Goshawk was calling and shortly thereafter the Fiery-necked nightjars distinct call was heard. At lunch time we found a Black-chested Snake Eagle in our valley circling the skies. An hour later at our main emterance it was sitting under a Common Guarri with its prey, a snouted... more

Pronking - 2015-08-28 - 2015-08-29

Approximately 60-70 Swallows sighted this afternoon, more and more summer visitors are returning. A Lion was very vocal last night and Fiery-necked Nightjars are now heard every night. In the early morning a Grey-headed Bush Shrikes call could be heard. We think it is nesting in our parking area. It seems as if a number of birds are... more

Scale & Measuring tape - 2015-08-27 - 2015-08-28

Jumbo footprints from the waterhole at Sambane along our fence into the bush Isn't it just amazing that such enormous animal can move so quietly. Often we only find evidence that they were in our surrounds and never sighted them because they move so silently.  Elephant versus ladies size 6/7  Elephant versus gents size 10 ... more

Sticky Toe Hairs - 2015-08-26

Last night we found a pair of Bibron's Gecko in our courtyard. Geckos are lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota, found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from 1.6 to 60 cm. Most geckos cannot blink, but they often lick their eyes to keep them clean and moist. Wikipedia   The secret to geckos' a... more

Shedding - 2015-08-25

Our resident Spotted Bush Snake shed its skin on Saturday. While snake shedding is the common phrase used to describe this process, it's not entirely accurate. In truth, snakes do not shed their skin. They shed a layer of ... well, shed. They retain their skin after shedding (obviously), and their skin is usually much more vibrant immedi... more

Birds Loving the Heat - 2015-08-24 - 2015-08-25

Monday morning .... weekend is gone.... but our animals are still here! Temperatures are soaring into low 30's. Feels as if  we skipped spring and we moved right ahead to summer. For birding this is excellent and the number of species we hear and spot are increasing weekly. Everyday more and more Swallows are sighted. Slow... more

The Eagle and the Crow - 2015-08-23 - 2015-08-25

We were driving on the Rust de Winter road when we noticed something big in the grass at DulaNokeng...   we turned back to go check...   Impala were staring and a pair of Pied Crow sitting in a tree was uneasy We were treated to a sighting we never expected, a Black-breasted Snake Eagle with what ever it preye... more

Kill of another kind -2015-08-22 - 2015-08-25

We were on a game drive and decided to stop at Larry's dam. We were very lucky to find an array of bird life. Blacksmith Lapwing, Green-backed Heron, Egyptian Geese... African Jacana ... and whilst we spotted the Three-banded Plover something went down. We just heard some noises and we knew.... The Nile C... more

Strung for food - 2015-08-21 - 2015-08-25

A Typical Spider Web An orb-spinning spider puts its elegant traps together pretty quickly, proceeding easily from step to step according to the instruction manual preprogrammed into its brain. The diagram below shows the major steps. Many spiders will build webs to catch prey but there are lots of spiders who prefer to hunt, and they use... more

Skyscrapers & Lost Species - 2015-08-20

Did you know that pigeons raise their chicks on milk? Pigeons, including the Speckled Pigeon, feed their chicks ‘crop milk’ after they have hatched. Crop milk is a cottage cheese-like secretion that is secreted from the linings of the crop. The only other bird species that is known to do that is are flamingos. Animal of th... more

Bird feeder Occupied - 2015-08-19 - 2015-08-20

The male Lion was closer last night at 22:00 we heard him ROARRR for half an hour. On Aardvark Drive early morning we spotted a Nyala bull with a herd of Impala Sticking to the speed limit in the reserve is so important! We were traveling on the Rust de Winter Road just after twilight we were doing approximately 60 km per hour ... more

Swallows & Mosquito's R Back - 2015-08-18

The past weekend the African Fish Eagles call echoed in our valley giving the Jackal, Lion and bellowing Ostrich a break. During the past weeks moths and other small flying insects were scares but last night guess what we found..... ...the first mosquito! This morning while the horizon was coloured in a beautiful soft pink like every other... more

Brilliant Strident Dramatic - 2015-08-17

It is very warm during the day and very dry. Our animals are less active and food is scares. Everyday more and more Swallows are gliding in the air. Swallows have adapted to hunting insects on the wing by developing a slender, streamlined body and long pointed wings, which allow great maneuverability and endurance, as well as frequent periods of... more

Liquid Gold - 2015-08-16

World Honey Bee Day, previously known as Honey Bee Awareness Day was celebrated yesterday. We found these honey bees yesterday and this morning on the bark of a tree. The Woodpeckers in our backyard love tapping this tree when foraging World Honey Bee Day is marked on August 15 every year. So, here are 11 more things you probably don&r... more

Singing Hymns Unbidden - 2015-08-15

Yesterday afternoon we sighted a whole flock of Pied Crow circling the skies..... Regular Swallow sightings this week in our area with Striped Swallow sighted this morning next to the Rust De Winter Road. Yesterday a Black-shouldered Kite was perching from the Escom wires on Aardvark Drive. Pearl-spotted Owlet have been active in our ... more

Bucket List : African Sunset - 2015-08-14

Typical warm African Sunset, this picture was taken yesterday at Chameleon Bush Lodge which is under construction. Those who live here will attest to the magnificent sunsets in South Africa with colours that would dazzle an artist and scenery that will leave you speechless. Remember to make an entry on your bucket list. Do you know wha... more

Integrity Keystone - 2015-08-13

Yesterday, on World Elephant Day an Elephant Bull was entertaining commuters next to the Rust de Winter Road. We were sitting outside listening to the bush. Birds were getting ready for the night calling those who were still out. The call that lasted the longest and that was the loudest was that of the Coqui Francolin. We also heard Red Cres... more

Jumbo Awareness - 2015-08-12

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "we should have RESPECT for animals because it makes better human beings of us all." Dr. Jane Goodall Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and... more

Calving Ground - 2015-08-11

We have a Giraffe cow and her calf in our area. They have been here since Friday. Well we sighted them from Friday. The calf still has its dried umbilical cord hanging from its tummy. It gave us a scare when we first saw it on Friday. We never saw the cow and after the third time driving past the surrounds of our waterhole, between... more

King of the Jungle - 2015-08-10 - 2015-08-11

World Lion Day today 10 August 2015 The outcry over the death of Cecil the lion, illegally hunted and killed by an American dentist, outraged the internet – but what’s really outrageous is that these incredible creatures could be extinct within our lifetimes. Here are 12 facts about lions that will make your blood boil. ... more

Chicken Run - 2015-08-09

We had a really good birding day yesterday and in the last three weeks we had our first sightings of another nine (9) bird species in our area, four of them yesterday. On our personal Sambane sighting list we can add the following birds : Jamesons Firefinch African Purple Swamphen White-winged Tern Comb Duck Natal S... more

Love Survival & Food - 2015-08-08

Blue Water Lily The water-lily is probably the best known wild flower, but did you know that is of ecological and economical importance as well? The bud of the water-lily develops below the water’s surface and slowly rises to the surface as it matures. The flowers are open during the day and will last up to 5 days. When the flower is p... more

@ Dusk & Dawn - 2015-08-07

At dusk and dawn on a daily basis we hear the Black-backed Jackal and Ostrich calls almost if they are having a conversation. Sometimes we have to listen very carefully as those Ostriches almost sound like lions.  Here and there barking Zebras sound alert calls and then there is that roarer who always visit at night. Yesterday as the s... more

Shy Lizard - 2015-08-06

Striped skink basking in the sun at Sambane. This medium-sized skink has a window in each of the lower eyelids. The ear openings are lobed. Colouration differs between the subspecies. In northern populations the head of breeding males are orange-brown, with a yellow-orange throat. Subspe... more

Healthy Soil Healthy Life - 2015-08-05

We need to protect our heritage our world needs our HELP And in light of the International year of Soil we share some information about a few invader plants in our reserve. Source : It is said that one flower from the Queen of the Night makes more than 500 seeds... more

King & Queen of the night - 2015-08-04

Fresh tracks in the sand after the roarer past our fence at 01:51AM. We must wait for of these days we will have a pic of that Lion! Our Plant of the week last week was the Queen of the Night. Before our area became a protected area land owners were responsible to destroy these plants wit poison but we had to make alt... more

Aggresive Cutie Pie Teddy - 2015-08-03

In the late evening Black-backed Jackal cries came from right outside our fence... ... have been a long time since they have been this close! Chantell Greyling our Nature Guide compiled the following info : Banded Mongoose – Mungos mungo Aggresive little Teddy Bears Banded mongoose is a robust species of mongoose with ... more

Calving Season - 2015-08-02 - 2015-08-03

We found this Eland at the waterhole and by the look of things she will be a mommy soon. We received reports of Eland calves that were sighted during the cause of the week and we assume that calving season has started. The eland is the world’s largest antelope and gained its name from the Dutch word ‘eland’ which ... more

Fire and Ice - 2015-08-01 - 2015-08-03

A very very cold day with water bowls frozen again. At 6:45 it was minus 5 degrees Celsius. We were really very lucky to get photos of the 1st Jameson Firefinch sighting for us at Sambane Bush Lodge Lagonosticta rhodopareia (Jameson's firefinch)  Jamesonse vuurvinkie [Afrikaans]; Xidzingirhi (generic term for fir... more

Blue but cold and light - 2015-07-31

 Full moon on World Ranger Day Today 31st July 2015 is the second full moon this month. In recent years, people have been using the name Blue Moon for the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. An older definition of Blue Moon is that it’s the third of four full moons in a single season. Someday, you might see an actu... more

Fairy rings - 2015-07-30

Minimum temperature of 6 but it feels much colder and in the early morning animals seeked protection from the elements in the thicket. We heard a choir of Black-backed Jackal far away ...during the night but other than that silence. When the sun disappears on the horizon it suddenly gets freezing cold that is typical bushveld and ty... more

Nutrition Ethic Evil - 2015-07-29

The silence of the bush was broken at 00:53am our hearts stopped... it was close it was huffing and roaring we could feel how close he was but he was not alone do not know how many Lion but they were right next to our fence so close that even the Jackal were intimidated and their cries were carried further and further away...and then al that was le... more

Live Feel Love Aware - 2015-07-28

We are still lucky with Giraffe sightings everywhere in our surrounds. Friday Quiz : A Giraffe's blood pressure is two to three times that of humans. Do you know how big a giraffe's heart is and at what rate it beats? Answer : The Giraffe's heart is 600mm long it weighs 12kg and the walls are 7.5cm thick It beats 65 times a mi... more

Fruit or Seed please! - 2015-07-27

We all make the same mistake to feed bread to the birds visiting our backyard bird feeders. We have done this, until we read that bread is not good for birds. "I would like to suggest you use your breadcrumbs for meat loaf, though. Bread and crackers really aren't good for birds. It has little nutritional value for them, but th... more

Delightful Sight - 2015-07-26 - 2015-07-27

Haven't seen this friendly little bird in a very long time. Barely 5minutes after putting out fruit we spotted the Cape White-eye. These birds occur throughout large areas of the southern African subregions, from the central and northern parts of Namibia to most areas of South Africa, other than the extreme northern Cape Province. T... more

Life giving Toxic Medicine - 2015-07-25

Initially introduced from Australia, African milkweed is now native to South Africa. Milkweed is a shrub that grows to a height of 1.5m and has characteristic hairy pods containing a cotton-like substance inside. These pods are formed from approximately 10 whitish flowers hanging down from the stalk. Flowers appear in the summer between the months ... more

Eyelashes and Lips - 2015-07-24

A beautiful Friday started overcast and a pleasant 11 degrees Celsius....and who knows it might rain. We saw the most adorable Giraffe calf yesterday and seeing that the Giraffe is our animal of the week this was quite appropriate and as a Swiss watch perfect timing in order to share a pic with you. We also saw a Buffalo bull at the ... more

Social but not for long - 2015-07-23

Animal sightings along the Rust de Winter Road in the early morning has increased a bit as the sun rises a bit earlier and it has not been so cold. During the warmer days we notice the increase in activity and visibility of animals, birds and butterflies. Yesterday we sighted in close vicinity of each other Red Hartebeest and Tsessebe. Giraff... more

Bobbing & Clacking - 2015-07-22

Still a daily occurrence the call from the Red-crested Korhaan. We often find these birds on our game drives and we hear them calling everyday in our area. We have sighted many times the arial dance when disturbed at a nest site on Paradise Link. The Red-crested Korhaan (Eupodotis ruficrista) is a cryptically marked ground-dwell... more

Red Tubular Flower Shower - 2015-07-21

The veld is covered in long stems carrying tubular red pinkish orange flowers. From May the Aloes start blooming and everywhere you look between the golden pale winter grass is a burst of warm colour. Nature guide Chantell compiled a few facts on last weeks plant of the week the : Common Spotted Aloe – Aloe davyana   C... more

Ahhhhh 60cm high & Adorable - 2015-07-20

Yesterday morning felt a whole lot colder but during the day it was quite nice just a bit windy spoiling the fun a little for the birds, butterflies and the bees. This morning it was still pleasant at 9 degrees Celsius at 7:00am in comparison with Saturday's - (minus) 3 degrees at 8:15am not complaining, just saying. Later that afternoon it ... more

Giant on our doorstep - 2015-07-19

At dusk we heard a crack   we stopped we looked and out of the woods came marching.....a memory The Elephant herd silently passed while we were looking on from our perimeter fence and if it wasn't for that noise from the tree being uprooted we would not even knew they were here. Just a few minutes earli... more

Night time adventures - 2015-07-18

We were really lucky last night to see that Porcupine that have been frequenting our area but unfortunately we were to slow to take a photo. We went back this morning to the spot where we sighted it and we found another tree ring barked. On Paradise Link to the eastern side of our fence we found spoor of two individual porcupines again th... more

Glimpse of our World - 2015-07-17 - 2015-07-18

Have you been following our new features on social media forums ? We have the following features based on our finds in the bush on game drives and our surrounds : Monday : Fact of the Week Tuesday : Quote of the Week Wednesday : Bird of the Week Thursday : Animal of the Week Friday : Friday Quiz Saturday : Plant or Tree of the ... more

Kaleidoscope - 2015-07-16

We found Lion spoor on the road next to our westerly fence again, sometime during the night he sneaked past unnoticed. Again at 6:30am today this time on Rooibank Road we found the herd of Ellies O.T.M. if we were 30seconds later we would not have sighted them and the only evidence would have been their tracks on the road. They disappear in... more

Soft & fluffy but large & robust - 2015-07-15

A strong easterly wind blew all day yesterday also during the night and it is very cold. I am sure that it is getting lighter a bit earlier ...but the cold weather will be around for another two months. We have been lucky with Waterbuck sightings since Sunday. Every day a young Waterbuck cross the Rust de Winter road at Jimmy's Place.... more

Bobbing Synchronised Duet - 2015-07-14

This morning we found Impala everywhere and we were fortunate to see some buffalo. On the Rust de Winter road the remains of a road kill victim looked like a Blacksmith Lapwing. Late evening we heard that beautiful jackal calls echoing through the trees carried a little further due to the wind that was blowing in an easterly direction. Jus... more

Abundance - Birds and Insects - 2015-07-13

We had visits by a number of animals at the Sambane waterhole and an intruder in our backyard again.... That Elephant Bull loves our garden and came into our pool area again in the early hours of the morning on Saturday. On our game drives we also saw beautiful Eland and Tsessebe Whilst we were working on the Paradise Link roads in our are... more

Interesting Finds - 2015-07-12

Yesterday we found something we have never found before. Firstly we sighted this female Kudu chewing a bone for extra calcium and minerals to help her through the winter months. Then we found scale insects. Never knew they even exist ! Scale insects can be devastating to fruits, ornamentals, trees and house plants if the infestation ... more

Serpent Significance - 2015-07-11

“The only good snake is a dead one” – the ecological importance of snakes  Spotted Bush Snake in Dinokeng. A skin covered with scales, legless and eyes that never blink. What is there not to fear about snakes? Not even mentioning the flickering tongue and the fangs containing lethal venom in some species. Although some ... more

Bringer of Life - 2015-07-10

This morning for the third time this winter we have noticed something we have not noticed previously during the colder months.... The sand is damp and it is visible on the areas where the sand is thicker that is why it looks darker. Dew forms during the night and the smell of water hangs in the air. Millions of tiny ... more

Hug a tree - 2015-07-09

Brrr... what a cold morning this was! So far this week, of the BIG5 we have sighted Elephant and Buffalo, and everyday we hear a roaring Lion. Lots of Pearl-spotted owlet sightings especially at dusk in various areas and frequenting Aardvark Drive. We also still often hear them call at Sambane. Still amazed by trees... more

Read between the lines - 2015-07-08

Partially overcast and a warm 5 degrees this morning in the bush. The Elephants passed last night but they did not come in... phew. What a relieve!! Trees are such fascinating living things.... rich in texture and colours and variety. Seed of Life - Start Today, Plant a Tree, Grow a Memory!   "Consider a tree for a m... more

Appetency - 2015-07-07

Between 7 and 10 Degrees in some sections of the reserve this morning, much warmer than the 2's and 3's of the weekend. At Tau gate we found that dagga boy again late yesterday afternoon. And this morning he had company.. there were three Buffalo in the open plains at Tau gate close to the Pienaars River.  Dagga... more

Palm tree fruits - 2015-07-06

This has become a daily occurrence... visits by the Elephant that is. There are mainly two sections from where they enter and exit our backyard, above one of these where they exited on Saturday just behind the pool on the northern side. On Saturday evening between 24:00 and 2:30am two bulls entered our fenced area and were draw... more

Tree of life - 2015-07-05 - 2015-07-06

The shepherd's tree is the most common of the eight species in its genus and is usually found in the drier parts of southern Africa. It is often called the Tree of Life as it offers sustenance to both humans and animals. The species name is a combination of albi meaning white and trunca meaning trunk, and refers to the whitish trunk of the... more

Mobbed - 2015-07-04 - 2015-07-06

Yesterday our Nature Guide Chantell Greyling witnessed a phenomenal event. Chantell took the set of photographs hereunder and she wrote : "A gang of Fork-tailed Drongo's mobbed a Grey-headed Bush Shrike and stole its breakfast"   She then did some research and found a recent study about this be... more

Warmer good for birding - 2015-07-03 - 2015-07-06

Seems like the cold weather has been replaced with warmer weather for now and we had a very pleasant Friday. The warmer weather produced good sightings especially for the birders. Normally butterflies could only be spotted from 11:00am until about 15:00, but these little critters were also out and about earlier due to the warmer weather. We w... more

Long legs and a long neck - 2015-07-02

Last night was a quiet one thank goodness that naughty Elephant did not come close to our fence but they were still in the area putting up roadblocks for other landowners. We noticed a strange phenomenon yesterday. As we were driving out on Sambane Drive we noticed damp sand here and there we also noticed this on the sandy patches on T... more

Mammoth Destroy - 2015-07-01

Thank you Chantell for todays Blog subject and thank you for cleaning up again today! We will share more of her photos hereunder. Jip that's right at 20:00 last night our Elephant bull in musth decided he liked our backyard too much and he came back. As if that was not enough he returned at 3:20am. That was when we heard the Lions roare... more

An Elephant in my backyard - 2015-06-30

In the early morning, shortly after 5:00am, we heard Lion but this time the roaring lasted much longer than we came accustomed to. In the meantime we were wondering what was waiting outside. Hub of activity last night, and also this morning. From about 21:30 we heard strange noises.... ... eventually we determined that some of the noise... more

Bush Language - 2015-06-29

Low laying mist in some areas this morning! At dusk last night we heard a trumpeting Elephant in close vicinity of Sambane, not sure what bothered him . Then it was dark and cold and we heard the Bushbabies leave their nest to go out for the night. During the night an Ostrich "boomed" frequently. Maybe the same thing that bothered t... more

Circle of life - 2015-06-28

Still overcast but a peach of a day. Beautiful and peaceful. In the early hours of the morning we could hear Lion. African Fish Eagle announced its presence in the distance, what beautiful reminder that we have these iconic creatures in our surrounds. We found a female Giraffe with her calf on the Paradise Link practicing Osteophagia ... more

Looking for a blanket - 2015-06-27

Windy day and very cold! The wind was so strong that we were considering not to go out at all. And although a little unpleasant we were quite surprised that we did see lots of birds and animals. Tsessebe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Warthog, Ostrich, Giraffe and adorable Steenbuck at two different sightings. ... more

In the eye of the beholder - 2015-06-26

After 6:00am we heard the call of a Pearl-spotted owlet, love these little owls. They frequent our area and have bred here in the past. The fact that we did not hear him again or just because we did not see him does not mean that the roaring Lion did not pay us a visit. The story was imprinted in the sand. Frans our gardener and "Head o... more

Baby animals - 2015-06-25

Another cold winters day! Again we could hear a Lion roar in the distance at about 23:00 and in anticipation we waited for it to come closer but we waited in vain... We did not see a Lion but something that we did see some time ago was baby steps..... Unfortunately due to circumstances we will not disclose the location but just had to ... more

Jumbo Memory - 2015-06-24

It started at 4:45am but we were not sure.... so, we listened... confirmed at 6:00am close to Sambane we heard a Lion roar! This morning although it feels much colder it was a warm 2 degrees at 6:30. Lots of animal activity but the birds were lazy - no more catching the first worm.... maybe there were no worms ! We saw a beautif... more

3 Little piggies - 2015-06-23

National Moth Week has been an international citizen science project since its first year in 2012, so our team is introducing new fliers this year in multiple languages to help inspire new moth-ers around the world to participate. Several volunteers have generously contributed their time and effort to translate the 2015 NMW flier into several l... more

Happy Chirp & Crying baby - 2015-06-22

The new week started a bit warmer and in the late afternoon birdies were very active. We sighted many species to mention a few : Crested Barbet, Bearded Woodpecker, Red-billed Oxpecker, Arrow-marked babblers and we heard the happy chirps from the call of the Green-wood Hoopoe. The minute that last ray of sunlight disappears the darkness brings t... more

Winter Solstice - 2015-06-21 - 2015-06-22

Fathersday came along with World Giraffe day and today, 21 June 2015 was the most pleasant day in many weeks beautiful weather and lots of animals around especially Giraffe. The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice the Southern Hemisphere. The date varies between June 20 and June 22. ... more

The sweeping Elephant - 2015-06-20 - 2015-06-22

We had a busy day and were fortunate to have many Elephant sightings again. On the sunset game drive Nature Guide Chantell bumped into a sweeping Elephant and she had this to say : "Even the ele's seem to think that the dirt roads need a sweep..." Photo credit : Chantell Greyling Look at the marks on the dirt road in the ... more

Lining up 4 Giraffe day - 2015-06-19

Although one degree warmer than yesterday at minus one, still Freezing cold again this morning . Even with only a few animals on the roads early morning some idiot managed to add to the road kill statistics on the Rust de Winter Road We found the deadless body of a Black-backed Jackal at 6:36am this morning. Please drive slowly and alw... more

Freezing - 2015-06-18

 Well we thought yesterday was cold..... minus two this morning brrrrrrrr tremble gasp...chiitttterrrr chatttterrr.   We thought we heard a roar at 6:15am. It must have looked like the picture above. Bird sightings were limited and the normal sightings of Guineafowl, Crested Francolin, Swainsons Spurfowl and Lapwings were non... more

The traveller No 59 - 2015-06-17

Winter really is sticking around and the bushveld is cold and dry. The wind was blowing strong during the day yesterday and the birdies were not very active. A small number of butterflies were trying their best to flatter but they too were blown in all directions. A very cool zero degrees at 6:30am and animals stayed away from open spaces t... more

The bush tells a story - 2015-06-16 - 2015-06-17

You would think the above photo is just a landscape photograph of our piece of bushveld... but within that bush, in between the grasses and imprinted in the sand you will find many stories. We went out for about an hour and were astonished with the array of activity less than 50 meters from our perimeter fence. The tree in th... more

Shy Five - 2015-06-15 - 2015-06-17

Have you ever heard of the Shy Five? Completely and utterly different to the Big Five, you’ll have to get up early to see this alternative game-viewing list. Keep a sharp eye out, because these animals spook easily and keep a very low profile. But they’re well worth the trouble. More about the Shy Five Bat-eared foxes are not ... more

More Proof - 2015-06-14 - 2015-06-17

At Sambane spoor droppings and flies indicates that this could be an active den.... but what can be found inside? Inside a Porcupine, the evidence drag marks in the sand caused by the quills, see photo below. Porcupines usually spend the day in burrows, caves or rock crevices, and then come out at night looking for fruits, roots,... more

Gnawing Mammal - 2016-06-13 - 2015-06-17

We mentioned previously that there was increased Porcupine activity in our surrounds and that the ring barking of trees started early this year. Well Porcupines have been busy. We took a couple of pictures that illustrates just how these rodents gnaw at night. Pictures taken just outside our fence on the North-eastern side of Sambane. &n... more

Natural air-conditioning - 2015-06-12

Overcast and warm could not believe after yesterdays cold spree! What a beautiful day! We had animals during the day at the waterhole..starting with an E... Eland drinking...and o yes ... Elephant herd and later one of the bigger bulls on his own. This week everyday the giants made their presence known to us. Lately we often also f... more

Who's territory is this? - 2015-06-11

A pleasant morning at 7 degrees Celsius, earlier this week it started with a very cold 1 degree and yesterday a bit warmer at 3 degrees. During the day it is still pleasant and temperatures reaching mid twenties. Giraffes have been quite visible during the last couple of weeks, must be in preparation of World Giraffe day on 21 Jun... more

Our South African Koala Bear - 2015-06-10

During the years we had regular sightings of Bushpig in our area and also caught on camera at the waterhole a sounder, this is a group of pigs. There were adults with juveniles. These shy animals resembles the Australian Koala bear with an elongated head and a flat nose, Can you see it ? Just a couple of days... more

Ant heap of information - 2015-06-09

Termite - Insect Termites are a group of eusocial insects that were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera, but are now classified either as the infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamiliy Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Wikipedia Photo credit : Termites active b... more

Healthy Ocean Healthy Planet - 2015-06-08

Stand up for a healthy Ocean! Today is World Ocean day June 8 marks World Oceans Day to celebrate and remember their vital importance. Ocean conservation is so vital to the environment that it should be World Ocean Day every day that we should be conscious and looking for way to stop polluting them. Oceans are so important to the E... more

Lifer added to the list - 2015-06-07

We heard a roaring Lion again last night. On Saturday Elephants have been busy in our area as there were tracks everywhere on our roads. Always something new and interesting in the bush, look what we found : Lifer for us, a Comb Duck on the Mongena dam, whoop whoop! Sarkidiornis melanotos (Comb duck, Knob-billed duck)  Knobb... more

Save our Planet - 2015-06-06

It is very very cold although the morning was quite warm with clouds about. Once the wind picked up speed it was freezing! We had a real good time today with a hand full of Dinokeng birders and Peter Greaves from BIRP and Anthony Paton GDARD & SABAP. Thank you Emelia Strydom for sharing the photos and Kwalata for the platter... more

ONE PLANET - 2015-06-05

The first real winters day with the morning temperature at 6:31am at -1degrees Celsius. Very cold wind and some frost at Sambane. In the early hours of the morning the call of a Pearl-spotted Owlet broke through the silence of the night, after a couple of calls all we could hear was the icy wind blowing. World Environment Day (WED) is celebra... more

Skin and Bones - 2015-06-04

That heap of bones...... still bothering us! Nothing left but skin and bones.... it is now clear that this was not a lion nor a BIG Python's meal. Ranger Chantell went to investigate. This pile consisted of the remains of more than one Impala at least 3 rams and 3 ewe's. We counted 5 sets of jaws and at least 5 single... more

Lush green invitations - 2015-06-03

This morning we woke up to this.... Strong wind blew right through the night ensuring an overcast cool day. We even had a couple of drops of rain!! Ellie at our fence did not cause too much damage the tree at the lodge entrance was previously an attraction for this bull, well it looks as if he is still not happy with it there s... more

Snakes do not chew - 2015-06-02

... still wondering about that Impala carcass with all the bones in such a manner arranged as if it was just spit out...... hmmmm... wonder if it was not the meal of a big big python?    Another warmish morning and at Tau gate a bit further from the normal spot we sighted that dagga boy Buffalo. We sighted at dusk last night... more

Snakes are good - 2015-06-01

Warmer morning must be predicting the cooler weather that is on its way, promised by the weather bureau for later this week...brrr We found a strange pile of bones.... Nature Guide, Chantell saw something from Aardvark drive and went to investigate.... What we found was Impala remains. Some of the bones had teeth marks / scratc... more

The Bull & the Ewe - 2015-05-31

As we thought and shared the reason we do not see those large herds is because they hide in the wood-like areas to seek cover from the winter chill and windy days. We found big Zebra and Wildebeest herds on the Paradise Link Kaallaagte section where there are patches of thick bush. We aslo sighted on two different occasions Red-crested Korh... more

Wooly Fur Bushy Tail - 2015-05-30

Ellies visited the waterhole last night very relaxed strolled around the fence and broke a few small trees. Found another ootheca today at the Sambane Bush Lodge entrance. Remember ou blog : An Ootheca is a type of egg mass that is made by a variety of species that include insects and molluscs. Insects that are well-known to make o... more

Bubbling Family - 2015-05-29

Elephant herd in our neck of the woods and five Kudu cows with a tiny baby calf in their midst at dusk, last night and still this morning. A Warthog bore and Blue wildebeest were drinking at the waterhole just as the sun set. In yesterdays blog we wrote about co-operative breeding : ... more

Collective Unity - 2015-05-28

At 20:30 last night a roaring Lion patrolled our fence.... From 23:30 to 00:15 a Jackal continued calling and was eventually answered by a pack of jackal. Cooperative Breeding Have you ever wondered why birds like Arrow-marked Babblers and Green Wood-hoopoes are always found in large groups? The answer is that they are cooperative breeders... more

Black and White - 2015-05-27

Very quiet morning except for the African Scops Owl calling in the early hours of the morning and of course it is rutting season...... Animals were shy and stayed in the warmth of the bush. A Zebra's stripes are his fingerprint ! Just like human fingerprints, a zebra’s stripe pattern is unique to the individual. Ranger C... more

Height of activity - 2015-05-26

Lions were quiet last night but the Impala rams are still busy.. This morning at 5:15am we heard their snorting again right at our fence. We were pleasantly surprised this morning at 6:10am by three Bush pigs at the Sambane waterhole. The waterhole was also a very popular spot late yesterday afternoon, we found Warthog, Impala, Tsessebe an... more

In a rut - 2015-05-25

We were sitting on the deck at Sambane listening to the sound of the bush and did not expect to hear another iconic South African sound.... it was not the roar of a lion nor the call of a Black-backed Jackal or a Swainsons Spurfowl nor the hissing of a snake but the distinctive call from the African Fish Eagle. It carried through ... more

Dull & Colourful! - 2015-05-24

Dinokeng Game Reserve is blessed with a wealth of birdlife and yesterday we were fortunate to take our first photo after our first sighting about three weeks ago of the Green-winged Pytilia in our section : Framed male Green-winged Pytilia Also known as the Melba finch. Pytilia melba (Green-winged pytilia, Melba finch) Gewone melba... more

Advise from a Turtle - 2015-05-23

We were fortunate to see lots of Kudu today including a young calf. We were on Spinnekop Loop and just behind Sambane in the middle of the road we found this majestic bull : Only once he eventually moved out of the way we realised why he was not eager to let us through, in a thick Quarry bush the cow and her calf were bro... more

be an OWL - 2015-05-22

Being human is exhausting so be an OWL This morning to the South-eastern side of Sambane a lion roared....It was just a single roar at 5:45am, wonder where the king was! At Xombana the mother Barn owl laid and incubated at least six eggs at old nesting site at the theatre where Barn Owls roosted for many years, at least 10... more

Rumbling Echo - 2015-05-21

In the late evening the Black-backed Jackal's call broke the silence of the night and shortly thereafter a Lion roared.... That roar continued, from 24:00, until about 02:00am whereafter it faded away. It came closer and closer...  every roar a little louder. After each interval of approximately fifteen minutes between ro... more

The Whole story Does not Show - 2015-05-20

Spring is not spring anymore, the days are really warm with temperatures in the low 30's. Mornings and evenings cold not cool anymore. We did not have any frost yet. The few leaves left on trees are slowly loosing their bright colours and the bushveld colour in general is a pale yellow or stone. Some days early morning sightings of animal... more

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Long limbless reptile that has no eyelids - 2015-04-29 - 2015-05-20

We have noticed increased snake activity with many tracks on the roads in our section. This morning at Sambane the staff found a Snouted Cobra, which was quit aggresive.   Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica)   Is also known as M’fezi and is one of the smallest cobra species reaching a size of about 1.2 m long.... more

Meaning of a tree - 2015-04-28 - 2015-05-20

From this this this tree    and then this tree    ........ .... to this logo GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN...YOU PLANT A TREE....... Many companies choose a tree as logo for a number of reasons. The use of a tree logo is a universally recognizable symbol which represents many th... more

Mascot with the Spoon-like feet - 2015-04-27 - 2015-05-20

Although Sambane is Aardvark in the Zulu language we decided to choose this tree for our new logo as a tree is worth so much and has so much significance. "America's Best Environmental Magazine," (according to the Boston Globe). Orion publishes six beautiful ad-free, reader-supported issues a year. To subscribe, go to ori... more

A week of flattering - 2015-04-26 - 2015-05-20

The 2015 Autumn LepiBASH kicked off yesterday. All you have to do is, get out there and photograph African Lepidoptera. And log the pictures on the LepiMAP Virtual Museum. LepiMAP's Autumn LepiBASH will take place from 25 April to 3 May 2015. Get ready to get out there and get mapping! :) Goals for the Autumn LepiBASH: 1.) Fill as many... more

A door closed - 2015-04-25 - 2015-05-20

It is with mixed emotions that we have been walking around the last couple of days.... when we had put Xombana in the market we never thought of the emotional challenge of saying goodbye, we were ready for a new chapter ... Today we will begin the closing of this door... our last weekend at Xombana restaurant and function venue and we will... more

Ellipse of mud- 2015-04-24 - 2015-05-20

Just before 5:00am we heard that rumbling roar, that loved African sound of a roaring Lion. Another quite morning as it was very cold. There is a breeze in the air and the sweet clean smell of rain. The Wild Seringas started the autumn colour display and was shortly followed by some Tambotie trees. Everywhere you look you cannot miss tho... more

Crisp Sunburnt - 2015-04-23 - 2015-05-20

Gone is our lush green bushveld.... ..but it made space for the beautiful golden rusty amber shades autumn brings. Leaves are falling leaving the branches bare.. they dance in the air swirling and twirling in the wind round and around “hugging one another, laughing as they touched faces” ―Sarah Addison Allen... more

Sound of silence - 2015-04-22 - 2015-05-20

The bush awakes late. Every day a little later ... This morning was a rather quiet morning with the sound of silence carrying through the bush. We drove quite a distance before we sighted some animals but only a hand full of species. Red hartebeest, Wildebeest and Zebra. Even the Black-backed Jackal that normally wait for us on Tambotie Loop ... more

Decaying treat - 2015-4-21 - 2015-05-20

This morning on Tambotie Loop we found this old piece of dry animal skin. It is from an old Eland kill. Must have been dragged from the thicket and assumingly by Brown Hyena, We have spotted tracks regularly at Xombana, Sambane and also on Rooibank road last week. Favorite treat for a scavenger is decaying animal or plant matter. Scaven... more

Vivid Crimson Caramel & Pale Grey - 2015-04-20 - 2015-05-20

Autumn show is growing daily and it is amazing how quickly our landscape changes. Rainfall for the year is a bit concerning, at Sambane and Xombana we had 30mm during March and for April to date 3.5mm with the total for the year on 153mm. This morning a cold wind is blowing away fluffy clouds to make way for more serious looking bank of s... more

Starry Night - 2015-04-19 - 2015-05-20

We have two Warthog mothers that have been frequenting the restaurant area and also the Sambane waterhole, really good mothers as all nine piglets are still alive and well. One mother with five piglets and the other with four piglets so adorable. This morning there are thick grey clouds hiding the sun and it is cold after the 2mm of soft unexpec... more

Sweet succulent - 2015-04-18 - 2015-05-20

.... we were right those clouds we photographed yesterday did bring cold weather and rain. April 17 was declared the official International Bat Appreciation day The World would be a much "buggier" place without bats. Fortunately despite the cold windy rainy weather animal sightings were surprisingly good. The birdlif... more

The pig-like rabbit-like kangaroo-like Elephant relative - 2015-04-17 - 2015-05-20

It looks like the end of summer is really here now. Overcast and smells like rain or is it just a cold front bringing cooler weather..... Together with all the other good sightings  the past week we were fortunate to have a breeding herd of Buffalo in our surrounds, with at least four calves midst them. Yesterday in the earl... more

Flightless Runner - 2015-04-16 - 2015-05-20

The temperature this morning 10 degrees quite a difference from the twenty something's we are used to. Animals have been frequenting certain areas in the early mornings. Big herds of Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Blesbuck, Kudu, Zebra and Giraffe providing good sightings. We had Cheetah and Elephant in our neck if the woods agai... more

Second spring - 2015-04-15 - 2015-05-20

More and more yellow autumn leaves are appearing. Leaves change and weather gets colder. The Wild Seringa's were the first trees to start the beautiful autumn coloration "Autumn is the second spring when every leave is a flower" Albert Camus Coloration changes our landscape to a patchwork of bright yellow, orange,... more

The secret is out - 2015-04-14 - 2015-05-05

What a busy morning .... lots of activity on the roads! In the early evening and early morning at 1:00am we heard that roar again, a Lion in the Boekenhoutspruit section somewhere between Mongena, Pride of Africa and Hayward's Lodge. At the Xombana dam an Egyptian Geese pair was feeding and quacking and a couple of Warthog's w... more

Long snaky nose - 2015-04-13 - 2015-05-05

Guests and staff were all very excited by the Elephant visit to the Xombana dam on Saturday. Who do you think was the cautious one ? The most cautious one must have been the photographer. Xombana's function complex is unfenced and animals can come up right to the building. Elephant trunks are muscular, flexible extensions ... more

Precious Babies - 2015-04-12 - 2015-05-05

The weather started looking really promising from 12:30 and eventually we had some rain after two o'clock. Not nearly enough rain however we are very grateful for what we got. Best place on earth close to daddy or what about under his protection against the rain During the morning we had 13 (thirteen) DGR (D... more

Noiseless Ambush - 2015-04-11 - 2015-05-05

All around the Dinokeng Game Reserve lots of rain fell during the past week but at Xombana and Sambane we only had a few drops. Still some cloud about and very cool in the evenings and early morning. Birdies are definitely less vocal in the morning. The Barn Owl nest is still active. We often hear the female hunting in the... more

Together we can safe the planet - 2015-04-10 - 2015-05-05

At 5:15am as we opened the door at Sambane we heard the sound of Africa... a full throated roar from a lion... followed by a few soft huh huh's. A little later in the morning calls from the Crested Francolins and Swainson's Spurfowls were almost deafening in comparison with the soft "couqi couqi" from the Coqui Francolin. ... more

Abundance Tree - 2015-04-09 - 2015-05-05

Butterfly activity has increased and on Sunday we could add another species to our list as we sighted an Eyed Pansy at Sambane. We have now identified 58 species in 11 months. This morning we found our resident Jackal again. Black-backed Jackal pack frequents the Tambotie Loop area as there has been a number of dens in the area for many years. ... more

Silver Face - 2015-04-08 - 2015-05-05

We had a little bit of rain lots of thunder. It is still overcast and cool. There have been a lot of snake movement and on Monday we found 5 slitherings. Photo below was taken on Tau Loop close to the shack behind the Xombana dam. An old visitor was back during the early morning : We found its tracks on the sandy patch on Thakadu d... more

Golden steel - 2015-04-07 - 2015-05-05

Another cool overcast day and we might get rain. Animals are also feeling lazy in the crisp mornings and it is officially autumn for a fact as yellow leaves are popping up everywhere. One of the private roads on Sambane is called Spinnekop Loop. The name was inspired by the huge Golden Orb Web Spiders that we normally found along thi... more

Too big to swallow - 2015-04-06 - 2015-05-05

Another egg shell hopefully means more hatchlings in the Western Barn Owl nest. We have requested all staff to avoid the nest area in order to give the owls some space. Today is overcast again with lots of clouds and moderate temperature. A Nyala ewe was grazing on the dam wall and three Warthog groups spent a lot of time grazing and wallowin... more

Mixed Emotions - 2015-05-05

The bush was covered in a mist blanket and rightfully so as it was very cold. Traditionally Easter brings winter, isn't it? We had the female Cheetah and her daughter close to the Xombana dam until late last night. They might have caught something as there were Pied Crows circling the area this morning. A Tsessebe herd has bee... more

Towered Journey - 2015-05-05

Crisp and overcast oh yes and beautiful in the bush today. Yesterday we were lucky to find African Buffalo, African Elephant and four Goliath Herons on a game drive amongst other wildlife. Slender Mongoose roadkill on the Rust de Winter Road passed the De Wagensdrift turnoff was sighted. A Journey of Giraffe caused a traffic jam on Rust de Wi... more

Scat at the dam - 2015-05-05

Very quite day overcast and dry. We have noticed lots of butterfly activity especially African Monarch and Guineafowl flattering in the breeze. A breeding herd of Impala spent quite a long time at the dam drinking and grazing. Scat at the dam?? Droppings in a civetry (a special name for their latrine) just off Tambotie Loop ... more

The Barking Kudu @ Xombana - 2015-05-05

Awfully strange quite morning the bird song did not commence as early as other mornings at 6:00am it was dead quite. Maybe the birdies were a bit cold the air is very nippy in the early morning and also in the early evening. Ranger Chantell captured a beautiful picture of a Charaxes Butterfly yesterday another first sighting bringing the nu... more

Gnu Challenge - 2015-05-05

The weather during the last week has been very unpredictable and many times we thought that we would be blessed with showers but unfortunately we did not get as much rain as we needed. We had good heavy rain on the 22nd of March and light rain in the morning on the 26th of March. Lions were heard roaring during the night and early mornings almos... more

Misfortune - 2015-05-05

Barn Owls have been nesting at the Xombana Theater for many years. Barn owls are monogamous. Mated pairs usually stay together as long as both owls are alive .Owls are territorial, a fact that is particularly evident during the breeding season. Barn owls breed once per year. They can breed almost any time of the year, depending upon the ... more

Miscalculated - 2015-05-05

We also took photos in the past of these interesting creatures, Yes it is actually a living thing called a Bagworm. BAGWORMS Bagworm, common name for the larva of small moths of the family Psychidae. The larva spins a silken cocoon as it travels, hence the term bagworm. When fully grown, the bagworm fastens its covering to a ... more

Solutions - 2015-05-05

Sitting on the Kokoriba stoep listening to the bushveld awakening it is a crisp morning. Somewhere close by a few Elephants are grazing. For four months we heard this mystery call ever present never visible... finally this morning we identified it as a Black-collard barbet.   Now we need to find it in order to take our first pictur... more

Playful submissive - 2015-05-05

Beautiful day in the bush ended with a couple of raindrops at dusk. Our butterfly telly now stands on 56 species as today we took a photo of the Silver-barred Charaxes, 1st sighting and photo at Xombana. We were entertained this afternoon by the four Warthog piglets. They were grazing in the open clearing between the dam and the resta... more

BIG 5 Friday - 2015-05-05

We think today is BIG5 Friday... During the night we heard the roar of a Lion This morning as we got to the gate at Sambane the weeping wattle was not as tall as it was last night, it hang over the road and those big tracks in the sand indicated that the culprit was Mr Ellie. Further down the road he left an obstacle, a branch right in... more

More of the hiding game... - 2015-05-05

It is a beautiful cool and overcast day and we smell rain... The annual cycle of changing meteorological an ecological  patterns has brought around the start of another season. Dawn comes a bit later in the mornings and this morning at 5:15 we heard some of the sounds of the night. A Fiery-necked Nightjar was calling and shortly aft... more

HIde & Seek - 2015-05-05

Since we thought the Woodlands Kingfishers have all migrated they have been going out in full force to proof us wrong. This morning again it sat in a tree close to the lodge singing continually. We even saw a few siting on the wire next to the Rust de Winter road. Coqui Francolin continues to call still hiding from us... one day is one... more

RESPECT - 2015-05-05

RESPECT YOURSELF RESPECT OTHERS RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT QUIT THE LITTERING!! Hopefully the recycling initiative with Nampak will encourage LitterBugs to stop tossing and encourage them to recycle. Since the early spring we heard Red-crested Korhaan calls daily at Xombana and Sambane more than one bird at least four birds in our... more

Clean Slate - 2015-05-05

Just when we thought they have all departed as autumn is showing its colours here and there, a Woodlands Kingfisher made its trill echoed through the bush. We were quite surprised and thrilled. We measured another 2mm of rain at Sambane and 1mm at Xombana during the late evening. Dirt roads were washed clean and new tracks gave away anim... more

World Water Day & Rain - 2015-05-05

Very appropriately on World Day for Water the skies opened at 15:30  after building up since mid day and we were showered with 15mm of soaking rains. This creates an opportunity for the veld to recover in time for winter that is slowly creeping up on us. After the heat experienced since mid January the veld was very dry. We... more

H2O - 2015-03-21 - 2015-05-05

It is weekend and we are looking forward to game drives and good sightings. On Sunday it is World Water Day! World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as "World Day for Water". 2015: Water and Sustainable Development Each year,... more

Detecting Water - 2015-05-05

The weather  has been promising for weeks now and during the previous evening we had a quick downpour. We measured 2,5mm at Sambane and 3mm at Xombana. Then last night it was building up again. It rained a little bit in the early evening...but the real storm came in the early morning after midnight and again around three another strong... more

Click-a-di-clack Knee-clicking - 2015-05-05

We turned into Thakadu drive and held our breath at the sight ... ...laying on the side of the road in the sand looked lifeless... In a split second the young Black-backed Jackal woke up, jumped into a crouching position got onto his feet and run into the long grasses... frightful wakeup call!   Around the corner into Tambo... more

Some are BIG & some are SMALL - 2015-05-05

During the past weekend on a game drive we spotted one of the smallest and one of the biggest antelope. We often get sightings of the adorable little Steenbuck at Sambane and Xombana, and we were very lucky with Eland sightings the last couple of weeks. Steenbok One of the smallest antelope found in the Bushveld Incredibly fast, out... more

a Few not so happy moments - 2015-05-05

A Purple Heron have been hanging around the Xombana dam frequently, wondering if there might be a nest there.... The photo above was taken on Sunday after 17:00 and we found it again on Monday morning, photo below. We still here the call of the Coqui Francolin at Sambane but no sight of it  yet. A wow moment on Sunday mornings... more

Death trap versus security - 2015-05-05

There are frequent conflicts between humans and wildlife, especially dangerous venomous snakes People wishing to protect their yards, children, pets, and livestock from being bitten by venomous snakes have few options; since snakes can navigate obstacles. In Dinokeng we have to fence off communal areas for our staff and guests sometimes at the c... more

Wallowing Wildebeest -15-03-2015 - 2015-05-05

Dark blue low hanging clouds with a strong cold wind in the early morning almost made us cancel a game drive but those clouds disappeared by noon. Mud-wallows and their nearby rubbing posts, are found everywhere some more permanent than others. Dams that dry out during the dry season also create instant wallows. Particular wallows ar... more

Carried away - 2015-05-05

We got a bit carried away this morning and a little trigger happy. Our 1st sighting and photos of White-fronted Bee Eaters at Xombana. There were three birds feeding on insects between the restaurant and the dam this morning. Merops bullockoides (White-fronted bee-eater)  Rooikeelbyvreter [Afrikaans]; Sitembandayi (gen... more

FREEDOM - 2015-03-13 - 2015-05-05

The 5 Freedoms Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition Freedom from discomfort Freedom from pain, injury or disease Freedom to express normal behavior Freedom from fear and distress And our wish for all Wildlife ...  Freedom to be free (Source :   NSPCA prom... more

Ultimate slow.. - 2015-05-05

Visitors to South Africa are always on a mission when on safari to see the Big 5 animals:  elephant, lion, rhinoceros, buffalo, and leopard.  Photographs in the wild African Bush of the Big Five is high on their priority list. Seeing one of the five on a safari is a major privilege. But ev... more

"Roaring for a cause" - 2015-05-05 Global March For Lions is a Global movement raising awareness of canned lion hunting in South Africa. Cub petting facilities sell their lions into canned hunting. Shocking treatment & environment that captive lions endure on lion farms in South Africa ... more

Exceptional Sightings - 2015-05-05

We had some extra-ordinary sightings the last couple of days. Aardvark & Civet Cat tracks at the Xombana waterhole on Saturday. We found a Bibron's blind snake on the parking area at the restaurant. This snake is endemic to Southern Africa, it is seldom seen above the ground and feeds on termites, termite larvae and other borrowi... more

Itch - 2015-05-05

The more you are inn touch with your surroundings the more you notice fascinating events in nature. One of the unique behaviors acted out by animals and birds are dust bathing. Notice the Red Hartebeest dust bathing in the back. On Sunday afternoon a Blue Wildebeest was also dust bathing at the Xombana waterhole but we were to late f... more

The Sleeping Zebra - 8 March 2015 - 2015-05-05

We were driving on Tau Loop behind the Xombana dam when we came across a Harem of Zebra, after the birth of that little foal last week they were often sighted around the dam in the thicket. When not eating or traveling, zebras do take the opportunity to sleep. In fact, they sleep standing up! But zebras only sleep when they are in large groups s... more

Territory - 2015-05-05

This past week Ranger Chantell found a Redhartebeest bull on Xombana Drive right at our main entrance almost every day, marking territory. Territorial bulls often present themselves on prominent mounds and mark their territories with dung piles. Hereunder is the sequence of photos that illustrates this behavior beautifully. ... more

Kuduzela - 2015-05-05

The new born Zebra foal is doing very well, it is frequently sighted on Tambotie Loop, not so wobbly on its feet anymore it was chasing after mom into the thicket when they heard our vehicle approaching this afternoon. We heard a roaring lion for the third consecutive evening. All the game in our area was very alert today..... more

Magnificent - 5 March 2015 - 2015-05-05

If you want to mix and match just look at nature and you will discover that there are beautiful combinations you have never thought of. Sunrise and sunset display the most intense colours and don't you just wonder how this is possible how it happens? We found this explanation : Summary: The colors of the sunset result from a phenomen... more

A humming puffing woofing roaring Lion..... - 2015-05-05

How blessed we are with some of the most picturesque sunsets in the Dinokeng Game Reserve. The sunset game drive offers much more than just beautiful sunsets but after a long day in the bush veld heat you also get to see more animals as it is cooler and of course there is the possibility of running into nocturnal animals such as Aardwolf, Hy... more

Carry an Umbrella or Graze - 2015-05-05

Another cool morning with dark heavy clouds hanging on the horizon. Lots of game at the Xombana function complex this morning. Our resident loan Blue Wildebeest Bull had company last night in the form of a dazzle of Zebra and a implausibility of Wildebeest. As we came around the boma we found this a tower of 7 Giants The tower... more

Sightings - 2 March 2015 - 2015-05-05

Dark clouds and a cool wind about... no wonder those swallows are gatheing. After the heat of the last weeks it does not take much to give us involuntary goose flesh and we run for clothing to keep us warm. We were treated to a new life this weekend. First a Zebra foal not more than three days old and on Sunday morning the Elephant dung from ... more

Journey - 2015-05-05

The cooler weather is not only appreciated by the humans but also our wildlife and birdlife... a little Zebra is even laying down hidden in the long grass... protected from wind and predators. Barely a week old still wobbly on its feet and not sure what to do this little guy just froze when we stumbled upon the dazzle of Zebra yesterday o... more

Some species are slipping away - 2015-05-05

The third national awareness day for southern African frogs will be held on Saturday 28 February 2015 View our photo selection of froggies on our Facebook page : What is the aim of Leap Day for Frogs?  It is one day of the year when ordinary South Africans can take a ... more

Nocturnal Butterflies - 2015-05-05

The bushveld alarms started buzzing at 5:10am in the form of the various bird songs. Enjoying the call of the Woodlands Kingfisher which we will only have the privileged to listen to for approximately another six weeks before they depart to warmer regions. We did not have any rain last night but at 6:15 this morning there was a roar of ... more

From Sunrise to Sunset - 2015-05-05

Although we only had 1/4 of a millimeter of rain it is much cooler than it has been the last couple of weeks. We do however need rain, the veld is dry and water resources needs topping up. A Pale Chanting Goshawk was sighted at the restaurant yesterday. A juvenile Steppe Buzzard had also been frequenting our area. Another rapto... more

Animals have souls and a sixth sense - 2015-05-05

Yesterday we woke up to this, cool and overcast... soon the sun burnt all of this to nothing Again this morning we kicked off with a beautiful cool and overcast day.. even got a few droplets early morning! The normal backyard chatter at Sambane was noticeably less.... wonder why? Are the birds expecting something to hap... more

Celebrating a new life - 2015-05-04

It is always very special to share evidence of the beginning of a new life. Two Dark-capped Bulbul's were breeding at Mundulea and we got a chance to take a picture of the hatchlings. The adult birds were ever present making a big noise to warn us just in case there was any intentions of harming the precious birdies. Th... more

Fiery first - 2015-05-04

A continuing stream of firsts as we took our first photo of an African Firefinch @ Xombana this morning. It was busy collecting nesting material Lagonosticta rubricata (African firefinch, Blue-billed firefinch)  Kaapse vuurvinkie [Afrikaans]; Isicibilili [Xhosa]; ubuCubu [Zulu]; The African Firefinch is one... more

Variety is the spice of the bush life - 2015-05-04

The wind has been blowing from the right direction (which apparently is south) for a couple of days now, but we are still waiting for the rain... We could tell that it was going to be hot since early morning. Some animals that have been at the waterhole and dam to drink included four beautiful majestic Kudu bulls Wa... more

Beat around the Bush - 2015-05-04

Another day of bushveld heat ... the sun has set, there is only a fraction of the moon and some cloud in the skies above. Not too far the Swainsons Spurfowl separated from its mate is performing its contact call. Those typical bushveld sounds announced the end of the day. Woodlands Kingfishers said goodnight. The Fiery-necked Nightjar&nb... more

Threatened - 2015-05-04

Tomorrow, 21 February 2015, is World Pangolin Day : There are a total of eight species of pangolin on our planet. Four live in Asia: Thick-tailed Pangolin (also called Indian Pangolin), Manis crassicaudata— ‘Near Threatened’ Phillipine Pangolin, Manis culionensis — &... more

Aflutter - 2015-05-04

There is so much to discover in Dinokeng.... Birdlife, Insects, Grasses, Plants, Amphibian etc etc.. like they say expect the unexpected! The wealth of birdlife is such a blessing as we discover daily! So many species not sighted or photographed yet. The journey has just begun and the road is long but exciting! We to... more

Ecological Advantageous - 2015-05-04

The word "moth" may conjure up images of drab brown insects sticking to your screen door on a summer night. But there's much more to these mostly-nocturnal fliers than meets the eye. Not only are moths extraordinarily diverse in color, shape and size, they also offer a huge array of ecological benefits, from pollinating plants... more

Starting the day singing and paddling - 2015-05-04

The quite night was disturbed by a very loud cracking popping thunder strike followed by the dripping sound as the skies opened at 4:00am and we had 12mm of rain at Sambane. From 5:15am the first excited chirruping could be heard. Can you guess who the first bird was that welcomed the new wet, cool, fresh morning....? Amongst the welcome call... more

Collecting & Collection - 2015-05-04

Our observations for the Great Backyard Bird count was submitted earlier today it was such a pleasure to collect the data. We drove around and stopped for each feathered fellow we sighted. Although there were a few critters we could not identify those were in the minority. Whilst looking for birdies we found a female Kudu but she was not al... more

Bonus during the Great Backyard Bird count - 2015-05-04

Our first sighting of a White-browed Sparrow Weaver at Xombana and this during the Great Backyard Bird Count how awesome is that! Plocepasser mahali (White-browed sparrow-weaver)  Koringvoël [Afrikaans]; Mogale [Tswana]; It mainly eats insects, seeds, fruit and fleshy leaves, doing most of its foraging in flocks of 4-10 ... more

Birding weekend - 2015-02-14 - 2015-05-04

The day started overcast thought it would rain and then the heat was back. We took a short drive to observe and collect data for the GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) and we were in for another first treat. We sighted many species of birds. White-bellied Sunbird Golden-breasted Bunting Woodlands Kingfisher feeding its chick. Read... more

Kokoriba - 2015-05-04

In preperation of the Great Backyard Bird Count we will share a few Kokoriba photo's.    Tockus leucomelas (Southern yellow-billed hornbill) Geelbekneushoringvoël [Afrikaans]; Suidelike geelbekneushoringvoël [Afrikaans]; Rukoko (generic term for hornbills with red or yellow bills) [Kwangali]; Goto,... more

Diversity of life - 2015-05-04

Two days of brewing storms thunder lightning and a couple of drops lead to nothing but the centipedes are walking, doves are sitting on the roads and the queen of the night started flowering again... ... humidity is high but the temperatures and the unbearable heat even higher. The White-faced Whistling duck with her ducklings are fr... more

Birds Birding Birdwatching Conservation Eggs Nests - 2015-05-04

Join us for the world's biggest international four day bird count The 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count includes Valentine’s Day this year, with the count spanning four days from February 13 through 16. That’s fitting, given that people who join the GBBC love birds and love sharing what they see. http://... more

Privileged - 2015-05-04

African Black duck this morning on the Xombana dam. We were taking photos of the two adults when two of their offspring also came flying in. It is a very shy and territorial duck. It is usually seen in pairs or small flocks. It breeds throughout the year in different areas. Incubation is about 30 days by the mother and the fledglin... more

Inkanka - 2015-05-04

Canis mesomelas (Black-backed jackal)  rooijakkals, swartrugjakkals [Afrikaans]; Black-Backed Jackals are also known as: Silver-Backed Jackal Late one afternoon we were driving around doing maintenance when we came across a herd of Kudu settling in for the night with a pack of Jackal all around. Normally guests are... more

Big Eyed Bird - 8 February 2014 - 2015-05-04

Big storm strong wind and 22mm of rain at Xombana in the early evening last night did not bring cooler weather temperatures back to mid thirties! Red-Hartebeest on the way to drink @ the Xombana waterhole. A couple of Ostriches have been hanging around the last couple of days two female and three male birds are frequenting the Xombana... more

DON'T MAKE THEM HISTORY - 7 February 2015 - 2015-05-04

Just another bone crunch, Just another cry. You are leaving these animals. Right here to die. We took this photo last week on the Rust de Winter road of a Raptor - another ROAD KILL victim. During this past week lots of birds were siting on the tar road, the 8km stretch from Tau gate to the De Wagensdrift grid and past that. We sighted many ... more

Jump - 6 February 2015 - 2015-05-04

Animal babies are just too adorable! They can make such good photos but they are so zesty and you don't always get a perfect photo! All the new additions born in the Dinokeng Game Reserve, from Wildebeest to Blesbuck and Red Hartebeest, are doing really well. ... more

Droplet of pearl - 2015-05-04

Droplet of pearl.... Water is so precious and that is why this image of a Western Cattle Egret drinking water from a puddle on Xombana drive, is so special to us... ...Looks as if it is picking up a pearl! A pearl of water! When you conserve water, you conserve life! Waste water today – Live in a desert tomorrow! Lots o... more

Last ray of light - 2015-05-04

The end of the day means dangers of another kind... Impala herd at the Sambane waterhole alert... always expecting some kind of danger in the grass. Swainson Spurfowl caught in the last ray of daylight announcing the end of the day at the Xombana theater. We are blessed with the scenic bushveld its wildlife, birdlife and ... more

Chronical - 2015-05-04

At Klein Sambane a Guinea fowl has nested and is breeding. A Yellow-billed duck was paddling in the shallow water of the Xombana dam with 3 ducklings but the reads spoiled our photo All the hatchlings from early in the season is sighted daily at Sambane, a family of five Crowned Lapwings and 4 Spotted Thick-knees, These birds seems t... more

Hunger - 2015-05-04

Little birdie fell out of the nest.... not sure what to do it was so tiny.... nothing bigger than a golf ball... ...whilst we were accessing the situation a pair of house sparrows dived down and missed us by a millimeter when this little baby started chirping. Nothing in comparison with the parents chirruping. It did not look very h... more

Sand to puddles - 2015-05-04

Just before 5am this morning it started to rain and the day begins cool, fresh and wet. A rejuvenated feeling! 15mm Measured at Xombana and at Sambane 13mm. Last night at dusk we heard the female Black Cuckoo calling from the other side of the Xombana dam and a couple of minutes later her mate called from a distance. Jackal called a... more

Little Things - 2015-05-04

Sometimes one gets used to certain things and you don't notice them anymore. You do not hear nor see them. Or you hear them and see them but you just don't mention them or talk about them. Here in the bush you sometimes don't mention the common everyday sightings or sounds because you became used to them. The Swainson... more

Purple delight and cinnamon treat - 2015-05-04

Two overcast days and another quick 20minute downpour in the afternoon yesterday. At Sambane we measured 14mm of rain and 12mm at Xombana. We were delighted to see a Purple Heron yesterday at 18:00 feeding in the shallow water at the Xombana dam Ardea purpurea (Purple heron) Rooireier [Afrikaans]; Ucofuza, Undofu [Xhosa];  ... more

Blood curdling and Peaceful - 2015-05-04

This morning was fresh and wet... and misty.. the bushveld air fragranced with the fresh smell of wild herbs and wet soil! We had another millimeter of rain during the day and noticeably more water in the Xombana dam. A Lion roared close by in the early hours of the morning, Black-backed Jackal howled and their calls came from ev... more

Clouds, raindrops and mud - 2015-05-04

Clouds were building up during the day and temperatures were climbing. It reached high thirties, late afternoon a few drops fell. At dusk the Rufous-chested Cuckoo sung its song and the fast tempo of that distinctive Piet-my-vrou, Piet-my-vrou and the number of repeats told us that we might be blessed with rain. And so we were 14mm at Sambane... more

BIG5 Legend - 27 January 2014 - 2015-05-04

African Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Black Rhino, White Rhino, most people know about these animals as the big 5 and are keen to see them on their trip to Africa. Why are they called "The Big 5?" people ask. Well a long time ago when hunters came to Africa they did not come to see the magnificent biodivers... more

Feathers and chirps - 2015-04-30

We had a weekend full of promises but the rain never came. At dusk the heat gave way to the cool evening air this was really enjoyable! For the first time in a while we heard the call of a Fiery-necked Night jar. On Friday evening at dusk at the Xombana Restaurant we sat on the Kokoriba stoep with some guests when a hissing Western Bar... more

Catch of the day! - 2015-04-30

Big meal for a small bird.. Not sure how this ended but it sure looked as if this Woodland Kingfisher had quite a task at hand when he caught a big dung beetle at the Kokoriba Stoep at Xombana Restaurant this morning. At first we did not notice what was going on behind us, but the continued tapping got our attention. The Ki... more

chirp chirp chirp - 2015-04-30

Here is another one.... our 1st photo of an Acacia Pied Barbet and I guess there will be many more to come as Dinokeng's wealth of bird life has not been discovered. Of the more than 300 species in the Dinokeng area we have only photographed approximately 180 birdies and sighted approximately 210. Still a lot of birdies to look for to... more

Still no end... - 2015-04-30

Still no end to firsts... so delighted to see the first Moorhen on the Xombana dam. Gallinula chloropus (Common moorhen) Grootwaterhoender [Afrikaans]; Edenene (generic term for gallinules and moorhens) The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) (also known as the swamp chicken) is a bird species in the Rallid... more

Submissive - 2015-04-30

Animal interaction is such interesting thing, do you also sometimes wonder what they are saying to each other? These Blue Wildebeest were fighting as we approached. The wildebeest mating season is called a rut and the males establish temporary territories and try to entice females with grunts and distinctive antics. Competition between m... more

Observations - 2015-04-30

We heard the reports Lots of Blesbuck calves were born Many sightings of them We waited and waited and waited..... Then finally we saw some of them but there was no photo opportunity. After long last this morning we got our photo yeah!! Since late October 2014 we have sighted a lone Kudu ewe often always in the vicinity of... more

...and we wait - 2015-04-30

The last few days were hot and humid and signs of rain noticed daily. We had a quick 2mm downpour late afternoon with lots of storm activity all around. Big centipedes are active and climbing walls Lots of ant activity Doves sitting on the roads and of course the Red-chested Cuckoo is calling the rain ... and we wait. &nb... more

Snake in the grass - 2015-04-30

Another spoor of that big snake still no sign of the snake... Track photographed on Sunday, 18 Jan 2014 on Sambane Road     A couple of meters from where it crossed the Sambane Road yesterday this morning, 19 October, we found another track of that snake or maybe its mate.. Hopefully we will be in a po... more

Suckling piglets - 2015-04-30

Warthog regularly bring her piglets to the waterhole at the Xombana restaurant. She gave birth sometime between 16 & 27 December 2014 to four piglets, 4 little bores and all of them still alive. They are just too gorgeous and when a staff member or a guest make a sudden movement they hop around like little balls ever so alert!  ... more

Hunting Owlet - 17 January - 2015-04-30

The Pearl-spotted owlet is learning to hunt and killed a weaver whilst we were setting up the sundowner boma for a function. We have sighted the Pearl-spotted owls and the owlet daily at Xombana and at night they are always active in the parking area at the Xombana restaurant. Pearl-spotted owl with the false eyes at the back of its h... more

In luck or out of luck - 2015-04-30

We experienced an Ancient African believe today.. that is when a Slender Mongoose cross the road you are traveling on, with its tail up in the air, you better change your course because that is a bad luck sign. We were on Rooibank road early this morning when we saw a Slender Mongoose luckily it stuck to the side of the road.. ... more

Lots of water & 100's & 1000's - 2015-04-30

Since 5AM yesterday we had 30mm of rain measured at Sambane with another beautiful overcast day. Puddles of water everywhere and lots of activity judging by the tracks on the roads this morning   Since yesterday we noticed hundreds and thousands of tiny froggies everywhere on the roads and in the grass - Our Creator provides! ... more

the door that closed... - 2015-04-30

at 05:00am we heard a door closed...... wondering who what where..... then there was a rumble and we realized that door was not a door but thunder in the distance. Immediately we heard the raindrops and for 45minutes rain was pouring down 12mm of it.   Everybody including those in the animal Kingdom had a wet start to the morning. ... more

Preparing for lots of water - 13 January 2014 - 2015-04-30

Temperatures remain high but the ants were preparing for lots of rain ...    .....we will wait in anticipation! Peak traffic this afternoon in the DGR i.e. Dinokeng Game Reserve, almost 50 buffalo crossed the Rust de Winter road. A couple of calves were very excited to move over to the other side... the grass m... more

Cooling water - 12 January 2015 - 2015-04-30

...soaring temperatures dries out the soil and  evaporation has an effect on water levels, lower levels of water at watering holes proofs that animals drink a lot of water when it is hot. When Elephant drunk at a waterhole the evidence is visible, they make quite a dent in the water stock of a small waterhole. Birds... more

African Mongoose yet another 1st - 2015-04-30

Another 1st... Just when you thought there cannot be any more firsts we took a photo of a mongoose African Mongoose we have never seen or photographed this species of mongoose. Mongooses are primarily found in Africa, their range covering most of the continent. Some species occupy parts of southern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula. They ... more

Alive - 2015-04-30

Without giving anything away a pair of White-faced Whistling ducks were nesting at the Xombana dam and yesterday we realised that there were hatchlings You won't guess just how difficult it was to try and figure out how many ducklings were following mom around on the dam. We are still not sure it can be anything between six (6) and eight (8)... more

Secret revealed - 9 January 2015 - 2015-04-30

Are they really here? Nocturnal animals that is ..... Definition of Nocturnal : It is an adjective. of, done, or happening in the night; functioning or active during the night; These animals are sometimes forgotten as they are not regularly sighted. From October 2013 and during 2014 various Nocturnal animals were ... more

Freezing experience- 8 January2015 - 2015-04-30

Early mornings often bring surprises... Xander found a juvenile Spotted Thick-knee in the pool at Sambane this morning and shared his photo's with us. After rescuing it from the water he dried the birdie with a towel and left it wrapped in the towel in the sun. After a while in the sun it's body temperature s... more

Festive Xombana Food Moments - 2015-04-30

Our talented Chefs used their food magic again and our guests were treated to some delicious Xombana cuisine Your mouth watering??? Book a game drive, drive out to Dinokeng, sit down at our restaurant and ENJOY!!   ... more

Xombana's Daily Blog 2015-01-06 Festive Moments - 2015-04-30

During the festive season guests, tourists and day visitors were in for great sightings. We could capture a few of those moments! Enjoy!     ... more

Small beginnings - 2015-04-30

All things big or small has to start somewhere small... Dung Beetle with its ball of dung at Sambane compared in size with a human thumb nail. This is not the smallest thing though! This is why you have to look really careful to notice small things. A Crocodile swam closer to the shore at one of the dams in the Dinoke... more

Cutest little Owl - 2015-04-30

Pearl-spotted owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) This photo of a Pearl-spotted Owlet was taken in a tree in the parking area at the Xombana Restaurant. One of sub-Sahara’s commonest owls, the pearl-spotted owlet is characterised by two black patches with white rims on the back of the head, which appear as false eyes. This distinctive ... more

Day of Raptor sightings - 2015-04-30

We were fortunate to see a couple of birds of prey yesterday Martial Eagle, Steppe Buzzard and a Black-shouldered Kite Birds of prey, also known as raptors, hunt and feed on other animals. The term "raptor" is derived from the Latin word rapere (meaning to seize or take by force). Martial Eagle photographed on a pylon... more

Beautiful Songs Colourful Kingfishers - 2015-04-30

Halcyon chelicuti (Striped kingfisher)  The Striped Kingfisher is common in the dry bush and open woodlands. Not the most colorful of kingfishers yet so hard to spot The Striped kingfisher is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, occupying a wide variety of open woodland and grassland habitats. Its diet mainly consists of insects, espec... more

A Fresh Start - 2015-04-30

African Black Duck on the Xombana dam Raindrops and thunder leaving the old year behind .. after a 28mm downpour on Old Years Eve the tally 201mm of rain for December 2014. Refreshed and charged for another year! The Xombana dam's level rised again and we are so greatful for the rain which left the veldt and our animals in such ... more

Sightings- 31 December 2014 - 2015-04-30

Here are those pictures we promised to share a couple of days ago... Mom checking the traffic before calling the cubs to cross the Rust de Winter Road  Photographed by Sue Milton   Looking back into the bush waiting for sibling no4.(Photo by Sue Milton) Proud father of the Northern Pride cubs (Photo by Sue Mil... more

Little birdies - 2015-04-30

It has been very humid and hot lately. Bird life and activity at the dam has increased after the good rains as the dam has more water. Daily sightings of White-faced Whistling Ducks, Little Egret, Green-backed Heron, Black Duck, Little Grebe's, Yellow-billed Ducks and Egyptian Geese. The Warthog sow with her piglets came back today a... more

Proud Mom - 29 December 2014 - 2015-04-30

She brought them..... to show us! We often see this Warthog sow at the Xombana dam and waterhole grazing and wollowing. We knew it would not be long before she gives birth to the piglets when we took this photo on the 16th of December   then we did not see her for about ten days... just in time for Aunty Sue Perry's bir... more

... the skies opened - 28 December - 2015-04-30

..the rain continued and we measured at Xombana another 22mm that fell during the night and in the morning the rain continued 36mm of it. For the last 48 hours we had 75mm of rain at Xombana and 65mm at Sambane.   Little Grebes excited about the rain and all the water.   Little Egret   Maybe these Weavers did not re... more

There's a lion in the grass - 27 December 2014 - 2015-04-30

Snorting Impala, barking Zebra  why were these animals a bit uneasy?... Well the Northern Pride Lioness with her 4 cubs spent more than 24 hours close to Sambane 150m into the bush from our fence laying on the thicket with the cubs since last night, 26 December 2014. Eventually they were sighted in the long grass where they were feeding ... more

Appreciation - 26 December 2014 - 2015-04-30

The team worked very hard, we did not have time to waste but we took a quick pic. Thanks a Million for al your hard work and preparation to make our Christmas Lunch such a success.   Table decorations and goodies   Fresh flowers, St Joseph Lily's and a snowman   Fresh fruit platter. ... more

Important though Unnoticed - 2015-04-30

Cattle Egret generally a quiet bird; however, it can sometimes give a coarse, throaty call, especially during the mating season. Also known as: Buff-backed heron The cattle egret is an opportunistic feeder, with a diet that consists mainly of a variety of insects, spiders, frogs and worms. It follows large grazers such as plains ze... more

Fast Faster - 2015-04-30

Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus) The Tsessebe has the reputation of being the fastest antelope in Southern Africa. They are endangered in South Africa, mainly through habitat loss. Both sexes have crescent shaped horns, the males have larger and thicker horns. Habitat is grassland and open country with scattered patches of bush. Herds are sm... more

It took three days - 2015-04-30

Sometimes you are not so lucky.... even when you go around with a camera always ready... some opportunities are not meant to be... many times you miss that special moment or that perfect shot.. and sometimes you wait a long long time to get another chance.. While you wait for that one moment you missed, many other moments come a... more

Excitement - 2015-04-30

Yet another first @ Xombana .... this time our first photo of Nyala at the dam, two Nyala bulls just came from nowhere, we were shaking so much from excitement that we almost could not keep the camera still for a photo. Symbiotic relationships Symbiotic relationships occur when organisms live upon or inside another organism. Symbi... more

Small and Tall - 2015-04-30

Mating Brown-veined White Butterflies sighted at Sambane Pigmy Kingfisher sighted often at Sambane near the Xombana entrance we think it might be nesting as they normally nest in burrows dug into an earthen banks, such as a erosion gullies, stream banks, termite mounds, trenches and pits. In the vicinity of the sighting is an old Warthog den... more

A mouth full - 2015-04-30

Days are hot and humid Animal young are born daily and birds feeding their hatchlings or grazing with their juveniles that already left the nest are sighted often. Reminds us of Matthew 6:26 "look at the birds of the sky they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them." And here in the reser... more

Continuing 1sts - 2015-04-30

Firsts continuing..... as we saw two buffalo calves here at Sambane for the first time this season yesterday. We also saw the first Blue Wildebeest calf of the season here at the Xombana dam just after dark. Finally after trying for two weeks we got the proof ....   ... Xombana's Warthog piglets! Concluding that there really wer... more

...sunshine - 2015-04-30

The rain from the last two days have now subsided the sun is shining bright and after 56mm of rain was measured for the 48hour period puddles of water can be found everywhere. Lots of insects, dragonflies and butterflies crept out of their hiding places. Animals are visible again.  Topaz Babul Blue Butterfly Hamerkop @the Xombana... more

wet wet wet.... - 2015-04-30

It was drizzling the whole of yesterday. We had 26mm of rain, drizzling again today.... At Sambane we measured 67.5mm of rain up to the 16th of December. A collection of wet animals sighted on a game drive yesterday :   Blue Wildebeest   Impala rams   Black-backed Jackal pup   Warthog... more

Don’t waste the world’s blood. - 2015-04-30

When you conserve water, you conserve life! Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Just think about it........ African Jacana on the dam @ Jimmy's Place. Not only the soil is drenched even the animals are soaking wet. to celebrate the rain is with pancakes! We were blessed with soft rain since 4:30am ... more

Water = Life, Conservation = Future! - 15 December 2014 - 2015-04-30

taken @ the dam @ Jimmy's place, in our opinion one of the most beautiful dams in the Dinokeng Game Reserve. Nymphaeaceae /ËŒnɪmfiːˈeɪsiː/ is a family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called water lilies and live as rhizomatousaquatic herbs in temperate and tropi... more

... delivered... - 2015-04-30

...those clouds on the horison delivered, not when we expected.. ..we thought we would be showered with the typical late summer afternoon thunder storm instead it arrived later. 8mm of rain was announced at 8pm with the normal thunder and lightning and for more than an hour soothing, soft rain drenched the ground and due to the damp soil mushroo... more

Little in more than 1 way - 2015-04-30

We joined guests last night for dinner on the Kokoriba stoep... just after eight we heard a lion roaring behind the Xombana dam.We heard the roar often for the next hour. Very hot in the Bushveld today but that does not shy away our feathered friends. The Piet-my-vrou call of the Red-chested Cuckoo was heard often during the day and ma... more

Sounds - 2015-04-30's raining again..... What is your favorite sound.... The croaking of frogs, a roaring lion, the trilling Woodland Kingfisher, a hammering Woodpecker or the oh so popular African Fish Eagle's haunted call? The sound of rain is but one of the many soothing sounds from nature. We had a storm at midnight and 7... more

Flatter - 2015-04-28

During May 2014, when the Aloes started blooming, we sighted many butterflies. We were initially surprised to see so many as it was autumn, but then we did the math and realised that the increased activity had to be due to the many Aloe flowers. The challenge was on and we started the butterfly hunt... These beautiful creatures are no... more

Fighting chance - 2015-04-28

Another 2.5mm of rain fell during the day and the weather is still promising.... 2 Dagga Boy Buffalo at Tau gate late afternoon.  Earlier this year an Egyptian Geese pair was nesting in a gigantic Monkey Thorn tree at Mundulea assumingly breeding as they were here often. One morning the goslings fell from the nest. To ... more

Life and death.... - 2015-04-28

Ever heard a Woodpecker hammering away? Sometimes they do this to communicate with the opposite sex. Courtship begins with drumming to advertise territory and to alert a potential partner to a specific tree hole. Woodpeckers are primarily monogamous. Eggs are typically laid in the morning and the size of the clutch is bet... more

Unfamiliar sounds and tiny creatures - 2015-04-28

Late afternoon on Saturday we heard the calls of Black-headed Oriole's in the main boma and they were back on Sunday heard often around the Xombana Restaurant. We were chasing birds as we heard a few unfamiliar sounds at Sambane early on Saturday morning in order to identify the birds, when we took a photograph of the Blac... more

a Hard life in the African bush - 2015-04-28

Some little lives has just began and others comes to an abrupt end....   we found this liveless little zebra foal in the veld. A female zebra reaches sexual maturity at age 3, she will have approximately one foal every two years, with each foal gestating between 12 and 14 months. As the foal develops it will shift posit... more

Extinction is forever! - 2015-04-28

... also back visiting Xombana's dam, Red-billed Teal, Anas erythrorhyncha most common ducks in southern Africa. It lives in inland wetlands, artificial or natural, breeding in temporary pans and dams. It is nomadic, rapidly locating new temporary pans and vleis, rarely moving more than 250 km. It feeds mainly on seeds, with small... more

Food & Heat - 2015-04-28

Hot Summer days are here again and gone are the beautiful cool rainy days... hoping for more rain every day that will fill our dams! The dull winter look made space for a bright luscious green. Green is the colour of growing grass and leaves and therefore the colour most associated with nature and springtime. The l... more

Brake for wildlife... - 2015-04-28

At dusk a life of surviving in the bush starts for some animals and for others it ends. For some it ends forever due to the careless acts of human beings..... Those who are active at night needs to find a save place to  rest during the day Sometimes you do not get to see the nocturnal animals therefore a sighting of such an... more

All together - 2015-04-28

We were really lucky 3 special sightings at the same time at one of the dams in Dinokeng.. ... Hippo, Croc & a Jackal A number of birds were also sighted all getting ready for the night going back to their nests. A Pied Kingfisher pair in a dead tree in the dam making the best of the last bit of daylight, White-faced ... more

Timing is everything..... - 2015-04-28

Success is determined by timing....! No matter what it is that you do timing is everything. When you take pictures for the fun... whether you are a serious professional photographer.... ...or whether you out on a game drive. You can miss that special sighting with a minute.. or your timing could be perfect and you could stumble upon a H... more

A collective of NEW - 2015-04-28

   Yet another storm with a furious wind and we end the month of November with 137.5mm of rain and the Xombana dam levels keep raising, which means we continue to report 1st. Yesterday we were taking pictures of a Grey Heron on the island in the dam when we noticed movement .. the first thought was that it was a Hadida Ibi... more

Sudden change - 2015-04-28

We measured 72.5mm of rain for November up to Wednesday, 26 November... then we had a good storm which left us soaking wet with 28mm of precious rain on Wednesday. But yesterday made a huge difference, just in time to push up the tally before we end the month of November. The statistics now look much better as the rainfall measured @ Sam... more

Detail & perfection - 2015-04-28

Sometimes you feel small........     You look at a tiny creature and you notice the detail ...even these critters were created to perfection.     From the tiniest little flower or insect to the biggest mammal all perfect      ... more

Sound of an alarm clock - 2015-04-28

What does your alarm sound like? We have to boast with our wake up call... The past week we were treated to a variety of sounds and every morning the wake up call had a different tone. It started at 5:00AM on Tuesday the "Dee dee dee Diederik" from the Diederik Cuckoo was heard from a tree close to the Lodge at Sambane. ... more

Speckle - 2015-04-28

.... we had 28mm of rain since that downpour late yesterday afternoon! How blessed are we!! Water means live and therefore water attracts many interesting creatures. We have been blessed with many firsts at Xombana, the latest yesterday Black Heron how awesome is that!!  Speckles.... Droplets of rain add up and fill a dam... more

No Gorilla in the mist,,,,, - 2015-04-28

Here at Xombana we do not have Gorillas nor do we have a Gorilla in the mist..... ...but we have a Heron, a Grey Heron in the rain..... shame!! Not sure why he did not take off with the other birds when the drizzle started, maybe he did not want to loose his fishing...agh frogging spot. But he had company at the back of the dam a little E... more

The Early Bird - 2015-04-28

Some days you think you understand the bush and the animal kingdom but there is always the surprise factor the unexpected the extraordinary. We woke up yesterday with the very loud "Piet-my vrou" "Piet-my-vrou"  but those calls were just empty promises as it never rained yesterday. All living creatures mus... more

Happy ending to a rainy day - 2015-04-28

This beautiful Sundowner Moth was sighted on Saturday at Xombana. This moth is common in the bushveld and the larvae feed on Acacia and Marula trees. It is a large moth with a wingspan of 60mm The adult Sundowner Moth is attracted to the smell of over-ripe fruit, beer and sherry... no wonder it was trying to gain access to the restaurant bar... more

Bushveld Splendour - 2015-04-28

... finally after the rain the last couple of days the Tambotie trees are covered in leaves is that not a pretty sight? We thought those trees will never turn green again and finally it is covered in green! This photo was captured on 7 November, back to its old splendour. The veld is really looking good Althou... more

Ability to adapt - 2015-04-28

..sounds as if we got stuck but it is a fact.. Nature is wonderful........ fascinating ........just amazing. Animals can adapt and when one notice these small things it proofs again just how wonderful nature is and how precise the universe was created. We took a photo yesterday of a Hamerkop on the roof of the theater. Not to long ago th... more

Nature Provides - 2015-04-28

The Grey Heron is seen wading in the dam often. There should not be a shortage of food though. It eats frogs. We rescued at least ninety, yes 90, African Red Toads from our swimming pool at Sambane, placed them in a bucket and released them in the Xombana dam.  Lots of other wading birds such as Ma... more

Up up up and away..... - 2015-04-28

Don't you sometimes wish you could fly?.. look at the world from another angle..... On Sunday morning we were enjoying breakfast on the Kokoriba Stoep, the wind was blowing, a strong North Eastern. On the horizon we saw a big big bird approaching the Xombana dam. We did not know what it was only that it was big! It was gliding towards... more

Living creatures - 2015-04-28

We found this Cone-headed Mantid yesterday in one of the trees in the parking area at the restaurant    Cone-headed Mantids are large with body length between 74-80mm often with bizarre body forms or leaf-like lobes. They are alert and voracious predators.   Dinokeng is home to many critters and so many times people miss ... more

Favorites - 2015-04-28

Now that they are back the Woodlands Kingfisher's beautiful song can be heard often. We still hear the Piet-my-vrou and it was even calling from the top of a tree while it was raining together with a black cuckoo. Almost describe our feeling of ....singing in the rain... we are so happy that some good rain has arrived and the veld is loo... more

Sometimes you get lucky... - 2015-04-28

Big 5 country .. Sometimes you get lucky and you find an Elephant standing in the road or.. a lion laying in the bush. This beautiful young male lion must have had a feast as he was so lazy falling down and sitting up every now and then. He got up, moved to another tree a bit further away just to fall down again. People say w... more

Live-giving - 2015-04-28

Water.... live-giving! Amazing how water attracts live. We had some special sightings at the Xombana dam this morning. A Yellow-billed Stork glided in for the landing wading in the Xombana dam. The cuckoo's are quite active this year with the calls of the Black Cuckoo, Diederik and Piet-my-vrou heard often. The Woodlands... more

Expectations...... - 2015-04-28

We have been expecting its return .... and finally today, after that pleasant 15mm of rain that fell, the call of the Woodland Kingfisher was heard. Sorry no photo yet! Source : You Tube reptile-Parrots. The clouds gathered and large pillows of cloud blocked out the sun. As the Dinokeng landowners arrived for the Annual General Me... more

What did nature do 4 U today? - 2015-04-28

Ever thought of asking the question and then reverse the question.... What did you do for nature today? Human beings are so super destructive, we destroy grasslands, forests and farmland to build homes then we blame animals for causing problems but forget that we destroyed their home to build ours so what do we expect? In order to be susta... more

Adding up - 2015-04-28

We had another 1mm and earth is drinking... Slowly the rain keeps falling and the tally keeps climbing, we have had 18mm of rain this month and at the closing time at the restaurant last night we saw and heard many of those signs that indicates that there is more rain to come. Locusts are part of a large group of insects commonl... more

Raindrops keep falling..... - 2015-04-28

What does rain feel like ? Rain Is Peaceful. At Times It Would Be Scary And At Other Times It Would be Calming. It makes people remember and it can make people sad...... Why don't you try this :The best way to describe something is to use examples. You should go out in the rain and write down every word that comes to your mind, what ... more

Shades of gray - 2015-04-28

Feeling blessed after the soft rain from 3:50am, at 6:30am we measured 9mm and we hope for more during the day. This morning the birdie chirps echoed through the bush, sure that they also were giving praise. There is always something to take a picture of. Yesterday late afternoon, from the Rust de Winter road, we saw this African ... more

Circle of Life - 2015-04-28

Although nature is amazing and each creature big and small has a specific purpose the circle of life can be a harsh reality.  One life coming to an end means survival and continuation for another.  Grey Heron eating a frog caught in the Xombana waterhole. Antelope remains means some animal and scavengers had food las... more

Colouring in - 2015-04-28

How colourful!! Each season has it's own beauty and own colours. Our Creator was colouring in our landscape over the past couple of days and today we share some photos to showcase that. Love spring with all the bright colours.    Very fortunate to have sighted a Violet-eared Waxbill / Koningblousysie @ Xombana Ye... more

Giants can Tip-toe - 2015-04-28

As the day came to an end we were enjoying the picturesque setting and spectacular sunset on the Kokoriba Stoep at the Xombana Restaurant overlooking the waterhole. In the DISTANCE, so we thought, we heard trees breaking..... Elephant activity? We were listening to the whistle of the White-faced Whistling Ducks and the Black Cuckoo's... more

Gratitude - 2015-04-28

The weekend is here! Diederik Cuckoo announced with its dee-dee-dee- diederik call from early morning. We saw a Raptor, it could have been a Verreaux's Eagle or a Tawny Eagle, circling the sky looking for prey with a flock of swallows, it almost looked as if the swallows were escourting this beautiful bird. The moo... more

Look & C, Listen & Hear - 2015-04-28

So often we look but do not see, we listen but do not hear...... We notice but do we really? Some things we do not notice because we are just so use to it, is it not ? We photographed these beautiful lily's at the Xombana restaurant  The spectacular paintbrush lily is one of South Africa's most striking bulbous p... more

Smells & Flowers - 2015-04-28

A furious storm swept through parts of the Reserve and left behind a trail of fallen trees, a cloud burst in some areas with some hail but at Xombana the tail end of the storm in the late afternoon only brought wind. Later in the evening 2mm of rain fell. In the late afternoon we heard the call of the Klaas Cuckoo and again this morning. ... more

a New day - 2015-04-28

Still overcast this morning with humidity on 38%. During the night we had a quick drizzle @Xombana, less than 1mm measured but maybe today is the day..... Anytime from middle November Impala normally give birth but we have had births as late as 15 December and first week of January. We took a photo of a female Impala on Sunday at the dam,&n... more

Bushveld HEAT & the promise of rain - 2015-04-28

During the day the dam and waterhole hosted many animals who came to quench their thirst and they did not move far away stayed behind the dam in the shade. Impala, Wildebeest, Kudu, a breeding herd of Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog and Vervet Monkey came to drink before eight o'clock. Wading in the dam was a Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Egret and H... more

More Lapwing Cuteness - 2015-04-28

First we shared that cute Spotted Thick-knee chick, the African Wattled Lapwing familyand the Red Hartebeest calves.      This afternoon we were fortunate to see a Crowned Lapwing chick.Mom was not very happy with our presence    Egg laying peaks from August to December, they lay 2-4 eggs and the chi... more

Little Calves - 2015-04-28

1st of November 1st of the Red Hartebeest calves, awhhhh.... A herd of Red Hartebeest with two little calves that arrived during the night was sighted @ Xombana we are so excited as nature continues to surprise. Just amazing how everything just happens when it is meant to and one can't help to feel small in this universe. ... more

More 1sts - 2015-04-28

Baby animals are just too adorable whether they are of the feathered sort, mammals, reptiles etc. etc . etc. even tiny baby spiders has a certain appeal. Do you also just want to pick them up, hug them and take them home? Cuteness overload!! I am sure everyone has their own favorite and that we all think : "If they could only stay small&... more

Time for firsts - 2015-04-28

Our 1st sighting this season of the Levaillant's Cuckoo, take a look at the photo on our Facebook page : Flying ants normally make their appearance after and during rainy weather strange that after the downpour... more

Signs - 2015-04-28

Last year our first rains came on 24 September 2013 and this year we had to wait until 9 October for 1mm, then on 25 October we had a downpour measuring 16mm. Although we still need more we are grateful for this. When you talk to people about weather conditions almost everyone has some sort of interest and monitor rain patterns and weather ... more

Croaking - 2015-04-28

The mating calls of the African Red Toad amused us, for two nights consecutive from dusk to dawn they croaked. The males call from the surface of deep still water to attract females. Click on the link to view a photo on our Facebook page and see how the water vibrates while the frog is croaking : more

Songs in the bush - 2015-04-28

Bird song is one of the wonders of the natural world. It has uplifted and cheered human beings for as long as history has been recorded and its beauty continues to charm us more than ever in this modern technological world. Most urban homes play host to some song birds and to hear the dawn chorus at the same time as watching the sunrise is a truly ... more

Refreshed & rejuvenated - 2015-04-28

We feel really blessed today.... we had 16mm of rain last night, normal storm with wind, thunder and lightning and then the heavy downpour big big raindrops! Yeah!! It has cooled down still overcast this morning and the bush is beautiful. In a few days we will see the difference this dull landscape will turn into a lush green. ... more

Moving Air - 2015-04-28

Build-up to a storm was promising, a significant disruption to our normal weather conditions started with a strong wind which caused a dust storm with clouds of sand rushing through the bushveld followed by a power failure for some hours. Thunder and lightning announced only a few droplets. Just a few minutes after midnight we heard the rumbling... more

Storm brewing - 2015-04-28

Dark Clouds gathered and a storm was brewing we heard some thunder and lightning lit up the sky, we sat in anticipation even a few Black-backed Jackal announced their delight with a couple of howls but after a few drops the storm vanished. ... more

Social Networking - 2015-04-28

Go to the Links heading under Website Links click on the icon and follow us on the social networks : Blogger, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Thinglink, Twitter          ... more

Xombana Diaries - 2015-04-28

We had a bit of storm activity in the early evening @ Xombana with a few scattered raindrops not enough though to show anything in our rain meter. Roars from a lion could be heard in the distance and early this morning we found a pack of Black-backed Jackal scavenging but no sign of a carcass or any lion  ... more

Second spring - 2015-04-28

More and more yellow autumn leaves are appearing. Leaves change and weather gets colder. The Wild Seringa's were the first trees to start the beautiful autumn coloration "Autumn is the second spring when every leave is a flower" Albert Camus Coloration changes our landscape to a patchwork of bright yellow, orange,... more

Flightless Runner - 2015-04-28

The temperature this morning 10 degrees quite a difference from the twenty something's we are used to. Animals have been frequenting certain areas in the early mornings. Big herds of Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Blesbuck, Kudu, Zebra and Giraffe providing good sightings. We had Cheetah and Elephant in our neck if the woods agai... more

The pig-like rabbit-like kangaroo-like Elephant relative - 2015-04-28

It looks like the end of summer is really here now. Overcast and smells like rain or is it just a cold front bringing cooler weather..... Together with all the other good sightings  the past week we were fortunate to have a breeding herd of Buffalo in our surrounds, with at least four calves midst them. Yesterday in the earl... more

Sweet succulent - 2015-04-23

.... we were right those clouds we photographed yesterday did bring cold weather and rain. April 17 was declared the official International Bat Appreciation day The World would be a much "buggier" place without bats. Fortunately despite the cold windy rainy weather animal sightings were surprisingly good. The birdlif... more

Starry Night - 2015-04-23

We have two Warthog mothers that have been frequenting the restaurant area and also the Sambane waterhole, really good mothers as all nine piglets are still alive and well. One mother with five piglets and the other with four piglets so adorable. This morning there are thick grey clouds hiding the sun and it is cold after the 2mm of soft unexpec... more

Vivid Crimson Caramel & Pale Grey - 2015-04-23

Autumn show is growing daily and it is amazing how quickly our landscape changes. Rainfall for the year is a bit concerning, at Sambane and Xombana we had 30mm during March and for April to date 3.5mm with the total for the year on 153mm. This morning a cold wind is blowing away fluffy clouds to make way for more serious looking bank of s... more

Decaying treat - 2015-4-21 - 2015-04-23

This morning on Tambotie Loop we found this old piece of dry animal skin. It is from an old Eland kill. Must have been dragged from the thicket and assumingly by Brown Hyena, We have spotted tracks regularly at Xombana, Sambane and also on Rooibank road last week. Favorite treat for a scavenger is decaying animal or plant matter. Scaven... more

Sound of silence - 2015-04-23

The bush awakes late. Every day a little later ... This morning was a rather quiet morning with the sound of silence carrying through the bush. We drove quite a distance before we sighted some animals but only a hand full of species. Red hartebeest, Wildebeest and Zebra. Even the Black-backed Jackal that normally wait for us on Tambotie Loop ... more

Crisp Sunburnt - 2015-04-23

Gone is our lush green bushveld.... ..but it made space for the beautiful golden rusty amber shades autumn brings. Leaves are falling leaving the branches bare.. they dance in the air swirling and twirling in the wind round and around “hugging one another, laughing as they touched faces” ―Sarah Addison Allen... more