Yawn!

It’s a lazy and hot Friday morning at Kuzuko Lodge. The sun’s already baking down without a cloud in the sky. The pride spots a kudu and the two female take the lead in the hunt. It’s a patient wait watching it through the spekboom as it stands browsing unaware. Then the chase is on. Adrenalin pumping. Excitement. Hunger. Fear. Everything happens so fast yet everything else stands still. The kudu stood no chance as she gets taken down in a cloud of dust. The boys move in first to eat their fill but the ladies doesn’t wait very long. Tummies full. Eyes heavy. Time for a nap. Yawn.

Yawn and Snarl – World Lion Day

Today is World Lion Day.  It’s the first global campaign to celebrate the importance of the lion world wide.  People tend to be very aware of the plight of animals like the rhino, the gorilla and the African penguin due to their vulnerability, but very few know that it won’t take much for the lion to be in the same situation.  The king of the jungle is probably the most iconic of the animal species and have over the ages fascinated man, guarded our temples, adorned our flags, decorated our coins and been a symbol of strength. 

Yawn and Snarl is Matt and Kalahari at Kuzuko Lodge

A memorable weekend

Clan Firefly spent a memorable long weekend across the Zuurberg enjoying the best the southern Karoo has to offer and as soon as I get a chance to edit the pictures and write a blog post or two I will share it all with you.  Here’s a taste of what we did so long, most of which were new experiences for the KidZ.
 
 Game drives at Kuzuko Lodge…

… looking for big game. 

Learning about the history of Ann’s Villa…
 
 … and taking in the beauty of the flowering aloes.

Enjoying endless views…

… while ending the days off with breathtaking Karoo sunsets

White Lions at Pumba

There are about 500 white lions left in the world, most of them in captivity.  Pumba Game Reserve is one of only a few game reserves in South Africa that has free range white lions on its property.  Pumba’s white lions is right at the top of what visitors to the reserve wants to see and it was no different when I got to visit for a night.  On the evening game drive we spotted a female with two cubs in the distance, but struck it lucky on the morning game drive with the other female and her juvenile cub.  

Mommy surveying the area from a little hillock

White lion

Don’t you want to just cuddle up to this big furry mane and fall asleep with him?  White Lions is quite a rare sight and the only Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape where you can see them in the wild is Pumba Game Reserve (which I hope I’ll have the opportunity to visit some time soon).  The second option to see them is the Seaview Game and Lion Park just outside Port Elizabeth where the park has a breeding program for white lions.  This bug guy’s name is Thor and on my visit he wasn’t really in the mood to get up out of his sunny sleeping spot.  Not that I think he would have been too impressed if I slid in next to him for a snooze. 

Die Groot Vyf

Wie of wat is die Groot Vyf?  Kom ons wees meer spesifiek en sê die Groot Vyf van die diereryk, anders dink mense dalk ons praat van lande, natuurwonders of toerisme-attraksies.  So, wie of wat is die Groot Vyf van die diereryk?  Dis nie die vyf grootste diere of die mooiste vyf nie, maar die vyf wilde diere wat die gevaarlikste was om te voet te jag in Afrika.  Ek sê was want vandag is dit niks om ‘n dier vanaf die agterkant van ‘n bakkie of uit ‘n helikopter te skiet nie.

Die eerste en grootste dier op die lys is die olifant wat tot die familie Elephantidae behoort.  Die Afrika-olifant  (Loxodonta africana) is beide algeheel groter en het groter ore as die Indiese olifant (Elephas maximus), wat beperk is tot Indië en Suidoos-Asië.  Die soogdier wat huidiglik die nouste verwant is aan olifante is … wag vir dit … die Suid-Afrikaanse dassie.  Dit is omdat beide dieselfde beenstruktuur in hulle voete het.  Die foto is in die Addo Nasionale Olifantpark geneem wat seker een van die beste plekke in die land is om wilde olifante van redelik naby te besigtig.

Die leeu (Panthera leo) is een van die vier “groot katte” in die genus Panthera.  Dit is die tweede grootste katspesie naas die tier en weeg tussen 150 en 250 kilogram.  In die natuur word leeus tussen 10 en 14 jaar oud, terwyl dié in gevangenskap tot oor die 20 jaar oud kan word.  Hulle word nie verniet die koning van die oerwoud genoem nie, alhoewel hulle nie regtig oerwoud diere is nie en eerder op die savana’s en bosveld van Afrika voorkom.

Daar is gereeld besprekings onder mense oor of dit die swart- of wit-renoster is wat ingesluit is in die Groot Vyf.  Die kleiner swartrenoster (Diceros bicornis) kom gewoonlik in bosse voor en is die meer aggresiewe van die twee terwyl die witrenoster (Cerarotherium simum) meer in ooptes voorkom omdat hy gras eet.  Die swart-renoster is die een was oorspronklik ingesluit is in die Groot 5 alhoewel albei oor die algemene aanvaar word.  Renosters is in die laaste tyd verskriklik geteiken vir hulle horings wat op die swartmark in die Ooste verkoop word.  Dit het so erg geraak dat ek nie met veiligheid kan sê waar die foto van die swartrenoster hierbo geneem is nie.

Die buffel is ‘n gelyktonige hoefdier van die familie Bovidia, en die subfamilie Bovinae.  Die buffel word geken as ‘n formidabele en onvoorspelbare teenstander en kan tot 56km/uur hardloop.  Buffels is sekerlik die mees onderskatte van die Groot Vyf en ‘n gewonde buffel is uiters gevaarlik met verskeie jagters wat al gedood is in buffelaanvalle. Ou veldkenners beweer dat ‘n gewonde buffel op sy spore teruggaan en die jagter sal voorlê.  Die Kaapse Buffels in die Addo Nasionale Olifantpark het hulle hele manier van lewe verander na hulle amper uitgeskiet is in die vroeër 1900’s en het so te sê nagdiere geword todat leeus weer in die park ingebring is in die vroeër 2000’s.  Voor die leeus se koms het jy amper nooit die buffels in die park gesien nie terwyl hulle nou weer algemeen in ooptes voorkom. 

Laaste, maar nie die minste nie is my gunsteling dier.  Die luiperd (Panthera pardus) was voorheen as bergtier of tier bekend en is ‘n lid van die katfamilie. Luiperds is na tiers, leeus en jaguars die vierde grootste groot-kat met die poema volgende grootste.  Luiperds is nagdiere met ‘n volwasse luiperd wat ongeveer 60 kg weeg en’n algemene hoogte van 60 cm bereik.  Die luiperds in die noorde van Suid Afrika word baie meer gereeld gesien as die in die Ooskaap en Weskaap.

The Lion King

Port Elizabeth is surrounded by some of the best private game reserves in South Africa, not forgetting Addo Elephant National Park right on our doorstep.  The majority of these game reserve have free range lions and its always a highlight on any game drive to encounter these magnificent and proud animals.  Kalahari is one of two male lions in the Kuzuko section of the Addo Elephant National Park.  He was one of the first six lions brought to Addo from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park when it was decided to reintroduce lions to the park a couple of years ago.

Kalahari the Lion

Kalahari was one of the original lions brought to the Addo Elephant National Park from the Northern Cape in 2003 to reintruduce lions into Addo.  At the time Kalahari was one of the two younger males in the group of six that were brought to the park as got his name from the area from where he originated.  A couple of years back he was moved to his present home in the Kuzuko section of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park north of the Zuurberg mountains.  
A truly magnificent beast