Friday, 15 July 2011

News from Nambiti Hills

It’s Getting Chilly But The Reception At Nambiti Hills Is Always Warm!
Main Image of the Entrance to Nambiti Hills
  Dear Friends of Nambiti Hills,  
The 21st June was the Winter Solstice, launching us into the coldest part of the year and dare I say it but so far it hasn’t been that bad. It is in fact the perfect time to spend time at Nambiti Hills which is why we’ve got a WINTER SPECIAL on until 31 July 2011 - a mid-week break at R1595* or weekend getaway at R1795* per person per night sharing.
We did have a very cold spell of about 2 or 3 days when we piled up the layers on the open vehicle but it didn’t last too long. For those few days though it was clear to see the difference in game viewing and we not only struggled to see the big game but the general game went into hiding too.
The animals tend to go high up on the ridges and into the thicker bush to keep out of the cold.
During this cold spell, snow fell on the Drakensberg and provided an exquisite backdrop in the West. The sun did eventually come out and warm us up and it was wonderful to see the change it brings in the bush. Suddenly we had herds of game on every road we took and the birds seemed to be out in abundance again.
One of the exquisite entertainment areas at Nambiti Hills
As the bush gets drier at this time, the animals come to the lodge to utilise the succulent aloes we have at our entrance.
We saw the buffalo at the entrance in the evening when we went to bed and when we woke up in the morning we were able to see the damage he had caused. He had a lovely time wandering right through the lodge and picking out the aloes.
Image of an Elephant grazing
I foresee much more of this throughout the Winter, so we might have our work cut out for us. Honeymooners Bob and Laura arrived at the lodge and clearly had luck on their side. The pride of lions had decided to lay down in an open area right below the honeymoon suite where they were staying. They kept an eye on them throughout the day as they sat on their deck. If that wasn’t enough, they also spotted the herd of elephant in the distance moving towards a dam in the valley below the lodge. We hopped into the Land Rover quickly and drove down and arrived in perfect time to see the whole herd line up on the far side of the dam drinking for a few minutes.
So it’s getting cold but Nambiti never fails to deliver. Wrap up warmly on the Land Rover as you take in the endless views of the reserve and then get greeted with a glass of sherry and roaring fires on your return to the lodge...sounds like a good way to spend a Winter’s day to me!
Just contact or call 031 818 0340 now to reserve our superlative honeymoon suite or one of our eight other exclusive suites at the Winter Special rate.
Ross Cairns
Game Guide
Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge
  Recent Sightings  
Image of two adult Buffaloes
• Our female cheetah and her cub have been seen separately lately so it seems he might have to fend for himself from now on and leave his mother to have more cubs. The good thing is that they have been hanging out in the South nearby our lodge. In fact Brendan found the young male just 30 m from the gate as he left on the morning drive one day.
• The herd of buffalo have been in the north for a few weeks so we haven’t been seeing them much. We did however have a very close encounter with one bull in the lodge.
• We had a fantastic sighting of our lone lioness close to the lodge too as we returned from the morning drive one day. She picked up on something in the bush and we watched from behind as she started stalking. She eventually took off and we heard the commotion through the bush as a waterbuck eventually emerged on the other side closely followed by the lioness but she narrowly missed out. We continued to follow her up to the Southern Plains and she started stalking a herd of blue wildebeest. She went down in the grass and we waited patiently for some action but the herd got wind of her and moved off and her hunt came to nothing. The anticipation was great though and we were all most satisfied with the bit of action we did get.
Image of a Lioness Calling
Did You Know?...
Image of a Peak in the Drakensberg
• The Drakensberg (“the Dragon Mountains” is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa rising to 3 482 metres (11,424 ft). In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba (“Barrier of Spears”). The Sesotho refer to the mountain range as the Maluti.
• The Drakensberg is rich in plant life and home to 299 recorded bird species.
• The lower slopes of the Drakensberg are rich in wildlife, including the rare Southern White Rhinoceros that was nurtured here when facing extinction, and the Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou), which now only thrives in protected areas and game reserves.
Image of a WildeBeest
• Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) are large antelope found in East and Southern Africa. They have a heavy-fronted appearance with a big, rectangular-shaped head. They have a mane, beard and a long, dark coloured tail. Their coat is short and slate grey in colour with dark vertical stripes down each side.
• Blue Wildebeest communicate with each other via grunting calls and they can reach speeds up to 65 km/hr (40 mph).
Predators of Blue Wildebeest include lions, African wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles and spotted hyenas.
Image of a Wild Dog
• The African, or Cape, buffalo is a member of the Big Five, along with the elephant, rhino, lion and leopard.
• Once popular trophies for hunters, buffaloes are unpredictable and can be dangerous if cornered or wounded.

• There is only one genus and one species of buffalo in Africa, but this single species has two different types: the large savanna buffalo and the much smaller dwarf forest buffalo.
• Savanna buffaloes are large, heavy cowlike animals.
• Both male and female buffaloes have heavy, ridged horns that grow straight out from the head or curve downward and then up. The horns are formidable weapons against predators and for jostling for space within the herd; males use the horns in fights for dominance.
Image of three Buffaloes lying down to rest
• Both savanna buffaloes and forest buffaloes live close to water. In general buffaloes are found throughout the northern and southern savanna as well as the lowland rain forest.
• Sight and hearing are both rather poor, but scent is well developed in buffaloes.
• Although quiet for the most part, the animals do communicate. In mating seasons they grunt and emit hoarse bellows. A calf in danger will bellow mournfully, bringing herd members running at a gallop to defend it.
• Buffaloes spend more time feeding at night than during the day. They seem to have a relatively poor ability to regulate body temperature and remain in the shade for long periods of time in the heat of the day, or wallow in mud.
Image of a Buffalo Calling
• If attacked, the adults in the herd form a circle around the young and face outward. By lowering their heads and presenting a solid barrier of sharp horns, it is difficult for predators to seize a calf. This effective group defense even allows blind and crippled members of the herd to survive. Thus predators do not have a major impact on buffalo herds; it is the old, solitary-living males that are most likely to be taken by lions.
• The buffalo is one of the most abundant of Africa's large herbivores. It depends on water and does not live in regions with less than 10 inches of rain a year.
• The main predators of buffaloes are humans and lions.
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