It is that time of year again when birds of a feather flock together and migrate. Indeed, some of our avian summer visitors have already arrived on MalaMala Game Reserve and many more are on their way. It would be a shame not to take a moment to research and appreciate the awe-inspiring journeys that many of these birds have undergone to get into your viewfinder.
Disney recently released their much-anticipated remake of the Lion King. The original movie (first screened in 1994), was a huge success in almost every corner of the world. Indeed, many rangers like myself watched it when we were little urchins and it has remained close to our hearts ever since. If you think I’m exaggerating I’d suggest you put it to the test by humming any one of the songs in the movie next to a ranger and they’ll probably carry the tune or provide you with the lyrics!
Owls are synonymous with darkness and for this association they have bared the brunt of human superstition in several cultures. These birds are shrouded in mystique and myth but once you start to unravel the truth of their biology and understand the essence of the owl, you will soon become enchanted by their charms.
A series of repeated low grunting notes, not unlike the sound of a distant lion, greets the sunrise and adds some bass to the dawn chorus. A flock of prehistoric-looking birds emerge from the thickets into open grassland and stalk across the ground like undertakers at a funeral, their bright-red necks a startling contrast to their solemn black bodies.
The giraffe, an animal so unique to Africa, is silently going extinct. Many of us have been blissfully unaware of the dire predicament in which these ungainly beasts find themselves.
Often, when we ask our guests which animals they’re most hoping to see, we hear the usual ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo) and then, almost always, this is followed by the giraffe.
West Street has a new guardian. It is no secret that MalaMala has some of the best river frontage of any reserve in the country, with around 24km of prime game viewing habitat on the banks of the Sand River. The vast majority of our reserve sits east of the river while all three of our camps are on the western bank. It is therefore inevitable that we need several crossings to gain access into the east.
The Impala Aepyceros melampus
The month of April has brought with it the impala rutting season. It is the time of year, signalled by the shorter days and longer nights of Autumn, where we see the adult male impalas being completely intolerant of one another, especially in the presence of females in oestrus.
As a ranger in South Africa, you often hear of this mystical place called MalaMala Game Reserve (aka "The Promised Land"). Stories, as we all know, can sometimes sound too good to be true and so I found myself wondering if these unconfirmed reports were fact, or simply fiction, hyped up by the ‘bush telephone’. I decided to find out for myself…
For centuries, humans have dreamed of flight and all of us have, at some time in our lives, looked up at the birds in the sky and wished to have their amazing abilities. There is one bird in particular found here at MalaMala Game Reserve, that captures the hearts and minds of all who look upon it. It awakens the deepest-seated awe and envy with every graceful flap of its wings. This bird is no ordinary bird; it is the undisputed Lord of the skies. The mighty Martial Eagle.