They say Africa is not a place, it is a feeling. As we sit here on the pristine banks of the Sand River, a place riddled with some of the best wildlife on the continent, it is hard not to embrace the ‘feeling of Africa’. What is meant by this? What is it about this special place that often moves visitors to tears…
The Kruger National Park (KNP) is one of the largest and best-known national parks in Africa. It is famous for many reasons, chiefly, the abundance and variety of mega-fauna and flora is what makes it stand out from the plethora of other national parks. The KNP boasts 35 species of amphibians, 53 species of fishes, 118 species of reptiles, 148 species of mammals, 505 species of birds and 1990 species of plants.
Speak to any ranger that has worked at MalaMala Game Reserve, past or present, and ask what keeps them here and, in many cases, what brings them back. You will get one simple answer: “It’s all about the wildlife…” So, one has to ask what makes the game viewing so special at MalaMala? There is no single reason but rather the culmination of a number of factors which result in the ‘Magic of MalaMala’ that so many have revelled in over the decades.
Seasonal changes in the bush are drastic and made even more noticeable if one isn’t present to watch the change take place. It so happened that my last 14-day leave started the day before the first significant rains of the 2019/20 wet season. Upon returning to MalaMala I found a completely altered and beautiful environment ready to welcome me.
The aardvark (or ant bear as it is also known) is arguably one of the most peculiar creatures on MalaMala Game Reserve and it is probably the one that you are least likely to see. Most people don’t know very much about this odd looking animal besides the fact that its name is always the first word in a dictionary and that it has often been portrayed in kids cartoons over the years.
They been described by many as the perfect predator, remaining virtually unchanged for millions of years. Since the time of dinosaurs they have out-survived many other species in some of the toughest and most hostile environments on the African continent.They hold the title of being the second largest reptile on earth as well as being one of the longest living animals.
The world’s most trafficked mammal is one that many people have never even heard of. Amidst the catastrophe of wildlife poaching and trafficking, where animals such as rhinos, lions and elephants often take the spotlight, this very small creature is mostly overlooked. There are eight different species of this, the world’s only truly scaly mammal, and they are all threatened with extinction
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!