Ranger Diaries

November 8, 2012

Cheetah Bonding

Cheetah male at Gondwana

One of Gondwana Game Reserves male cheetahs has recently bonded with another male. The coalition that they have formed allows for better territory protection and allows them to be more successful hunters.
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October 16, 2012

LION LOVE!

It seems as though love is in the air at Gondwana Game Reserve.

Two lion were spotted mating in the car park at Lehele Lodge.

Shortly before, The lions had caught an Eland a few meters from the reserve and wildlife offices. The lion  pride have made monitoring relatively easy this week but rather difficult to get access into the office!

Just another eventful day working at Gondwana!

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October 16, 2012

Long Crested Eagle

Long Crested Eagle spotted on Gondwana today!

This beautiful creature is way out of its distribution range, must have been attracted to the reserve by our beautiful Fynbos 🙂

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October 11, 2012

Secretary Birds!

A Beautiful pair of Secretary Birds seen at Gondwana.

Secretary birds are Large birds of prey and are recognized by their eagle type body and their long crane like  legs. However, when in flight this bird looks more like a crane than a bird of prey.

Female and Male secretary birds are distinguished by the male having longer head plumes and tail feathers. Adults have red faces where younger birds are yellow in colour.

Unlike other birds of prey, Secretary birds catch their prey on foot. They feed on small animals and arthropods.

Secretary birds are recognized in Africa for their striking appearance and their ability to rid areas of pests and snakes.

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August 3, 2012

AN INTERESTING LOVE STORY

We have an interesting pious zebra down at our stables. Originally he thought he was a Watusi cow and used to hang out with them then moved on to join the eland in the red rocks area. He stays away from all the other zebras which is quite bizarre.

He now hangs out with the horses and has now fallen in love with Sabra the little Arab mare owned by our stable manager Leandi.

We have now named him Frank, he is on our website as Mukani so our stable groom Chase has named him Frank Mukani.

Frank waits patiently outside the stables in the mornings for all the horses to finish their breakfast and then joins them for the day out in the veld. When we go on out rides he gets quite frantic and watches Sabra as she gallops off into the distance. One of these days I am sure he will join us on the out rides.

By Julian Hepple

Edited by Vanessa Naude

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July 10, 2012

Cheetah Sighting

One lovely afternoon I took a group of guests staying at a private Bush Villa on an exciting game drive. We ventured past the waterhole and saw some very playful hippos splashing about in the water. On our way to the main gate something flashed passed us which caught my eye. As we moved closer we saw 2 cheetahs lying on one of the contour lines. This was an amazing moment as two of the children on the drive had mentioned that the cheetah happened to be their favorite animal. This was a special moment for both the children and me as I watched their eyes sparkle with excitement.  As we moved a little closer the cheetah began to play together in front of the vehicle, as if they had planned a little production for us. One of the cheetahs sprinted passed in such a way that it almost collided with the vehicle.

This was an amazing experience that was enjoyed by all.

By Henk Truter

Some interesting facts about cheetahs:

  • Size: 30 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 110 to 140 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Habitat: Open plains
  • Diet: Smaller antelopes
  • Gestation: 90 to 95 days
  • Predators: Eagles, humans, hyenas, lions
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June 27, 2012

Hiking in Milkwood Valley

It has been an awesome experience hiking in the Gondwana Safe area lately as I have been able to enjoy the small things Gondwana Game Reserve has to offer.

Our Protected species/walking area is what we call “Renosterveld” and offers a different kind of Fynbos with an interesting mix of plant species as well as some interesting butterflies  such as blue pansies, yellow garden area, whites and common blue. We have beautiful Cape Mountain Zebra in the area who are looking fantastic at the moment. Hiking and being on foot really brings one allot closer to all the smaller things nature has to offer and is highly recommended at Gondwana. On one afternoon hike I managed to see a fish eagle, Peregrine Falcon hunting, African Harrier Hawk and a Secretary bird was nesting.

The other night while driving home in Milkwood Valley my wife Tracey and I spotted two Bat eared foxes another one of our secret little species we have on offer.

So come enjoy Gondwana Red rocks and Milkwood Valley for up close and personal hiking and horse safari’s.

By Julian Hepple

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June 11, 2012

New Buffalo Calf Spotted!

Gondwana welcomes a new member to the buffalo herd. On the 15th of May, A heifer become a mother and gave birth to a baby boy. The youngster still clumsy on his feet followed his mother through the thicket to meet the rest of the herd. The mother has been very protective over her calf keeping him well hidden away in the dense bush. As the calf grows older he should become more inquisitive and venture out so that we can get a decent photograph of the youngster.

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June 11, 2012

Black Shouldered Kites Are Back With A Vengeance

With the onslaught of winter, the Black Shouldered Kites are back with a vengeance.  May is the time of the year to witness  their aerial courtship displays. The male may fly around slowly with stiff exaggerated flaps. Courting males dive at the female, feeding her in mid-flight. Females select males based on the quality of his territory. Numerous pairs have made home on Gondwana already. These monogamous pairs usually breed in June to August.

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