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Soweto!

Hello Soweto!

We had a fantastic Soweto tour on a recent day trip from Pretoria exploring Vilakazi street as well as Mandela house. It was quite busy in and around Mandela house. Tomorrow our guests are off to Cape Town and the weather looks fantastic! Thank you for joining us on tour today.

Beautiful White Rhino!

We left early on our day trip from Pretoria to a nearby game reserve. About mid-morning we came across a white Rhino mom and her little one enjoying a mud bath today. A fantastic sighting to say the least! The mud provides some protection against sunburn and relief from biting insects.

Day Trip from Pretoria

Aaah…. Meerkats! (Suricate)

On a recent Safari from Pretoria, we came across these guys enjoying the morning sun.

Oh, and there are babies too!

They belong to the mongoose family and are carnivores, love insects but small lizards, scorpions, eggs etc. makes a good meal too. They’re immune to some venom such as that from a scorpion. They are burrowing animals, living underground in a network of tunnels with multiple entrances.

Can watch these guys for hours……

It’s Marula season!

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On a recent day trip from Pretoria we passed by some Marula trees. The Sclerocarya(“hard nut”) birrea(species) or commonly known as the Marula is one of southern Africa’s most valued deciduous trees. Male and female flowers develop on the separate trees with insects pollinating the flowers. The trees grow best under warm conditions in many of South Africa’s Game Parks including Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

When ripe, the fruit turns yellow and is thought to be savoured by humans, elephants, giraffe, kudu and warthogs for over 12,000 years. Fruit pulp, essential oils and edible oils emanate from its fruit, nut, leaf and bark. Marula oil is extracted from the kernels which rival the richness of the best virgin olive oils.

The softwood as seen on a safari from Pretoria is often carved into canoes and drums, ill effects of insect bites are wrought from its astringent bark with leaves having healing powers for burns and abscesses.

Legend has it…… as the Marula fruit ripens and falls to the ground, many a monkey and elephant can ill resist, nor can the sun, turning the fruit into a fermented alcoholic bush snack!

Monkey and elephant snack away till they sway….…

Check out the movie from the ’80s, “The Gods must be Crazy” by Jamie Uys, well worth a laugh!

 

 

It is a Rock Monitor Lizard or “Likkewaan”

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Monitor lizards are fearsome predators. They have forked, snake-like tongues to sense direction of scent trails allowing them to follow pray.
Rock monitors either take off or hold their ground by hissing and swishing their tails and can defend themselves by biting, scratching or lashing their tails which delivers stinging blows.
Rock monitors lay their eggs in burrows.

This one still at a distance, allowed us very little time for pictures. It crossed the track in a hurry making it extremely difficult to get clear pictures while on a moving vehicle!
The line/furrow in the sand was made by the lizard’s tail.

Day tour from Pretoria

Day tours from PretoriaDay tour from Pretoria

Safari from Pretoria

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Our safari from Pretoria kicked off with a lovely greeting this morning. He smelled the air….. casually approached the vehicle, inspected the spare wheel before moving off to continue stripping trees nearby. What a lovely sighting!

Day trips from Pretoria

Safari at Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve

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Guests from London arrived safely yesterday and joined us on a day tour from Pretoria. Mom, dad and a little one getting our attention as we make our way to a big 5 game reserve north-west of Pretoria.

Dinokeng

 

As we leave the main road we opt for a narrow almost overgrown bush trail in search of elephants. It’s hot, must be close to 40 ºC. About 20 minutes on the trail we spotted elephant footprints and freshly stripped leaves scattered on the ground indicating their earlier presence yet, as big as they are, we might not find them today….

Day Safari

 

It’s a bumpy ride, dusty too but so exciting! We pass by some Impala males as we enter a clearing, yet no sight of any elephants.

Pretoria Tours

 

A herd of Blue Wildebeest is pretty content with our presence, the three calves nearby are getting some of the herd’s attention. The calves are probably a week or two old as their reddish skin divulged their age.

Day Trip from Pretoria

 

The Blue Wildebeest with their calves…..

 

The day is getting warmer, some animals head for the shade yet no sight of any elephants. Wow, Rhino in the shade! Beautiful, so relaxed, must be the heat or have they filled their tummies and getting ready for a mid-day nap in the shade? A short distance from the rhinos is their giant communal latrine……

 

A giant communal latrine often called a midden is a preferred meeting place for rhino. Rhino dung is made up of desiccated grass. Chemicals in faeces allow rhinos to learn what is going on with other members of their species.

Dinokeng

 

As the rhino dozes off for the afternoon, we head for a hide overlooking a dam hoping to find elephants at the dam to no avail, wonder where they are, we must have just missed them as indications pointed at there presence closeby

Dinokeng

 

We continue our search for elephants, word has it that a herd was spotted in the vicinity of a nearby safari lodge. We head in that direction….  Look out! Kudu to our left, one’s limping, wonder why.

 

Wow Eland!

It’s been a while since spotting this many Eland. The largest antelope in Africa. There must be about 60 in total. Let’s not spend to much time here as the elephants might have moved on by the time we get to the safari lodge where the elephants might be….

 

At last, the elephants! Found them!
We carefully make our way through the brush. One elephant at the watering hole just outside the camp fence, more on their way, lovely!

 

A fantastic safari in Africa gracefully draws to a close. We saw Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, a lot of Eland, the Rhinos were lovely and the Elephants, wow! Thank you for joining us on this safari. Our next tour should be just around the next bush, can’t wait!