A compilation of sightings during game drives from Mjejane River Lodge.

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The Nile Crocodile can be seen as an apex predator within its own environment. The reptiles have been around for more than 2 million years, with very little evolutionary changes. This one was lying on a sand bank close to the aptly named Crocodile River.

 

Mthunzi Zwane was our guide for the game drives that we did while at Mjejane River Lodge. He was extremely knowledgeable and his drives were all turned into learning opportunities. I certainly learned many new facts about the game species in this area. His manner was both entertaining and informative and my wife and I certainly came back from each drive more informed about not only the wildlife in this reserve but their habitat as well.

 

To quote the Narrator from the Rocky Horror Picture Show “… It’s true there were dark storm clouds, heavy, black, and pendulous, towards which they were driving” Thanks to Mthunzi’s knowledge of the area, we were able to get back to camp before the heavens opened and dumped rain on those out on a drive. Other guests were not so lucky. They returned from their outing dripping wet, while those on our vehicle were dry and enjoying a hot beverage as they came into the lounge, dripping wet. But, I suppose, all that is part of the experience and will make for a good story at a later stage.

 

Own your shit…or in the case of the Dung Beetle, someone will take it from you. Male Dung Beetles will try to ‘hijack’ dung balls from their rivals if the opportunity presents itself.

Interesting fact: It is said that this beetle is able to use an inbuilt navigation system much like a GPS to find fresh dung!

 

Mjejane is a birders paradise with numerous species both resident and migratory species to be found here. A Magpie Shrike takes flight…

 

A Western Osprey, a raptor that I have not seen before.

 

This is what a Mjejane traffic jam looks like. This was the largest mixed herd of elephant and rhino I have seen in a long while. We sat quietly as they crossed both in front and behind us.

 

European Bee-eater. One of several Bee-eater species that brighten up any tree branch.

 

One of the Big 5 and possibly the most dangerous African animal to find if you are on foot in the bush. And, they always look at you as if you owe them money.

 

A Brown Snake Eagle…easily recognised by its yellow eyes.

 

Even buffalo like to ‘dress-up’ when they go out for a drink!

 

The Lilac-breasted Roller, until recently the national bird of Botswana. The feathers are also used as bridal bangles by the local population.

 

Because of the flower of the Sicklebush ( Dichrostachys cinerae) looks like this, it is often referred to as the Chinese Lantern tree. Because it has spines and not thorns, this tree probably is the cause of more punctures than any other plant in the bush. Hence the colloquial name…Landrovis papwielus…

 

While out on a drive, Mthunzi pointed out this box hanging from the branches of a Marula tree. This is part of an ongoing research project to see if the African Bees will become a deterrent to kee[ elephant herds from killing off the trees. So far. it results seem to be very positive, with only 2% of the trees that have beehives being ‘attacked’.

“This exciting research indicates that beehives could be a valuable ‘tool’ in the toolbox of methods for protecting large trees from elephant impact in fenced-off protected areas.” said Dr Lucy King, founder of Save the Elephants’ Elephants and Bees Project, “Particularly as it is a non-lethal method for elephant management”. Science Direct, R.M. Cook, F. Parrini, L.E. King, E.T.F. Witkowski, M.D. Henley: “African honeybees as a mitigation method for elephant impact on trees

 

Looks like this particular Egret is looking to pick a fight! All fluffed up and ready to rumble…As it was in a mixed herd of buffalo and elephants, I suspect that it was about to enter a contest that would have only one outcome. It turned out that it was challenging another egret, and the encounter ended amicably.

 

The face does not match the rump! This seems to be two different animals, when in fact it was only one. Just a tad dusty. Are Zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes? The brown shadow stripes that add to that confusion can be clearly seen in this image.

 

Breakfast is served. This Dideric Cuckoo is a migrant that had just flown in( pun intended) to the reserve. This is an intra-African migrant that will remain in South Africa for the summer, after which they head North again.

 

“Who are you and why are you taking our picture”? is what this female Vervet monkey seems to be saying. Her newborn baby did not want to stray too far from the safety and security of his mother.

 

A Grey Hornbill launches itself somewhat ungracefully from a tree branch. Not as frequently seen as the Southern Yellow-billed variety, it was an exciting sighting.

 

Saving the best for last! This female leopard was holed up in a drainage line and this was literally all that we could see of her as the sun started to dip towards the horizon. She supposedly had a cub with her, but that did not make an appearance. This type of sighting is always both unexpected and exciting.

 

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