Monday, June 27, 2011

My New Blog

Hi Everyone

I have started another blog!

It is now up and running…. :)

Please have a look – there will be a lot more to come! :)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Collaring the Cats!

I have been waiting for the day we collar Askari, Bukeka and Thulile for a while now - waiting in anticipation for their SirTrack collars to arrive and eventually the day came!

Tiny compact Cheetah Collars

The three cheetahs were darted by Peter Caldwell from Old Chapel Veterinary Clinic. They were darted one at a time and then we carried them out of the boma to be collared. We had 45min to check, measure and collar them before they woke up.




Deon Cilliers from the Endangered Wildlife trust and myself collaring and measuring the cheetahs. The EWT runs a Carnivore Conservation Programme, their mission is to "promote research on carnivores with special emphasis on those aspects that will improve their conservation status through the implementation of sound management strategies." 

Myself and Deon collaring and measuring the cats

Sitting with Thulile waiting for her to wake up

A very successful morning and three collared kitty's!

Mini May Update

In the month of May we had visitors as usual! All popping in to say hi! It's the little things that count if you ask me.........

Tiny Chameleon

A beautiful Shikra flew into the office window one morning

A baby White Throated Monitor (20cm from head to tail) was in the Lodge car park

The rangers even made time for a photo shoot! Can we add model's to our CV's? :)

Solly, myself and Roux

Or how would "Butcher" look on our CV's? Nahhh! I don't think so!

Armand cutting meat to make venison biltong!

Me giving it a try... who would have thought!??

The 15th of May marked my 7th month at Monate - wow, how time flies!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Raft of Hippos

Incredible facts about the Hippopotamus otherwise known as a Sea Cow (direct translation from Afrikaans) or a River Horse (Greek translation).

  • Male Hippos can weigh up to 3,000kg!
  • Their life span is about 35 to 40 years.
  • Hippos cannot swim - they walk and bounce in shallow water.
  • They can stay underwater for 5 min at a time!
  • Hippos "yawn" to show off their teeth - this is actually a warning sign.

Yawning is actually a warning sign!

  • Hippos mate and give birth in water.
  • They will also sleep in water with just their nostrils above the water for air!
  • On land Hippos can run at up to 38km/hour!

A Raft of Hippos

  • Hippos have sensitive skin and secrete a red liquid like "sunscreen" to protect their skin in the sun.
  • Because of their sensitive skin they will feed at night - between 15 & 40kg of grass per night!
  • Hippos kill many humans. They create "pathways" that humans use and when they meet on these paths humans come off second best.

Another one of God's incredible creations!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Tower of Giraffes

Here are some interesting facts about our Giraffe friends!

  • A male Giraffe can reach up to 6m in height and can weigh up to 1,400kg's!
  • The life span of a Giraffe is around 25 years.
  • The only other member of the Giraffe family is the Okapi found in the DRC.


  • A Giraffes tongue can get up to 45cm long. 
  • Their hearts can weigh up to 14kg and are roughly the size of a rugby ball!
  • Giraffe have horns called ossicones. Males have bald ossicones due to fighting and females ossicones are tufted.

  • A new born Giraffe can weigh 100kg and can stand within 15 minutes after birth!
  • Giraffe can lie down to rest, however they keep their necks upright or rested along the body.
  • Giraffes chew and suck on bones for their minerals!

Giraffe chewing on a bone

What incredible creatures!

Autumn Update

Wow, the winter chill is setting in! The days are shorter, the grass is browner and the leaves are fewer...
Never the less the animals seem to be having a great time as usual!

Male Nyala drinking at Rushton waterhole

Hippo yawning - actually a warning sign!

The Giraffes take a stroll along Springhare road

Another Puff Adder decides to pop in for a visit! 
Askari having a nap at the end of my bed

Jinx from Thithombo next door came for a visit

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Faces Painted Red

Every 4-5 days we shoot a warthog or an impala to feed our cheetahs in the boma. We drag the carcass into the boma and watch the girls take over. They slap the ground and hiss at us until they feel comfortable enough to grab the carcass and drag it to a shady spot where they begin their feast!
Warthog shot for the cheetahs

Armand dragging an impala into the boma

Here are some photo's from this mornings feed - Askari, Thulile and Bukeka.

Cheetah boma gate

Bukeka making sure we don't steal their carcass

Thulile and Askari going for the same tasty bits

A warning hiss

Bukeka climbing into her breakfast
These lovely ladies have become incredibly brave - I can't wait to release them onto the reserve and watch them fend for themselves! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shocked, Shattered & Scared

One of the main topics of conversation today - Rhino Poaching.....

Working on a Game Reserve this topic is a little closer to home and a part of our everyday life! A helicopter or plane flies over and everyone runs outside to identify the airspace intruder. A gunshot goes off and all rangers grab a firearm and hop into the closest vehicle to inspect the reserve and pray that we find our rhino's alive. Never mind that at all times we are putting our own lives in danger to save these magnificent animals!

  • Last year 333 rhinos were poached. 323 White Rhino and 10 Black Rhino.
  • This year, so far 73 rhinos have been poached!!!! 67 White Rhino and 6 Black Rhino.

This is sick and sad! Heartbreaking to say the least! We need to stand together and put an end to this miserable behaviour! 

For ANYONE that is interested visit - for the latest stats and information or even to make a small donation... every bit counts!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Superhero's? We're working on it!

Some of you might be wondering what ever happened to our baby Waterbuck and Jackal?

Here are the full stories – unfortunately both sad ones….

Baby Jackal

This little munchkin was found on the reserve during a game drive, covered in mud from head to toe! He was brought in to the office where Armand gave him a thorough inspection and noticed his back leg was broken and he had internal bleeding. We took him back to Hunters (our staff house) and put him in the bath for a clean! 

Armand "bathing" the little Jackal

We then tried to make a cosy little corner for him to spend the night in the bathroom away from inquisitive Askari! (our teenager ridgeback)

Comfy on my bath mat!

The next day I took him to the Vet in Bela-Bela where he was put onto a drip and had some X-rays done. It was not looking good! He was still not eating and he could not hold himself up on his unbroken back leg. After 3 days of drips and monitoring the vet phoned to say that they would have to euthanize the little guy because he had severe nerve damage and he would never be able to use his back legs! 

On the road - the trip to the Vet

We tried our best but unfortunately this time to no avail! :(

Baby Waterbuck

One day at Hippo dam Armand heard crying, like a lamb bleating. He followed the noise and found a male baby Waterbuck lying on his tummy. He saw that the waterbuck could not walk properly so he picked it up – as he does with any animal he finds – put it on his lap and drove it back to Hunters. By the time I got there he was neatly placed in Askari’s hok. The poor little thing was covered in ticks and battling to walk.

Armand holding baby

We think that his front knees were double jointed because he managed to stand and take one or two steps but then his knees would wobble and give way and he would flop down.

Our neighbours have a tiny rehabilitation center so we decided we would take him there because we would not be able to look after a baby that was still suckling!

Look at his little horns starting to grow!

The 3 of us pile into Armand’s car – Armand driving, me in the passenger seat and baby on our laps…. Not a good idea…. After about 5 minutes of driving, baby decides he wants out! With that he leapt forward and into the windscreen of the car – smash – a huge crack in Armand’s windscreen and a dizzy waterbuck with wobbly knees – not a good combination! We decided it would be best if I drive and Armand holds the baby on the back of the bakkie! Eventually we get to where we going!

We fed him some milk, placed him in his new little hok, said our goodbyes.

Feeding time!

After about 2 weeks we got a call to say that he didn’t make it! :( We are still not too sure why but he would never have been able to be released with wobbly legs anyway so maybe it was better for him. Mother Nature has a strange way.

Hopefully we have better luck next time! Regardless, we will keep trying!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I am having one of those  'feel sorry for myself days' ! Looking at old pictures which brings up old memories.... my kitty's! 

 It really is not the same here without Puka and Mavuta! They have left a big hole in my heart! I know that I have to get used to this because it is part of the job but it doesn't make it any easier! 

They have now moved on to Nambiti in KZN near Ladysmith. This post is a dedication to the most lovable cats in the world! :)

The first time I saw the cheetahs feeding - Oct 2010
Mavuta licking me for the first time - Oct 2010
Wimpie and I with the cats - Oct 2010
Puka with a sandy nose
Puka Cat
Puka caught a baby impala
Mavuta Cat
Mavuta's Paw
Nunu nose!