July Bush Telegraph

22 July 2017, Saturday

Winter in Africa

It has been a few months now since we have released our last Bush Telegraph. Trust me it has been a wonderfully crazy few months. The Wild Planet Safari team has spent the whole of April, May and June in Kruger and a great time has been had by all. Winter is in full swing and Kruger has dried up allowing the waterholes to play a more active role in game spotting. The sightings over the last few months have been fantastic. As a team we have spotted over 17 leopards in the last 3 months. We have to mention here that Ryan is leading Lungisani 9 -5. We have also had some amazing sightings of Black Rhino, Cheetah, Wild Do, Lion and many other awesome animals.

The temperatures in Kruger have dropped and we have had some pretty cold mornings, around 8 degrees C. The days are shorter and the gates times have gone to their shortest for the year, little bit of a lie in for us as we are used to the 4 am starts of the summer. The South African school holidays have finally come to an end, this is the busiest period inside Kruger and Wild Planet Safari close down for this period from 1st to 21st July. It is not enjoyable for guides or our guests at this peak time and accommodation books out 11 months in advance. A word of warning for any guests planning on safari in July 2018, book your tour in August 2017 or it will be too late.


Sighting of The Winter

 We have had so many exciting sightings this winter. We managed to see Wild Dog on a hunt, Lions being chased around by a big herd of buffalo, cheetah with cubs on a hunt. There were many more to add to that list but the winner has to go to a female leopard and her young cub in the area around Berg en Dal. 

We left the camp early and we were the first vehicle out. As we followed the tar road towards the east we noticed something lying on the road. When we got closer we saw the unimaginable sight of a very young leopard cub playing catch with mothers tail. The 2 leopard sat in the road in front of us for a few seconds before leaving the road to the south. We thought the sighting was over as it was still very dark and we know how shy a leopard can be when with a cub but for some reason the mother walked alongside the vehicle and showed off her cub to us. We drove alongside the 2 for about 5 minutes, at one stage the cub was less the 5 metres from us and was just sitting there staring up at us. Were alone with the 2 for about 3 or 4 minutes before the big herd of vehicles arrived. Our last glimpse was as they walked up the mountain to the north side of the tar road, we will never be able to drive along that road without that special memory popping into our minds and we will always look up into those mountains in the hope of one more meeting.



Goodbye to Adriaan

Unfortunately we have had to say farewell to Adriaan. He has left us to see if the grass is greener on the other side. We wish him all the best, he was a great member of the Wild Planet Team and will be sorely missed.

We will welcome 2 new members to the team and introduce them over the next few months.


Photo of The Month

Late one afternoon we were driving the dirt road along the Mhlambane River, as we rounded a corner we saw something that looked oddly out of place. The bins came straight out and we saw we had found a leopard. The leopard was pretty big and lying in the last rays of sun on top of a huge granite boulder. We watched the leopard for about 20 minutes as the sun was setting, the light was stunning and the photography was extra special. At one stage the leopard stood up and turned around, to our amazement it was a female, the biggest female we have ever seen!

July Featured Bird: Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina)

We saw a Narina Trogon for the first time ever in July and just had to include it as our featured bird. They often sit motionless in the trees with their back towards you and this makes them very difficult to find. Once you do actually find them they always seem to fly off in a flash leaving you doubting whether you actually saw it or not.

They are green from behind and have a bright green throat and crimson underparts, they really are a stunning species.
They feed on smooth skinned caterpillars, moths, spiders, small lizards and chameleons.
You can find a narina trogon in the forested areas of Kruger National Park.

Wild Planet Safari News

This July we used our closure time to explore new and exciting destinations to add to our profile of tours. We focussed on St Lucia and iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. St Lucia is a very unique town as it is the only town in South Africa to be surrounded by a National Park. The town is an Island surrounded by the St Lucia estuary and the Indian Ocean. Leopard and Hippo have often been sighting walking the streets of the town at night and the hippo are often found feeding in the gardens of the many guest houses in the town. 

We spent 4 nights in St Lucia and spent our days on different exploration day trips. There is so much to see and do in St Lucia, we spent one day in the eastern shores section of iSimangaliso, this is a beautifully scenic area with high forested sand dunes, great open grassland plains and stunning coastal forest. We also spent a day in iMfolozi National Park, famous for their rhino populations.  One of the highlights of any visit to St Lucia is a boat cruise along the St Lucia estuary. On this cruise you will get to see many hippo up close and personal as well as many exciting and unique bird species.

We are going to be incorporating St Lucia into some of our tours and offering multiple night stays in St Lucia as an add on to some of our existing tours. Watch this space!

That is all for now, remember to follow our instagram and facebook page to see safari updates where ever you may be. 

Cheers from The Wild Planet Safari Team.