GOMO GOMO GAME LODGE, KLASERIE NP
Photos © R.Leeuw
|In preparation of this trip I wanted to retrace some of our travels in 2004 and the Gomo Gome Game Lodge was the first booking I made for we stayed there sixteen years ago too. Well, that is not entirely correct: in 2004 they were located in the Timbavati Game Reserve and now they had moved to the nearby Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.
Unfortunately they could grant my stay in a family unit for only two nights, a next time we hope to be able to stay longer.
The good thing is that we decided to stay at another lodge for another 2 nights, which will be the subject on a seperate webpage.
Meanwhile, enjoy my report of a fantastic stay at the Gomo Gomo Safari Lodge!
Skulls of an elephant and rhinoceros mark the entrance to the lodge. Most guests arrive by air, landing on
Hoedspruit airport and a shuttle to the lodge, but we arrived by car as we did 16 years ago.
The main lodge, the pool and viewing area at the little lake.
Very relaxed view on the lake. Sometimes we did not see a thing (but just to sit there with a drink is sooo relaxing), at
other times we saw antelopes, giraffes, a nyala and elephants. Plus a variety of birds, of course.
A herd of elephants load up on water, a sight to feast your eyes on.
We enjoyed four gamedrives while staying the two nights at the Gomo Gomo Lodge. I'd loved to have stayed longer but they couldn't accommodate us for three nights in their family unit. Hence we stayed four nights in total at two different lodges.
The ranger is the driver and he points out everything and all of interest concerning the animals, about their behaviour and typical characteristics, while the tracker up front looks for tracks and other signs; he also put up handsignals for sweeping branches and watches for spiderwebs hanging over the tracks..
Awesome what they know and see.
This is what it's all about for me: learning about nature, enjoying bush country, the hunt & 'shooting' wildlife with
cameras. I had brought my Sony RX10M4, EOS 6D MkII, Canon 400/f4 L lens plus recently bought
Canon 100-400 MkII. And some of these photos were taken with my Samsung S8 Galaxy smartphone.
During the morning gamedrive (wake up at 04:45, start at 05:30!) a coffee stop is made, while in the evening drinks are served, including gin & tonics.
It allowed a better opportunity to talk to the ranger and tracker, pose questions; and of course talk to our fellow travellers: 'where are you from, how's your trip progressing, where you are going to next?'
My son and I always sat on the back bench, for we are both keen photographers and a higher vantage point is good for dealing with high grass; there is also a disadvantage: those are the bumpiest seats, sometimes we were launched right our of our seat!
Two rhinos, where we stopped only briefly - to our considerable surprise.
The short stop is explained with the photo of the
The evening afternoon saw us leave with daylight and we enjoyed the sunset with a 'sundowner': G&T's.
We'd arrive back at the lodge in darkness.
Evening meals, after the game drive, was enjoyed at the 'boma'. The weather we enjoyed was warm and sunny, the
week prior to our stay there had been some downpours here.
Our accommodation in Gomo Gomo Safari Lodge, Klaserie Private Game Reserve.
|For the first morning drive we had a bit of a scare. We'd been told anyone not showing up at the stipulated time would be left behind. For that first morning drive I woke up only minutes before the set departure time, we did not get a wake up call..! I ran, only half dressed, to the group set to depart and explained. So they waited. It was investigated and found they had us listed in a different cabin than we actually stayed in, had knocked and called but not awaited a confirmation.
Close call but we had a fine game drive.
On our first game drive, the first thing we saw was a considerable heard of elephants. Big Mama (?) is
keeping a watchful eye on us. But we stopped only briefly and hastily drove on; we felt something was afoot...
We'd left the gate to the lodge and drove on the long road to Hoedspruit (the other end is Timbavati Game Reserve); why
we driving on the tarmac road? We slowed down where another group were watching something in the high grass..
A leopard! A beautififul leopard relaxing in the shade of a bush.
The ranger had intercepted the report of this leopard on a shared radio frequency and had asked permission by
radio to visit this sighting outside the area set aside for the Gomo Gomo Lodge. Since the leopard could have
been gone by the time we'd arrive on the spot, the ranger hadn't told the reason of the rushed driving and
he apologized after his explanation. Of course we were very understanding and appreciative!
So we went back into the Klaserie Nature Reserve and hit the dirt tracks. First there were some birds we noticed.
Left: Yellow billed hornbill <-|-> Right: Brown snake eagle
The eastern yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus flavirostris), also known as the northern yellow-billed hornbill, is a species of hornbill in the family Bucerotidae. It is found in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. It resembles the southern yellow-billed hornbill, but has blackish (not pinkish) skin around the eyes.
The southern yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus leucomelas; NL: Zuidelijke geelsnaveltok) is a hornbill found in southern Africa. Yellow-billed hornbills feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions.
This hornbill species is a common and widespread resident of dry thornveldt and broad-leafed woodlands. They can often be seen along roads and water courses. [en.wikipedia.org:_Southern_yellow-billed_hornbill]
The Brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus; NL: Bruine slangenarend) is a fairly large species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae.
It is found in West, East and southern Africa. This species is an almost obligate predator of a variety of snakes.
A very solitary bird, the brown snake eagle has a prolonged breeding cycle and raises a single eaglet.
African hawk-eagles (Afrikaans: Grootjagarend). Almost always seen with a mate not far off.
The African hawk-eagle (Aquila spilogaster
; NL: Afrikaanse havikarend) is a large bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae.
The African hawk-eagle breeds in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is a bird of wooded hills, building a stick nest about 3 feet (almost 1 metre) in diameter in the fork of a large tree. The clutch is generally one or two eggs.
The African hawk-eagle hunts small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The call is a shrill kluu-kluu-kluu.
Zebra's provide a colourful
change to the landscape.
Two rhinos at the pool; the rain period is ending but the pools are still properly
filled and the
ranger knew these two were frequent visitors. We went off road for a proper look and were suitably
impressed with the power of the landrover, shifting gears to 'anything goes'.
|Rhino Poaching Statistics (2019)
In South Africa, and specifically in Kruger National Park, rhino poaching has increased at an alarming rate during the first decade of the 21st century. This has put the park and its partners under immense pressure to conserve and protect their precious wildlife.
In 2019, there were 594 recorded poaching incidents throughout South Africa. According to statistics from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the numbers show a decrease of 175 compared to the two previous years (769 rhinos were poached in 2017).
It is estimated that the Kruger National Park is home to some 7.000 to 8.000 rhinos, and unfortunately, they are the largest poaching targets in southern Africa.
The park has intensive protected zones, which houses around 5 000 rhinos. According to data from the South African National Parks, during the first half of 2019, 316 were rhinos poached in the area.
The skin is about 5 cm thick, protecting it from damage like armour. But if the skin is penetrated the rhino will die.
Around 253 arrests were made nationally related to rhino horn trafficking or poaching. However, many cases from previous years remained unresolved and the market for horn trafficking is still in full swing.
Various organizations, such as Hemmersbach Rhino Force and the 'Save the Rhino' project are heavily involved in protecting rhinos against inhumane practices and illegal poaching schemes.
Note the wave from the woman in the back of the car: an impulse that is difficult to suppress!
Over a considerable area there are other lodges and occasionally
we'd come across another group. Information
about sightings was shared over a radio frequency. Rule of engagement of wildlife is no more than
near the animal(s). Near can be quite close, up to 3-5 metres.
The search for wildlife feels sometimes like the proverbial needle in a haystack for there is a wide area to
search in, but the rangers have areas in mind where certain animals are frequently observed or recently
sighted. And there is the radio frequency to communicate sightings. Rarely two groups follow each other,
for that is not efficient in the search; so soon one of the two will take a turn and go explore a different area.
Driving on these tracks (the above is an easy thoroughfare) is an experience in itself, like caught in a washing
machine, rocking & tumbling, negotiating hard bumps over deep tracks, negotiating steep dry river beds.
With the winter approaching the weather becomes drier, the grass and bushes will become thinner so animals will be easier to spot. The good thing about this time is there are a lot of young animals, newborns, plus nice weather (23-28 Celsius) - but the grass is still high and animals somewhat harder to locate.
But that is where the experience of the ranger and tracker comes in handy! We had no reason to complain.
Wildebeest, what a remarkable animal.
The wildebeest, also called the gnu is an antelope in the genus Connochaetes.
It belongs to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep, and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou), and the blue wildebeest or brindled gnu (C. taurinus).
A lion, one of the socalled 'Big Five', is of course an exhilarating find!
|The lions at a kill; the dominant male was hiding in undergrowth, still munching on the kill. No other lion was allowed to disturb him, an angry growl would be the response.
Meanwile those hyena's were behind our vehicle, awaiting their chance to get to the kill. Amazing: lions directly in front of us, hyena's behind us less than 3-5 metres away!
They don't consider the vehicle a danger nor is it of interest as a prey, so they completely disregard it. The close proximity of these animals certainly made us adhere to the ranger's strict instructions to keep our arms well on board and don't attract attention by waving to the animals.
Spotted Hyena's nearby!
Hyena's also devour the bones, the only ones to do so, and there will be literally nothing left of the kill when they are done.
They eat the bones for the calcium content. We'd see a skull next to the road somewhere and asked why the hyena's hadn't eaten it; the ranger told us that the skull was probably taken away by another animal and hyena's don't eat old bones for the calcium has degraded too much. The poo droppings of hyena's are often grey/white for those bones.
Kudu Antelope (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), I think... [EMAIL]
On the left a young male Kudu Antelope.
Most of Africa's herbivores can be classified as either grazers of grass or browsers of leaves off trees.
Some animals, like the elephant and impala, do both - depending on the availability of food. The grassland has been
described as the "engine room of the savanna", by scientist Robert Scholes. It provides sustenance for large
grazing herds, while the mixed woodland within the savanna provides the diet for the browsers.
¬www.krugerpark.co.za/- - -/explore-kruger-park-buck-and-antelope
Southern red-billed hornbill (NL: Zuidelijke roodsnaveltok)
|The Red-billed hornbills are a group of hornbills found in the savannas and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa.
They are now usually split into 5 species:
the northern red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus), western red-billed hornbill (T. kempi), Tanzanian red-billed hornbill (T. ruahae), southern red-billed hornbill (T. rufirostris) and Damara red-billed hornbill (T. damarensis), but some authorities consider the latter 4 all subspecies of Tockus erythrorhynchus.
I also really focussed this time on the birds, it certainly enriched my experience.
The southern red-billed hornbill (Tockus rufirostris
; NL: Zuidelijke roodsnaveltok) is a species of hornbill in the family Bucerotidae
is native to the savannas and dryer bushlands of southern Africa.
The sexes are similar, but males are larger and heavier. Males also have somewhat longer bills, with the lower mandible coloured black to a variable extent.
It is distinguishable from other red-billed hornbills by the combination of yellow iris and pale orbital skin (pink to greyish), and the ample blackish plumage streaking from the ear coverts to the side of the neck.
The throat is white, and the wing coverts clearly spotted.
A giraffe and a kudu drinking on the lake at our lodge. It produces a powerful feeling to observe these
animals in their natural habitat.
Most visitors are focussed on seeing The Big Five, as we did in 2004. This time I enjoyed much more the entire
experience and also the other animals including birds. The giraffe is a very graceful animal.
LEFT: Mangrove kingfisher (Halcyon senegaloides; NL: Mangrove-ijsvogel)
RIGHT: Blacksmith lapwing or Blacksmith plover (Vanellus armatus; NL: Smidsplevier)
The Mangrove kingfisher is a kingfisher in the genus Halcyon. It is similar in appearance to the Woodland kingfisher. Description further down this page.
The Blacksmith lapwing or Blacksmith plover (Vanellus armatus; NL: Smidsplevier) occurs commonly from Kenya through central Tanzania to southern and southwestern Africa.
The vernacular name derives from the repeated metallic 'tink, tink, tink' alarm call, which suggests a blacksmith's hammer striking an anvil...
Blacksmith lapwings are very boldly patterned in black, grey and white, possibly warning colours to predators.
LEFT: Crowned lapwing <-|-> RIGHT: Blacksmith lapwing (description above)
The Crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus; NL: Diadeemkievit), or Crowned plover, is a bird of the lapwing subfamily that occurs contiguously from the Red Sea coast of Somalia to southern and southwestern Africa. It is an adaptable and numerous species, with bold and noisy habits.
The crowned lapwing is easily recognized by its combination of brown and white colours, with most tellingly, a black crown intersected by an annular white halo.
Crowned lapwings prefer short, dry grassland which may be overgrazed or burnt, but avoid mountains.
Although generally outnumbered by blacksmith lapwings, they are the most widespread and locally the most numerous lapwing species in their area of distribution. Their numbers have increased in the latter part of the 20th century after benefiting from a range of human activities.
They live up to 20 years. [
Could be the Red-billed buffalo weaver
The red-billed buffalo weaver (Bubalornis niger
; NL: ) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae. It is found in eastern and southern Africa. Its natural habitat is the dry savanna. Ranks as one of the largest of the Ploceidae
The red-billed buffalo weaver is differentiated from the white-billed buffalo weaver (Bubalornis albirostris) by the color of its bill. The feathers of the male are dark chocolate brown in color. The front wing edges and the wing tips are flecked with white. The eyes are brown and the feet are reddish brown.
The female's body is also colored dark chocolate brown, without the white flecks on the wings. However, her chin and throat feathers include broad white colored hems.
Red-billed buffalo weavers breed in colonies. The nests are composed of an enormous mass of thorny twigs. These twigs are divided into separate lodges (compartments), each with multiple egg chambers. Each chamber has a smaller nest, typically built by the female.
The Southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus; NL: Maskerwever), or African masked weaver, is a resident breeding bird species common throughout southern Africa. This weaver is very widespread and found in a wide range of habitats,
including shrubland, savanna, grassland, open woodland, inland wetlands and semi-desert areas. It also occurs in
suburban gardens and parks. [¬en.wikipedia.org:_Southern_masked_weaver]
They shared the dead tree (in the lake of the lodge) and nesting with the
Red-billed buffalo weavers further above.
Striated heron (Butorides striata; NL: Mangrovereiger)
A.k.a. Mangrove heron, Little heron or Green-backed heron
I think this is the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) - ['Bucerotidae']
The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is a hornbill found in southern Africa. They feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. This hornbill species is a common and widespread resident of dry thornveldt and broad-leafed woodlands. They can often be seen along roads and water courses. [¬Wikipedia]
Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) - to be confirmed [EMAIL]
Smaller than a duiker with y-shaped marking on its nose; reddish in colour with white underparts; the male has
short, straight horns; male and female same size weighing up to 15kg and standing 55cm at the shoulder; lifespan up
to 10 years; solitary. Solitary woodland browser, occasionally grazes; sometimes found in monogamous pairs.
Found in open woodlands, hilly country.
A zebra with a young one.
The ranger told us a remarkable story about Zebra's. A dominant male of the
Zebra herd can smell off a newborn if it is his or from another male in the herd; if it is from another
male, the dominant male may try to kill it! Another fun fact: after a young zebra is born, it will
seperate a little from the herd with the mother, so the newborn will memorize the mother's stripes!
The rhino, such a splendid animal.
Poaching of rhinos is still very much a problem.
I learned that upto 4 rhinos a week may be poached
in the Krugerpark. There is a program to remove the horn but it's a costly procedure and it will grow back..
Burchell's starling (Lamprotornis australis; NL: Grote glansspreeuw) or Burchell's glossy-starling, is a species of
starling in the family Sturnidae.
The monogamous and presumably sedentary species is native to dry and
and savannah of southern Africa.
The name of this bird commemorates the English naturalist William John Burchell. [Wikipedia]
The staff at the lodge told me this was a Woodland Kingfisher, when I showed the photo on my camera.
On Facebook it was identified as a Mangrove kingfisher; they seem much alike.
|The Mangrove kingfisher is ca. 22 cm long. The male and female are alike.
The head is dark grey-brown, with black lores and a narrow white line above the eye, and the cheeks and sides of the neck are brown-grey.
The grey breast and flanks are vermiculated (having dense, irregular lines). There is a black patch under the wing. The rest of the plumage is similar to the Woodland kingfisher, having black and blue covert and flight feathers.
The beak of the mangrove kingfisher is red, the eyes are dark brown, and the legs are dark grey-brown.
The juvenile bird is duller, has coarser vermiculations and a yellowish-buff wash on the breast, and has a brown beak. Birds in the south tend to have slightly longer wings and narrower beaks. [en.wikipedia.org:_Mangrove_kingfisher]
Mangrove- or Woodland kingfisher; EMAIL The breast is more feathered than the Woodland Kingfisher
near the bottom of the page..?
But that may also be mating behaviour, showing off.
The Lilac-breasted roller
; NL: Vorkstaartscharrelaar) is an African member of the roller (or Coraciidae
) family of birds. It is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a vagrant to the southern Arabian Peninsula.
It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about on the ground.
Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2–4 eggs is laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defence of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds.
Lilac-breasted roller (NL: Vorkstaartscharrelaar)
Their range extends from the Red Sea coast of Eritrea through East Africa (including Zanzibar) to southern Africa,
where they occur commonly in Namibia (excluding the Namib Desert), Botswana, Zimbabwe, and northeastern South
Because they feed mainly on terrestrial prey, lilac-breasted rollers will perch to scout from a higher vantage
point (including from atop of large herbivorous mammals) before swooping in and grabbing prey with their beaks.
If their prey is small, they will swallow it on the ground. These aggressive birds will carry larger prey back to a
perch and beat it until it is dismembered
White-backed vultures, I think, not sure about those on the right (different light conditions influencing the rendition)
Did you know a pregnant cheetah can retract her stomach during a sprint chasing a prey?!
Cheetahs have a pale yellow coat with black dots on the upper parts, and are white on the underbelly. Their faces are distinguished by prominent, black lines that curve from the inner corner of each eye to the outer corners of the mouth.
The fastest land animal in the world, a cheetah can reach 112 km/h in just three seconds..
Wildebeest or Gnu.
The giraffe is such a graceful animal.
The giraffe's main predator is the lion, which can accelerate to almost 50 miles per hour. His second worst enemy, the hyena, can reach 35 mph.
If a lion and a giraffe ran a race side by side, the lion would beat the giraffe to the finish line. However, the giraffe is not about to give a predator an even start. It uses its great height and excellent eyesight to spot a pride of lions as far as half a mile away and gets a head start!
Lions can sustain their top speed for only about a hundred yards, they run out of gas before the giraffe does! Hyenas can be more dangerous because they hunt cooperatively. They can take turns sprinting to keep the giraffe from slowing down to catch his breath.
The giraffe's name comes from Arabic and means 'fast walker'. With his 6-foot-long legs, he ambles along at about 10 miles per hour, but when he gallops he shifts into overdrive. He's not the speediest runner or the most enduring, but he has some advantages that help him avoid his enemies.
The giraffe has only two gaits: pacing (moving both legs on the same side at the same time, like the camel) and galloping. When he goes into high gear, his front legs do the pushing while the back legs reach forward on the outside of the front legs. His head and neck move forward and back, pushing out with the front legs and rising almost straight up with the back legs, as a counterweight. He's the only mammal on Earth that uses his body this way.
This unique style of locomotion lets him float along looking like he's in slow motion while achieving something like 35 miles an hour at maximum effort. The giraffe can cruise at about 30 mph for a couple of miles. However, scientists doing research on giraffes in the wild have learned not to chase a big giraffe too long, or he might become overly stressed and drop dead of a heart attack.
|The Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas or Lupulella mesomelas) is a canine native to eastern and southern Africa.
These regions are separated by roughly 900 kilometers.
Compared to other members of the genus Canis, the black-backed jackal is a very ancient species, and has changed little since the Pleistocene(!), being the most basal wolf-like canine, alongside the closely related side-striped jackal.
It is a fox-like animal with a reddish brown to tan coat and a black saddle that extends from the shoulders to the base of the tail.
The black-backed jackal is not a fussy eater and feeds on small to medium-sized animals, as well as plant matter and human refuse. [en.wikipedia.org:_Black-backed_jackal]
These 'fellow travellers' play an important role for the rhinos!
The rhinoceros are critically endangered, but the red-billed oxpecker seems to be doing its best to prevent that.
In Swahili, the bird is called 'Askari wa kifaru', which means 'guardian of the rhinoceros'.
The rhinoceroses are large, with a thick skin and a large horn, but they are very visually impaired and therefore susceptible to hunters. The 'Askari wa kifaru' seems to ensure that the rhinoceros is aware of danger, even if it cannot see it.
Ox pickers do get something in return for their services: for example, they eat ticks on the skin of the rhinoceroses.
The birds may only have become rhino alarms in recent years, as they risk losing a food source if the animals become extinct.
The authors of the study emphasize that for their research they were inspired by the Swahili name for the birds. "We often dismiss the importance of indigenous peoples and their observations." This recent research seems to confirm a much older observation by the local population.
Could be a (juvenile) Bateleur (Short tailed eagle ), needs to be confirmed. [EMAIL]
Antelopes all have hollow horns and are classified as bovids. Two-thirds of the world's 120 bovid species are antelope - among the remaining third are cattle, sheep and goats. Modern antelope have evolved over the past 24 million years
and owe their continued survival to being savanna specialists, each occupying a slightly different yet overlapping
ecological niche in grassland and mixed woodland environments.
|Impala (Aepyceros melampus)
Most numerous antelope in the Park with over 130.000 adults at any one time; grazers and browsers.
Only rams have horns, they weigh up to 80kg and stand just under 1 metre tall. They are graceful in movement, impalas can leap over a three-metre fence and can run in bursts of up to 80km/h.
Favoured prey of many predators.
Impala's on the lookout.
LEFT: Water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus; NL: Water dikkop)
MIDDLE: Red-billed hornbill
RIGHT: Woodlands Kingfisher having trouble to crack a beetle; note that the Brown Hooded Kingfisher is
easily confused with
as the beak is half red half black while that of the Brown
Hooded is entirely red. On the photos below the black end of the beak can be made out.
The Water thick-knee
has a widespread distribution in sub-Saharan Africa.
Across its range it is found on the edges of lakes, estuaries and rivers, as well as mangroves and also some sheltered beaches. It also needs bushes or nearby woodlands for shelter.
The water thick-knee is a terrestrial feeder that forages at night. Although it is typically associated with water it can be found foraging up to 1 km (0.62 mi) from water. It feeds on insects, crustaceans and mollusks.
Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii). (To be confirmed, perhaps too shaggy and it lacks the stripes - EMAIL).
Similar to Kudu except that males have white nose bands, shaggy coats tipped with white and light legs.
Only males have horns; males weigh up to 90kg and stand 1,2m at the shoulder.
Full marks for cuteness!
We'll have a closer look at the
The red-billed oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus; NL) is a passerine bird in the Starling and Myna family, Sturnidae; some ornithologists regard the oxpeckers to be in a family by themselves, the Buphagidae.
It is native to the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, from the Central African Republic east to South Sudan and south to northern and eastern South Africa.
Its range overlaps that of the less widespread Yellow-billed oxpecker.
The red-billed oxpecker nests in tree holes lined with hair plucked from livestock.
A popular albeit widely discredited theory of the origins of the name "white rhinoceros" is a mistranslation from Dutch to English. The English word "white" is said to have been derived by mistranslation of the Dutch word "wijd", which means "wide" in English.
The word "wide" refers to the width of the rhinoceros's mouth. So early English-speaking settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wijd" for "white" and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the white rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the black rhinoceros.
Ironically, Dutch (and Afrikaans) later used a calque of the English word, and now also call it a white rhino. This suggests the origin of the word was before codification by Dutch writers.
A review of Dutch and Afrikaans literature about the rhinoceros has failed to produce any evidence that the word wijd was ever used to describe the rhino outside of oral use [¬Wikipedia
|The preferred habitat is open country, and the Red-billed oxpecker eats insects. Both the English and scientific names arise from this species' habit of perching on large wild and domesticated mammals such as cattle and eating ticks.
An adult will take nearly 100 blood-engorged female Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus ticks, or more than 12.000 larvae in a day! However, their preferred food is blood, and while they may take ticks bloated with blood, they also feed on it directly, pecking at the mammal's wounds to keep them open...
Field observations in rhinos have shown oxpeckers warning the nearsighted rhino from danger.
Hyenas or hyaenas are feliform carnivoran
mammals of the family Hyaenidae
With only 4 extant species (in three genera), it is the 5th-smallest biological family in the Carnivora
and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia
Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems.
may kill as many as 95% of the animals they eat, while striped hyenas are largely scavengers.
Generally, hyenas are known to drive off larger predators, like lions, from their kills, despite having a reputation in popular culture for being cowardly.
Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, but sometimes venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours.
With the exception of the highly social spotted hyena, hyenas are generally not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills.
Another group of lions... The trouble with spotting big cats is that after a kill they sleep for 20-24 hours.
They go in hiding under a brush, in high grass and are difficult to spot. This group we found by following one
which crossed our path; the landrover had to go off-road, crushing bushes, carefully finding a way.
The lions totally ignored our presence.
Making our way to the exit..
When we left the lodge around noon it had rained a little bit; this brought out several turtles (or tortoise?)
on the main road to Hoedspruit. They must have liked the moisture.
Created 10-Apr-2020 | Updated