Mary-Jane Weiskopf visits Camp Jabulani every year. This time she stayed at the lodge for 10 days, with Camp Jabulani being her only destination in South Africa. She enjoyed only one elephant back safari, took it easy in the mornings and only went on game drives during the late morning and afternoon. Her ranger, Kevin, took great care to show her not only the ‘Big 5’ but lots of other interesting sightings too.
One of the first sightings Mary-Jane viewed was a lion kill (although she chose to keep her eyes shut during the actual kill). There are lions a-plenty, making up some of the most impressive of Kapama Game Reserve wildlife, with several prides residing on the reserve. Some of these lions are males which join prides of lionesses, while others are lone males that are often seen patrolling their territories. Mary-Jane also got to view a cheetah on a kill, other plains game, hippo and some monkeys.
Here are some of the sightings from Mary-Jane’s camera lens.
These animals are affectionately known by their shortened name, hippo. They are the 3rd largest land mammal, after the elephant and rhino.
Hippos move easily in water, either swimming by kicking their hind legs or walking along the ground. They are well adapted to their aquatic life, with small eyes, ears and nostrils set at the top of the head. Their senses are so good that even when submerged in water, the hippo is alert to its surroundings. By closing its ears and nostrils, the adult can stay under water for as long as six minutes!
There are numerous collective nouns for hippos including a bloat, thunder, herd or pod.
A cheetah uses its exceptionally good eyesight for signs of prey and hunts in daylight. When the moment is right it will sprint after its prey and knock it down. It costs the cheetah immense energy, and usually the hunt lasts a mere minute. Because the cheetah is not as strong in comparison to other predators, it will kill the prey by strangulation – a method that might take as long as ten minutes where it suffocates the prey with a clamping bite on the underside of the neck. It will drag the kill to a shady hiding spot to protect it from opportunistic animals that sometimes steal the kill before the cheetah has its first bite.
The female cheetah, as seen here, chews through the skin on the flank exposing the muscles. She then eats the intestines and meat, and drinks the blood. The cheetah eats rapidly and occasionally stops to look around/ scout for predators – always nervous.
Cheetahs only drink water once every three to four days.
African buffalo may be active throughout the day and night. They spend an average of about 18 hours per day foraging and moving.
Young waterbucks are noticeable by the circle on their rears. Only the bulls have horns, which are prominently ringed and as long as 40 inches. The horns are widely spaced and curve gracefully backwards and up.
Neither beautiful nor glamorous, but still an interesting creature. The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.
They are distinguished by their disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).
Kapama is known for its many giraffes. The collective nouns for giraffes are corps, herd, troop or kaleidoscope.
9. Wild elephant herd
The impressive Camp Jabulani Elephant herd were out in all their glory!
Female with baby drinking along the way
10. Vervet monkeys
Vervet monkeys are primarily vegetarian and eat leaves, gum, seeds, nuts, grasses, fungi, fruit, berries, flowers, buds and shoots. Although their diet is occasionally carnivorous (including birds’ eggs, birds, lizards, rodents and other vertebrate prey), they have a preference for fruit and flowers. Their diet will vary according to seasonal food availability. For example, bushfires during the dry season often temporarily reduce vegetable food sources, and vervet monkeys then explore other sources such as insects and rodents. Vervets are dependent on water and must drink daily, which is why they prefer always being near a source of water.
The collective noun for monkeys is a troop.