Bateleur Kruger Safaris Blog


A day in the life of a Bateleur Ranger
July 2017

A day in the life of a Bateleur Ranger

When you head out on your safari experience of a lifetime, have you ever stopped a moment and wondered what life is like for the rangers who experience the glories of African wildlife up close and personal as part of their ‘day job’? These remarkable individuals, who make it possible for us to safely and expertly navigate the African bush and drink in its glorious sights, have a job that’s unpredictable, beautiful and exciting. This week, we caught up with one of our experienced ranger team for a ‘sneak peek’ into a day on the job.

Up before sunrise

It’s pretty typical to head out into the bush very early with the first game drive of the day, despite the occasional groan from the more sleepy of our guests, but nothing a strong coffee in the glories of the early-morning bush air won’t fix!
Predominantly all animals avoid the pressing heat of the African sun by moving around early in the day or late in the evenings, so we time our bush wonderings accordingly.

Lions typically start their hunts as dusk falls, and since we were unable to locate the pride the night before we hoped to strike it lucky in the early morning- which today we were and what a spectacular sight to see, the last feeding of the previous night’s hunt.

 

We had heard that the previous evening there had been lion activity in the southeastern portion of our property, which was thought to be of a new pride visiting our area, and thus were excited to go investigate. Once we arrived in the area we immediately noticed multiple trees carry the weight of many vultures of all different species, the kill was something big and we knew we were heading for success. We discovered a giraffe kill surrounded by those waiting for their chance at the carcass- silent stealthy black-backed jackals, excited hyenas and a swarm of vultures! But to our great disappointment no sign of the pride.

We were blessed with white-backed, hooded, white-headed and Cape vultures, the latter two so-called ‘great’ vultures, with the Cape vulture posing beautifully for us to make the all-important comparisons between them and the white-backed vultures. White-headed vulture in particular are a dominant and aggressive species, first at their scavenged kills and efficient hunters when called on to hunt. Their massive wingspan carries them far in search of food daily. These unsung heroes of the bush are such a critical part of the African landscape that vulture conservancy is a major focus for us, making this sighting a particular pleasure.

 

Whilst watching the nervous and daring jackals and hyenas dart in to steal titbits from the carcass, and the vultures squabbling and fighting for prime position on the ribcage, we were suddenly confronted with a barrage of wings as a blonde-maned male lion stormed in from the undergrowth to chase the scavengers away from his quarry!
After great observation of the undergrowth we discovered a second darker maned male lion watching the scavengers feast away. Unfortunately, the males gave up the fight with the scavengers and strolled into the bush leaving their stolen kill.

After examining the tracks around the area, we believe that it was in fact the pride that brought the giraffe down, engorged on it during the evening and where chased of their kill by the two unknown male lions that morning.

After some time we decided to move on and leave the mayhem of the carcass, flashing teeth and flapping wings. As we slowly started making our way back to camp we had a special treat, as we came across a crash of 6 white, the perfect way to finish off the morning.

The afternoon awaits

Our late afternoon/dusk drive was quieter than the morning, but we were still blessed with wildebeest, magnificent bull kudu, more rhino and some hyena sightings.

After some time we decided to move on and leave the mayhem of the carcass, flashing teeth and flapping wings. As we slowly started making our way back to camp we had a special treat, as we came across a crash of 6 white, the perfect way to finish off the morning.

With their eerie, almost human cries, there’s little wonder they feature so heavily in traditional African mythologies. This trip finished off with some adorable bush babies as we headed back to camp.

Why not come and experience the wealth of knowledge of our rangers for yourself with a Bateleur Eco Safari experience?


 

 

The Art of Tracking, the Science of Success
June 2017

The Art of Tracking, the Science of Success

Tracking has a certain allure to it, conjuring up misty pictures of first peoples carefully following animals through the bush with bow and arrow. There’s a critical modern application to this age-old skill, though- and Bateleur are here to help you perfect your skills simply and effectively.

Poaching is, sadly, on the rise throughout Africa, leaving our fabulous Rhino and Elephant populations taking immense strain. Well trained and skilled rangers are at a premium- and a critical component of their skillset is the ability to track effectively. This allows the ranger to detect spoor early and interpret tracks from animals and man alike; systematically following leads, gathering field intelligence and intelligently deciphering the clues the bush gives them, in the wake of an incident or even in preventing one from occurring.

Learn to read the bush and let it speak back. Our SASSETA approved courses teach you the qualities of a good tracker, including patrol discipline, track and sign interpretation for man and animal alike, how to age and interpret trails and read scenes, effective signal communication, how to hide evidence of your own passing, effective operation of tools in the field, and even tactical teamwork and team tracking, preparing you for a career in combating these critical threats to the survival of the African Wild. Counter insurgency tracker training will arm you with all the tools you need to master the field.

 

Classes are kept small to facilitate learning over 3 days of intense training. Accommodation at the exquisite Bateleur camp is included, providing the perfect backdrop for the critical skills you are developing. Embrace the art that primitive hunters practiced and modern science perfected, and let it - and Bateleur- help you make a difference in fight against the destruction of our precious African bush heritage.

 

Seasonal Safaris: Africa’s best kept secret
May 2017

Are you feeling the cold nipping your heels here in the Southern hemisphere? Or is summer sunshine tingling your spine up in the North and making you dream of hot African days on Safari? The great news is, neither need cramp your holiday dreams. Now is the perfect time to book your safari!

Winter in South Africa falls in some of the driest months of the year, making it the perfect time to drink in the iconic sights of the Kruger Park on our private corner of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. Remember the Bateleur property itself shares unfenced borders with the park, giving you exceptional opportunities to meet the Big 5, antelope, birds and so much more up close and personal. And while many imagine only the hottest months when they picture African safari’s, it’s time to share one of the best kept secrets of them all- winter’s also a remarkable time of year to drink in the best of the bush!

The dry winter season brings animals seeking their share of scarcer water supplies to drinking holes and other congregating spots, making game viewing very rewarding. Resource scarcity escalates competition, too, meaning you’ll have a lot of chances to view animal activity and make bush memories you will never forget. The thinned winter vegetation can make viewing slightly easier as one is able to see further into the bush as well, and makes the perfect environment for avid photographers to get the perfect shot. It’s also an easy season to explore Africa- temperatures are cooler and more comfortable for you to travel in while risk of diseases like malaria are lowered too. And remember this is Africa- while you may need a warm blanket at night and a cup of coffee to sip in the morning, it doesn’t get too chilly for comfort. Thermal undies are strictly optional!

A winter season safari offers you some of the best game viewing possible, while there’s often less crowds but the same great African bush experience. What are you waiting for? Book your winter safari today.

Day two had a slightly gloomy tinge to it, when we discovered a deceased male lion with a dislocated hind leg. He was still warm and the guests got to inspect this magnificent African beast up close. An unforgettable moment in the wild, the death of this great warrior notwithstanding. Day three and four saw more lions and a string of breeding herd elephant sightings as well as some great rhino encounters.

On the back of this wonderful safari experience, it was now time to dust of the bush and endulge in some profound pampering. Because the it was quiet and our guests were the only visitors in camp, we decided a treat was in order! We opted to spoil them with a romantic & private poolside dinner where reminiscing about their first African excursion was at the order of the night, no doubt. After the fairytale feast, the indulgence continued with a lavender bath topped with some deliciuosly creamy Amarula on ice.

The stars truly aligned on this occasion and the every aspect of the Kristiansen’s stay was picture perfect. What lovely people with such a keen interest in the bush. We will remember it fondly and truly hope to see them again.

 

Bucket-list checked at Bateleur
March 2017

We welcomed belated honeymoon couple Kent and Solveig Kristiansen to Bateleur Main Camp, our little piece of heaven in the heart of the world renowned Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, from the 10th to the 13th of March. After tieing the knot in August of 2016, this charming duo could simply not find a gap earlier to celebrate their nuptuals and new life together. Fortunately for them the weather this time of the year is perfect and complements the safari experience beautifully.

When guests are this enthusiastic and excited about their intended itinerary, it sure makes for a memorable and relaxed experience. And what lay ahead on their very first day out, wasn’t to disappoint either – elephant, rhino, lions, impala, giraffe and warthogs. Although the guests weren’t necessarily keen birdwatchers, the winged sighting complemented the safari experince extremely well. The Wahlberg’s Eagle, European Roller, Ground Hornbill and Fiery-necked Nightjar all popped onto our radar.

Day two had a slightly gloomy tinge to it, when we discovered a deceased male lion with a dislocated hind leg. He was still warm and the guests got to inspect this magnificent African beast up close. An unforgettable moment in the wild, the death of this great warrior notwithstanding. Day three and four saw more lions and a string of breeding herd elephant sightings as well as some great rhino encounters.

On the back of this wonderful safari experience, it was now time to dust of the bush and endulge in some profound pampering. Because the it was quiet and our guests were the only visitors in camp, we decided a treat was in order! We opted to spoil them with a romantic & private poolside dinner where reminiscing about their first African excursion was at the order of the night, no doubt. After the fairytale feast, the indulgence continued with a lavender bath topped with some deliciuosly creamy Amarula on ice.

The stars truly aligned on this occasion and the every aspect of the Kristiansen’s stay was picture perfect. What lovely people with such a keen interest in the bush. We will remember it fondly and truly hope to see them again.

 

 
 

Conservation in the Timbavati Reserve
February 2017

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is a large area of bushveld that spans 24km from east to west and 40km from north to south. This makes it a large area to keep under check in an age where the demand for plant and animal species to be used for medicinal purposes is great and people will go to any lengths to get what they came for.

The Wildlife Protection Team is made up of strong, well-trained individuals that have passed a stringent battery of tests in a selection process to ensure their dedication to the task. It’s a large one. When we think of wildlife protection we automatically think of rhinos and our attempt to stop them being poached but there is so much more to wildlife conservation and ensuring that all species are safe and allowed to thrive in their natural environment. Water pollution, soil erosion and invasive o the plant species also pose a problem to the balance of an eco-system in an area.

Education is an extremely important factor in the conservation of wildlife. This has been successfully initiated with the Timbavati Bush School that educates learners from 35 surrounding schools in facts in conservation and environmental awareness. During the bush school, all the above issues are highlighted and learners are educated on how they can assist in combatting the issue.

 

At Bateleur camp we are dedicated to the conservation of the area in which we have our camps and on which we traverse. When building Bateleur Main camp, making as small a footprint as possible was a priority. Tented walls were chosen over concrete structures, allowing guests inside the units a closer interaction with the outdoors. No trees were removed in the building process, allowing the camp to unobtrusively blend into the surrounds. Andreas Liebenberg, the owner of this property since 1991, has been instrumental in creating the camp as it is today. During their stay guests will learn about the environment and conservation during their bush walks and bushcraft modules. Great pride has been taken to keep the property in a pristine condition, this has included rehabilitating erosion sites, maintaining roads and closing artificial watering holes. To this end, Andreas has twice been the recipient of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve’s conservation award for the most eco-sensitive land owner.

Staying at Bateleur will not only be a once in a lifetime experience but will also leave you with an education in conservation and a new appreciation of your surroundings.