Summer is certainly here, temperature is hovering around 40 degrees Celsius and it’s not even noon!
This beauty dagga** boy has got the right idea. Elephant, rhino and warthog here at Thana will wallow in the mud to protect their sensitive skin from the harsh sun and any biting flies that may accompany that heat.
An important role for the wildlife team and volunteers is recording rain capture data. This is imperative to understand when we can intervene if the water holes become to dry. The rain data is also important to communicate to the guides at Thanda as many of the roads here are un-drivable in 10mm of rain!
This is one of many new rain meters our team is placing around Thanda to record and assess rainfall data.
Top photo: Amanda Lessard
Bottom photo: Marianna Venter
**Dagga boy is a term used for solitary bull buffalo that have been pushed from the main herd. Sometimes they join together in small numbers. Dagga is a term for mud. (umdaka- in Zulu)
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Summer has arrived in Zululand and we are having some amazing sightings whilst out and about in the bush.
Everything, from spotted hyaena cubs to our lions and cheetahs, is putting its best foot foward for photographic opportunities.
The trees are in full leaf so everything is wonderfully green and lush, providing plenty of browse for the giraffe.
The elephants are having the best time playing in the waterholes whilst our warthog, rhino and buffalo (pictured below with a friend along for the ride!), are also fond of having a mud bath to cool off and rid themselves of parasites.
The birds, in their stunning breeding plumage, are giving us an amazing display of colour and sound.
All in all, a truly special time to be in the African bush…”Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you” Frank Lloyd Wright
Dates for 2019 are now available!
2018 has already been eventful with introduction of both new antelopes and two new cheetah males. In the upcoming months we will release the males from the boma and introduce a couple of females. To successful introduce these animals to the reserve will be a continuous focus of the volunteering programme in 2019. This includes monitoring to make sure they adapt properly to the reserve but as this year we will continue to combine it with the possibility to learn more about reserve and conservation management as well.
Dates for 2019
1 – 14 February
8 – 21 March
18 April – 1 May
1 – 14 June
14 – 27 July
20 August – 2 September
30 September – 13 October
10 November – 23 November
1 – 28 February
8 March – 5 April
18 April – 15 May
1 – 28 June
14 July – 10 August
20 August – 16 September
30 September – 27 October
10 November – 7 December
Last week two male cheetahs arrived to Thanda. They were released into a boma where they are going to stay for a couple of months until they are used to the environment. What is also quite interesting about these males are that they are not brothers and we are therefor try to bond them in to make them stick together when released which would improve the chance of survival.
Cheetahs are beautiful and interesting animals but because they are slimmer and food competition for other predators they have natural enemies such as lions and hyenas. One way of protecting themselves from these dangers are by hunting during the day compared to both leopards, hyenas and lions that hunts during the night. The cheetahs usually eat their food fast and abandon the carcass quickly to make sure that they are not surprised by lions who tries to steal their food.
We are very excited that we have two new cheetahs and we can’t wait for them to be released so they can enjoy our reserve.
We finally have the 2018 start dates for the Ulwazi volunteering programme. Just as last year, the Ulwazi programme will give you the opportunity to be a part of the conservation management at Thanda Safari whilst also contributing to wildlife and conservation research. New for this year is that we are teaming up with Africa Nature Training, a field guide training provider, which will give you the additional opportunity to learn tracks, bird- and plant identification. Combined with the conservation management you will gain a lot of skills that you can take with you from the volunteering programme.
Dates for 2018:
4 – 18 June
16 – 30 July
1 – 15 October
12 – 26 November
4 June – 2 July
16 July – 13 August
1 October – 29 October
12 November – 10 December
To read more about the volunteering programme, visit our website here.
Below are some pictures from our last volunteers, Nadine, Luisa and Lennon from Germany. They were involved with cheetah tracking, lion and elephant data collection and they helped out with both soil erosion and bush clearing. Beyond that we also had lots of fun and we can’t wait to get new volunteers around!