Month: June 2020

Through the Eyes of an African Elephant

As published on Jabulani > When an African elephant is born, it is completely blind… It relies on its other senses to navigate its strange new world from between its herd’s legs. As its eyesight develops, allowing it to seek out delicious soft green shoots and ripe Amarula fruit, and ‘keep an eye’ on other calves, the eyes remain small – relative to its size; it is, after all, the largest living land animal. They provide only moderate vision. Even with its tiny eyes, it remains one of the world’s most intelligent animals – described by Aristotle as “the animal that surpasses all others in wit and mind.” How it navigates its world and creates its complex inner life is through their sense of touch, hearing and smell, senses that humans have become much less adept at in comparison. In the dry season in the wild, elephants travel vast distances to track down new sources of water and food, but they are far more likely to smell or hear the water than to see it. Originally they roamed as far …

Buffy the Lion Slayer

Published for Jabulani. Read the post here > The Unexpected Camaraderie of the African Buffalo We’ve all had an itch we couldn’t scratch… Perhaps, desperately, when battling a tickle on your nose or foot, when your hands are tucked away under a cloak at the hairdressers, or wrapped around heavy shopping bags, while walking to the car. Twitch your nose or shake your toes all you like, the itch just gets more tenacious. Didn’t you ever wish for that third arm, a tail, or personal assistant maybe? The African buffalo has just that – a flock of assistants, named oxpeckers. These clever little birds spend their days in all the inaccessible places that even a tail can’t reach, cleaning and combing and picking. They clean the wax out of the buffalo’s ears and peck on ticks and other parasites. They clean wounds and even scar tissue. They also act as an early warning system and hiss at approaching danger. How delightful it would be to have our own oxpecker! Buffalo the Lion Slayer Lions are …

A Creep of Tortoises

A Blog for Jabulani. Read the post here > “Oh, a very useful philosophical animal, your average tortoise. Outrunning metaphorical arrows, beating hares in races… very handy.” – Terry Pratchett Strategy, that’s what’s needed. In order to be there at the end of the race, you need a strategy. To be a participant in the race of life requires a well-conceived plan. And so the tortoise grew a shell. Of course, in that amazing, fun, random and seemingly experimental way that nature has, tortoise shells come in a multitude of shapes, colours, patterns and sizes. Some have flaps and hinges and some are made in a 3D printer. South Africa, and in particular the Cape Province, has the richest diversity of tortoises in the world. In our reserve at Jabulani and in the Great Kruger Park region, it’s mostly leopard tortoise that we encounter, as well as some hinged tortoises and the cape and serrated Terrapins (freshwater tortoises). The leopard tortoise is a member of the not-as-famous Little Five… They are so-named because of their rosette-patterned shells. Unique to …

My Chemical Romance

Written for Jabulani, published here: The Silent Language of Elephants & Other Animals ~ The Jacobson Organ Making Sense of Elephants We’ve always known that elephants relied on their Big 5 senses of taste, sight, hearing, smell and touch in different ways – senses that are essential to everyday animal life, that complement one another and help them to track down fresh new grass and leaves to munch on. Senses that are used in search of ripe marulas and underground water in the dry season, that are vital in the all-important struggle to remain safe from predators, to hear the give-away rustle and detect that invisible lion in a wind-carried warning. But these animals have a sixth sense too… One that is used in those most important of pursuits – love, romance and procreation. Animals communicate through chemical or olfactory methods, such as through pheromones. Chemicals that provide information and deliver several messages, pheromones are released in various bodily fluids, such as sweat, urine, secretions from elephant’s temporal glands and in dung. To decipher these …

The Songs of the Zambezi ~ Royal Chundu

So proud to be part of this sensational Zambezi music video collaboration! Read more about this New Project by Royal Chundu & EC Bling here > and read our post, from Royal Chundu below. A Royal Chundu music video collaboration ~ “Zambezi” by local Zambian musician, Eric Choonga, aka EC Bling. As part of our hopes and purpose to create a platform for local artists and other local producers and suppliers through Royal Chundu, we bring you another talented Zambezi resident, our own lodge security guard and longtime music-maker… Eric Choonga aka EC Bling! Eric lives in the Malambo village right next to the lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River. He’s been singing since he was a child. In fact his grandmother tells of how the family used to tell him to be quiet when he was younger. He was just always singing. Natural talent and passion like that can never be erased. It lives inside the artist for life. Eric acknowledges that music is not traditionally seen as a serious, good or …