Hoedspruit Explorer Issue 31 April 2021

Issue #31

Photo By: Lance Van De Vyver - Little Sparrowhawk

Featured Lodge SHUMBALALA GAME LODGE

ATTENTION TO THE WILDEST DETAIL I t's a vast, wild place where the lions roam at Shumbalala Game Lodge, deep in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, one of the country's great tracts of untamed game-viewing. Set as it is in a dry, singeing savanna of Acacias and Umbrella Thorns, unquartered by easterly flowing rivers densely shrouded by giant figs and fever trees, the land is an ancient tapestry of natural wonder. Over-head the Loeries call their sharp warning while the horn-bills swoop in an ungainly ballet between trees whilst vultures elevate on the thermals portending an electric storm. As you push on through the bush it is the serendipity of nature that amazes most as your vehicle skirts art deco zebra, dozy giraffe, bright eyed bush babies, wildebeest (made, it is said, by the committee of left-over parts) and the rest Africa has to offer. It is evenmore of an adventurewhen you stumble upon leopard lazing in the V of a Jackalberry tree or a hyena giving you a lazy yellow eye in the gathering dusk, a majestic elephant crashing its way through the riverine thicket in search of sweet reeds, or a surprise sunrise encounter with a pride of lions on the prowl. This is the World of Shumbalala Game Lodge where tales of sightings are recounted over crushed ice and the spontaneous head-rush of it all in the wine cellar which has full viewof awaterhole out on the edge of the savanna. East of the hamlets which form a frontier to the glorious untamed Bushveld (Hoedspruit to the west has Eastgate airport; Phalaborwa to the north has its own landmark airport) Thornybush is situated in more than 14,000ha of splendid solitude, nowpart of theGreater Kruger National Parkwith no fence boundary. Unspoiled and untainted by the world beyond, the stone-clad Shumbalala ("where the lion sleeps") is a five star journey for the soul, set beneath shady Africa trees lining the Monwana River, along the banks of which you will spot myriad animals fromyour large canewing-back chair poised on a teak deck. Lodging consists of 6 luxury suites, all of which have overhead fans, air- conditioning, open fireplaces and glass fronts with private viewing decks into the magical African bush. Bathrooms (all with in and outdoor showers) have their own glass picturewindows towatch thewildworld go by as youwash off the heat of the day. The double suite Presidential Unit includes a private dining room, lounge, plunge pool and fireside facilities. With lazy afternoons swimming in the pool, followed by the rush of the evening game drive, a sumptuous dinner follows and is enjoyed either fire-side, from the lodge deck positioned above the river bed, in the underground cellar or in the cozy candle-lit dining room in thewinter. Each day will bring with it the intricate web of nature which, along with the attention to detail provided at ShumbalalaGame Lodge, will evoke in the visitor the exquisite and indelible mood of the bush - a sense of peace some would describe as being awake dreaming...

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Physical Address: Postal Address: Reservations Phone: Reservations E-Mail: Website:

Thornybush Reserve, Hoedspruit P.O. Box 344, Hoedspruit 1380 +27 (0)72 812 2172

info@shumbalala.co.za www.shumbalala.co.za SADC special available, please view our website.

http://www.natureguidetraining.com lee@natureguidetraining.com +27 73 468 9267

A Charaxes caterpillar on a mopani leaf

A young reddish leaf

Mopani bark

Leaf-rolling weevil sign on a mopani leaf

Mopani fruit

A seed, with its resin drops

www.hoedspruitreptilecentre.com E-mail: reptile@yebo.co.za Tel: +27 (0) 15 795-5203 Cell: +27 64 516 7439

even tolerate the freezing of their blood and other tissues. They do so by using urea and glucose which are cryoprotectants to limit ice formation and reduce osmotic shrinkage of cells. In preparation for winter, wood frogs accumulate urea in their tissues and their liver which converts glycogen into large quantities of glucose. In doing so, this species can survive numerous freeze/thaw events throughout winter.

When asked what is unique about reptiles and amphibians one of the first things anyone responds with, is that they are cold-blooded. However, this term is a bit of a misnomer; reptiles and amphibians do not actually have cold blood. What the term cold-blooded refers to is an animal's ability to thermoregulate. Unlike their mammalian counterparts, reptiles and amphibians cannot regulate their own body temperature and therefore rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature and to reach their thermal optimum (their ideal body temperature). Unlike mammals that will sweat, pant or shiver if they become too hot or too cold; as ectotherms, reptiles and amphibians must move from place to place in response to becoming too hot or too cold. However, relying on environmental temperatures to regulate one's own temperature allows ectothermic animals to operate at very economical metabolic rates. Indeed, when reptiles and amphibians are not at their thermal optimum, their metabolism does not function at full capacity. Their ectothermic nature allows reptiles to slow their metabolism down in periods of lower than optimum conditions so that they do not require as much food and can wait for better conditions to return to normal temperatures and activities. Ectotherms have developed behaviours that allow them to regulate their temperature. For example, reptiles often seek sunny places and adopt positions that maximise their exposure to the sun towarmup; a behaviour called basking. In addition to behavioural adaptations, physiological adaptations can help ectotherms regulate/maintain their temperature. Some reptiles and amphibians can even enter a state of torpor when conditions are unfavourable. Torpor is a state of lowered physiological activity characterized by reducedmetabolism, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature.

African Giant Bullfrogs, Pyxicephalus adspersus, will go into estivation, a state of partial hibernation, when conditions are very hot and dry. Amphibians out of water rely on mucous on their skin to assist with breathing. When conditions get too hot and dry, African bullfrogs bury themselves underground and secrete mucous, cocooning themselves in a safe environment to wait until conditions aremore favourable signalledby the start of the rainy season. The ectothermic nature of reptiles and amphibians has resulted in a way of life that is based on low energy flow and the characteristics that these animals have which are normally considered primitive are in fact adaptations that facilitate a life of low energy demand. The modest energy requirements of amphibians and reptiles as compared to their endothermic counterparts such as birds and mammals has allowed amphibians and repti les to exploit environments unavailable to 'warm-blooded' animals.

Alaskan Wood frogs, Lithobates sylvaticus, from North America can

View location on map

N ow you can also own a share in a pristine Big 5 Private Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park! Ingwelala is a privately owned nature reserve situated outside Hoedspruit in the heart of the Umbabat, which borders the unfenced Kruger National Park and Timbavati reserve. Here you can experience the excitement of game drives in your own open vehicle at any time of the day or night over 3146hectares of prime big game bushveld. Large herds of elephant and buffalo can be found on the property, which also has abundant lion, leopard and wild dogs. It's a true African paradise which also has perennial rivers flowing in the summer season. It is also common to see lion, elephant and leopard passing by as you enjoy a sundowner on your patio. Listen to the sounds of the hyaena and jackal as you share the days sightings around a crackling boma fire. This is the life – come and experience it! Ingwelala has a variety of communal facilities for its owners including a large sparkling pool, tennis courts, a well-stocked shop , vehicle repair and garaging, as well as a general infrastructure for cleaning andmaintenance. You can also connect to the freeWiFi network at the communications centre at the INGWELALA PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE

main camp area. There are also a number of bomas, viewing and picnic sites and overnight sleeping facilities in the bush that lets you experience the splendor of this reserve. Enjoy a night out under the stars and connect with nature. Houses in the Ingwelala Share block do not come on to the market that often, (there are seldom more than 2 or 3 units on sale at any time). The houses range from the traditional rondavel to the more modern styles that have been recently constructed. You can purchase a full ownership share in a house or in some cases, a half share if it is available. It's a real lifestyle purchase that is seldom re-sold and tends to be handed down from one family generation to the next. The game drive rules give you complete freedom to choose where and when you conduct your adventure. You are also permitted to get off the vehicle anywhere on the reserve. So, your sundowner spot could be amajestic hillside or a quiet river bed – your choice! Ingwelala ismore than a bush retreat – it's a way of life where you get to experience the tranquility of the bush in a pristine African setting. Don'tmiss out on a chance to change your life, you deserve it.

For more information about the area in the article or properties there, please contact:

Yvette Thompson 083 655 7176 yvette@century21wildlife.co.za

Drakensig

Wildlife

In this article we cover some of the common problems we encounter in gardens, and how they can be solved. If you have an existing problem perhaps youmight find a solution to it here. Or, if you're just starting out with a new garden, perhaps you can avoid some of the common problems that have plagued other home owners. Article by Johan Wentzel Garden Problems & Solutions

Lawn in shaded areas of the garden – one of the most common garden problems I have always tried to promote the idea of lawn-free gardens, gardens which increase the biodiversity of our country and lower your maintenance costs, but lawns do have their place, and many people could not conceive of a garden without some lawn to lie on, walk on, or play games with their kids on. Lawn, however, is likely to be your highest maintenance plant – not to mention your thirstiest – and there are a number of lawn problems which we frequently encounter. One of those is lawn that is struggling in the shade. Almost invariably, these lawns are (or were) Kikuyu, a sun-loving species which slowly dies off in shady areas. If you have Kikuyu which is struggling in the shade, one solution is to cut back the trees and shrubs surrounding it, in order to provide it withmore light – although this tends to be temporary and is usually an ongoing process. Alternatively, one can use LM or 'Berea' lawn, an indigenous species that takes time to establish itself but is fairly hardy and knits well together with the Kikuyu. LM only works in semi-shaded areas, (rarely in full shade), and does not take heavy traffic very well. Other 'shade-lawn' species very popular in our area is Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secondatum). It is a much hardier, coarser lawn with a short, broad leaf.

Poor tree selection and placement

This Searsia lancea, planted too close to a boundary wall, has already had to be cut in half, and is lifting the paving. Arguably the most common problem we find in gardens is poor tree selection and placement, often resulting in damaged boundary walls, the lifting of paving, or tree roots that interferewith house foundations. It is all too tempting to place a young tree close to a boundary wall, either because the bed is not large enough, or because the home owner needs 'instant' screening from the neighbours, and does not take into account the full-grown height and width of the tree. From experience we know how difficult it can be for a home owner to plant a tree even one meter away from a wall – because the tree is still deceptively small, or because the home owner doesn't want to use up too much lawn space. Often these trees become problems for the neighbours too If you have a tree that is starting to affect a boundary wall, be proactive and remove the tree, or transplant it if it is still young enough. For new trees take into account the full-grown height and width of the tree and plant it accordingly. For small trees we would recommend a distance of at least 1.5 meters from the boundary wall, whilst larger trees should be planted at least 4-7meters away fromwalls and foundations.

Dead or sparse lawn in shady areas

If, after trying LM, you still find your lawn struggling in a particular area and you are not willing to cut away trees and shrubs, then it might be time to realise you are trying to 'fit a square peg in a round hole'. In these instances, consider removing your lawn and extending your beds, using shade loving groundcovers or bark chips instead of lawn. Some of our favourite gardens are those with no lawn at all; shaded hideaways where home owners have been creative in providing access without the need for sun-loving lawns. Converting your lawn into an indigenous bed is both rewarding and liberating, and will allow you to appreciate a greater diversity of plants, whilst eliminating one of themost common garden problems.

johan@wildflowernursery.co.za

What should I do if I find an animal/bird in distress?

Is it injured? e.g. can you see blood, broken bones, cannot fly or walk away etc

Yes

No

Very quietly cover the eyes if possible and take straight to your nearest wildlife rehab. If not possible e.g., too aggressive please place in a dark box to take to the rehab or call them for assistance

Is it a baby?

Yes

Has mum returned to baby in the past 6 hours? (if unsure please monitor from a distance for this amount of time)

No

Is it showing any abnormal behaviour e.g. fitting, stiffness, paralysis?

Yes

Don’t interfere

No

Yes

No

Don’t interfere

Very quietly cover eyes and take to your nearest wildlife rehab. If the animal is too large or dangerous please phone your local rehab so they can assist

Very quietly cover the eyes if possible and take straight to your nearest wildlife rehab. If not possible e.g., too aggressive please place in a dark box to take to the rehab or call them for assistance

Many of our community members love wildlife and have the best intentions when it comes to raising or treating animals/birds, however we urge you not to do this yourselves. Vets and rehab facilities are the best place for these animals/birds and from experience we have seen how not taking injured or orphaned wildlife to the relevant centres has led to more serious injuries from lack of proper treatment for example and evenproved fatal.

If the situation occurs where you have to intervene with an animal/bird in distress please take the animal or bird straight to a wildlife rehab. If you are not able to take it there straight away then please call the rehab you intend to take it to and ask themfor advice in themeantime. Themost common advicewill be to keep the animal/bird in a dark, quiet place. Offeringwater froma dish can also be helpful. PLEASE DONOT give any food or fluid FORCIBLY . Although many have good intentions, if the food or fluids end up in thewrongplace it can be fatal!

We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any and all wildlife emergencies! 082 348 7188 /064 705 3180

Jason 083 267 4794

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