Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Plett River Lodge

Just 5 minutes outside of Plettenberg Bay along the solitary Bitou River, Plett River Lodge offers stunning accommodation for discerning guests. Plett River Lodge invites you to come and rest your spirit and body. Relax watching the sun rise over the mountains and listening to the Fish Eagles call over the river. Amazing bird life and panoramic views of the local countryside and our lavender filled courtyard makes this a perfect place to stay whilst in Plettenberg Bay. Amazing reviews like this one from TripAdvisor prove that this is an amazingly calming place to spend your vacation...

"This place is stunning, we can not understand that anyone can say anything bad or negative about the Plettenberg River Lodge. It is absolutely beautiful and relaxing. Maria was a stunning host from the moment we got there, till we left. The rooms are beautiful, great furniture with an amazing view. We had a romantic sunset braai on the deck, the continental breakfast was perfect, everything to choose from, we couldn't even finish it or try everything. We will most definitely go out of our way to go there again. We showed the pictures to all our friends and highly recommend it to everyone.We live in Hermanus and are already planning the next trip with our friends."

Guests of Plett River Lodge enjoy a discount at our sister establishment, Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve for guided two-hour game drives in a game viewing vehicle and horse safaris. Just 10 minutes' drive from Plett River Lodge, Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in the Western Cape with more than 35 species of game roaming freely.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Some little-known information about Elephants

Elephants are one of the most gentle and intelligent animals in the South African bush. Many people don't realise the intelligence of these animals. They have an incredible memory and their emotional side is something to be wary of. A lot of research over the past few years has found that elephants that have been through a culling season show signs of major distress and even self harm. They have the ability to show empathy towards other elephants suffering. They morn for weeks when another elephant dies and a mother elephant will protect her baby with her own life. There have been recorded burial ceremonies by researches where elephants try for hours to try help a hurt elephant by trying to lift the elephant and feeding it. If the elephant dies they bury the elephant in a shallow grave with branches and leaves. They have been known to do this for family members and with elephants from another herd and even sleeping or dead humans. An elephant herd is almost indestructible and only poaching, culling and death seem to break them up. Humans have become so captivated by these highly intelligent animals that they have discovered that elephants are able to mimic sounds they hear as well as use tools and are able to recognise themselves in mirrors. We do not have elephants at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve as our land is too small and they would not have sufficient food or roaming space.  We do, however have other members of the BIG 5 - Lion, Buffalo & Rhino.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve Nocturnal Animals

Image courtesy of Jason Parrish
There is far more that goes on during the night out in the bush than you can imagine. Often after spending a night sleeping in the bush you will find small traces of activity in the night but nothing more. A quill left behind or tiny aardvark footprints tracing around your front door. There are so many strange and wonderful creatures that only venture out once the sun has gone down and many people sadly miss them. These elusive animals are sneaking around just outside your window and we recommend you stay up a little past your bedtime and catch a glimpse of this whole other world that comes alive once it's dark outside. We're talking about animals like the aardvark, porcupine, hyena, scorpion, aardwolf, fox, caracal and many different wild cats. Many of these animal can only be seen in tiny cages in zoos and we believe that it is a much more fulfilling experience to be able to see these animals in their natural habit doing what they do best.

Image courtesy of National Geographic
Nothing brings a smile to peoples faces like seeing the 60cm, 16kg porcupine hobbling around outside at night, foraging for insects and anything that has been left behind on the braai. The hyena is one of the most bizarre creatures not only to see but to hear too. Their high pitched squeaks do actually sound like laughter and people are often surprised to see them hunting as they are believed to be scavengers. The aardvark is probably the most humorous of the lot. Their strange pig-like bodies and their long noses are a sight to see as they dig through ant hills with no fear.

Come and see these animals at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve and enjoy a blissful weekend away along the Garden Route.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

50% of Our Lions Extinct in 40 Years

Image courtesy of National Geographic
One of the Africas most famous animals, king of the animal kingdom, is under massive pressure with 50% of its population due to be extinct in 40 years. With the massive expansion of urban Africa over the last 20 years there has been an extreme decrease in lion population moving down from the top of Africa and now as far south as Namibia. In just the last 20 years the African lion has dwindled to almost 20 000 when it was once 450 000. If these animals are lost there will be a huge imbalance in the entire ecosystem spinning the natural process into turbulence causing huge problems in the future. This huge depopulation has been caused by human invasion into their habitat creating problems with loss of prey and pesticides and even illnesses that have been caused due to diet and habitat change. The situation is particularly dire in West Africa, where it is estimated that the lion population dropped from approximately 1,200 lions in 2002 down to between just 480 and 525 lions in 2012. The University of Duke established that the Savannah is in worse shape than the rain forests with less than 25% remaining. If we don't get involved and help conserve lions we may be facing a massive extinction from one of the top predators that has ever existed.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Born Free Foundation exhibits at the V&A

Next week there is a fantastic exhibition by the Born Free Foundation at the V&A Waterfront. You can go and see the sponsored life-sized lions that have been designed and painted by local artists on display for the Pride of Cape Town campaign. Each lion sculpture is sponsored by individuals or companies and will then be auctioned for charity. This is to raise awareness about the plight of lions in Africa. In 20-40 years almost half our lion population will be extinct. Come join us there and show your support for these majestic animals.

The 8 week event will culminate in a charity auction, with net proceeds from the sale of the lion sculptures being donated to Born Free.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Culling - Good or bad?

Culling is often a very controversial  topic amongst the general public and there seems to be a lot of hearsay and speculation.  We decided to take a look at what it is and why it is done.

Basically, culling is the system of killing a particular species of wild game in order to keep the vegetation sufficiently healthy to feed the grazers.  If the vegetation does not recover between seasons, the animals will go hungry and become unhealthy.  Once you know how many animals your land can support per hectare then you can do a game count and the excess game can be hunted,  sold or culled. 

Before game land was fenced off and predators kept in enclosures, the predators could to a certain extent keep the natural balance and order going.  In many game reserves these days, the predators are fenced in and there is no room for these animals to hunt as nature intended.
Another reason to cull is to improve the genetics. If game farm owners do not cull certain animals and bring in fresh genes then the quality of animals they produce goes down.
Culling in South Africa forms an integral and necessary part of Nature Conservation and seasonal hunting is a common way of gaining an income while balancing nature.  

Hunting in South Africa is subject to very strict laws. But they protect the hunter and the conservationists alike and thus make it possible that a wide range of game can be hunted.
Do you have any comments about culling?  Are you for or against?