Tuesday, 30 April 2013

8 Facts About Vultures

Fun Facts about Vultures
Cape Vulture

1. A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, kettle or volt. 

2. A flying group of vultures is called a kettle.

3. They are scavenger birds. They may kill an animal that is sick or dying otherwise they only what is already dead.

4. Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest putrid carcasses infected with Botulinum toxin, hog cholera, and anthrax bacteria that would be lethal to other scavengers.

5. South Africa has 8 types of Vultures classified in the Old World Vulture group. 

6. They are bad flyers because they are so heavy. They cannot stay airborne for too long and take advantage of thermal pockets of air to rise over 150 meters.

7. Their vision is 8 times better than humans.

8. Vultures often stay in groups and rely on one another to find food and to watch out for predators.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

7 Awesome Wildlife Videos

Here are some awesome wildlife videos for those of us who are dying to be in the bush right now but can't. From Buffalo fighting against Lions to Zebras escaping death from the jaws of a lioness.

Battle at Kruger. Lion vs Buffalo These lioness may have met their match when they try to mess with this baby.

Female Elephants Rescue Drowning Baby . Too sweet! The end reflects the relationships between elephants and their young

How developed Chimps are with using tools.  Very interesting how developed chimps really are.

Leopard cuddles Baby Baboon . Surprising video on the unpredictability of the wild.

Zebra fights for life against Lioness The strength and desire to survive shown by a zebra who seems to have no chance.

Baby gorilla exploring. An adorable, inquisitive baby gorilla explores for the first time.

Giraffe and seal giving birth  Spectacular video footage of the natural births of these majestic animals.

Hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.

Check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @PlettGameRes for more information on wildlife and awesome specials at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve.

Check out our blog for more great safari ideas and suggestions.

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Misconceptions about South Africa That South Africans Think Are Hilarious

Over the past few months, many hilarious questions have been asked by people who know very little about South Africa. We have decided to bring together our favourite gems and post them, so if you have a question you think may be a little silly or you would like a laugh, have a read and hopefully we can clear a few things up. Here it is - hilarious misconceptions about South Africa

1) We do not have fences that run around our cities to keep wild animals out. Wild animals are protected in reserves that are hundreds of kilometres big. We travel on holidays to go see them in their natural habitat, FAR away from cities. Visit Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve for more information and queries.

This is South Africa on a map of Africa
2) We do have electricity and running water. There are poor, often informal settlements, where water and electricity may not be provided. In all cities we have water and electricity. We also have internet and telephones and televisions and radios, and iPods and cellphones. For real.

3) South Africa is a country. It is right at the bottom of Africa. We have our own government and currency. We are a well developed country with well maintained tarred roads (We use cars to get places, not elephants). We have built up cities that are, more often than not, the power houses of Africa.

4) We can speak English. Speaking with "clicks" is a language that not every South Africa can speak. Xhosa is the most spoken language that makes use of clicks. So just clicking your tongue many times in different tones at a South African and asking them to translate will probably get you slapped in the face, or sworn at. It's annoying.

5) We have many many different races and cultures in South Africa like most other cities in the world. We proudly call ourselves The Rainbow Nation because of this exact reason. So when you meet an Indian or white person or coloured or even a Chinese person from South Africa, do NOT ask why we are not black.

6) We wear normal clothes. I have never and will never wear a loin cloth and go hunting.

7) We do not have slaves.

8) We live in houses, not underground or in huts.

9) We watch movies and listen to music, from the current year.

10) Yes there is poverty, no South African is going to deny this. But you aren't going to stay in a mud hut and eat goat intestines when you come to South Africa. Unless you want to.

11) It is not a jungle nor is it a desert. South Africa is very lucky because we have the majestic Tsitsikamma Forest along the Garden Route and we have the Karoo Desert that dries up a region in the south west part of South Africa. It is not extremely hot, we have temperatures that vary from 0 in winter to 40 in summer but most parts of SA are very varied. We even have snow in some parts of our country. We have cold and warm oceans either side and we have a great varied climate.

12) We have toilets.

13) Yes. It is true. We have the best rugby team in the world. (Rugby is a sport, Google it)

For information and specials on travelling to South Africa have a look at our site and our blog.

You can also Like us on Facebook and on Twitter @PlettGameRes for specials and great new information.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Daryl and Sharna Balfour- Incredible Wildlife Photographers

Leaving behind their 13 year old public relations and marketing business, Sharna and Daryl Balfour headed off to Botswana to follow their dreams. They managed  a safari camp for nearly three years, using their photography and journalism skills to capture and record the wildlife. They then made a move that would make them two of the most prestigious and well recognised wildlife photographers in the world.

In 1989 they moved to Zululand to write a book on the horrendous Rhino poaching in the area. After spending a year on the book their dream became true. They have now published many books together and travel extensively capturing unique and breathtaking wildlife photography.

Working with and learning from some of the world's leading conversationalists and wildlife photographers, Daryl is now a photography legend in his own right.

Daryl has lectured at the prestigious internationally acclaimed North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA) annual summit. He has also authored his own photographic online courses at WildLifeCampus.

Spending almost 10 months a year in the field taking photographs and hosting safaris for royalty, presidents, celebrities and other international photographers and film makers, they are continually adding to their repertoire of coffee-table books.

Years of amazing experiences like being trampled by one of Kruger Park's biggest elephants are forever captured in his photographs. He has been all over Africa taking photographs every step of the way. He has photographed conservation tigers bred and raised in the Karoo, Polar Bears in the Arctic, the great migrations across African plains and many, many more incredible wildlife awes.

NOTE: All photographs by Sharna and Daryl Balfour.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Endangered Bird Life

There are hundreds of birds in South Africa that are endangered, threatening to throw our ecosystem into chaos. Often we forget what a vital role these tiny creatures play in our environment. Keeping insect populations down, they keep our entire system in balance. 

African Black Oystercatcher
I remember as a child, my parents sitting on the chair outside on our veranda looking at birds for hours through binoculars and I never understood why. Now that I am older the magnificence and true bliss of these creatures intrigues me. How they live their lives from one day to the next, believing that the next day they will be provided for. 

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine he said that it sounded like humans. As much we plan for the future and work to ensure that we have safe and comfortable lives we believe that tomorrow we will wake up and we will be able to do the same thing again. We trust our planet to do its part to provide for us. But if we continue to live as though the world can limitlessly provide when in actual fact we are on the verge of a total loss of nearly all our natural resources we will plunder ourselves into a major crisis. We forget that each decision we make has a consequence and every action has a reaction. 

Royal Northern Albatross 
If bird species continue to decline and we are not aware of how our actions affect this system, we will feel the effects sooner than later. There will be an increase in disease and a loss of crops. The continual loss of the birds' habitat and the obvious change in weather patterns will continue to push these birds migratory patterns off course. Animals that feed on these birds will also feel the impact and the circle of disaster will continue. 

Birds like the Blue Crane, Rockhopper Penguin, Northern Royal Albatross and African Black Oystercatcher will all be extinct in a few years. Take a stand and join a conservation team in your area and find out more about how you can prevent the extinction of these beautiful animals. Find out more about Plettenberg Bay Nature Reserves birds by following this link 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Black Rhino Statistics

There has been a shocking decline of rhinos over the past few years as we all know but what are the actual statistics and what is really being done about it? 

According to www.stoprhinopoaching.com more than 206 Rhino have been poached this year alone and conservationists estimate more than 1000 will die in total. Since the endemic began in in 2008, the country has been rocked by more than 1600 Rhino deaths. Intelligence driven operations have started what can be called a war on poachers. Military style training and equipment is now being adopted to help save the Rhino. 

Millions of Rands have been raised from all over the country in many different forms of fund raising. What sometimes feels like a losing battle, rangers celebrate in the shooting and killing of suspected poachers. Poachers are able to find a weak spot along the thousands of kilometres that are open to target. The following graph depicts the huge increase of rhino poaching. 

Courtesy of Jacques blog
The heartlessness and brutality in the way in which these animals are killed is one of the biggest factors causing so many people to speak out. It seems the relentlessness of the poachers is a tough enemy. They are paid exorbitant amounts of money, around about the horn's weight in gold, in return for the horns. 

Game parks are now taking matters into their own hands and injecting a mixture of parasiticides and permanent pink dye which will make whoever ingests the horn become seriously ill. Some researchers argue that this will not save the Rhino only deter the poachers to other sites and poachers will dye the horns white to make them look normal. Unfortunately poachers kill the animal and then decide whether they can use the horn or not. 

According to New Age online, the government has entered into talks with the entire Asian block. They are set on signing an agreement with the countries to clamp down on  Rhino horn trade and other animals like tortoises and snakes. It seems the best way to end this murder is to target the rhino horn market in Asia rather then trying to stop the poaching from here.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Frequently Asked Questions When Visiting South Africa

Africa is a continent that was once seen as the 'dark continent'. Unfortunately,  internationally, many people still have these incorrect perceptions. South Africa is one of the most developed countries in Africa and being five times bigger than Europe, people are surprised at how diverse it is. Being a South African, there is nothing but pride in my heart living here and I have rounded up a few questions that I get asked the most by people wanting to visit here.

When is the best time to visit South Africa?

  • Peak seasons are during December over Christmas and New Year and over the Easter break in April. Game watching is best early spring from August to October as the grass is shorter and animals congregate around water holes during the dry season. However, is not restricted to this time and can be viewed all year round. It gets very hot during mid summer making malaria more common in the northern parts of South Africa.
  • Whale watching takes place in mid June to the end of October along the West & South coast of the Cape.
  • Diving off our beautiful coast line is best from April to September. We have very warm summers and the East Coast is warm, even in winter.
  • Surfing is best in the winter months but the southern parts and the western parts can be very chilly even in summer, so bring a wet suit.

How reliable is South Africa's infrastructure?
South Africa's infrastructure is very good and it is considered of world class standard. Roads are well maintained making travelling long distances a pleasure. Only in remote rural areas there are downfalls but these are not frequented by tourists. Major cities are continuously growing and there is no lack of development and world class infrastructure and technology. Banks, hotels, restaurants, telecommunications, hospitals, internet and all other necessary development are world class and there to cater for your needs.

What about apartheid?
Today, South Africa is one of the most diverse culturally mixed counties in the world. We now consider ourselves a rainbow nation and many people who visit our country say that South Africa has the most friendly, easy going people in the world. We have the remarkable ability to put the past behind us.

How far will money go?
Far. We have a very good exchange rate. Our currency is the Rand (ZAR).

How safe is South Africa?
Image courtesy of What's Up Jozi 
Unfortunately South Africa still has a very high poverty level making crime a problem in South Africa  Most of this crime occurs in poorer areas and tourists are not commonly targeted. 8 Million tourists visited South Africa in 2010 without incident. Safety is very important to us and our police service is reliable. It is best not to walk alone at night. Do not leave visible valuables where they can get stolen. If you are driving around at night be aware of what is happening around you. ATM's are best not visited at night. Do not wear flashy jewellery when visiting poorer parts of South Africa. Try not to hike alone. Malaria is high in the northern parts of South Africa during summer months and HIV is very prevalent. Always wear protection if you plan to engage in sexual activity.

What language is spoken?
Although we have 11 official languages English is the most commonly used language and you will have no problem communicating with people.

Will I see the big 5?
Game parks are spread all across South Africa and The Big 5 is something we take huge pride in. Take a game drive with a professional game ranger and they will ensure you get the best experience possible. We have an extremely diverse range of animals so you are guaranteed to see a spectacular variety of animals as well as The Big 5. Game parks like the Kruger are bigger than some European countries and are a century old. Animals live freely and you are able to see them living wild in their natural environment. Our flora is also spectacular and bird watching is a huge attraction too.

With all these great tips, why not book your trip to South Africa NOW?
Book your stay at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve here: 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Another awesome review by one of our guests

''We thought we would give it a go and we are so glad we did! It is just beautiful, peaceful, rustic and gorgeous!! The manager was on site at dinner time she was very pleasant and came over to introduce herself she was lovely and welcoming and keen to please. Do not expect to come to a game lodge with clinical rooms and environments, your missing the point! It was purely wonderful and relaxing and our room was gorgeous! We saw all the animals at the park, the ranger made sure he showed us all of them going out of his way which was fantastic, the only animal missing being the elephants which aren't at the reserve. I loved the way the animals were outside our rooms in the morning and the food was great, home cooked DO NOT expect restaurant food its not what its about. I hope one day we will be able to return to this fantastic well organised game reserve, if you get the chance to go you really should you wont regret it''

Our reply: So glad you enjoyed your stay. We are here to ensure all our guests have the best experience with us that they possibly can. Visit our website to see special offers and what we have to offer. 

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