We are celebrating winter (yes, not escaping it, but embracing the cold season) with an issue that’s jam-packed, overloaded and bursting its seams with adventure and trip suggestions.
Mega road trip
One Wild Card member banked his holidays until he had four weeks to drive 6,500 km through seven provinces, visiting eight parks from Augrabies Falls to Mountain Zebra. Find out where he experienced the best wildlife sighting, most scenic park drive, most enjoyable traffic jam, best breakfast view, coolest sunset spot and the finest hikes, amongst others.
2019 Bucket list
With the focus on novelty and escape, we round up the coolest outdoor trips and obsessions. These memorable quests – all of them in Wild Card parks and reserves – include a lion stakeout with Khomani San and riding on horseback among elephants.
Ndumo Game Reserve
It’s a birding mecca (yes, you will score amazing ticks), and it has the third largest Nile crocodile population in South Africa. We look at the conservation of these keystone predators that migrate far further than previously thought. We also review the upgraded rest camp.
Fellowship through song
When the wild enters into their voices, Kruger’s very own choir measures up to the chorus of hyenas, lions and frogs. The 46 choristers are mainly staff and members of the Skukuza community. Says Nobulawu Nhlapo, the choir’s director, conductor and founder, “these voices are a balm and a weapon and a language that connects us all.”
Amazing sightings I
When two snake biologists came across a Cape cobra hunting a puff adder, little did they know that the Kalahari showdown would last for the next 36 hours.
Amazing sightings II
At Sunset Dam in Kruger, several grey herons were using the pod of resident hippos as hunting perches from where to conduct their fishing – this is the shot you wish you bagged!
For many first-time visitors to wildlife areas of Africa, a sighting of a wildebeest will elicit a call of ‘buffalo’. This is because they are generally dark in colour and the horns are superficially similar. Wildebeest are however much smaller, have flat rather than forward-projecting faces, and disproportionately large forequarters. Know the differences between blue and black wildebeest and where to find them.
Technology has revolutionised monitoring and research. Camera traps are a valuable tool for scientific research, plus they offer thrilling glimpses into previously unseen worlds.
Send us your sightings
We love receiving your sightings and letters about park experiences, so please keep us posted about your wild adventures by sending an email to [email protected]. Chris Hoffman is the photographer behind this thrilling image of a brown hyena and a black-backed jackal on a buffalo kill in Addo, which features on the Letters page of the winter issue. Chris was travelling with his uncle, Brian Alexander, who describes the sighting as a privilege and only the second time he’s seen brown hyena in some 30 years of visiting national parks. Regretfully we didn’t include the photo credit and would like to apologise to Chris for the oversight.