Zululand Walking Safaris recently had the pleasure/ privilege of being involved in the Rhino Reality Asian Awareness Campaign……
“We all love Africa’s rhino, and the battle raging for their survival is real and urgent. Yet,conservation can be tough work. If you are lucky to be in the field it is physical and demanding. If you are involved in the awareness side of conservation or in advocacy, the endless meetings and strategy sessions can make you weary, when you feel you are making headway, but too slowly.
So, now and then you have to do something to remind yourself why you do the work you do!
That’s what this expedition is about. The beauty of rhino and our love of the bush.
18 months ago we conceived of a walk to vent our frustrations with the on-going slaughter of Africa’s rhino. On 3 August 2012 we begin that walk and during our expedition we aim to encourage greater collaboration and unity amongst all rhino related initiatives both in South Africa and abroad.”
Zululand Walking Safaris led the group of walkers for 1 day through the Pongola Game Reserve and for 2 days through the Zululand Rhino Reserve. Sleeping under the stars and walking through the bush everyday is truly an amazing way to your spend time and when you doing it for a good cause it makes it even better.
During our portion of the trail we managed to find 3 Black Rhino, one sighting was absolutely amazing with a young Black Rhino bull standing a mere 15m from the group. During the night while sleeping around the fire we were woken by the sounds of a Leopard calling in a drainage line near by and later we could hear the soft grunting sounds from a pride of lions close to the camp. With a ceiling full of stars and the sounds of the African Bush to put me to sleep it was by far one of the best nights sleep I have had in a while.
Check out the Rhino Reality site for more information http://rhinoreality.org/Rhino_Reality/Rhino_Reality_Asian_Awareness_Campaign.html
ZWS is going to host a few guides on a exciting program. The aim is for these guides to build their practical Trails Guiding experience so that they can further their careers. We will spend 10 days roaming the hills of the Zululand Rhino Reserve some nights will be spent roughing it around a fire, while others will be spent in the comfort of a bed. I am very excited about this developnment and I hope that it will grow into something that Zululand Walking Safaris can do every few months.
It is the season of bush fires in Zululand. In a few weeks all the controlled ecological burns would have been done and the area will resemble a black desert. Many people think the fires are destructive but they are an essential tool for managing Game Reserves but need to be used wisely.
Once a fire has been through an area I have had lots of guests gasp in sadness when we find a herd of Zebra or a Black Rhino wandering around in the soot, “What is it going to eat?” is the usual remark but they are there for a reason. Most animals enjoy eating the burnt twigs and scolded leaves, Zebra even enjoy rolling in the ash. After a few weeks, once the first rains have fallen new plants will shoot and provide a nutritious meal for all the animals. Some seeds cannot germinate unless they have been burnt in a fire.
Walking Safaris after the first rains are my favorite as the grass is short making it easy to walk and even easier to find animals. It is also the time when most animals are giving birth to their young, making for some awesome game viewing.
The reserve in which I am based, Zululand Rhino Reserve, has formed a team that will jump out of a plane between 8000 and 10000 ft in order to raise awareness for the plight of the Rhinos. They also aim to raise more than R100,000.00 that will be donated towards various Rhino Projects.
Any donations no matter how big or small would be greatly appreciated as every cent counts towards the future of these prehistoric beauties we so desperately are trying to conserve for our future generations!!! Follow the link http://zrrskydive.givengain.org/ to make a donation or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last 2 Short Trails have been amazing, yesterday we started the walk with a sighting of an elephant bull. We spent 20 minutes watching the bull has he drank at a waterhole. We left the elephant bull and headed North and found a group of white rhino, the rhino were hanging out and a second waterhole.
This morning we tracked a leopard up a hill we could hear Impala snorting and Nyala barking at the leopard a few meters in front of us but couldn’t see the leopard. We left the area and moved around the hill and across a valley. When on the other side iof the valley we heard a Vervet Monkeys alarm calling, we scanned the opposite slope with binoculars and we were rewarded with a brief sighting of a leopard moving through a thicket.
Leopard are a very rare thing to find on a walking safari, I have been privliged enough to see leopard on 3 different trails. On one of the trails I was entering a river bed and a massive male leopard moved out of the forest and crossed over the river bed infront of me.
I have decide to enter the realm of Blogging and will be posting regular updates on what I have been up to, both on and off the trail.