The South African Springboks

The Springbok is a type of antelope that inhabits open plains, grasslands, scrublands, deserts and semi-arid areas of South Africa.  They’re very fast – reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!

As herbivores, they live on grass, leaves, flowers, roots and tubers.  Their natural enemies in the wild are cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and lions but uncontrolled hunting (because of their meat and skin) and the construction of the fences (which prevent seasonal migrations) have led to a drastic reduction in the number of springboks in the wild. Fortunately the number of springboks is now stable and they are not listed as endangered.

Springbok facts:

  1. South Africa played its first rugby international in 1891, but it was not until they toured Britain in 1906 that they became known as the Springboks. Nelson Mandela intervened to save the Springbok emblem after the ANC came to power in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.
  2. The male is noted for its “pronking” – leaping 6.5 to 9 feet from the ground into the air so that all four feet are off the ground.
  3. Springbok has pocket-like, flap of skin on the rump which conceals white crest. The white crest can be seen whenever springbok detects predators and sends message to other members of the group.
  4. Springboks form different types of herds: mixed herds (one dominant male with numerous females and their offspring), nursery herds (females and infants) and bachelor herds (young males).
  5. Springboks can mate all year round. Most babies are born during the rainy season, when food is abundant. Pregnancy in females lasts 5 to 6 months and ends with one baby which remains hidden in the bush or tall grass during the first few days of its life. At the age of 3 to 4 weeks, young springbok joins nursery herd with its mother.

Great all-inclusive family deals to Mauritius!

Book your family a holiday to remember at the beautiful Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa in Mauritius. Flying on 22nd June 2020, stay 12 nights in a deluxe room on an ALL INCLUSIVE basis. 2 adults & 2 children (under 12yrs) with choice of FREE land & watersports. Airport transfers in Mauritius included. Prices start from £4,910 per family depending on departure airport. Subject to availability.

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Zambia 2020 – FREE INTERNAL FLIGHTS offer!

Zambia 2020 – FREE INTERNAL FLIGHTS offer! Stay 4+ nights at the luxury Sausage Tree Camp or enjoying the seclusion and adventure of the Potato Bush Camp in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park and receive free internal flights to/from Jeki, Livingstone, Kafue, Mfuwe & Lusaka.  T&C’s apply. Minimum of 2 people travelling. Valid on all new bookings for 2020 season  (1 April – 30 November 2020).

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Mashatu launches its new Euphorbia villas at world-class Botswanan eco-camp.

Experience Mashatu and immerse yourself in the beauty of Botswanan wilderness.

Mashatu have announced the launch of their spacious new luxury eco villas. The 8 new private villas are set high on a cliff overlooking the ravine below with spectacular views of the Majale River.  The villas team luxury with sustainability – hosting a maximum of 16 guests.  Dine in a boma of up-lit euphorbias and enjoy the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve with expert guides on hand to show you the incredible wildlife.

Safari at Mashatu offers far more than the traditional vehicle game drives.  Here you can enjoy horse-back safaris, cycling, and walks in the wild.  The waterside photographic hide also give guests the opportunity to get a thrilling close up view and is a must whether you are a keen photographer or simply love wildlife.

Hidden gem – The Mashatu Game Reserve is 29,000 hectares (72000 acres) of privately owned land in the conserved wilderness area known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Tucked away in the Eastern most corner of Botswana, the open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland and majestic sandstone ridges are a feast for the eyes and a haven for wildlife.

Mashatu shares unfenced borders with both the South African and Zimbabwean national parks to the south and north, which forms part of a cross boundary wildlife conservation area protecting the region’s rich game and incredible biodiversity of fauna and flora.

The perfect blend of comfort and luxury, Mashatu offers an authentic wildlife experience with a choice of accommodation from their family friendly lodge, the intimate bush experience of the tented camp or the privacy of the new Euphorbia villas, and whatever your preference, your stay at Mashatu will be unforgettable.   The new Euphorbia villas begin welcoming guests from June 2020, with bookings now being taken.   For more information contact Vicky on 0131 315 2464.

Amazing Zambian ‘carnivore’ safari special offer and FREE FLIGHTS!

Amazing Zambian ‘carnivore’ safari special offer and FREE FLIGHTS (Lusaka/Mfuwe/Lusaka) for ANY 3+ night stay in South Luangwa valid for the rest of 2019 with Robin Pope Safaris! The flight offer is offered on ‘Carnivore Week’ – save US$912pp  on the 7 night special interest safari (starting 21st November 2019) tracking large carnivores with the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP).  This is a fascinating week with the researchers and an insight into the conservation efforts to save these magnificent cats, it includes game drives and walking safaris.

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Meet the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

The Greater Kudu is a large African antelope.  In the east of Africa they can be found in small groups in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Eritrea and Kenya – making for a great safari spot if you are lucky enough to see them.  In the South they are more densely populated. Here they can be found in Zambia, Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.

You can find them living within Savannah, woodland, thick bushveld or rocky hillsides. These areas are generally close to flowing water.

The Greater kudu is famous for its ability to jump. A 3 m (9.84 ft) high fence can be jumped spontaneously and some have been known to clear jumps of up to 3.5 m (11.48 ft) if required.

They have long legs and a narrow body. Across their torso run 4-12 white stripes and a white band (known as a chevron) runs between their eyes. The greater kudu’s head is usually slightly darker than its body, with colours ranging from a blue-grey to brown or red. Males can measure 195-245cm (6.4-8ft) and weigh up to 315kg (694lbs).

They are herbivores and during the dry season they need to drink water but in the rainy season most of their water comes from their food. The kudu lives on a diet of leaves, fruits, vines, flowers, grasses and herbs.

The male kudu’s romantic skills are not the best as he will stand in front of a female and engage in a neck wrestle.  He will then follow the female around issuing a low pitched call. This mating ritual will continue until she allows him to mate with her.  8-9 months later the calf will be born.  Calves are hidden away from predators for the first 2 weeks, after this they roam with the herd for the day until 6 weeks of age. Male calves remain with their mums and the herd untl they’re around 18 months old. Females will remain for longer reaching maturity at between 1- 3 years of age.

Fun facts about the Greater Kudu

  1. Greater kudus have a number of enemies. They are preyed upon by lions, hyenas, wild dogs and leopards and the younger members of the herd are vulnerable to cheetahs. Humans also hunt the kudu for their large horns.
  2. You can tell roughly how old a male kudu is by its horns! They start to twist at 2 years of age, and reach two and a half twists when they get to about 6 years old.
  3. By setting up wells and irrigation humans have enabled kudus to thrive in places which used to be too devoid of water.
  4. They might look big and clumsy but they are quick and excellent jumpers.
  5. Only the males have horns, which can grow up to 100cm (over 3ft)