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10 Top Places to see Leopard in South Africa
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10 Top Places to see Leopard in South Africa

The leopard: a solitary creature that because of its preference for living in dense bush, and its nocturnal habits, remains well hidden and seldom, if ever, seen earning it the labels: secretive and elusive. They are strong, comfortable in trees, and adept climbers who think nothing of hauling their kill up into branches. Closely related to lions, tigers and jaguars they are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Outside of Africa, many of them are endangered. There is a long history in South Africa of conflict between farmers with live stock and leopards. There is also little i...
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Where to see the Big Cats in South Africa
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Where to see the Big Cats in South Africa

South Africa's big cats – the lion, leopard and cheetah - are the reason so many people visit South Africa. However spotting them is not always as simple as visiting a game reserve, particularly if you want to see the leopard, who is by nature elusive. Game reserves are for those for whom the excitement of seeing the cats in their own territory, whether you spot them or not, is all important. Whilst for those who want to see cats up close and personal, the sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres are a good idea. Where to see the Big Cats in South Africa... Photograph: Lioness and cub at ...
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Five Safari Breaks Near To You
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Five Safari Breaks Near To You

All my life I had read Wilbur Smith novels, watched programmes like 50/50 and National Geographic (filmed right in my backyard) and craved the experience of the “bush.” I was a city boy though. So though I craved the experienced I never made the effort to get out there - thinking I could just satisfy my thirst with another chapter / episode or magazine. The truth of the matter is that the real wonder of a South African safari can hardly be done justice through pictures or the written word. It has to be experienced first hand. Last year I gave in and headed out to the Kruger National Park, t...
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Top 5 wildlife parks in South Africa (other than Kruger)
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Top 5 wildlife parks in South Africa (other than Kruger)

South Africa has 700 publically owned reserves. The list includes 19 national parks. Over and above that are at least another 200 private reserves. Making a choice as to which ones to visit can be rather difficult. As a consequence most visitors simply head to the Kruger National Park – it's an obvious choice. South Africa is hugely diverse. It's habitats range from the intense heat and red sand dunes of the Kalahari to the subtropical wetlands of the Elephant Coast. It has great swathes of mountain belts like the Drakensberg and the Cape Fold Mountains, densely forested kloofs, heaving ...
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The elusive Knysna elephants – do they exist?
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The elusive Knysna elephants – do they exist?

It is a bit like tracking down the Yeti, or Big Foot – trying to find out about the Knysna elephants. Information about them is inadequate, tends to lapse into lengthy descriptions about their history, or is shrouded in mystery. There are those who say they are so elusive that, if indeed they are there, they have yet to make their presence known. Very little is conclusive about them. As a result, they have become figures of myth and legend; a mystery. Some people believe they do not exist at all... The ancient Knysna Forest brings to mind Daleen Mathee's Circles in a Forest. It covers...
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10 Best Places To See Cheetahs In South Africa
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10 Best Places To See Cheetahs In South Africa

The Cheetah: fastest land animal on earth over short distances; can reach a speed of 120 kilometres an hour; measures two metres from the snout to the end of its tail; weighs between 40 – 60kgs; is the only cat with semi-retractable claws, and has a spotted coat. Cheetah are listed as Vulnerable, and Critically Endangered in North Africa and Asia. Cheetahs prefer open plains where they run down their prey, but they can function as well in savanna woodland. They no longer occur in almost 80 percent of their historic range in Africa, although they have been reintroduced in about 38 reserves i...
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10 Best Places to See Elephants in South Africa
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10 Best Places to See Elephants in South Africa

The African elephant, the world's largest terrestrial animal, is under threat... Scientists revealed in 2013 that we have overestimated the number of elephants that remain in the wild; that we lost 62 percent of African forest elephants between 2002 and 2011, and that the forest elephant population is now less than 10 percent of its potential size. Admittedly the elephants of South Africa are not forest elephants. These are found mainly in equatorial forests in central and western Africa. South Africa is, instead, home to the savanna elephant - found on grassy plains and in bushveld. Acc...
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Why I love the Kruger National Park
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Why I love the Kruger National Park

As young girl, I first visited the Kruger National Park with my parents and brother.  We stayed in a camp just outside and drove in during the day seeking out animals and waiting for them to burst out from the bushes. For large chunks of the drive we didn’t see much except bush, acacia trees and large rocks forming little mountains. But each time my brother and I laid eyes on an elephant herd making its way across the road or a giraffe bending over to eat the leaves of trees, it was magical. This year, I was able to visit this wildlife haven again.  We stayed inside the park at Jock Safa...
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Know where to see the BIG FIVE – we list the top reserves
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Know where to see the BIG FIVE – we list the top reserves

The Big Five are not only  the most popular animals in Africa, they're also among the most dangerous. Yet people fly into South Africa intent on sighting them. Not everyone manages to tick them off the list (the leopard in particular is rather elusive). We give you the lowdown on exactly where to find the BIG FIVE... Rhino South Africa is regarded as the stronghold of the near threatened southern white rhino, primarily in reserves like the Kruger and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. D.b. Bicornis , one of three subspecies of the critically endangered black rhino, occurs only in Namibia and South Afri...
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The Secret Life of South Africa’s Little Five
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The Secret Life of South Africa’s Little Five

What do the leopard tortoise, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, ant lion and rhinoceros beetle have in common with their large counterparts?  Very little other than the names they share. What they are is a sharp reminder of the neglected small creatures - the “forgotten inhabitants of the African savannah”. It's human nature to support the little guy. In psychology terms this is known as the appeal of the underdog; the Davids (as opposed to Goliaths) of this world... Which is one explanation for Rael Loon's concept of South Africa's Little Five. As opposed to the Big Five – one of the major r...
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On Safari in Sibuya Game Reserve
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On Safari in Sibuya Game Reserve

So when the day came for us to check in to Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton on Sea, we completely missed the boat.  Literally, at 11:30am the boat chartered all the guests across from the reception to the reserve.  Except for us.  We arrived late from Hogsback and Ranger Chris came all the way this side of the river to collect us in time for lunch. As we boated along the river, looking out for birds and even game beside the water’s edge I realised that so much of this game reserve’s beauty lies in the fact that you can only access it by water. We stopped to see a tiny malachite kingfisher perc...
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The wild reveals its secrets at Jock Safari Lodge
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The wild reveals its secrets at Jock Safari Lodge

From the time we pulled up at Jock Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park, I knew that it was going to be a bush experience of note and a luxurious one at that.  Smiling staff came straight to the car and offered to carry all of our suitcases, backpacks and bags to our rooms.  We were offered an ice cold glass of juice whilst checking in and even the general manger, Louis Strauss, came out to meet and introduce himself. Our villa in the bush captivated me immediately.  As we were shown around the room, I took in the splash pool built on a wooden deck, our shaded A-frame lounging area buil...
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Exploring South Africa’s oldest private reserve, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
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Exploring South Africa’s oldest private reserve, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

The first pioneers of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve date back to the late 1920’s.  They aimed to protect the beautiful fauna and flora of the land and today six of those families have third and fourth generation owners of the land. It was only in 1948 when landowners formed Sabi Sand private nature reserve.  Here you’ll find endangered species, surreal safari experiences, moving landscapes and world-class lodges. Endangered species on the reserve include Honey Badgers, Red-billed Oxpeckers,  Wild Dogs, Bats and Ground Hornbill. The Sand and Sabie Rivers supply this reserve with water and provi...
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Meerkats – Where to Find Them in South Africa
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Meerkats – Where to Find Them in South Africa

The suricate. Looks like a mongoose - and should as it belongs to the same family -, lives in mobs or gangs, does a lot of standing on its rear legs to survey the lie of the land – and with good reason as they're a snack size for the average Martial eagle and jackal – weighs all of 0.9 kilograms, and has something of a cult following in the UK due to a series of television adverts for the insurance company Compare the Market. The meerkat described above, named Aleksandr Orlov, is Russian and sports a heavy Russian accent, comes from aristocratic stock and spends most of the advert's duratio...
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Saving Our Rhinos – 9 Ways You Can Help
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Saving Our Rhinos – 9 Ways You Can Help

I don't know about you, but I feel despondent every time I read about the desperate plight of the aggressively poached rhinos in South Africa. I feel dismayed, frightened and utterly appalled. I also feel enraged because there doesn't seem to be anything I can actually DO about it, other than give money to one organisation or another. And I get countless desperate rhino emails, smses and FB pleas to share this, like this or send this. But does it help? And how is it helping? What can I actually do to change the situation? Somehow sharing a gut wrenching picture of butchered rhinos with all ...
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