The hornbill is known to the Zulu people as ‘umkholwane’, the believer. According to the traditional healer Credo Mutwa, this name comes from this bird’s tendency to stare at the heavens. The hornbill struggles to see past its large beak and its distinctive canny stare is therefore quite noticeable and comical. The hornbill uses its beak like a pair of forceps, extracting spiders, scorpions and small insects from the crannies they reside in.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt - and after that as well. You can almost hear the angry growl of the lion cub on the right as its tail gets bitten and pulled like a rope-toy. Play is an important part of the learning and bonding process for lion cubs. They spend most of their waking hours stalking, scratching, boxing, pouncing on and nibbling one another.
Seeing a samango monkey in the wild is quite a rare and magical experience. They are similar in looks to the ubiquitous vervet monkey, although their fur is more luxuriant and velvety. These monkeys tend to confine themselves to evergreen indigenous montane and coastal forests, so samango monkey sightings are usually augured by their strange cries and rustling jumps in forest canopies.
A Green Wood Hoopoe clutches a fly in its beak. These beautiful iridescent birds are highly gregarious and often fly around in family groups. Their presence is usually signalled by their mad, cackling call. Green Wood Hoopoes are cooperative breeders, meaning that a whole family group – up to ten birds - will work together to ensure the success of one breeding pair.
African Sacred Ibis perching on the rocks in Betty's Bay, Overberg. These birds have a varied diet that includes everything from bird and crocodile eggs to carrion and offal. They are widespread in Africa, occur naturally in some parts of the Middle East and Madagascar, and have been introduced in parts of Europe, Taiwan and the USA. They are called the Sacred Ibis because they were venerated by the Ancient Egyptians who associated this bird with the god Thoth - the maintainer of the universe and arbiter of disputes between deities.
Val du Charron Guesthouse is located on a working farm in the heart of the Bovlei valley ten minutes from the town of Wellington, and under an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The guesthouse comprises eight luxurious suites each with stunning views from their private balconies of the vineyards and the Hawequa mountains. The carefully restored guesthouse is located on a working wine and olive farm, and is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Wellington. Guests can get a holistic view of the winemaking process before sampling the quality wines and olives produced on the estate, while staying in opulent, individually furnished rooms...
(GPS coordinates: -33.624831, 19.047304)
Morning light warms the chestnut feathers of an African Jacana. The Jacana’s long spidery toes are specially adapted to stalking across floating vegetation like the lily pads in this photograph. Male Jacana’s are ‘stay-at-home’ dads - they take over all parental duties once a female Jacana has laid a clutch of eggs. The Jacana’s primary sustenance is insects, molluscs, crustaceans and seeds.
Nightjar Travel's very own Fiona McIntosh will be part of the Merrell Mentored Adventure Team setting off at 8am on Sunday 15th May on the Expedition Africa Adventure Race 2016. The 500km multi-discipline endurance race in the Garden Route combines mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, rope work and orienteering, and teams are required to complete the entire Expedition distance together (always within hearing and visual distance of each other), helping and assisting each other in harsh remote environments in all weather conditions.
This is a first expedition race for journalists, Fiona, Shaen Adey and Sarah Hearn, and they have special dispensation from the race organisers to post photos and the lowdown directly to their Facebook page, which will offer a fascinating insight into the raw, unfiltered emotions they experience as they confront each challenge along the way. We wish them all the best for a thrilling adventure!
Ants are amongst the most industrious creatures on earth. They can be found everywhere on earth except in Antarctica which is quite ironic given the name of the continent. There are also a few islands that they haven’t yet managed to colonise. Ants are beneficial to humans because they can keep populations of pests under control. They also the aerate soil and remove and process biodegradable substances. In South Africa, humans have exploited ants’ excellent gathering skills by harvesting their stores of rooibos tea seeds, which are very difficult for people to gather manually. Up to two hundred grams of seeds may be collected from one ant-heap.
Located in a private section of the malaria-free Addo Elephant National Park, Kuzuko Lodge rests high on a hill nestling twenty-four luxurious chalets, three of which are wheelchair accessible, which offer guests awe-inspiring uninterrupted vistas over the plains of the African Klein Karoo. Track the Big Five with an expertly trained game ranger, enjoy the view over the watering hole from the infinity pool, unwind in the family lounge, indulge yourself at the wellness centre or go stargazing at this tranquil, luxurious lodge which caters for people of all ages...
Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/kuzuko-lodge
(GPS coordinates: -33.212624, 25.498234)
Sleeping up to 20 guests, Rhino River Lodge is located on the banks of the Msunduze River inside the Zululand Rhino Reserve, 30 km north of the Hluhluwe game reserve. This private game lodge, beautifully situated amongst the magnificent indigenous trees lining the riverbank, offers you an intimate and comfortable safari experience. The lodge is in an area renowned for its rich cultural heritage, and excellent Big 5 game viewing...
(GPS coordinates: -27.806758, 32.108583)
Isandlwana Lodge, stylish and thought-provoking, is carved into the side of the Nyoni Rock just below where the Zulu commander stood during the Battle of Isandlwana on the 22nd of January 1879. The lodge has magnificent views over the battlefields from almost every vantage point, offers accommodation in luxurious African-style rooms and gives guests a deep insight into the historic Anglo-Zulu wars, with a variety of other outdoor and cultural activities available. There is no better place to step back in time, breathe fresh air, and enjoy total relaxation and a sweeping view of Isandlwana Mountain...
(GPS coordinates: -28.358942, 30.653716)
Somewhere in the world there must be a yoga pose called ‘the itchy primate’, and it probably looks something like this. Baboons are extremely limber and spend a good deal of their day scratching and grooming. Their itches are predominantly caused by dead skin, insects, ectoparasites, leaves, dirt and twigs, most of which make for a lovely snack during the social grooming sessions that are essential to a baboon’s day.
The Greater Double-collared Sunbird is often found flitting around Cape Honeysuckle plants like this one. Their beaks are perfectly designed to reach down the neck of these flowers to sip nectar. Greater Double-collared Sunbirds frequently make use of spiders - both as a snack and for building supplies. These birds are adept at plucking spiders from their webs and they also use spider-webs to make their nests.
At Auberge Clermont, the scents of roses, rosemary and lavender mingle with the ever present tranquil sounds of farm and bird life. Linger over a delicious breakfast served on the terrace under the 19th century oak trees, or enjoy a game of tennis, or splash in the pool. This stylish country retreat, in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, is tucked away on a historic wine and fruit farm only a few minutes from the centre of the quaint village and offers peace and seclusion for the discerning traveller...
(GPS coordinates: -33.919824, 19.115169)
The Montagu Country Hotel lies nestled between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges in the Western Cape, on the doorstep of the Robertson Wine Route, and offers 33 beautifully furnished en-suite bedrooms. Designed in an eccentric Colonial Art Deco style, the Montagu Country Hotel oozes old-world charm and character throughout its rooms, restaurant, and pub. From here, guests can enjoy country hospitality and spectacular views of the majestic mountains surrounding the historical town of Montagu, and experience the rare opportunity to be driven around in a classic American muscle car...
(GPS coordinates: -33.786633, 20.121395)