Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A new world

October 11th, 2017, posted in Uncategorized

We’ve entered into a new part of South Africa, with springs that feed streams and a kloof to conserve.  As we learn more about the plants and animals of this region, we hope to share it with you…

The small town festival

October 4th, 2011, posted in Uncategorized

Swings and open-air shops = fun

When you live in the bush, a town trip is a restock on supply trip, no shopping allowed as such…  Home-schooling in the bush might afford a very tangible biology or geography lesson in the park/reserve but very few park visits as such.  The “as such” is referred to here as very seldom. Which is why, when the local town has a festival, it is marked on the calendar and we combine a ‘school-outing’ with a bit of shopping…

The sustainable festival hosted by Pick ‘n’ Pay in Hoedspruit over the weekend afforded Joshua the opportunity to zorb in a play-pool, bungee-bounce, swing on a park-like swing, attend a theatrical production put on by local schools about white lions as well as have an educational talk about snakes!  Pieter attended a Rhino Forum and I shopped and talked!

Snake education

The open-air shop stands makes shopping a pleasure – you’re outside, the people are passionate about their products and since the theme was sustainable – most of the goods for sale are good for the planet!

The food available was good and the healthy options tasted really good!  Joshua particularly enjoyed the dairy-free ‘milkshake’! I found great coffee and a variety of teas – all endorsed by fair trade. We also bought fresh produce from Hlokomela, an intiative of the Hoedspruit training trust that seeks to contribute to the reduction of HIV prevalence and the impact of AIDS among commercial farm workers and their families through an integrated programme of prevention, treatment and care.

The bottom line is that it was wonderful to see so many people wanting to make a difference in what we buy, use or produce so that it benefits our environment and we left having loads of fun and encouraged in our quest to do our part for nature conservation.

School children recite poems

The play that kept adults & children enteratined!

Kids at play

running on water ~ sort of

Out of Zambia – back into South Africa

July 23rd, 2011, posted in Uncategorized

Our time at Mvuu came to an end after a wonderful short-term contract.
We were hoping to see another season through in the Lower Zambezi Valley, but alas, it was not meant to be!

Where in South Africa are we now?

Pieter is now Warden on Grietjie private nature reserve. The concept of Grietjie is interesting in that the Plot owners got together, took down a number of internal fences to form a reserve and the result is that they have now been included into the Greater Balule bordering Klaserie and the Kruger National Park. The Olifants River is a natural border and from where we are currently staying, is about 800m away!!

Phalaborwa is our closest town for those looking on a map!

Joshua’s head down into his home-schooling and says he likes it here! I (Jennie) am a Nature Conservation student about to start my practical experiential learning phase here on Grietjie! It’s going to be interesting to apply my head-knowledge into the field at last! Tourism has been my passion for years, but wildlife, wilderness and nature have always been the driving force behind the tours I have organized or the areas I have promoted and now, I can put my energy into a cause I feel strongly about!

View over part of Grietjie, Balulue

elephant neighbours

A career as a game ranger

April 26th, 2010, posted in Educating You, Uncategorized

Would you like to become a game ranger? Do you know what it takes to be a field guide? Do you have the confidence to lead people into the wild as a Trails guide? Do you simply want to study to become a game ranger, or do you want to learn more about wild animals and the environment for a month, 6 months or year?

I could give you a thousand reasons why you should become a game ranger, a hundred more reasons to become a field guide and a few others to become a Trails guide; however you have chosen this site because this is where your interest lies and I have selected some of the best places to fulfil your dream.

Bhejane Nature Training
– KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Nature Guide Training – Limpopo, South Africa

EcoTraining

Limpopo Field Guiding Academy

What is FGASA – The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa
FGASA represents individual Tourist Guides, Nature, Culture and Adventure guides, Trackers and organisations involved in offering professional guiding services to members of the public.

FGASA is an accredited provider with the Tourism Hospitality and Sport, Education and Training Authority (THETA). The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa has set guiding standards for many years and continues to maintain the highest standards within the guiding industry. In conjunction with THETA within the new National Qualifications Framework, FGASA promotes the standards for guiding throughout Southern Africa in the form of:
• A standard outcomes-based training syllabus
• A code of ethics and a set of guiding principles
• An assessment system based on high standards of competence
• A effective training course endorsement system
• A valid recognised First Aid Certificate requirement
FGASA aims to promote a culture of professional guiding based on a strong ethical well-informed, safety conscious approach to provide the visitor to the African bush and environs with a pleasant and memorable experience.
FGASA is fully committed to the development and implementation of the national qualifications, promoting the development of all tourist guides, including previously disadvantaged individuals as guides, trackers, trainers and assessors as part of the South Africa’s transformation process.
FGASA promotes the training of guides through the endorsement of training providers who conform to the FGASA and National training standards. The Association also promotes the highest standards of guide assessment by appointing and registering fully qualified and experienced assessors to carry out practical evaluations at all levels for all the guiding qualifications.
FGASA’s philosophy is one of promoting the guide and tracker on the ground in terms of skills development, recognition of existing skills and creation of job opportunities within the tourism industry.

Why the internet did not work for me

April 7th, 2010, posted in Climate & Weather, Uncategorized

Could we class the internet as a form of employee? Could it be classed as cheap labour? The internet makes money for many people. The internet is a messenger. The internet supplies me with information. I certainly use the internet to bank and shop. In a rather abstract way, the internet works for me…

I write this post from the African Bush, too far away from an exchange to have, ADSL, too far away to make use of fibre optic cables, surrounded by hills prohibiting cell phone signal and thus unable to use 3G or GPRS.

My means of communication with the outside world is via a satellite internet connection. Most days it works fine and since most of my business is done via e-mail, Skype and IM, all I need to do is keep my website up-to-date, right?

During my working week I make time to write a few articles to blog about, but mostly I put together tours for people wanting to visit Africa and this takes time, only because I match each client’s interest to a tour, I do not like sending them on typical tour packages, rather, I like to find out a little more about these people, what type of accommodation they would prefer, what they would like to see and the time they have set aside to visit, then I check availability and put a selection together for them to choose from. This involves e-mailing and checking availability where ever possible online, so having internet is vital to my efficiency.

However, when we have an electric storm, I have to unplug the satellite connection to avoid being electrocuted and whilst this may afford me the opportunity to prepare e-mails or blogs, the minutes and sometimes hour tick by… Today the cloud cover is low and thick and every now and then the satellite losses its connection and I have to wait for the connection before continuing. Due to the weather, today the internet did not work for me!

weeds

February 15th, 2010, posted in Uncategorized

I read about the vineyard of the man lacking heart; and see, it was all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; and its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I set my heart on it; I looked and received discipline: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; and your poverty shall come, a prowler, And your need like an armed man. (Midrash Mishle 24:30-34)

Now this is true and is evident in the Cape Winelands where visitors to this area will view well kept vineyards of varying sizes and the result is excellent produce of table grapes and of course grapes picked to make wine!

In contrast to these weeded fields, our vegetable garden looks like a weed patch from far, however, on closer inspection, you will find carefully planted vegetables, some of which are hidden by weeds, other are surrounded by weeds, why is this? We live on a game reserve and do not use insecticides or herbicides, what grows, grows and what is eaten gets eaten, we share our produce. To reduce the insects getting stuck in during the initial growth stages, we have found leaving the weeds to grow provides a cover for toads & the toads eat a good portion of insects, it also hides the flowers from petal eating beetles and the growth tip from leaf/stem eating insects. We have ladybirds eating the aphids and have noticed an increase in produce per plant!

Although we allow the weeds to grow, we do take care to keep their size reduced, also checking how close they grow to the vegetables, to ensure sufficient sunlight gets to the vegies to photosynthesize.

There is a reason for our vegetable garden having weeds, what’s yours?

Poaching

February 10th, 2010, posted in Uncategorized

The CEO of South African National Parks, Dr David Mabunda, announced on 21 January 2010 that the fight against poaching is heating up with the recent arrest of more suspected poachers in the Kruger National park. He further announced that with these successes has also come the sad news of more rhinos continuing to be poached across the country.

South Africa has a problem and the poachers are coming closer to home. We could blame it on the bad economy and job losses, but, local poachers are not being paid well! Are the end-of-the-line markets using people as cheap labour to get the job done? It can’t be that can it? The risk if caught is too high, so why does it keep happening? They are not ordinary petty criminals, these poachers seem to be members of well-resourced syndicates and are also involved in chilling crimes like human trafficking, arms smuggling and drug trafficking. This ‘new’ type of poaching is serious and we need to all become aware of the extent of these crimes.

There have been about 46 arrests made since 2008 and as investigations continue, it is predicted that more arrests will be made soon. So each game reserve is left to defend its own piece of conserved Africa while the battle continues and the numbers of poached rhino increases. Within the first two weeks of 2010, 14 rhino were lost to poaching.

Those of us you live in game reserves and those of you who visit to view our wildlife should keep reporting any suspicious incidents, movement or behavior of people in parks, as well as those dealing with rhino horn, the more the authorities know, the better.

To those task teams, I thank you, to everyone involved is stopping the slaying of rhino for their horns, I am truly grateful. To the families who have lost loved ones whilst anti-poaching, please know I am sorry for your loss and applaud the anti-poaching units’ bravery and dedication.

anti-poaching

February 10th, 2010, posted in Uncategorized

I am so sad today. Our neighbouring reserve was attacked yesterday. Two rhinoceros were poached. This is the sad story game reserve owners never want to tell.

An adult female rhino and her sub-adult calf were found yesterday morning, horns butchered off. The position in which they were found indicates that they had been sleeping before the attack. They were under a tree in a game reserve.

Left in the veld, their large bodies side by side, their horns taken into the black market for a reason that cannot be justified!

So now all game reserves in the area are on high alert! Poachers have entered the region, but how do the rangers patrol thousands of hectares? It was full moon so they used natural light and it sickens me that someone else is the instigator.

I wonder, whoever you are out there using rhino horn or partaking in the trade of rhino horn, have you seen how the horn is extracted, have you seen the carcass up close? Get a life.

New Years Eve

January 12th, 2010, posted in Uncategorized

Since this is our first post for 2010, I thought I’d let you in our how we spent New Years Eve…

Pieter was working and that meant after a full day of taking guests to view the San Rock Paintings, an afternoon bush walk and a night drive that began at about 21h30, he spent the evening with the guests, whilst I enjoyed the partial eclipse of the moon, listened to the nights sounds of Jackal and Night jars, frogs and crickets.

It is in these moments that I realise, what peace we have, how blessed we are to have a home in the African Bush, under the clear skies and even though the moon may be full, the night’s sky was dark enough to see mars and the other stars, yes, I look forward to the new year and I am thankful for where I am now!

up-and-coming game ranger

December 11th, 2009, posted in Uncategorized

Is Joshua an up-and-coming game ranger?

The clever people say a child will grow up in the way of the parents… mmmm, I as a mother think Joshua is a great athlete, mountain biking 5km with ease, running, swimming, rock climbing etc etc. But, it is his “Bush-wise” comments that interest adults and perhaps it’s because we are always around him that we don’t always appreciate this.

Although I am still convinced that Pieter is one of the best field guides in South Africa, based on the knowledge and way he is able to communicate with guests giving them an overall excellent safari experience, he has some competition!

Our 5yr old son proved his ability to spot animals on our holiday to the Kruger Park last week! (Yes we live in a game reserve and choose to holiday in a game reserve!!!) Anyway, Pieter and I were looking at birds, when Joshua casually said, “There’s a spotted hyena”, not ‘I see an animal’, or ‘a hyena’, no; he goes on to name the species! It was not a clear, animal-crossing-the-road sighting either! The Hyena was behind the bushes walking with a mission, so we only had a short sighting in the open patches along his path before he moved into thicker bush.

All in all, it was special!

No picture was taken, our hands were filled with our binoculars, so here are some black and white shots of a hyena I took a few years ago for those of you who have not yet seen a spotted hyena.

spotted hyena

spotted hyena

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, kruger national park

spotted hyena, kruger national park

 
 
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