In 1995 Elephants that were earmarked to be culled in the Kruger National Park, were relocated to Mabalingwe Nature Reserve today there are 21 Elephant in the Reserve.Read More
Silke von Eynern and Rodney Williams established Bambelela in December 2003. Their original objective was to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg. They purchased five Blue Wildebeest, but upon their arrival quickly determined that the animals were only a couple of days old. One died that first night; however, with the advice and assistance of Brian Jones from Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) Rehab in Hoedspruit, they managed to pull the other four through.
From that rocky start, they began taking over the care of animals from Moholoholo that were almost ready for release back into the wild and in doing so, recognized their true calling: to help wild animals in need. People from the Waterberg district learned of their work and started to call upon them for help, as did the veterinarians from the region. They became well known and well regarded as a Rehabilitation Centre and have successfully rehabilitated and released many species of antelope, including Eland, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, and Nyala, Blue Wildebeest, warthogs, bush pigs, Serval cats, zebra, yellow-billed Kites, black-back jackals, porcupines, and many more.
Then, by chance, their hearts were touched by a Vervet monkey. It was found abandoned in a cage on a property outside Bela Bela, which was for sale. The owners had already departed, so the estate agent brought the young, female Vervet to Bambelela. A few days later, a neighbour dropped off a younger Vervet. Then, a Vervet baby was taken away from someone in Naboomspruit and he ended up at Bambelela, too.
The spark of interest in Primatology was ignited! Silke began her quest for knowledge about these special creatures, how to hand-raise them, how to build appropriate enclosures or camps for them, how to feed them, and how to prepare them for release back into the wild. She is exceedingly grateful to Rita Miljo from C.A.R.E., the baboon rehabilitation centre in Phalaborwa, for her mentorship all along the way.
Bambelela is now home to over 100 Vervet monkeys, necessitating a team of FGASA students, field guides and volunteers from around the world to join Silke and Rodney in their work with these monkeys and all the other wildlife that comes to Bambelela for rehabilitation. They work in close collaboration with Marius du Toit, the veterinarian from Bela Bela and Bambelela functions as a transfer station for orphaned or injured baboons in the Waterberg district. It is hoped that one day soon, Bambelela will be officially recognized as a Rehabilitation Centre and Sanctuary for Vervet monkeys in Limpopo
Download the free e-book
The yellow Hornbill has been made famous by the movie The Lion King, where it is used as a character named Zazu. As a common resident to the reserve it is not rare to see these hornbills, but every guests' reaction to this bird is one of amazement. The huge yellow bill leaves everyone fascinated and obsessed with trying to get a photo.
Being a common resident does not mean that this bird is boring by any stretch of the imagination. It has a very wide range of diet, consisting of both invertebrates and small vertebrates. Yellow-billed hornbills will eat insects, bird chicks, frogs, chameleons, ants, termites and the list goes on.
The species is known to forage co-operatively with dwarf mongoose, catching prey items that the mongoose scratch up from the ground. In return the hornbills alert the mongoose to danger from overhead raptors. There have been records of hornbills waiting expectantly at mongoose burrows, eager for the foraging to begin.
This species nests in naturally occurring holes in trees or in abandoned woodpecker or barbet nests.
Hornbills are a sociable species, generally living in small groups. They have a very distinctive clucking call. Once one bird starts calling, the whole group will often join in, creating a cacophony of sound. In the bushveld you will often see two hornbills sitting together, clucking away with very entertaining wings open, back and forth rocking, head bowing display.
Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of Africa south of the Sahara and are widely distributed in East Africa. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling. (Camels and desert gazelles have developed a similar mechanism for survival in hot, arid environments.
Males weigh 20 to 50 pounds more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).
The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog's large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.
Sparse bristles cover the warthog's body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles. The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.
Warthogs are found in moist and arid savannas. They avoid rainforest, deserts and high mountains.
When water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies.
Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.
Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals, preferably aardvarks.
The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.
Caring for the Young
Before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own.
Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its "own" teat and suckles exclusively from it. Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing.
Lions and leopards are the warthog's chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.
Did you know?
- The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good.
- When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover.
THE AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
Excellent service and fine cuisine
L’Orange Bleue, the restaurant of Thaba Pitsi Nature Reserve (4 star TGCSA) has earned a proud reputation for its excellent service and fine cuisine (Best & only restaurant from the Limpopo in the Top 100 - awarded a Bibendum by Michelin guide NEOS, as well as four stars in the 2003-04-05-06-07-08 edition of Magazine's Top 100 South African restaurants - Selected by BBC Food program as being one of the best Restaurant of SA - selected for Off the Menu BBC show), complimented by a selection of quality wines and liqueurs – for connoisseurs of good living!
This Belgian-French restaurant located at the foot of the Waterberg mountain (17km from Bela Bela) is housed in a turn-of-the 20th century farmhouse, converted into a restaurant with modernity, style and hot orange and blue tastefully decorated.
From Wine magazine’s “TOP 100 restaurants”: “If Bela-Bela is mentioned in your guide” says the Michelin Guide for South Africa, “it is due to Thaba Pitsi...”. The couple who left Belgium to bring this unlikely spot to the gastronomic world’s attention, are Marc (formerly an international rally driver) and Nathalie (a former model). Their restaurant L’Orange Bleue received a Bibendum smiling face signifying quality. Housed in a rebuild farmhouse with a vivid interior, modern furniture and an open-plan kitchen, the restaurant is rescued from the pages of a designer magazine by a quirky sense of humour. The food is simplicity at its best.....
Aperitifs can be enjoyed on their thatched terrace, surrounded by the Bushveld atmosphere, while more active guests can work up an aperitif playing a game of tennis or petanque (the French game of "boules"). The main attraction however is the exquisite cuisine, prepared with passion. "A la Carte" dinners accompanied by the chef's specialities from the ingredients for a gastronomic experience. Personal attention and meticulous service are complimented by sheer Latin hospitality. The ambience of the bushveld, the interesting decor and the delicious Belgian/French cuisine make for an unforgettable romantic Afro-European experience.
L'Orange Bleue is the perfect place to celebrate special birthdays, anniversaries, engagements and other private, social or corporate events – truly the ultimate intimate hideaway!
They change our menu every 2 months. On request, they can also prepare different kinds od splits with crocodile, sucking pig or lamb.
The Limpopo Province, with its vast unexplored areas and diverse habitats, offers one of the most exciting birding destinations in Southern Africa.
Habitats range from vast tracts of montane grassland to afro-temperate forests, bushveld and wetlands. Over 600 bird species have been recorded in the province, of which 420 are resident.
Birdlife abounds in Limpopo and provides even the most discerning birder with boundless pleasure. The birds most frequently admired remain the raptors, some of which are the following: African Fish Eagle, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Black Eagle, Crowned Eagle and the Giant Eagle Owl.
The De Wildt Shingwedzi Cheetah Ranch was established in 1998. Situated in the foothills of the majestic Waterberg Mountains, deep in the heart of the bushveld, the cheetah and wild dogs flourish in this unspoiled environment.
During a two hour tour, visitors have the opportunity to see and learn more about cheetah,
wild dogs, caracal, serval, African Wild Cat and vultures. Watch cheetahs running at high speed chasing a lure or engage in the rare opportunity to meet a cheetah up close and hear it purr.....
Nature lovers will enjoy the spectacular birdlife and abundant game, including hippo, kudu, impala, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, eland, waterbuck and other species such as ostrich and crocodile. A vulture restaurant for free flying vultures is also in operation and up to 140 vultures have been seen feasting on a carcass.
Malaria free and unspoiled by sophisticated development, the ranch is set in the heart of the magical Waterberg bushveld, a mere 160km from Pretoria.
A visit to the sanctuary promises to be an unforgettable experience.