Tag Archives: Mopane

Black Rhino Encounter

January 09, 2013 - Environment,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

Black rhino at Singita Pamushana Lodge

Tracking the temperamental black rhino has to be one of the most exciting and challenging activities for a field guide. Black rhino are notoriously aggressive, and will not hesitate to charge, even when one is in the confines of a vehicle. Singita Pamushana Lodge is home to a healthy population of these animals, which offered me a fantastic opportunity to learn more about them.

Our mission was to locate the fresh spoor of a black rhino and continue to follow the tracks until we finally located the animal. In order to optimise our chances of seeing one, we decided to set off early in the morning when the day is still cool and rhinos are the most active.

James Suter tracking the black rhino

James Suter tracking the black rhino

They mainly drink at night or early in the morning, so the logical place to start was at one of the larger pans. It was a challenging task, as we had to select one particular track that seemed the most promising. It had to be the freshest track and not only would we have to distinguish this spoor from the hundreds of others surrounding the waterhole, but we would also have to make sure we continued trailing the same one. After circling the pan a number of times we selected the tracks of a single bull and set off with our noses to the ground.

James Suter tracking the black rhino

We were headed south, straight into the thick Mopane forest. I noted the fresh dung as well as the broken branches the rhino had left as clues. As we went deeper into the scrub, I felt my heart rate quicken and my ears and eyes sharpen, all the while considering the black rhino’s fearsome reputation.

Black rhino charging the group

The startled oxpeckers alerted us to the proximity of our quarry when they took to the air as we approached, pricking the ears of the large figures below them in the undergrowth. We kept silent and still, wary of giving away our position. Suddenly the wind changed against us and the rhino caught our scent, lumbering straight for our hiding place. The best response when being charged by a rhino is to find a tree to climb or hide behind (since rhino have bad eyesight, they usually can’t distinguish between a large tree trunk and the perceived threat of a person). We promptly found a thicket to hide behind, hearts pounding, and quietly watched the rhino retreat into the shadows of the forest, feeling great respect for these massive but agile beasts.

Black rhino charging the group

James Suter is an experienced Singita field guide with a passion for photography. Check back regularly for more of James’ stories from Singita’s private reserves in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

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The Mopani – a butterfly by any other name is still just as beautiful …

June 28, 2010 - Environment,Singita Pamushana Lodge

The Mopani tree bears this beautiful name thanks to its butterfly shaped leaves. Mopani means butterfly.

The amazing Mopani tree has more to it than just butterfly shaped leaves … it is also highly intelligent in design. It stores tannins, which lie dormant in its root and bark until an animal tries to eat the leaves.  When an animal takes a nibble it releases the tannin making the leaves inedible to most creatures.

The Mopani Tree.

photo CC attribution: artbandito on Flickr

The Mopani tree may be intelligent in design but it is also an elephant’s favourite snack. To get past the tannin issue the elephant doesn’t bother with nibbling off the tree instead it tears a whole Mopani branch from the tree. So, while the rest of the Mopani is rendered inedible thanks to the tannin, the elephant’s branch tastes delicious!

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Cathedral Mopane forests and majestic ‘upside-down’ Baobab trees – Singita Pamushana

June 14, 2010 - Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana is located in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve situated in south-east Zimbabwe. These 140 000 acres are home to four separate eco-systems, an abundance of wildlife – including the Big 5 – and a collection of over 400 different species of birds.

In true Singita style Pamushana Lodge offers its guests a personal and unique African safari experience.

Singita Pamushana Romance!

Everything from its unrivalled setting – overlooking the expansive Malilangwe Lake – to its local Shangaan inspired décor and the trademark Singita service, all helps to create an adventure that is exciting, warm and incredibly romantic.

SIngita Pamushana - What a View!

Food is as much a part of Singita Pamushana Lodge as the décor, setting and service. Early morning pre-game drive snacks followed by brunch, a late lunch, decadent afternoon tea, sundowners and refreshments in the bush and then dinner. All so delectable and so beautifully presented, that any attempt at resistance is ultimately futile!

Singita Pamushana Lodge Safari Experience.

Photographs, no matter how talented the photographer, simply cannot capture the magic and charm that flow through every aspect of Singita Pamushana Lodge. It is simply a place you have to experience in person in order to understand how such beauty has the ability to make any heart sing.

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