PictureDeon stops driving & stands up to talk
FACT: People go to game reserves to see game. The smart ones also absorb the knowledge and wisdom that is doled out on a game drive.

To the best of my knowledge, game drives in South Africa must be conducted by certified professionals called park rangers or guides. This ensures that the facts they share regarding the animals and environment are true and that the visitors, the wildlife and the land remain safe. The rangers are also responsible for keeping tabs on all the animals’ health and whereabouts.

Game reserves differ from the national parks in that they are run to make a profit for the owners. Many game reserves started out as cattle farms and have gradually been developed into a reserve. The game are purchased, from the national parks or other reserves. The owners have strict guidelines regarding their animals and national veterinarians come to check on their health and well-being. Whenever babies are born, they have to be reported to the officials, who come to examine them. Although I prefer to believe that owners have a more altruistic motive (they love the animals), the fact is that they must care for their animals or their business will die.

It’s not like a zoo. Occasionally the animals are in pens, large pens (over a hectare). That seems to happen when the animal is unable to live in the wild because it’s injured or too comfortable around humans. Sometimes it’s done for breeding purposes. But most often the animals live as they would in the wild, if there was more wild for them to live in. They live in herds, they mate and have babies, they hunt and get hunted. In other words, they live their lives the way God intended.

And it’s amazing to be riding along and see a journey of giraffe walking across the road. Or to watch zebra in a herd and understand completely their defense of disruptive coloration – with those stripes going every whichaway, it’s hard to focus on just one. And just when you think you’ve seen all the impala you’ll ever want to see, the whole herd starts running and leaping and you can’t take your eyes off them.

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These two were leading the parade across the road
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This lion is 24 years old. He was part of the breeding project when the reserve started. Most lions live to about 12 years.
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Disruptive coloration at its best. BTW, which side of the zebra has the most stripes? Ready? The OUTSIDE, of course! Rangers also have a fun sense of humor
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Deon explaining all about elephant dung
PictureOut of the vehicle for a photo at Black Rhino Reserve near Pilanesberg
The rangers are an incredible resource. They’re constantly trying to get everyone to wrap their heads around the idea that the WHOLE environment is amazing, not just the big five animals everyone hopes to see. They’ll stop beside the shepherd’s tree to explain how it got its name – the inside hollows out and holds fresh water that shepherds can drink, the roots can be ground up and eaten as a porridge, the leaves provide shelter from the sun, and on and on. A ranger will see a community spider web, and even the squeamish folks are intrigued at the concept of teeny-tiny spiders that work together to ensure that every member gets fed. These guides don’t hesitate to pick up scat/dung/poop and make it interesting – elephants only get about 60% (or is it 40%?) of the nutrients out of the grass they eat, they poop the rest out. In the dry season, when herbivores have a hard time finding food to graze on, they can eat the elephant dung for nourishment. How cool is that?

The best rangers explain everything. They don’t sugarcoat animal behavior, but they delight in the cycle of life. They understand how to track game and they point out the footprints, the scat, the broken limbs, the flat grass, even the scent of urine wafting in the wind. They hold up their hands for silence so everyone can hear the animals calling to each other.

In short, if you want to experience an incredible game drive get an incredible guide. Here’s to you, Deon, at Tshukudu! And Matthew, too, at Black Rhino!

 


Comments

07/03/2016 6:46pm

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06/27/2017 3:04am

I am very impressed with people who actually takes care of Animals. You know, there are loads of people who take them for granted, use them for their convenience or their other dirty motives in life. It's sad that they are not treated fairly, but they love us unconditionally. No matter how hard we are to them, it's okay because we hand them food. That's why people forget to treat them as well as a family, they also have feelings like us.

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03/07/2017 9:30am

I appreicate the work done and its cool

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03/12/2017 4:48pm

I've never been to Africa before. Now I want to join you at this trip so much!

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09/21/2017 1:51pm

Where they come from who really care of animals they are not rangers they are Legends hehe... Thanks for sharing with us

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i am very happy and also impressed to see your love with animals . No matter how hard we are to them, it's okay because we hand them food. That's why people forget to treat them as well as a family. so thank for sharing

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09/28/2017 7:58am

fully amusing environment..Actually the rangers are inconceivable amenity ..They all are narrative..Thanks admin for epic post.

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09/29/2017 9:33am

Really fact! impressive blog that the rangers are incredible and they all are megaforce its just amazing that they represent themselve instantly..Thanks admin for sharing

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09/29/2017 2:05pm

some guys are very appreciable who deserve respect because of some special work like this. and animals are also creation of god. so love them and care of them.. thanks for this post admin

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09/29/2017 3:13pm

Remarkable attempts that are attempt by rangers show qualities worthy of action ..Thanks admin for sharing with its really amazing..

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10/02/2017 3:03pm

I really appreciate these guys ,they always straight forwards for their skills and boost up their particular task instantly..Thanks for sharing with us..

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10/03/2017 11:05am

Yes..i also watch it on T.V ,but it seems really amazing after reading this article..I recognized rangers with full worth of passion..Salute all of them..Thanks for sharing such an amazing article.

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it is informative and well_ written article thanks for sharing .Keep us updated of upcoming activities.

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10/06/2017 1:39pm

Yes..! Rosanne Lee Hans she always works with a high caliber..The Ranger's work with great extent and also with a fact distinction ..Thanks for sharing with us and keep updating

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10/06/2017 3:29pm

Actuality-based blog..Rosanne Lee Hans I always salute you about your great work, and your merging ..Rangers always wants some great and significant implementation task and they do so..Thanks admin

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10/07/2017 4:05pm

Hey.. Rosanne Lee Hans I read many articles of your's..She merge with great thoughts, she represent the right ways direction of life and want to meet with different people's and discuss their opinions..Thanks for sharing with us

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10/09/2017 9:01am

I believe Every body should be love with Animals because we get many products from animals .Rosanne Lee Hans You have done a great job.

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10/09/2017 2:12pm

Doesn't matter how tough we are to them, it's okay because we hand them foods. That's why our society forget to treat them as well as own family, Thanks for sharing keep posting

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