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Our Latest Monthly Newsletters

Great lion sighting

July 2018

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The African Porcupine, Hystrix Africaeaustralis, is a common animal in Kruger Park. It is strictly nocturnal and spends the day hidden in holes in termite mounds. The porcupine is a rodent and is exclusively vegetarian. Its diet includes roots, bulbs, wild fruits, seeds and the...
Fast asleep near Ezulwini Lodge

June 2018

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I have had a number of positive and constructive responses to my last newsletter that indicated some of my ideas on the role of guides and drivers. I have been asked to share some of my ideas on tourist expectations. Over many years, Viva Safaris has been fine-tuned in respect of...
Elephant close to our safari vehicle.

May 2018

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May is traditionally one of the quietest months in terms of guest arrivals. We ensure that all staff take their annual long leave between April and June. Our drivers and guides are encouraged to rest and not do any freelance work. We use the Lodge guides to fix roads. This year...
Good shot of White Rhino on the move.

April 2018

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The Ostrich, Struthio Camelus, is a universally recognised bird. It was fashionable to wear hats and dresses made from ostrich plumes, especially during the colonial era. Large numbers of ostriches were exported to places all over the world, and, as a result, the ostrich is well...
Sighting of Hippo in Olifants River while o Bush Walk.

March 2018

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The White-backed Vulture, Gyps Africanus, is the most common vulture in our area. It is so named because of the white  feathers on the lower back, best noticed when the bird is in flight. Large numbers of these birds are seen at kills. They have extremely good eyesight and from...
Close and personal with elephant on Tshukudu.

February 2018

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The Wild Dog, Lycaon Pictus, is nomadic and travels vast distances in search of prey. Wild Dogs generally try to avoid areas where there is a regular lion presence. They are able to slip in and out of fenced reserves using passages made under the fences by warthogs. Consequently...
Brilliant shot of young White Lion

January 2018

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As a result of feedback from regular recipients of our monthly newsletter, I have decided to cut down on detail in the reports submitted by the tourist guides. This will result in a shorter newsletter that I am advised will be more “user-friendly”. December 2017 and January 2018...
Great shot of White Rhinos.

November 2017

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Towards the middle of November 2017, I was approached by a group of 4 guides : Rex, Elias, Eva and Shannon. All of these do their guiding ONLY in the Balule Reserve and informed me rather sadly that there were no buffalo left – as a result of the drought the buffalo had trekked...
Elephant near Tremisana Lodge.

October 2017

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The Leopard, Panthera Pardus is, for many tourists, the most sought after animal in Kruger Park. It is the quintessential cat, displaying qualities so familiar to humans who have house cats : it is aloof, able to climb tall trees, opportunistic and generally solitary. Perhaps the...
Red-billed Quelea. Photo by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE

September 2017

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On a recent safari conducted by another company, the guide informed us that the most populous bird in the world is the Red-billed Quelea, Quelea Quelea. I am not sure of this as I reckon the domestic chicken wins that title. He probably meant undomesticated flying bird. What...
Leopard on Leadwood branch.

August 2017

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One of the responsibilities of tour operators/ game lodge owners, in my opinion, is passing on a conservation ethic to our guests. It is well and good to provide brilliant game-viewing opportunities along with real African experiences but we would be failing dismally if our...
Leopard close to Viva vehicle.

July 2017

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The Serrated Hinged Terrapin, Pelusios Sinuatus, is a common resident of all rivers and major dams in Kruger Park. Terrapins are essentially fresh water turtles. It is called Hinged as it has a hinge in its shell which can be closed after retracting its head. The carapace (hard...
Elephant antics at the Waterhole.

June 2017

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About 3 weeks ago, I went on a safari into Kruger with one of our newer guides, Lamby. Although I was well aware of his exceptional abilities while he was Head Guide at another safari company, it is part of my job to evaluate all our guides. Lamby was very good BUT the rhino...
Zanelle and friends

May 2017

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The domestication of wild animals is, for me personally, not a good idea. I have little interest in walking with lions or “interacting” with elephants. The fact that most elephant-back safari operations are closing down is good news to me. There are some of Viva’s guests that...
Lioness right in front of Rex’s Landcruiser.

April 2017

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The Spotted Hyena, Crocuta crocuta, is so named because of the irregular brown spots on a sandy yellow background coat. The young, interestingly, are dark brown, almost black. The Spotted Hyena has a strong neck and forequarters with a sloping back. It is the “Jaws” of the bush,...
Impressive shot of Black Rhino.

March 2017

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The Warthog, Phacochoerus Africanus, is now as common and as entertaining a visitor to the Tremisana Lodge gardens as the monkey troop. Perhaps they are even more welcome as warthogs do not bother guests at breakfast time, trying to steal food. We have replaced the small yoghurts...
Lucky Viva guests !

February 2017

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The Bateleur, Terathopius Ecaudatus, is a striking Eagle . Its colourful plumage and short tail render it unmistakeable. “Ecaudatus” in Latin means “ tail-less “. In Afrikaans it is called “Berghaan “ literally “Mountain Rooster” – a good description !   The word “Bateleur”...
Baboon troop with young.

December 2016 / January 2017

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The rains have had an amazing effect on the veld. Lush grass and vibrant green foliage bear testimony to the end of the drought. The young impala are having a great time ! The herbivores certainly suffered during the drought and I believe that the numbers of zebra, wildebeest,...
Brilliant shot of Wild Dog pack on the road.

November 2016

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The Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus Strepsiceros, is the third largest antelope in Kruger Park, after the Eland and Roan Antelope. The Kudu is an elegant antelope with bulls having magnificent spiral horns that can grow up to 1.75 metres long. Its coat is fawn-coloured with the sides...
Honey Badger.

October 2016

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The Honey Badger, Mellivora Capensis, is so named as it is believed that it follows a bird, the Greater Honeyguide, to a beehive. Once the Honey Badger opens the beehive, the Honeyguide gets its sweet share. The fact that it survives any number of bee stings is eloquent testimony...
Yellow-billed hornbill.

September 2016

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The drought continued throughout September 2016. Unlike Kruger Park, some of the Private Game Reserves that Viva Safaris visit have decided to feed the animals. Both Kapama Game Reserve and Tshukudu Game Reserve have been feeding their grazers on a daily basis. In Kruger I am...
James and guests near lion

August 2016

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The Small-spotted Genet, Genetta Genetta, is widely distributed throughout South Africa. Genets have long, sleek bodies and equally long tails, short legs and relatively long, rounded ears. The general body colour is off-white to grey and is liberally covered with dark brown to...
Leopard with fresh Duiker kill up a Marula Tree.

July 2016

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Last month’s newsletter indicated our concerns about poaching by ill-informed locals. Underpinning these nefarious activities is a need to earn cash – poverty is widespread in the communities adjacent to Kruger Park. It is critically important that the owners of Game Lodges and...
The mighty Ezulwini.

June 2016

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The White-backed Vulture, Gyps Africanus, is the most common vulture species in the Kruger Park. It is also the most common vulture in Africa. Guests who book our 5 and 6 day packages go to Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre where they can interact with some rehabilitated...