#didyouknow

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ritad
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#didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Rodney Bell

Did you know that we have a flightless dung beetle found nowhere else in the World?
In the Addo Elephant National Park of South Africa (& a very restricted area around the Park), one can find a dung beetle that is endemic to that region, meaning that it is found nowhere else in the World – this very special dung beetle is the Flightless Dung Beetle (Circellium bacchus).
As with many of the 800 or so dung beetle species found in South Africa, the flightless dung beetle utilises animal dung (droppings) for both nutrition & for breeding. This utilisation of animal dung is of critical importance to the environment:
- it helps to recycle nutrients within the ecosystem
- it removes excessive amounts of animal dung from the veld
- this in turn removes breeding sites for other insects, such as flies,
which would reach pest numbers if the animal dung was not
recycled by dung beetles.
Unfortunately, as well as being endemic to a small geographic area of South Africa, the flightless dung beetle is also critically endangered. Being flightless, it is not able to disperse to areas where it has disappeared from over the years due to habitat modification.
The question is though, why did the flightless dung beetle evolve to become flightless? Scientists hypothesise that by losing its wings, the flightless dung beetle uses the space where wings used to be to temporarily store “exhaled breath” with the stored breath being released very infrequently. By having far fewer exhalations, a significant amount of moisture is retained by the flightless dung beetle, a wonderful adaptation to surviving in an arid area.
So, when you visit the Addo Elephant National Park, be sure to look out for this very special dung beetle & drive with caution please – the dung beetles have right of way!
#DidYouKnow
#AddoElephantNationalPark
#SANParksHonoraryRangers

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Crested Val
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Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by Crested Val »

Location: Mokala NP
Looking for a romantic getaway or just pure indulgence?
Book yourself a couple of nights in the magnificent Dinokeng Tree House situated near the Stofdam bird hide. The “tree house” is a log cabin on stilts with a private access road (residents only) and its own floodlight waterhole. The treehouse if fully equipped with an en-suite bathroom (shower & toilet). The luxurious double bed is fitted with crisp white sheets & down duvet. There is an indoor and outdoor dining area and a comfy leather couch to relax in whilst watching the waterhole.
Birding in the park is rewarding even if a little challenging, yip loads of LBJ’s. The wildlife is interesting with various rare antelope breeding programs.
To make your booking at Dinokeng or any of the other 2 tree houses you need to call the park directly on +27 53 204 5000
Cost: Approximately R2000.00 per night for a maximum of 2 guests.

Article by Jenny Bell.
#Didyouknow
#Mokala National Park

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Missing my beloved Kruger!!!
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ritad
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Re: #didyouknow

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Created by Maryna Bouwer

#didyouknow #knowyourpark #sanparks #liveyourwild
Walking in the camps we often see these indentations in the sand. They are made by the Antlion. Also known as Lacewings, they are neither ant nor lion. This is the larvae phase and is named due to the fact that they are predators and mainly feed on ants.
The Antlion’s life cycle consists of only a few weeks. The adult female Lacewing will deposit up to 200 eggs and after approximately 5 days, small larvae will emerge. After roughly three weeks, the larvae would have grown up to 1cm. It will spin a cocoon, grow wings and develop reproductive organs. After 5 to 7 days the adult will emerge and be ready to look for a mate. As adults they can survive for about 6 weeks. Depending on the temperature, the lifecycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult can be as short as 8 weeks.
Antlion larvae are very well known for their hunting habits. These tiny predators will dig small pits (shown above) and wait under the sand with just its jaws above the surface waiting for insects such as ants to pass by. When the unsuspecting prey falls into the pit and tries to escape, the Antlion will agitate the sides of the pit causing it to collapse and bring their prey even closer to them where they will be killed and devoured.
The adult Antlions are less known, due to the fact that they are easily mistaken for dragonflies or damselflies. Adults are usually seen at dusk or dawn, but if you are very lucky, you can find them sitting around on leaves during the day.
(photo credit Kololo Game Reserve)
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Re: #didyouknow

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Mapungubwe National Park
#didyouknow #knowyourpark #liveyourwild #SANParksmapungubwe
Created by Steve Bouwer.

Mapungubwe National Park is a World Heritage site and is an ideal location for anyone interested in wildlife, birds and spectacular scenery including the totemic Baobab trees.
Discover an ancient African Kingdom, Southern Africa’s first, established at Mapungubwe Hill between 1200 and 1290 AD. Home to a powerful tribe that flourished on trading with Eastern cultures such as China and India, Mapungubwe saw the rise and fall of this great civilisation more than 700 years ago. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous Golden *** and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.
Activities
Apart from the normal game viewing activities visitors have the opportunity to do Museum and Heritage tours. The museum is built near the main gate and won the building of the year competition in 2009. It is home to the famous Golden ***. The Centre provides both day and overnight visitors the opportunity of a tour, showcasing the amazing landscape that the National Park has to offer. The Heritage tour allows the opportunity to visit the elite graveyard at the top of Mapungubwe Hill, view a natural amphitheatre and the entire spectrum of the region, traversing the territory once walked upon by the ancestral Mapungubwe People - now roamed by four of the Big 5.

The Tree Top Walk is set among the riverine forest on a raised platform that takes you to a hide overlooking the Limpopo River.
Confluence Viewing Decks and Picnic Spot - Enjoy a view over the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers where three countries meet. There is a picnic site with shaded picnic spots with tables and ablution facilities.
Maloutswa Bird Hide - The hide is located within a short driving distance from Limpopo Forest Tented Camp and the Mazhou Camping Site. It offers a lovely location from which to view birds and mammals of all kinds and is particularly rewarding during the dry seaon.

Mapungubwe National Park has a variety of accommodation types to suit all preferences and is definitely worth a visit. https://www.sanparks.org/parks/mapungub ... dation.php


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ritad
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Re: #didyouknow

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Created by Husein Carim

#DidYouKnow
Birds like humans, have upper and lower outer eyelids. But beneath the outer eyelids lies an extra eyelid, called the nictitating membrane. Nictitating simply means “blinking”. It is also commonly referred to as the 3rd eyelid or haw.
It is usually situated on the inside corner of the eye and moves from inside to outside and back. It is also generally transparent or translucent and is used for cleaning dust and debris in some species but it is also commonly involved with offering more protection to the eyes.
Unlike the blink response where both eyelids are closed at the same time the nictitating membrane can move independently to only close the eye that is at risk. Any stimulus to the eyeball such as a puff of air or wind will result in this reflex response of the nictitating membrane, similar to how humans use their hands to cover or rub the eyes.
Birds aren’t the only animals gifted with nature’s goggles. Reptiles and some mammals have the extra eyelid, too.
Pic: Juvenile Martial Eagle with the nictitating membrane clearly visible
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Re: #didyouknow

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Created by Faizal Essop


*Cultural sites in the Kruger National Park*
*Letaba Elephant Museum*
The museum covers elephant evolution, biology, behaviour, ecology and research. It also showcases the ivory of eight of Kruger’s greatest tuskers (including six of the Magnificent Seven). This site introduces you to these, and some of Kruger’s other big tuskers. It also has fun and games for kids and information for schools and educators.
*Albasini Ruins*
The Albasini Ruins are located at the Phabeni Gate and are the remains of the 19th century trading post of the famous Portuguese trader, Joao Albasini.
Albasini arrived in the then Portuguese-occupied port of Lourenco Marques (now Maputo, Mozambique) in the early 1800s and set up a trading business. He set up an extensive network of trading routes that reached inland as far as the Lowveld. By 1845, Albasini had established a vital trading post at Magashula’s Kraal (now the site of the Albasini Ruins) which was positioned along two of the most active trading routes.
Legend has it that Magashula’s Kraal was the first European settlement, where traders sought refuge from the disease-ridden Lowveld. Albasini and fellow intrepid traders lived under difficult conditions of poor trade and the threat of deadly diseases such as malaria and tsetse fly. Magashula’s Kraal was renowned for its fine white bread, which was made from grain grown at the trading post.
*Masorini ruins*
Evidence of early man from the late Iron Age can be found at a site on a prominent hill just 12 kilometres from the Phalaborwa gate on the tar road to Letaba rest camp. The site was inhabited by the Sotho-speaking BaPhalaborwa during the 1800s, who developed advanced methods of mining, smelting iron ore and trading in these iron products.
Dome-shaped clay furnaces used to smelt the iron ore are found at the Masorini site, which has been reconstructed as closely as possible to the original iron works. This living museum can be explored with a field guide.
*Thulamela archaeological sites*
Thulamela is a stone-walled site located in the northern region of the Park, and dates back to between 450-500 years. It comprises evidence of the Zimbabwe culture and is linked to the world-famous Mapungubwe Ruins.
When Great Zimbabwe was abandoned, several groups moved south across the Limpopo River into the north-eastern regions of South Africa (including northern Kruger). They established smaller chiefdoms such as Thulamela and started farming subsistence crops such as sorghum and millet. The grain was ground and used to make porridge and beer.
There is evidence of clay spindle wheels which would suggest that the people also grew cotton. There are remains of pots of various shapes and sizes, some decorated, which were used for cooking, eating and drinking.
*Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library*
The knowledge resource centre is located at Skukuza, the largest rest camp in the Kruger National Park. It consists of a library and a museum and holds many fascinating artefacts, books and valuable documents depicting the life and times of James Stevenson-Hamilton who was the first Warden of the Sabie Game Reserve, now the Kruger National Park.
The rest camp was named Skukuza as it was the nickname given to Stevenson-Hamilton by the Shangaan people. It was his job to stop poaching and to create a safe haven for wild animals that were being ruthlessly hunted. His nickname means “he who sweeps clean” or “he who turns everything upside down”. It has a more negative connotation as Stevenson-Hamilton was responsible for the relocation programme that moved the native people out of the area when it was proclaimed a national park.
One of the most popular attractions at the museum is the knife that belonged to Harry Wolhuter, a ranger who killed a lion that had him firmly in his jaws and was dragging him through the bush.
There is also a small “Heroes’ Acre” outside the museum where the loyal pets who served their masters and played a role in protecting the park are remembered. Some died of old age and some in the line of duty.
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Re: #didyouknow

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Created by Mark Flint

#Do you know SANParks?
South Africa has 10 Unesco World Heritage sites and Richtersveld National Park is one of them (#1265). This 160 000 ha park, nestled along the Orange river, is characterized by a mountainous desert landscape. It is host to 6350 vascular plant species of which 2440 are endemic (only found) in South Africa. In the area you can find some of the last few hundred Baster Quiver trees (Aloe pilansii) or the bizarre Halfmens (Pachypodium namaquanum). Richtersveld also boasts the most lichen species in the world.
The Park is buffered by surrounding Provincial parks and forms part of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park shared with Namibia. At Sendlings drift you can cross over to Namibia using the pontoon they have there. (Don’t forget your passport) A rather unique experience, and then drive on to visit the Fish River Canyon which is the second largest Canyon in the World after the Grand Canyon in the USA.
A truly fascinating area to visit.
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Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by Giggs »

ritad wrote:Created by Rodney Bell

Did you know that we have a flightless dung beetle found nowhere else in the World?
In the Addo Elephant National Park of South Africa (& a very restricted area around the Park), one can find a dung beetle that is endemic to that region, meaning that it is found nowhere else in the World – this very special dung beetle is the Flightless Dung Beetle (Circellium bacchus).
As with many of the 800 or so dung beetle species found in South Africa, the flightless dung beetle utilises animal dung (droppings) for both nutrition & for breeding. This utilisation of animal dung is of critical importance to the environment:
- it helps to recycle nutrients within the ecosystem
- it removes excessive amounts of animal dung from the veld
- this in turn removes breeding sites for other insects, such as flies,
which would reach pest numbers if the animal dung was not
recycled by dung beetles.
Unfortunately, as well as being endemic to a small geographic area of South Africa, the flightless dung beetle is also critically endangered. Being flightless, it is not able to disperse to areas where it has disappeared from over the years due to habitat modification.
The question is though, why did the flightless dung beetle evolve to become flightless? Scientists hypothesise that by losing its wings, the flightless dung beetle uses the space where wings used to be to temporarily store “exhaled breath” with the stored breath being released very infrequently. By having far fewer exhalations, a significant amount of moisture is retained by the flightless dung beetle, a wonderful adaptation to surviving in an arid area.
So, when you visit the Addo Elephant National Park, be sure to look out for this very special dung beetle & drive with caution please – the dung beetles have right of way!
#DidYouKnow
#AddoElephantNationalPark
#SANParksHonoraryRangers

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When we were there some years ago, we saw dung beetles allover the place.
Not too long back I saw a documentry where in australia they experimenting with dung beetles to help dispose of cattle dung
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ritad
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Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

This is very interesting Giggs :D
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Re: #didyouknow

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Created by Les Morgan

#DidYouKnow
African Buffalo - Syncerus caffer
• Adults weigh 300 – 900 Kg.
• The Boss of the male buffalo horns are much larger and heavier than the female’s.
• Buffaloes are very social animals and form herds ranging from a few individuals to sometimes as many as several hundreds.
a. The females and their offspring make up the bulk of the herd.
b. Congregating in large herds is one of their many anti-predator adaptations. Large herds decrease the possibility of any individual being singled out by lions.
c. They are very protective of each other, protecting their calves, old and sick members of the herd, they sometimes form a square with the weaker and younger members in the centre and protected by the stronger adult members of the herd.
• Females have their first calves at four or five years of age. Usually calving only every two years, with most births occurring at the end of the rainy season when abundant grass improves the nutritional level for females when they are pregnant or nursing. Calves suckle for as long as a year and during this time are completely dependent on their mothers. Females usually stay in the natal herd, but males leave when they are about four years old.
• Males do not invest in their offspring.
• Males may spend much of their time in bachelor groups. Although many older bulls often prefer to be on their own.
• Buffaloes in herds are generally docile and unlikely to attack. They are often seen laying about in Mudholes and Rivers just resting in the cool mud and water. However, they can be extremely dangerous if they feel threatened or are surprised.
• The herd lead female, when ready to move on, will look about and see what’s the democratic vote and lead the herd in the direction that the majority of the herd are facing; it is like they are saying I want to go this way, and the majority vote wins.
• African Buffaloes are one of the Big 5, this does not mean they are one of the largest, the Big 5 was given this tag (nickname) due to the fact that they were the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt.
• Lone Bulls are often unpredictable – you shouldn’t try to get too close to them. They have been known, if injured, to persist in attacking an intruder, Old Bulls have been known to stalk and attack humans.
• Buffaloes’ sight and hearing are both rather poor, but they have a very good sense of smell, which enables them to detect the presence of intruders to the area from approximately a kilometer away.
• Buffaloes have a symbiotic relationship with birds, for example the Cattle Egret sit on and stay near the buffalo as they move about which enables them to easily see the insects being disturbed by the buffaloes. Oxpeckers move all over the buffalo and pick off the parasites living on the skin of the buffalo. Also, the birds give an alarm thereby warning the buffalo of nearby danger.
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Created by Ockert Nel

#KnowYourPark #DidYouKnow #LetabaRestCamp #FishEagleGuestHouse
Letaba Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
The Letaba Rest Camp is one of the main Camps in the Kruger National Park. Situated in the Northern part of the Park. Six of the current huts in this camp were built and completed in 1929. The Sotho lived in the area since the 1800’s and the name is derived from the Sotho language meaning place of sand, with reference to the large sand bank of the Letaba River.
Location
Coordinates: 23.8543796°S 31.5766711°E
The rest camp is located on the Southern bank of the Letaba River, as the river bends to join the Olifants river to the east. It is 50km from the town of Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province. From entering the Park at Phalaborwa gate it is straight along the main road till you join the H1 (which is the main road of Kruger National Park heading North to South). Letaba is situated in dense Mopani Veld, which makes the area great for game viewing and in particular bird watchers.
Accommodation
The Letaba Rest Camp currently has sixty tent or caravan stands, five(5) three bed huts, ten(10) four bed huts, eighty six(86) rondavels, ten(10) six bed guest cottages and two(2) luxury Guest Houses. Melville Guest House sleeps 9 and the Fish Eagle Guest House sleeps 8. In addition it recently added ten(10) permanent luxury safari tents.
Luxury Guest Houses
There are two(2) luxury Guest house inside the Rest camp, both securely located away from the public areas, fenced in, with lockable gates for privacy.
The Melville Guest House sleeps nine(9) people and is great for large families or special occasions and business functions. A large patio area with an unobstructed view of the Letaba River
The Fish Eagle Guest House located in the top corner of the rest camp, sleeps eight persons in four separate rooms away from the main house. Each room with its own toilet and shower. I had the privilege of spending a week in this accommodation when I celebrated my 50th birthday. An accommodation like no other, from the front the house resembles a church, you enter into the living room large enough to seat a soccer team with coaching staff. Large wall mounted TV screen with DSTV reception. It has a huge kitchen with gas stove (big enough to bake a birthday cake in) and a large pantry. Two fridges as well as a chest freezer are also available. Yes it sounds like the perfect retirement home. From the living room you go through four French sliding doors onto a huge patio with a table that could seat the whole parliament. From here an open view of the Letaba river as it makes it’s bend to join the Olifants river. Look to your right and you will find a private bird hide that looks out onto this bend, no guesses as to where I enjoyed my birthday cake, with a number and great variety of animals that come down to drink. The opposite bank of the river is shallow with plenty of vegetation, which makes game viewing from the bird hide that more pleasant. A perfect place to enjoy large family gatherings like birthdays, anniversaries, barmitzva or even small weddings.
It has a huge yard, two permanent built- in braai facilities, a braai stand as well as a fire pit next to the fence where one makes a huge boma fire and listen to the animal noise in the night. Being so private one can be totally naked in nature.
Elephant Hall (Museum)
Unique to Letaba amongst camps in Kruger is the Elephant Hall, a small museum dedicated to elephants. It includes sections about elephant biology, behaviour, ecology and evolution. The primary exhibit is the display of the tusks and skulls of the Magnificent Seven, a set of enormous tuskers (elephant bulls with very large tusks). The hall was renovated in 2017 with financial assistance from donors worldwide. A great place to take selfies… For more details of the awesome museum read here: https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/
Places of interest (Near by)
There are a number of wilderness trails around the area and 4x4 experiences. Also a number of bush camps and busveld braai’s can be booked from the reception at Letaba Rest camp. Also the game drives are not to be missed.
On your way back to Phalaborwa gate, make a turn at the Masorini Archaeological site, some 30km from Letaba. https://www.krugerpark.co.za/masorini-kruger-national...
Here the ancient ancestors of the Ba-Phalaborwa people lived. Go see the remains of their traditional huts, and their remarkable tool making skills.
Hope to find you there or at Letaba Rest Camp, one of the many jewels of the Kruger National Park.
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Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by Cantona »

Thanks so much for posting all these interesting facts ritad :clap: :thumbs_up:
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You are Welcome Cantona :k
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Created by Stefanie Ash

Within the West Coast Marine Protected Area, just off #Langebaan main beach, lives a family of #CapeFurSeal that can be heard from the main beach if you listen carefully.
Yesterday, I paddled out to them and it was the first time that I got this close (unintentionally, I must say)! There was at least one frantic moment of back paddling as the wind blew me so close to them whilst I was focusing on my camera, that I could touch them using my paddle, the bow of my kayak being on the rocks. They are somewhat intimidating, especially when they start grunting... and they are pretty big so close up!
There must be some kind of magic in pointing your throat at the sun, which I'll have to try for myself.
Such stunning creatures all around us. x
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Created by Phil Radford

#KnowYourPark
Take a break from the dusty trail by visiting the Skukuza Indigenous Nursery!
With over 200 indigenous species to choose from, with plants suitable for both Highveld and Lowveld conditions.
A peaceful haven to have a picnic under a cool canopy of tall trees and great bird watching opportunities on the wetland board walk.
Come and visit this little gem, get planting and help add to your local biodiversity!
To get to the nursery, simply follow signs from Skukuza along Paul Kruger Gate Road (H11)- situated next to Skukuza Golf Club.
Here is a link below to the SANParks nursery information pamphlet (Source: www.sanparks.org)
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