Djuma Private Game Reserve » elephant Experience the Magic of Djuma Live! Sun, 12 Feb 2017 02:41:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Beginnings Fri, 10 Feb 2012 10:28:45 +0000 Dear Djuma Fans and new readers 

This will be my first official blog for Djuma. So hope it will be enjoyed by all the readers.

A lot has been happening at Djuma Private Game Reserve. To name a few, we have been upgrading buildings for Galago, building a pool overlooking the waterhole and putting up fences. So everybody that work at Djuma is very busy and looking forward to the reopening of Vuyatela as a Premium Self Catering Camp on 1 March 2012.

On a different note, I woke up this morning and though we had a small tornado that came through the camp, but soon realized we had a breading

herd of elephants that past through.


Sighting from Taxon this morning. All the Elephants seen in these pictures where relativly close by the lodge. According to Taxon there was almost 30 elephants! 

Other wonderful news is that we have been seeing a lot of the wild dogs over the past couple of weeks.  To follow is a few pictures.

Wild Dogs seen by the Gowrie Gate on Vuyatela Access. Three adult wild dogs were spotted by ranger Taxon

 So saving the best for last:) Our guests from Galago Camp had the opportunity to see three lionesses with a Zebra kill on Arathusa Airstrip. Think they are very pleased with how the morning turned out.


One of the lionesses from the Zebra kill this morning.

I hope you have enjoyed this short blog and that the picture quality is not to bad. Special thanks to Taxon for providing photos from his game drive this morning.

Kind Regards

Jaco Wentzel

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Djuma- 1 month on! Sun, 08 Jan 2012 16:31:52 +0000

Djuma – a month on!

One of the baby impala for the open area!

Happy New Year everyone!!

I can’t believe I have been back in South Africa only a couple of days, it feels like I have been away for so long and yet it feels it hasn’t been a day since I left! Confused? Me too! My head is all over the show so if this doesn’t make any sense I do apologize now, it will still be the effects from the 35ish hours of traveling! (Luckily this time there was no running involved!)

Young elephant we saw today on drive!

I have no news to tell you all as yet about me, but hope to have in the next week or 2. I am at Djuma for a visit and thought everyone might appreciate hearing about the love of our lives while I was here, so without further ado here we go!

One of the zebra herds on the open area this morning!

I could swear I saw Teddy run off as I drove in to camp on the 13th after a long 6 hours on the road. It was small enough and dark enough for it to have been, although I was quite exhausted and it is possible I could have miss identified our short furry friend. Sadly he/she didn’t come back out to say Hi, but I had a huge smile on my face as I felt I had just been welcomed home by Djuma! Although I didn’t realize what a welcome back I was about to have, in more ways than one! (Just a note on the side, if ever you leave a fridge for a while, you might want to make sure the door is wedged open!) After a major clean up operation and a much needed sleep, it was time to go and see who would come out to say happy new year!

Water monitor from this morning’s drive.

Jacco hadn’t been out on a drive in a while, so he came with me to check out the hyena den on Zoe’s road, but as I expected, nobody was home and it looked like it had been a while since there had been anyone there. I did wonder if the den off Phillamon’s cutline was in use again instead and after Jacco told me the cubs were seen often by the bush braai site on the open area, I thought it was worth investigating.

Hyena adult from yesterday afternoon.

I am so glad we did! As we pulled in we noticed one of the adult hyenas lying in a tunnel entrance! She kept looking over shoulder into the tunnel, which gave the impression there were cubs behind her, so we sat for a while and waited hoping to see which cubs were there. Sadly there was no sign of the little terrors, but we did receive a radio call about Karula not too far away at Tree house dam as we were heading to the den earlier. We wanted to delay our approach to allow the other vehicles with guests to see her first and have time with her. As we realized we would not have luck with the hyenas anytime soon, another call came to tell us her daughter, Xivindzi was on Weaver’s nest road close to the junction of Gowrie main.

Our lady of Djuma, Karula.

Her mother was evidently calling, but it is hard to say if Xivindzi could hear her, as she was taking her merry sweet time about responding if she had. She may have just been waiting around for Karula’s return, looking for her own dinner and it was just by chance she was heading in the right direction towards her mother!

 With the rain that Djuma has had, the vegetation has expanded 10 fold and unfortunately Xivindzi was quite happy to sit and be just out of sight of my camera! When she did eventual move, the greenery swallowed her up as quickly as a rain drop dissolves and becomes part of the sea.

Luckily by this time there was space for us to join our lady and we did so, just north of Tree house dam, as she continued to call her wayward children, which came to no avail except for the appearance of a hyena, possibly the one we had seen a bit earlier. No doubt she heard Karula’s calls and came to inquire if there was a free meal on offer!

Karula keeping a very close watch on the hyena!

You can imagine the queen of Djuma was none too happy about the uninvited guest, but the spotted cousin kept a respectful distance and eventually comprehended there was nothing to be had and left. Karula gave up her own search for the time being and took a load off atop a termite mound! Some of you might remember the day she called the boys for hours with no answer from them. The calls she gave for Xivindzi and Xivambalana were not as loud and she didn’t seem too concerned at having no response from them. With the cubs being around 14 months old, they are more than likely still relying on her for food and it could be she stopped so they wouldn’t come to find her while the hyena was in the vicinity.

Floppy ears cubs are on the left and Teddy is standing!

With the setting of the sun, we returned to the hyena den to find, who I think were floppy ear’s youngsters curled up together and Teddy; full of energy as always! Sadly wrong lens for the light, but it was too light for the spot light to work, but at least you can see them! Teddy would be around 5-6months old now and has the spotted coat like that of the older hyena, but it is still quite dark and is more fluffy than even floppy ears 2!

Teddy seeing something more exciting in the bush!

Teddy caught our scent and looked like s/he wanted to come over, but seemed a bit intimidated by the vehicle. It is hard to say if there was some recognition or just general interest, but s/he took a few steps closer each time while sniffing the air and when I spoke s/he did venture closer still. Evidently though something else more important came up that needed urgent attention and Teddy’s focus was drawn away from us! We left the young clan members as they scurried off into bush in answer to an adult calling and with night drawing in, it was time to check on Karula and her daughter again.

Karula on the right and Xivindzi on the left.

A lap around Tree house dam brought nothing, but as we approached elephant skull and weaver’s nest junction for a final lap of the dam who should stroll out in front of us? The ladies of Djuma, Karula and Xivindzi! They gave us a royal walk by right next to the vehicle and continued down weaver’s nest towards Gowrie Main! Xivindzi seems to be a typical teenager, leading the way and showing she is all grown up, but every so often needing her mother’s attention! It was a perrrfect end to a wonderful day!

The 2 ladies strolling down the road, Karula on the right her daughter on the left.

This morning I joined Texan and Lotts of drive and for the first time I saw the Manyeleti boundary, more of Buffleshoek property and the first rock at torchwood!

First rock!

It was great to see the places we have heard mentioned so often on the radio!

We had a beautiful sighting of elephants, a quick glimpse of 2 rhino (not sure who they were I doubt it was any of the ones we used to see on drive),

the male giraffe with a patch missing on his neck, showing us his sense of humor so early in the morning!

There has been a return of a crocodile at Twin dams…I thought you might like to know about that!

The wildebeest herd has had young, I saw 3 but there could be more! This little one can’t be more than 2 months old!

The baby impala look to be doing well and are in enjoying the protection of the large creches!

I even had a buffalo bull blocking my path on the way down to the lodge this morning! This last picture is of the weaver birds who were making the nests at tree house dam.

If you remember there was only a couple of males who were busy when we left with very few nests that had been built, as you can see it is no longer the case! The sound was deafening!

I hope you enjoy hearing about the residents. If I head out again or if I have any news of the residents of Djuma or about what I am doing I will be blogging!

Until next time take care and keep smiling (everyone will wonder what you are up too!)

Written by Tara



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Great friends and awesome memories! Wed, 23 Nov 2011 05:34:56 +0000

Xivambalana 22 Nov

Hi everyone,

With a couple of days left, we are still seeing some awesome sights and making memories which I am sure we will continue to do right up to the last. Xivambalana came to visit camp again so everyone was treated to a tour of WildEarth camp along the way on yesterdays AM drive!

We have been amazed this week by a black mamba sitting on the road clearly focused on some potential meal in the bush, it didn’t even glance in Marc’s direction! I was so excited at seeing such a tiny warthog baby the other day and such a perfect picture moment that I had missed but luckily others caught, of the baby standing underneath mum’s belly! Priceless!

We have played with dung beetles,

watched tortoises courting,

visited the leopard orchid,

had the elephants drop in to say hi,

and even met the cub of a female leopard who we have rarely seen, Inkanyeni. Her cub is around 6 months old and was sitting in an apple leaf as the rain started to fall! WE couldn’t stick around to see his mother return but at least we saw this pale eyed young male who must be the offspring of Mvula!

Our favourite leopards have not been disapointing us either!

Xivambalana 17 Nov

Xivambalana was realxing by the side of the road on the 17th, struggling with the emense heat of the day, but as the temperatures dipped slightly it was time to move on and we caught up with him again as he inspected the road and bush in his own time! Dusk fell and as he approached the open area he was startled by Xivindzi as she popped out the bush! She called to him as if her maternal instinct was taking over and the pair continued their stroll back into the vegetation towards Graham’s old house. The sound of the even chorus was punctured by the shrill call of a bushbaby that was most put out at Xivambalana’s attempt on it’s life and made sure his ears were ringing of it!


We were blessed to have had 2 of the Matimbas join us briefly for the day of the 18th as well as Induna, both of which were sleeping on our boundaries, but thankfully far enough away from each other not to be a problem for Induna. The boys headed north as the sun set and were no longer visible from Buffleshoek cutline, but at least they had swung by to pass on their regards!Matimba males

That night Marc was lucky enough to find Xivambalana and Karula on Vuyatela access road after drive. As he watched Xivindzi joined them and the young family headed back to the West, but sadly we couldn’t find where they may have had a kill on drive the following morning. One guide had found Xivindzi in the same area but by the time we arrived, she had disappeared into the bush, leaving no trace of where she had gone too.

Xivambalana on impala road

While we had reports of Karula in the South on Chitwa Chitwa the following day, Xivambalana was found on Impala road that afternoon and we managed to catch up with him briefly as he settled down for a snooze. But it was Marc’s find of Induna the following day that proved the most interesting!

Induna was lying not far from tamboti dam and was panting heavily, with a female impala watching him close by. It was only when Marc returned were his suspicion of a kill confirmed. The impala mother was still around, while Induna rested on the opening to a nest which Marc later found to have empty egg cases inside.

Floppy ear, the hyena clan matriarch, caught Marc’s eye as they sat with the unlikely couple, but it was distracted by something in the tree;  a baby impala. Realising she had her eye on his dinner, Induna made a bee-line towards the tree and climbed quickly she charged in! It was as if he was gloating, this time he was the victor!

Induna and floppy ear

And so as the bush opera continues, it is time to reflect on what has been and what will be. As much as it is heart breaking, at least we can say we have been privileged and honored to have been able to watch and share so much much of their lives and all these amazing times, will be forever etched in our memories and enjoyed the world over with friendships found and made along this incredible journey we have traveled on together.

Once again, a big thank you for sharing your wonderful screen captures of which I am going to miss a lot. I will stay in touch, as I am sure Marc and Seb will do, on our facebook pages both public and private. I have my own blog page for those who are not on facebook and I do twitter when the latest blog is out too!


Thank you so much to everyone for all your support, encouragement, loyalty and most importantly your friendship, it has been a huge pleasure and a fantastic experience to have been on safari with you. This is not goodbye, but fair well until we meet again…..

Written by Tara

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The return of the pachyderms! Wed, 09 Nov 2011 11:52:34 +0000

How we found Xivindzi on 6th Nov

Hi everyone!

After the amazing sightings of the leopards, they still seem keen to share more time with us!

On the 6th Nov, it was a quiet morning but as we drove down mvubu road I happened to glimpse Karula’s little princess sitting like one on a termite mound taking in the sights and sounds around her! We spent a wonderful morning with her as she meandered this way and that eventually finding a huge mound on which she could take a proper siesta! Her brother had been found thanks to some impala alarming closer to the dam than Xivindzi had been, but after spending a lot of time with her it was only fair to continue looking for the long lost elephants!

Xivindzi 6th Nov snoozing!

We didn’t have to wait too long, as dusk was closing in that afternoon, Marc and I heard a blood curdling cry in the drainage line at mamba road and twin dams road junction. As Marc went to investigate a 10 year old bull elephant charged towards us and stopped a couple of meters from the Ganda. He regarded us as he stuffed a few leaves into his mouth before taking flight again at top speed around the vehicle towards the road, giving another scream as he went.

He was clearly distressed and it started to become clear he had lost his herd as he headed south to look for them. A couple more cries echoed in our ears and led us to where we managed to catch up with him briefly on Elephant Skull as he motored across the road. We tried once again to relocate him on weaver’s nest which seemed to be the next possible road to have an encounter with him.

He was probably so engrossed in what he was doing, he didn’t realise the herd had moved on and now he was panicking as dusk was setting in. We found no sign of him, thinking he might have had success, we tried Chela pan where suddenly the missing herd appeared. The young bull had chosen the wrong direction!

Little lost boy

I think the strong wind might have confused him as to where the scent or even replies of the herd were coming from as I am sure if they heard him they would have responded. Elephants are capable of producing sounds which are inaudible to us, so they may have been calling him but we couldn’t hear it!  Where we originally found him and where the family were located was less than a kilometer apart and it is believed individuals can be recognised just over this distance. It could have been a different family group, but I doubt it. They couldn’t have moved too far from where he was and as we sat watching the rest of the group make their way out of the bush. We heard him again, only this time he sounded like he was coming our way, towards what must have been his family. Night fell as the ghosts of the bush silently disappeared and with no more peace shattering cries that echoed in the bush we can only assume our little lost boy did find his mum in the end!

Induna 7th Nov

Induna graced us with his presence in the afternoon of the 7th. After loosing another parade of elephants to the thick bush, we joined him as he was checking the area Karula had been on the 2nd Nov with an impala kill. Finding nothing of interest, he made a bee-line for the drainage line we had watched him meet up with his siblings and father just a few days previously. What ever he had been doing it had taken it’s toll on him, so he decided that was as good a place as any to rest!

Induna taking a break!

After a slight adjustment of the location he proceeded to pass out! At which point we returned to find the pachyderms had chosen the open area on Zoe’s road to have their sun downer feast! There had been a report of Karula being on Gowrie main and Little Gowrie junction, around the same time we were with Induna, but as a space opened for the sighting, she went South!

Xivindzi 8th Nov

Xivindzi wasn’t happy about her brother stealing the spotlight, so posed beautifully for an opening shot the following morning for Seb in the drainage line between Zoe’s and the quarantine open area. She had a look around the vicinity, before settling down in a different marula tree to take an early morning snooze! We had hoped to find them that following afternoon, but they had other plans! It was only this morning did we have another report of Karula and her young family, who were relaxing at tree house dam. The lady herself left just before we arrived to find both cubs were battling a little in the early morning heat! Xivindzi strolled towards better shade than she had been under, while Xivambalana was not prepared to move anywhere! Here is hoping he keeps that in mind today and doesn’t wonder too far before next drive!

Thank you to everyone for the pictures at the last minute!

Written by Tara

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