Reserve Events

So people like to believe Askari is some kind of special place 2. But those people are dreaming 3. There were too many roads that lead to nowhere 4. And the view wasn't even worth it when we got there 5. Neither were the sunsets 6. It was pretty boring most days 7. We didn't have much to do 8. There was nothing to be inspired by 9. No opportunities to try new things 10. We didn't meet new people 11. Or have the chance to make life-long friends 12. There were no colourful birds 13. So birding certainly didn't "change my life" 14. All the animals were pretty much the same 15. We didn't accomplish anything 16. Or make a difference 17. It was all very boring really 18. Elephants aren't even that impressive up close 19. The...

In late 2016, Pidwa was approached by the 'Endangered Wildlife Trust' (EWT) to take on the project of re-wilding a young cheetah female. Down in Mountain Zebra National Park, her mother was killed by lions when she was just 10 months old leaving her orphaned. In the wild, cheetah cubs only leave their mother between 16 and 18 months old. Now too young, and unable to hunt and fend for herself, she was captured and placed in a holding boma. Work then got underway with the process of moving her to Pidwa.  As many of you will know, we had a very successful (and similar) story with female cheetah ‘Kusala’. After her re-wilding and release she is now rearing her second cub,...

7 weeks ago, reserve assistant manager Andrew was called to the Sable breeding camps. Cedrick, who checks on the herds every day, had noticed that one small calf could not keep up with the herd. When it tried to suckle from mum it couldn't manage as it's neck wouldn't bend that way. Having found a dead calf just a few days earlier, the decision was made to catch this one and see what was wrong. The capture was very easy...

We had been expecting it for a while - since her last male cub 'Khinga' went solo and left the protection of his mother. It was only a matter of time before super star cheetah mum 'Kusala' was pregnant again but seeing the cubs, now that's a different story. Luckily for the team that time came last week when 'Kusala' was spotted with 3 gorgeous little cubs estimated to be around 10 weeks old. To still have 3, so late on is a great sign. Life as a cheetah mum is tough. There are no males around to help out, you are at the bottom of the predator food chain already and now you have to protect yourself, your cubs...

We had driven all the way to the South of the reserve - we should know better. Whenever we do that, all the action is in the north! We had a call on the radio to say that the whole lion pride were enjoying a wildebeest breakfast so we picked up the pace to reach the sighting. It was a great scene, the 2 big males, females and cubs all gathered on a mound in the open under the shade of a single tree. Now it has to be something special to leave a sighting like that in under a minute but on this day it was! A call came over the radio, Issac our fence guy had spotted wild...

We had known that there were new cubs in the pride but for the first little while their location is guarded as a well kept secret by their mother. Once a little older, lion cubs start to venture out more and join the rest of the pride on adventures. We were on one of our herbivore research routes when the call came over the radio that a lioness had been spotted with youngsters. We raced to the area to find female 'Intombi' with 3 small cubs that we estimated to be around 8 weeks old. Lion cubs are great to watch, they are always curious and these 3 were no different. They rolled around and chewed sticks on the game path...

This morning the team were lucky enough to join with an elephant relocation operation. This particular bull elephant broke onto Pidwa a few weeks ago and has been having all sorts of fun breaking fences and causing havoc. Today it was time to return him home, a combined organisation effort between the Greater Makalali & Pidwa Nature Reserve and 'Elephant's Alive'. The Askari team were able to locate the bull first thing this morning and give coordinates to the helicopter pilot. Flying low to the elephant a tranquiliser dart is shot by a vet in the helicopter. The skilled pilot then uses the aircraft to steer the elephant towards a road. This bull fell about 50 metres into the bush...

This week the whole team to sleep out in the wild with only a camp fire illuminating the surrounding darkness. With the clearest blue sky and not a cloud in sight we knew we were in for a treat come nightfall. We chose to head towards the Selati River where water has not flown all dry season, leaving only soft sand and rocky boulders.The team set up camp and built a fire for us all to sit around in the evening. We then paired up and played some ‘beach cricket’ and soon discovered the team had some spider-man like reactions when it came to catching in the field! After Ed and I claimed a convincing victory we all set up around...

“Lions have been sighted, 60 seconds and we’re off” We were fortunate enough to receive a call to a lion sighting not to far from Askari house and we all managed to drop our morning routines at get there in time. We found 2 lionesses sitting in beautiful sunrise lighting that illuminated their golden coated fur. A sudden shift in wind direction and a blanket of cloud over the rising sun caused a change in the lions mood, they had a kill in sight. Just 50 metres away from where they both lay were a zeal of zebra moving towards them. Only until what seemed the dying seconds before they were going to pounce did the zebra sense danger and gallop away...

This mornings plan for the team was to collect hundreds of rocks from the dried up river bed to repair roads throughout the reserve. Once we had filled up a whole bucky (car with an open back) of rocks we drove to the damaged sites. Roads often form tyre channels during the wet seasons due to the water loosening the surrounding earth. So whilst the ground is dry, we fill the tyre channels with rocks so that vehicles can continue to use the roads safely without ruining their steering columns! After one bucky load of rocks and countless numbers of trees removed from the roads we received a message from the radio that Elephants had been spotted crossing a region of...