At first it seems random and tragic. The carcass of a young hippo bull, scarred and bloodied, lying in the mud. But there’s a point to this story and it’s ‘nature never wastes’.
In the latest episode of Shamwari TV, Andrew Kearney, head ranger at the Eastern Cape private game reserve, explains that a prolonged drought in the region has resulted in hippopotamus bulls becoming exceptionally territorial.
This has led to lots of infighting between younger males and the more established bulls, sometimes to the death.
Sad as the death the bull may seem, Andrew describes how the carcass becomes a source of nutrition for a variety of animals.
As the episode progresses a pride of young lions comes across the carcass. They don’t just devour it, but frolic and play on and around it and in the process learn some of the lessons that will make them successful apex predators.
Shamwari TV started during the hard lockdown as a way of showcasing the reserve’s wildlife and helping some of the neighbouring communities.
The online safaris entertained thousands of people around the world and also encouraged them to donate towards food parcels for families in the nearby Eastern Cape towns of Alicedale and Paterson.
Shamwari re-opened two of its seven lodges, Long Lee Manor and Sarili Private Lodge, in mid-September. Although visitors are again able to go on game drives – subject to strict Covid-19 protocols – the concept proved so popular that Shamwari TV has continued.
The latest episode will be available from 0900 on Friday 16 October here:
Wilderness enthusiasts who would prefer a first-hand experience can take advantage of re-opening offers that run until 20 December. These include a full-day safari package starting from R1 500 per person and R750 for children aged between four and 11. It includes a visit to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and a three-hour game drive.
The special lead-in price for Long Lee Manor is R4 150 per person sharing. This includes accommodation in a five-star suite, two game drives a day, guided bush walks and tours of the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Visits to the Riverdene Children’s Adventure Centre can also be arranged. The only additional costs are the mandatory conservation levy, beverages, spa treatments and laundry.
Extended families or groups of friends are able to book the entire five-bedroomed Sarili Private Lodge for R38 000 per night. The offer includes an itinerary that is tailored to the group’s needs and a private staff, including a personal chef, housekeeper and house manager. The minimum stay is two nights.