Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rhino Poaching Update

#RhinoPoachingUpdate: Since January 1, 2013, a total of 446 rhino have been poached across the country with #KNP losing 280. A total of 129 alleged rhino poachers have been arrested.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rhino News

Rhino News: 26/06/2013 - At 02h00, 3 Rhino poachers were arrested in a joint operation with the Mozambican Lebombo Conservancy and the Ground Force. A .458 hunting rifle and poaching equipment were recovered.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On Safari From 18 June 2013

18 June 2013

After lunch at Pretoriuskop camp, we took a drive down Napi Road going down about six kilometres past the Napi boulders entrance and coming upon a nice herd of buffalo. After watching them for a while, one of the guests said they needed a bathroom stop so we returned to Pretoriuskop Camp. After this, we made our way to Nkambeni tented camp.

19 June 2013

A bit of a frustrating day experienced today as none of the cat species were found.

Route: Nkambeni safari camp - Numbi gate tar - Napi road - H3 - Quagga pan, before turning around after hearing nothing on the radio as to feline activity in the area, we made our way to Skukuza for a break. After a welcome break we made our way down to the Sabie river, getting some good visuals of crocodile and hippo. We made our way back to camp for a break, before leaving again this afternoon for an afternoon drive.

Other animals seen were:

Elephant, rhino, buffalo, kudu, impala, baboon, common duiker, common reedbuck and waterbuck.

The afternoon drive took us to Shithave dam, and then onto Faye loop getting more visuals of giraffe, buffalo, waterbuck, baboon and impala.

20 June 2013

Route: Nkambeni Tented camp -  Numbi gate tar - Napi road - H3 - Quagga pan -  S112 - Ngwatimiri road - S114 - Skukuza for a break.

Animals seen were:

Buffalo, elephant, rhino as well as a female leopard, one hundred meters past the experimental tar towards Napi road.

After our break at skukuza we returned on the Napi road, stopping of at Napi boulders and Shithave dam, before going onto Numbi gate to meet new guests.

Animals seen were:

Kudu, impala, zebra, buffalo and elephant.

After lunch at Pretpriuskop camp it was out on Napi road to show guests the buffalo's that we had got earlier. Also got to see impala, kudu, giraffe and warthog.

21 June 2013

Route: Nkambeni safari camp - Albasini road – Doispane - Paul Kruger road - Skukuza for a break.

Animals seen were:

Impala, hippo, giraffe, rhino.

After our break at skukuza, we made our way down Napi road in the direction of Numbi gate in order to transfer some clients to Johannesburg.

Animals seen were:

Lions close to the H3 with a kudu kill as well as impala, wildebeest and kudu.

This afternoon we drove around Napi boulders, Shithave dam as well as Pretoriuskop camp.

Animals seen were:

Waterbuck, impala, giraffe, warthog and buffalo.

Keep watching for more updates!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Media Explore Poaching

By Nicolene Smalman

Media from all over the world were in the Kruger National Park this April to learn more about rhino poaching and the progress that has been made to date in combating this scourge. They were taken to see how post-mortems were conducted on a white rhino cow and her calf (that were poached) to procure evidence.

It was an excruciating walk of 12 kilometres to the scenes and journalists got to experience first-hand the challenges that rangers have to face every day in safeguarding the park.

The process of assessing the scenes for evidence and conducting post-mortems were led by Mr Frik Rossouw, senior investigator of Environmental Crime Services.

It was an adult rhino cow and her calf that had been poached and journalists were first taken to the scene where the carcass of the calf had been found.

By Tuesday, only bones were left as hyenas and vultures had feasted on the carcass.

The scene was carefully assessed for possible tracks and scanned with metal detectors in the hope of finding cartridge casings.

Rossouw, after examing the bones, estimated the calf to have been about one and a half years old. Journalists were then taken to the carcass of the cow about a kilometre away.

Investigators came across the shell of a .458 bullet along the way.

Rossouw carefully looked at tracks on the ground and suspected that the cow as shot near the calf and ran to where she finally collapsed. Both her horns had been removed.

The carcass was scanned with the metal detector which indicated that there were still bullets lodged in it.

Rossouw and his assistant Mr Oupa Mzini, cut open the already badly decomposing flesh and retrieved two bullets – that of a .458 and .375 hunting rifle.

Rossouw said it was rare to find that a rhino had been shot with two different rifles.

A piece of the rhinos toenails were also cut off to use for DNA testing.

Journalists looked at Rossouw and his team in awe as they worked on the badly decomposing carcass of which the stench was almost unbearable. Representatives from media houses abroad asked Rossouw if one ever gets use to it, to which he replied “no”. He has conducted 450 post-mortems on rhino carcasses in the last six years.

Retired Maj Genl Johan Jooste, head of anti-poaching operations in the park said that there are currently approximately 400 rangers who patrol the 20 000 square kilometre park, with a boundary of 952 kilometres. Jooste stressed the fact that a new era in park management was upon them and that it was important to clear the area of criminal elements from outside.

It is a whole new ballgame for rangers who now have to deal with added stress, risk, exposure and career expectations as they combat rhino poaching – a crime of which the park was relatively free before 2008. “This is actually not far removed from guerrilla warfare,” said section ranger Mr Don English.   

SANParks Times newspaper June 2013  

Update On Rhino Poaching

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Calls Made For Fence To Be Re-erected

Calls Made For Fence To Be Re-erected
By Nicolene Smalman

One of the suggestions made to curtail rhino poaching is the re-erection of the border fence between South Africa and Mozambique in the Kruger National Park. Sections of it were dropped in  2007 after an agreement as signed in 2002 to make the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park a reality. The purpose had been to give the animals larger roaming areas and more grazing fields.

Letaba section ranger Andrew Desmet addressed members of the media in April during a tour along sections of the border. About 45 kilometres of the fence has been dropped at three locations – Shilowa, Thohoyandou and north of the Giriyondo Border Post.

The SANParks board of directors sent a request to the minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, to re-erect this fence because most of the poachers come from Mozambique. This proposal is being considered by the department. Mbongeni Tukela, head of ranger logistics and support, also feels that the re-erection of the fence will help to curb poaching. It would not keep the poachers out he says, but would enable rangers to see where the poachers get through and resources could then be focused there.

This would facilitate planning. He added that Mozambique should do more to curb poaching. “there must be a will on that side to protect animals.”

Desmet also lambasted Mozambican courts for handing light sentences to poachers. There, it is a greater crime to own an unlicensed firearm than to be caught with rhino horn. In Letaba there are only 15 game rangers available to patrol 38 kilometres of border fence, and only 10 of them are on duty at a time. They also patrol difficult, rocky terrain.

“ our rangers are the best in the world,” said Desmet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Safari Feedback from Francesca Rivi

Safari feedback from Francesca Rivi

"Thanks a lot to Mark and to everyone at the Kruger for the amazing time we had!! We got to see the big five and many more in just 3 days safari.. Has been absolutely fantastic!!!

Thanks so much Mark!!!"


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rangers Make Contact With Poachers

Rangers made contact with a group of 3 poachers in Letaba on the 15 June 2013. One poacher was wounded and later died from his wounds. The remaining 2 managed to escape back to Mozambique.

Friday, June 14, 2013

On Safari With Mark Starting 11 June 2013

11 June 2013

Route: Napi - H3 - S112 - Gwatamiri - S112 - H3 - Napi

General game viewing was quiet this morning, due to a drastic drop in temperature, however after lunch things picked up and general game was on the move again.

Animals seen:

Rhino, Kudu, zebra, giraffe, impala, bushbuck, common diukers, baboons and monkeys. 2 elephant bulls next to the road at the flat rocks.A herd of 20 elephants at the natural water pan just past S65 on napi. We got a pair of mating lions 6km down gwatamiri. Brilliant photos taken by the guests as these lions were literally on the edge of the road.

No buffalo or leopard, but will try to get them tomorrow.

12 June 2013

Route: Napi - Doispan - Albaseni - Napi - Nkambeni tented camp

Animal sightings:

Although most of the day was rather quiet with general game viewing, we managed to see: Giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, warthog, common diukers and rhino. Just at shitlhave entrance on the napi, we got visuals of a herd (8)of Sable. Fantastic to see.

Throughout the day we either saw herds of elephant or bulls on their own.

Afternoon drive we went down to shitlhave dam and on the access road found a female cheetah that had caught a young kudu. While watching her out popped a female leopard and chased her (cheetah)off her prey. The leopard then continued with the carcass and dragged it approx 100m up the access road and hid it under thicket, as the antelope was to big to carry up a tree. At this stage we lost visual of her but will return in the morning to see if a she has eaten on her own or will she go and fetch her two cubs.

Will see what tomorrow brings us, just looking for wild dog now.

13 June 2013

Route: Napi - Doispan - Albaseni - Napi - Nkambeni camp

Animals seen

General game viewing was great with many different sightings of Zebra, kudu, impala, steenbok, rheedbok, diukers, warthog, rhino and giraffe. Napi boulders exit we got a male leopard walking in the road sent marking. Very relaxed. Then out popped a honey badger in the middle of the road. Leopard moved off into the thicket and so did the honey badger. Guests got good photos. Large herd (200) of buffalo on the afternoon drive at the flat rocks on napi. Great herd of elephant just before shitlhave.

Need to get a lion for the new guests that arrived today.

Keep watching for more!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rhino Poaching Update

#RhinoPoachingUpdate: 12 June 2013

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, is to meet Mozambique's Minister of Tourism, Mr Carvalho Muaria, in Maputo on Friday as part of ongoing efforts to improve relations between the two countries. The talks are expected to focus on the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, established in 2002, with an emphasis on the scourge of rhino poaching presently affecting South Africa. The total number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year has risen to 408. The number of rhino poached in the Kruger National Park, which bears the brunt of rhino poaching, increased to 265. In North West 46 rhino have been poached, while 38 have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal, 30 in Limpopo, 26 in Mpumalanga, 2 in the Eastern Cape and 1 in Gauteng.  The number of people arrested for rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park has risen to 56. Three suspected poachers were arrested in the Pretoriuskop region yesterday (Tuesday following an intelligence-driven operation by the SAPS, SANParks rangers and the Park’s Environmental Crimes Investigation Unit. The group were allegedly involved in five poaching incidents in the Pretoriuskop region, as well as several armed robberies in Hazyview, Mpumalanga. The number of people arrested on rhino poaching-related charges  countrywide totals 121. A total of 27 alleged poachers have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal, 21 in Limpopo, 8 in North West, 6 in Mpumalanga and 3 in Gauteng. Of these five are alleged couriers. South Africans are urged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines             0800 205 005       ,             08600 10111       or Crime-Line on 32211.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rhino Poaching

#RhinoNews: On the evening of June 09, contact was made with a group of rhino poachers. Unfortunately, due to the dark moon and poor light conditions, the poachers managed to escape. Although no arrests were made, the group was successfuly disrupted without the loss of a rhino.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Safari With Dean

With Dean

7 June 2013

Route: Skukuza - S114 - Gwatimiri road - shlatini waterhole - S114 - S113 - H3 - Afsaal for breakfast.

Animals seen were:

Elephant, two lots of lion, rhino, impala, kudu, buffalo and hyena.

After breakfast we drove up the H3 - Napi road - transport dam - Camp of skukuza.

Animals seen were:

Impala, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and a leopard with its kill up the tree opposite transport dam.

8 June 2013

Today we left Skukuza - Tshokwane tar - Tshokwane picnic site for breakfast.

Animals seen were:

Elephant, wild dogs, hyena and impala.

After breakfast we drove back down the same road to meet Mark for the change over and got
elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, impala and kudu.

9 June 2013

We left Nkambeni Tented Camp and made our way down the Numbi gate tar getting buffalo just before Napi road. Went down Napi road getting more buffalo and elephant. We turned onto watergat and got a leopard lying in the tree, 200 meters down. While on the sighting we got a call about three male lions on the s114, we made our way down to them. After a good sighting, we made our way to Skukuza for a break.

After our break the route driven was Tshokwane tar over the high water bridge and back to Skukuza for lunch.

Animals seen were:

vultures, elephant, kudu, impala and a number of birds of prey.

After lunch it was back to camp on Napi Road.

Animals seen were lions, elephant, wildebeest, sable antelope, impala and kudu. Sightings of rhino were also experienced thought the day.

10 June 2013

Today Dean leaves the park and returns to Johannesburg with his guests.

On Safari Starting 7 June 2013

With Mark

Route: Over the past few days we have focused our drives around Pretoriuskop, Skakuza and Lower sabi.

Animals seen:

Despite the constant change in weather, either been cold or hot we have managed to find the animals and most of the sightings have been quality sightings.

Numerous Rhino, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, impala, diuker, steenbok and warthog has been sighted.
A general decrees in zebra and large herds of buffalo have been experienced.

7 June 2013

Today we had 5 lions hunt and kill an impala 1.2km before the S113 on the H3. Approximately 1km south of Qwagga pan we had two females walking with us in the road, a leopard and its kill in a tree opposite side of the dam at transport dam.

8 June 2013

Dean called us to 2 male lions just past marolla entrance on the tsokwane tar, At 1.3kms from napi on watergat, we had a female leopard in a marola tree, Just enjoying the morning sun.

9 June 2013

A rather quiet day experienced as we had a change over of guests in Nelspriut. In the afternoon we found a healthy herd of (12) Sable antelope 50m of the napi and approximately 200m from the entrance of boulders.

10 June 2013

Route: Albaseni - Doispan - S114 - Gwatamiri - Ellof - Napi - Nkambeni camp

General animal sightings of giraffe, Kudu, waterbuck, zebra, impala, common diuker and warthog, was seen throughout the day. 5 male lions lying sleeping with stomachs full approx 4.6km from S114 on the gwatamiri road. 2 elephant bulls digging waterholes in the river bed 7.8km down gwatamiri.
Fantastic to see these animals retrieve water below the surface of a dry river bed. Many herds of elephant and buffalo along the sabi river. Approx 30 hippo's and 15 nile croc's lying out of the water all enjoying the sun at sunset dam.

Only thing to report on our drive back along napi was 6 southern ground hornbills alongside the road app 100m past transport dam junction.

Still no leopard for the new group, so hopefully we pull one out of the bag tomorrow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Poachers Arrested And Update On The Shot Ranger

Three suspected poachers arrested in Kruger National Park

SANParks today announced that a further three suspected poachers were arrested yesterday afternoon, 6 June, in the Tshokwane section of the Kruger National Park (KNP).

A .458 hunting rifle, silencer, ammunition and an axe were recovered. This brings to 53 the number of suspected poachers that have been arrested in the KNP this year. Of these, 32 were Mozambique nationals reflecting the predominance of the eastern border of the Park as a source of incursions. This is borne out by the fact that this year 70% of the rhino’s poached have been killed in the eastern sections of the Park, adjacent to the Mozambique border, while 68% of those arrested in the park were also of Mozambican origin.

It was also announced today that Andrew Desmet, the Letaba Section Ranger who was seriously injured in a shooting incident in the Kruger National Park on 24 May 2013, continues to make progress after undergoing a second medical procedure in hospital. He was shot during a joint anti-rhino poaching operation with the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in the Letaba region of the KNP. Mr Desmet is in a stable condition but remains in the Intensive Care Unit of a Nelspruit medical facility.

Investigations into the circumstances of the incident in which Mr Desmet suffered his injury are on-going, although initial findings have confirmed that he was injured by SANDF fire during the joint operation with the SANDF. SANParks head of anti-poaching operations, Major General (Ret) Johan Jooste, confirmed that the incident happened during a joint operation, but advised against drawing any conclusions as the circumstances are still being investigated by the South African Police Service.

“We are all praying for Andrew, and are looking forward to seeing him on the road to recovery. He is not yet able to give us his view on what led to this unfortunate incident. We hope he will soon be able to shed further light on what happened but we would like to caution against unnecessary speculation pending the completion of the investigations,” concluded Jooste.


For previous media statements please go to

Issued by : South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications:
 Tel:             012 426 5065       /

Enquiries : Ike Phaahla, SANParks Media Specialist.
 Tel:             012 426 5315       cell:             083 673 6974       or

Rhino Poaching Update

#RhinoPoachingUpdate - A total of 117 people have been arrested for rhino poaching-related charges countrywide since the beginning of 2013.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On Safari with Mark

4 June 2013

Route: Numbi tar - Napi - S114 - Gwatamiri - S112 - H3 - Napi - Nkameni camp

Animals spotted:

2 hyena on numbi tar at the shabeni link  junction, numerous elephant and rhino sightings throughout the day, A young male leopard was killed by 2 male lions 300m past S65 on the napi, 2 male lion's sleeping in long grass 200m before deleport on the napi, got to hear of a male and female lion 6.6km from S114 on gwatamiri. Went down there and got them lying on the road, A mating pair of saddle billed storks at natural water pan just before the lions on gwatamiri she had caught a cat fish and as not sharing with the male. General game was out today and numerous sightings of Kudu, steenbok, diukers, giraffe, buffalo, warthog and impala was seen.

Strange though, we haven't seen a zebra yet.

Anyway we try again tomorrow.

5 June 2013

Route: Albaseni - Doispan - H3 - Napi - Shabeni koppies - Albaseni - Back into camp

Animals seen:

Zebra, duikers, kudu, warthog, giraffe, impala, water buck and rheedbuck. Many different sightings of rhino during the day. Mother with her calf in the afternoon drive, a few herds of elephant and 1 elephant bull right next to the open vehicle. A herd of buffalo (150) slowly moving towards albaseni in the late afternoon. Might be lucky and get them tomorrow morning.

On our way down the H3 approx 1km from quagga pan 2 lioness walking in the road approximately 2m from the open vehicle. As we were the only ones with them we spent approx 30min before the next car arrived. As it did, so they moved off the road and into the thicket, 2km from that we saw 5 lion's catch an impala. Great viewing and photos taken by guests. Napi rather quiet, until shitihave dam were we found 2 black manned male lions lying sleeping. Distant sighting.

No leopard found despite the fact that weather was ideal for them.

6 June 2013

Dean Enters The Park

Entered the park through Numbi gate and travelled down to Pretoriuskop camp for lunch.
After lunch we travelled from Pretoriuskop camp getting a leopard walking towards us on the road, We then went down Napi road stopping off at a lion sighting of two males on the Shithave dam wall. Things got a bit quite until we got onto the H3 getting a breeding herd of elephants as well as a herd of about 100 buffalo at quagga pan. We then made our way to Skukuza camp, getting some good baboons along the road.

Rhino Poachers Arrested

3 suspected poachers arrested yesterday afternoon 6/06/2013 in Tshokwane. No one was shot or injured and no horn was found. Group was found in possession of firearm and axes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Young Leopard Killed In The Kruger National Park

It's not all good in Kruger. Last night a leopard that we see on a regular basis, was killed by two male lions near our camp.

Goodbye my friend and Thank You for what joy you gave us each time we saw you. You'll be missed tremendously.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Safari With Dean Starting 1 June 2013

1 June 2013

Route travelled today was as follows:  Numbi gate - Pretoriuskop camp for lunch - Napi road- S112 - Napi road - Nkambeni tented camp.

Animals seen were baboon, warthog, kudu (both male and female), impala, rhino, zebra, male leopard walking next to the road about 700 meters before the watergate junction as well as elephant. A great buffalo bull was seen on the access road to Nkambeni safari camp.

2 June 2013

Route: Nkambeni safari camp - Numbi gate tar - Napi road - H3 - Quagga pan - S112 - Ngwatimiri road - S114 - Skukuza for a break.

Animals seen were elephant, rhino, kudu, impala, lions, giraffe, zebra, hippo, waterbuck.

After our break at Skukuza we made our way around the triangle back to skukuza for lunch.

Animals seen were elephant, rhino, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, crocodile.

After lunch it was back to camp on the Napi road getting lots of general game as well as elephant.

3 June 2013

Today Dean leaves the Park and Mark enters.

Route: Albaseni - Shabeni - Numbi Tar - Into camp

Animals seen:

2 buffalo bulls near mestal dam, a herd of impala, Waterbuck and a family of warthog

Monday, June 3, 2013

Suspect Arrested

A suspect linked to one of the recent Pretoriuskop operations was arrested yesterday for possession of a 375 hunting rifle and ammo. (#SANParksIntelligence supported by #SAPS -K9 unit operation)