The Elephant Interaction
The Impala is a very successful antelope species.
The Impala’s diet consists of both grass and browses, so they are termed ‘mixed feeders’. Being able to eat many types of vegetation benefits them, as it enables them to always have options for sustenance no matter the season.
Impalas do need to always remain close to a water source, as they are water dependent, and hence will generally be within a 5km radius of the water that they drink daily.
The Impala is very proper in their mannerisms regarding personal hygiene, and consistently keep up with their grooming, as is evident in their shiny coats.
They have teeth specially made for this, with their lower incisors being loose in their sockets. The teeth splay open and provide a comb that passes through the impala’s coat, removing dirt and parasites.
Impala is also very social, and help each other out in grooming, as it is hard to reach some places by one’s self. This is called allo-grooming.
One impala grooms another in the hard to reach places, and then in return, the groomed impala will help out its comrade by doing the same. And amazingly, the impalas will groom each other for the same amount of time.
There’s no skimping out with the Impalas!
The impalas also have excellent senses, with large ears for hearing, and huge eyes that provide exceptional vision. And their eyes, like most antelope, are on the sides of their heads, which gives them fantastic peripheral vision.
All predators like to eat impala, yet their numbers are continually vast. One reason is that the Impalas are highly athletic. These antelope are very fast, and can jump as high as three meters and far as 12m long!
They often like to display their athleticism in front of predators, jumping and bounding, as if to say, “See my agility and speed! I’m not worth the effort of being hunted!”
The Impala also has a unique “follow me” sign on their rump, which looks very much like a McDonalds ‘M’ symbol. More impalas survive by following behind the other, and it creates a “middleman” safety effect.
Another way impalas keep in contact, is by the glands that are on their ankles. When impalas kick up their back legs, they activate these “metatarsal glands” leaving a trail for the other impala to follow. This way if some are scattered or lost during a predator’s attack, they can find the herd again. No man left behind.
But there is yet still another reason for the successful numbers of impala, and this is a result of impalas’ breeding habits.
Throughout the year, female and young impalas stay together in groups, called breeding herds. While males associates with the groups, they form their own groups called bachelor herds.
As January draws near its end, and days grow shorter, the male impala’s testosterone levels are increased. And so they separate from their bachelor groups, with intentions of claiming and setting up their own territory.
Ideally, these territories need to have the best of everything, like food, water, etc. The goal is to attract the ladies. So they must provide them with a home worth living in.
The impala males, which are called rams, run around, chasing away contenders.
They roar and make a lot of ruckuses. Their hopes are to sound much bigger and fiercer than they actually are, to avoid having actual conflict. This is also how they force the ladies into their territory.
But at times, battles do ensue, with the clashing of horns.
When May comes around, so comes the peak of the rut. And all the female impalas are ready for ‘love making’.
And within a three week period, the impala rams are constantly fighting off intruders, and mating. They do this so much to the extent that they forget to eat and groom. And so a male can usually only hold a territory for 8 days, before another male comes around, much fitter, and takes it and the females away.
And after these three weeks, all the female impalas have been mated.
6 to 6.5 months pass, in late November or early December, comes the flood of the impala lambs. Amazingly, however, female impalas can delay giving birth for a couples weeks if weather conditions are not good.
All are born at once. However, there is only so many lambs which can be eaten, so a vast majority survives. And hence, the impala antelope continues to thrive throughout Africa.
This is truly a sensational destination.
Set on the banks of the Makhutswi River Toro River Lodge manages to blend a rustic “in the bush” feeling with absolute luxury. Excellence.
Achieved by meticulous attention to detail in everything from the framed view from each of the immaculate accommodation units to the way the giant 1000-year-old Jackalberry flows through the lounge.
Our daily schedule
Was typical of a bush get away but this is where typical ended.
Up early for a coffee meant watching the sunrise over the river from a deck that seems to float around giant fig trees with hippo honking no more than a few meters away, the steam from your cup mingling with that of the slowly warming river and fragrant campfire smoke.
Rusks are homemade and wholesome – just one more please was repeated often!
Are conducted by people with “that far away look in there eye” assisted by trackers that seem to read a dirt patch like normal people read the newspaper.
Immediately the low tourist density is evident, as is the high game density.
Frequent sightings of the “small stuff” like dainty steenbuck, impala and bushbuck keep us busy between unbelievable close encounters with members of the BIG FIVE.
What is even more impressive though is the lowvely landscape, harsh, quiet and breathtakingly beautiful.
Brunch at Toro
Is an event in its own right.
Taken on the deck with magnificent views of the river elephants seem to show up to drink in the queue with the serving of eggs, bacon, fruit, scones and the ever-present freshly brewed coffee.
Through the day next to the rim flow pool that makes it feel as if you are swimming with the resident hippo, or on the plush leather couches of the open lounge.
The languid mood lulled by oriels in the trees disturbed only by that oh so African call of the fish eagle, or the polite offer to refill whatever your daytime tipple may be.
With sun-downers in the bush followed by snacks and dinner around the fire, great stories of the day’s adventure, a piping hot shower under the stars and off to bed with listening to the night chorus starring lion, leopard, and hyena ably backed by fiery-necked and Mozambique nightjars.
As you drift off to sleep you may just feel that tomorrow cant get any better – until it does!
Toro is a fantastic place, staffed by passionate and friendly people and run with conservation front of mind.
My family and I had to drag ourselves away after 4 wonderful days and I can not wait to be back.
Grant and Bonnie Cornish-Bowden, daughters Grace 5 years old and Sophie, 3.
June, 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ever had the desire to see one of the ocean’s apex predators? Or maybe you want to do a little more on your African Safari?
How about come and see the beautiful and mighty Great White Shark, up close and personal!
Apex Shark Expeditions specializes in Great White Sharks in South Africa
This is the place to come for a wild and educational experience.
Located in False Bay, Apex Shark Expeditions are unique, set apart from other shark diving operations by offering the smallest group size of any other operators in South Africa, by 50%!
You will receive a much better educational experience, as guides will interact with you as an individual.
Compared to other operations, you receive more time and fewer guests in the cage on average per person.
Apex provides lots of space for the photography of sharks from a specially designed vessel that offers both high and low photographic options.
There is plenty of flexibility for spending time looking for the amazing marine wildlife!
Toro River Lodges and Guatemalan Billfishing Adventures have teamed up with this amazing operation. And with 20 years of operating experience, Apex has an unparalleled understanding of the ocean environment in False Bay, which is crucial in finding the sharks.
With a crew trained to provide an educated experience, you will leave as ambassadors for sharks worldwide!
Depending on the season, Apex’s location, coupled with the Captain’s ability, will take you directly right to the predation action!
Here you will experience cage diving and predatory breaching ( subject to season) with Great White Sharks, all in one trip.
Using a hands-on approach, Apex has been delivering spectacular Great White Shark cage diving with a 100% safety record, with absolutely zero cage incidents since the start of the operation.
Apex Shark Expedition has now been the winner of TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence six years in a row. And also notably, the first choice great white shark tour operator for famous documentary makers around the world such as BBC, Discovery Channel and National Geographic!
This is where you want to come to get close to the sharks while maintaining respect.
South Africa offers many kinds of diversity, from the amazing wildlife on safari, to a different kind of wildlife in the surrounding ocean! Two unforgettable, once in a lifetime experiences, all to be had in the beautiful country of South Africa!
Leopards are one of Africa’s big cats, and even more impressively, one of Africa’s well known Big 5.
But what gives them such an honorable title?
The leopard is known for its elusiveness, its agility, and also a very opportunistic lifestyle. They are extremely adaptable, able to live in a variety of habitats. They can be found in such extremes from the high temperatures of the Kalahari Desert to the freezing mountain ranges of the Himalayas! They have the widest range of all the big cats.
But what really sets leopards apart is that they have extraordinarily powerful jaws, as well as exceedingly strong neck and shoulder muscles. These big cats are able to put these muscles to use by having the capability to lift prey that is two-three times their weight into a tree. They do this to provide protection for themselves and to keep their prey from being taken by other predators. As often times, scavenging lions and hyenas, will readily steal the leopards’ kill because they are larger than the leopard.
So in order to avoid the other purloining predators, a leopard generally chooses to take prey that is much smaller than themselves, as it is easier to carry it up a tree, and so their main food source tends to be impalas, duiker, steenbok and any other smaller antelope.
However, leopards being such highly opportunistic hunters, have been found to consume anything from insects and reptiles to rodents and large antelope. And even more impressively, though it is extremely rare, it has been reported that even small giraffes have been killed and drug into the trees by leopards!
And so putting into perspective this amazing cat’s ability to lift prey two-three times their size, we can look at a leopard’s size. A male leopard weighs between 37-90kg (82-200lbs), which is larger than female leopards. And this means that a 200lb male leopard can technically lift 600lbs with its neck muscles alone. And, if that wasn’t enough, pull it up a tree.
Would you like to try and lift 600 lbs with your mouth and climb up a tree? That’s why leopards deserve their place in Big 5, and that’s why Toro River Lodges is a Big 5 conservancy.
We had an amazing time at Toro River Lodges. The lodge is beautiful with individual large sized bungalows. The staff and owners were extremely hospitable. The safari guides were so knowledgeable and truly committed to showing us as many animals as they could find. They taught us so much. On this reserve, we saw giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, leopard, crocs to name a few. I highly recommend this Safari in South Africa!
Can’t wait to go back!
Stacy Roskin, USA, Stayed July 2017
The third largest canyon in the world, as well as the greenest canyon in the world, Blyde River Canyon is located in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. The Blyde river canyon is 33km, and taking a nice drive on your way to ‘Toro River Lodges’, is a great way to experience the Blyde’s wonder and beauty.
The name ‘Blyde’ is derived from Dutch meaning ‘glad’ or ‘happy’. This beautiful natural landscape is one of the best views you have ever seen in your lifetime! Below are some reasons why you must put the Blyde River Canyon on your travel bucket list.
BOURKE’S LUCK POTHOLES
These are amazing natural rock formations, due to centuries of flowing water they are a natural work of art.
The three rondavels, also called three sisters, clearly stand out next to each other giving a spectacular view over the Blyde.
From here, you are able to observe more astonishing views, you can see over the Kruger National Park and see as far as Mozambique!
The Blyde River Canyon is also an adventure seekers paradise! This is one of Africa’s top places for those that enjoy hang gliding, paragliding, kite surfing, windsurfing and sea kayaking.
A good, adventurous trail is Hippo Trail. A great hike you may embark on during your visit to the Blyde River Canyon. So bring your hiking boots and hit the trail to enjoy the awesome views.
From fantastic mountain gorges to cascading waterfalls, the Blyde River Canyon deserves a visit, and bring along a good camera, sunscreen, binoculars and a packed picnic bag as well. You will love it!
There is an entry fee per car to the Three Rondavels, God’s window, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE AREA?
At Toro River Lodges inside Makalali Private Game Reserve and take the opportunity to go on Safari – stay for 2 nights with a minimum of 3 Suites booked at once! email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
WE SPECIALIZE IN ”EXCLUSIVE-USE” SAFARIS, MEANING YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS WILL HAVE ONE OF OUR LODGES AND ACCOMPANYING GAME DRIVE VEHICLE/S WITH GUIDE/S, ALL TO YOURSELF. YOUR SAFARI PACKAGE, INCLUDES, 2 GAME DRIVES A DAY / GUIDED SAFARI WALKS.
From Johannesburg, take a private transfer with an English Tour Guide:
Drive by Dullstroom, quaint highland trout fishing town,
Drive through Pilgrim’s Rest and God’s Window, top of Blyde River Canyon on your way to Toro River Lodges.
It is a full-day sightseeing Tour – 8 hours – arrive at Toro River Lodges, late afternoon (estimated private van with Tour Guide cost US$ 850.00 for 1-4 pax) for the day, you will get to enjoy one of the magnificent wonders of Africa.