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douglaswise

My wife ® and I visited Northern Cape Province from 17th to 28th of February, 2017. We spent two nights at Tutwa Desert Lodge in the private Southern Cross Game Reserve followed by three nights fly camping on the banks of the Orange River. We followed this with a further two nights at Tutwa before spending our final two nights at Dundi Lodge. The whole package was put together for us by Craig Eksteen of Kalahari Adventures (www.kalahari-adventures.co.za). Craig was able to arrange a programme that fully met our joint interests and requests. In part, this was made possible by the fact that his company is run in association with Southern Cross Farms, a private company started by the Steenkamp family, which has export farms producing table grapes and dates and which also owns Tutwa Desert Lodge, set in its own 185 sq km game reserve, the Southern Cross Game Reserve, and Dundi Lodge on the outskirts of Augrabies NP (www.southerncrossmarketing.co.za/support-services/). Our arrival/departure airport was Upington.

 

Our objectives were as follows:

1) To learn about wildlife management as undertaken on private South African reserves, game breeding farms and hunting ranches.

2) To look at alternative land uses and their relative economics.

3) To catch yellow fish on the fly.

4) To maximise opportunities for night drives in search of less often seen small nocturnal mammals.

5) To see Augrabies Falls and, particularly, its endemic flat (rainbow) lizards.

 

The name of the region we visited is correctly called Bushmanland, but, sometimes, it is known as the Green Kalahari. Average annual rainfall, almost all occurring in the very hot summers, is about 150-200mm. However, this is somewhat meaningless because there is huge inter-annual variation and the rainfall is very patchy or spotty such that one ranch or part of a ranch can miss rain altogether while neighbouring land can receive large amounts. Prior to our visit, there had been seven years of relative drought, terminated about three months before our arrival by good rains. Although we chose to confine ourselves to a relatively small and circumscribed area, other visitors to the region could readily combine it with trips to Kgalagadi to the north or, if wishing to experience the wild flower spectacular in the spring (mid August to end of September), to Namaqualand NP and also to Richtersveld World Heritage Site (endemic karoo desert succulents), both to the west.

 

I will divide the report into sections, which will not necessarily be chronological, and start with Tutwa Desert Lodge and its associated game reserve. However, before getting started, I think it appropriate to say that we adjudged the whole trip to be an outstanding success. Craig's organisation was immaculate and he had arranged very interesting and highly educational visits for us. In addition, we enjoyed his company and appreciated his great patience and that of his team in providing hands-on assistance to a pair of inexpert, geriatric fishers. We were met with great hospitality and kindness everywhere and my only complaint, as one with little self-control, was that the quantity and quality of food was such that I gained 10 lbs in 9 days and R has been starving me ever since.

 

TUTWA DESERT LODGE and SOUTHERN CROSS GAME RESERVE:

 

We were met by Craig at Upington and he drove us directly to Tutwa, a journey of just over two hours, providing biltong and sausage to munch on the way and appropriate fluids with which to wash them down. We arrived mid-afternoon and got settled in. We discovered that we were the only visitors and had the lodge and reserve to ourselves (for all of our stay). Although 20 people can apparently stay, I think this very rarely happens. The Steenkamp family sometimes use it for themselves and friends and it is also used to put up international business people visiting Southern Cross Farms. Most of the time, however, it has very few tourists staying because the area is not on an established tourist route.

 

We were given tea after we'd sorted ourselves out, followed not long after by dinner, which we took, as in the case of most of our other meals at Tutwa, with Norman Mesekwa. Norman was our cheerful and knowledgeable game guide throughout our time on the game reserve and he even came on our Orange River float trip because he had no other guests to look after. After our meal, we set off on a short night drive - short because, by this time, we had been travelling and largely sleepless for 28 hours. We saw plenty of spring and scrub hares, but, until near the end, nothing much else of note. Then, Norman detected eyeshine in a bush beside the track. He stopped and probed around with his lamp. This provoked a zorilla to hurry out and disappear under another bush about 20 m away. We had an excellent clear sighting as it travelled over clear ground between bushes. I failed to take a photograph. Due to dearth of guests and, particularly, those interested in night driving, Norman hasn't driven very much at night in the reserve and had never himself seen a zorilla therein before. However, they and aardwolves are apparently quite common road kill in the area.

 

Next day, we had a full morning drive from about 0.800hrs to 13.00hrs plus a late afternoon/sundowner/night drive from about 15.30 till 20.00hrs. These gave us our first real impressions of the reserve. It was our first semi-desert experience. There was plenty of red sandy soil to be seen between shrubs and tussocks of grass. The terrain was rocky, extremely undulating and the scenery was spectacular. Quiver trees were the most emblematic of the trees and sociable weavers seemed selectively to persecute them by the erection of nests. The main shrub/scrub was camel thorn, which seems to provide the principal source of browse. Along dry river beds, there were occasional specimens of rock figs. Two types of euphorbias were very common, but, apparently, of little to no use for animal nutrition - as was the case for several other shrub species. The most obvious grasses were Bushman grass and Kalahari sourgrass. At the time of our visit, these were well grown, seeding plants (in consequence of rain three weeks previously) and seemed to have lost their attraction to grazers. I wasn't clear what the grazers actually were eating unless there were less mature stages of the same species available. The mature grass is apparently consumed as a last resort towards the end of the dry season.

 

The reserve is fenced except along its frontage with the Orange Rive and has an area of 185 sq km. There are between 6 and 9 leopards (fences don't contain them) on the property which are subject to a research project. We didn't see any and there are no other large cats. Norman enumerated the approximate numbers of mesoherbivores present (i.e. no dassies included, but counting ostriches as honorary mammals) and the sum was in the region of 1000. Springbok, including occasional black ones, made up about 40% of the total and gemsbok 25%. Klipspringers were also quite common. Other species present were giraffe, eland, zebra, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, kudu, impala and steenbok. We saw representatives of all these species, but the three steenbok we saw were all at night. From a photographic point of view, I could have done with a longer lens (current max of 450mm at 35mm equivalent). I have scenery shots and animals in scenery, but no real animal portraits. The game was spooky and I'll discuss possible reasons later. There were, no doubt, many species of birds, but no profusion of other than LBJs I think the sociable weaver was, by far, the commonest of the LBJs and the pale chanting goshawk the most prevalent raptor.

 

I'll end this first part of the post with some pix. The best, to the extent that the term can be applied, were probably taken by Norman using R's superzoom bridge camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sourgrass

Bushman grass

The biggest sociable weaker colony that we saw - fortunately not at the expense of a quiver tree

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douglaswise

As is my wont, I seem to have cocked up. I'll have another go at adding the pix that went AWOL from the above post.

 

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Quiver trees

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Fig

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bushman grass

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sourgrass

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landscapes and sunsets

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@@douglaswise Ah yes now I see some quiver trees that makes more sense, I was left scratching my head a bit when I got to the end of your first post :lol: I'm looking forward to more of this as I'm familiar with Namibia but not South Africa, If I didn't know they were taken in SA, I would have assumed that all of your photos so far were taken somewhere in Namibia.but that's no surprise as you were on the border.

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douglaswise

In this section, I'll include wildlife shots taken in the reserve during daylight game drives taken both before and after our fishing float trip. In total, I reckon we spent about 12 hours on this activity.

 

This shot of a springbok is really a view, taken to show the high plateau across the Orange River that is Namibia (so, yes, @@inyathi, you're quite correct).

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Other springbok, including a black one. Next, gemsbok. Then klipspringers.post-48867-0-49541200-1494756393_thumb.jpg

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Mesoherbivores present in lesser numbers

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Smaller creatures: The lizard is, I think, a variable agama. Below this is a corn cricket. The final shot in the series is a black eagle on nest:

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Finally, purported San graves with male under larger rocks and female beneath the smaller:

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You've already made me chuckle a few times. Nice photos so far - the landscapes are gorgeous.

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Atravelynn

Great shots of wildlife and scenery of a starkly beautiful area. My new favorite phrase from any trip report past or present: As is my wont, I seem to have cocked up.

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@@douglaswise what an interesting place to visit with both beautiful scenery and dryland wildlife.

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Ditto @@Atravelynn on the favorite phrase. And some beautiful photos as well.

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douglaswise

Done it again. My black springbok appeared to have run off (in duplicated shots that I never intended to post) and gemsbok unintentionally mingled with springbok. I will, add my black beauty before going on to discuss management and economic issues. It blends well with the dolomitic rocks. Pity that most of the rock formations are brown, but, no doubt, fortunate for animals of normal hue.

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My only management picture is one of Norman and self beside one of five pumped water holes on the reserve. Because of earlier rains, we never saw any animals drinking from any of them so had to make do with humanoids. I also show our means of transport - one of two such vehicles. Water is pumped to the water holes both by windmills and solar power.

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Beside every water hole was a manufactured salt block, each showing evidence of use. Though I didn't see the specification, I'm sure that they provided sodium as well as some trace minerals. There were also overturned trays beside the water holes, which were used for the provision of liquid urea/molasses during some dry seasons. The non-protein nitrogen in the urea and the instantly available sugar in the molasses energise rumen bacteria and enable consumers to make more efficient use the highly fibrous dry season grass. This is common practice in the case of domesticated animals on extensive range conditions and makes huge sense on wildlife reserves - though some purists oppose both salt and urea/molasses because they are not "natural". I suppose one could argue that supplementation, on average, will enable a given area of range to be exploited by more biomass, but, in my opinion, it is doubtful that this will necessarily lead to greater habitat degradation provided excess animals are regularly culled. There is usually, except in very severe droughts, a surplus of vegetation, even at the end of the dry season, but of such a poor quality that ruminants' appetites become depressed and they get sub-maintenance levels of nutrition and lose condition. Wildlife is increasingly confined to fragile environments due to increasing human pressures and I consider it reasonable for managers sometimes to intervene to improve the quality of life of their charges..

 

Norman and I played mental arithmetic, with occasional assistance from a pencil and pad, to arrive at a rough guesstimate of the mesoherbivore biomass of the reserve, basing our calculation on estimates of species numbers and body mass. The number estimate was 1000. The biomass worked out at 124 tonnes - 670kg/sq km. The highest biomass/sq km that I've read about pertained to the well-watered Murchison Falls NP in Uganda in the late 1960s (7200kg/sq km). In the Laikipia region of Kenya, it tends to be in the range 3500-4000kg/sq km. I don't think that we were too far out because local farmers suggest that recommended stocking rates for breeding cows (with followers) are 42ha/animal and, for ewes, 19. Unsurprisingly, this semi-desert habitat is incapable,without irrigation (totally uneconomic) of carrying a high density of biomass. The same, of course, applies to, for example, Kgalagadi. Thus, tourists cannot expect to see huge numbers of mammals except when thirst during the dry season forces them to overcome their latent fear of tourist vehicles and actual fear of predators. In some respects, our wildlife experiences in the Southern Cross Reserve - wilderness, scenery and relatively sparse and shy wildlife - seemed more authentic than that which I think I would have felt if visiting Kgalagadi. Possibly, a combination of the two would be the best.

 

Next, we put our minds to assessing the annual rate at which biomass would be expected to increase with no extreme limitation of food supply and no predation. This required Herculean guesswork, based on calving intervals, calving indices, age at first breeding and natural mortality. We eventually arrived at a 20% figure, meaning that the population count would double in 3.5 years. If one wishes to keep population density constant, about 25 tonnes of animals need to be removed annually in the absence of predation. We next turned our attention to leopards, the only significant predator. A cape leopard weighs about the same as an adult springbok. We worked out that a leopard would kill 24 adult springbok - equivalents/annum. - about 840kg/leopard. Thus, though we realised leopards would be taking hares and dassies, not in our original counts of mesoherbivores, we chose to ignore the fact because things were already getting complicated. Six to nine leopards would only kill between 5 and 7.5 tonnes of mesoherbivores, leaving between 17.5 and 20 tonnes to be removed annually by other means.

 

There are two fairly obvious inferences that can be exemplified by the above conclusions. First, it is unsurprising that sheep farmers contiguous to game reserves are likely to kill leopards - they have a legal right to do so, the profitability of their enterprises is very low, even without predation, and standard fencing is no barrier to leopards. Second, and more important, shortage of predators means that annual culling or removal of some animals is absolutely essential to avoid habitat degradation. Unfortunately, this lesson seems not to be understood by some tourists in the case of elephants or by Laikipia pastoralists in the case of cattle. Elephants have no predators (barring man) and can double their numbers every 14 years. In parts of Zimbabwe and Botswana, they are devastating their environments, only checked to some degree by unregulated killing by poachers. Elephants will, of course, naturally self-regulate their numbers, but only after having reached maximum carrying capacities at which point they are already damaging habitat such that maximum carrying capacity,itself, will reduce over time. The only solution for those unwilling to entertain the idea of culling is to provide continuous extensions of suitable habitat, accepting that current habitat will degrade but hoping it will recover sooner rather than later and being prepared to countenance occasional mass die offs, presumably considered "natural" and thus less repugnant than culling. Laikipia pastoralists understand, at least, the requirement for more territory, but consider it their right to acquire it by invasion of land in other ownership.

 

At the Southern Cross Reserve, various approaches have been adopted to deal with surplus animals. This year, there had been a game capture and removal operation in conjunction with Sanparks, taking place about 3 months before our arrival. This involved erection of bomas, overflights by helicopters and herding by several vehicles. This is an expensive operation, not usually justified for the relatively common species on the reserve. The operators failed to capture the intended numbers and there were several escapees that were either physically damaged or became spooky in consequence. The alternative approaches have been for the owners and/or their friends to shoot the requisite numbers of each species from bakkies (4WD pickups) and either use or sell the venison or to employ a cull company to do the job for them. The latter may involve shooting from a helicopter and from which, I understand, that it becomes possible, quickly, to kill whole groups, dropping them in a line. However, the charge by the company leaves little, if any, money over from the sales of the venison. On occasions, the droughts have been so bad that animals have either died of starvation or had to survive on bought-in alfalfa (lucerne) hay.

 

I talked to several people about the somewhat flighty nature of the reserve's animals and received conflicting explanations. Norman felt that the game capture exercise had somewhat increased spookiness and Craig was convinced that, when the owners had culled and had exclusively used a white bakkie, the game had been very spooky when seeing it, but not when vehicles of other colour passed. I was also told that extra spookiness associated with culling only persisted for about six weeks and then only in areas close to where the culling took place. Of course, in the dry season, as is the case in other reserves, animals' natural shyness is obviated by the necessity of visits to human-surrounded artificial water. Habituation to vehicles is thus accelerated. Because Southern Cross Reserve receives very few visitors and because there was no necessity when I was there for frequent water hole visits by the animals, I suspect that the behaviour in terms of flightiness was caused less by periodic culls than by lack of habituation. This, however, is guesswork. Apparently, when, in extremis, hay is fed, one has almost to push through the animals on foot to distribute it.

 

I will turn to a brief discussion of the economics of this reserve. The lodge staff is five and then there is Norman plus a man to regularly check and repair the fences. There are costs associated with lodge upkeep, vehicle maintenance and running costs, guest food and supplementary animal feed. I was told that, in theory, there may be a little venison income (trivial) and, having allowed for that, about 750000 rands was required for break-even on running costs, requiring 200 bed nights from paying tourists. This is not currently being generated. In any event, this takes no account of capital costs - initial animal acquisition, fencing, vehicles and lodge construction. Currently it represents a philanthropic venture made affordable by subsidy out of the profits of the export farm. The shareholders, in fact, hope to acquire a further 100 sq km of land ,which lies between Augrabies NP and Southern Cross Reserve so that it can all be merged into one unit of about 900sq km and allow for a more comprehensive range of predators. This, in turn, might attract more tourists.

 

I will end this particular part of the post with an account of the six hours of night driving that we undertook. I mention this because night viewing attracts visitors to Marricks in the Kimberley region and, possibly has the potential to do so here. I previously mentioned that we had seen plenty of scrub and spring hares on our first, abbreviated night drive plus a zorilla. In total, I clocked up five species firsts. The list of nocturnal mammals seen was as follows:

 

Scrub and spring hares (many). Aardwolf (3), bat eared foxes (2 groups), small-spotted genet (I), zorilla (I), Smith's rock rabbit (I), cape fox (I), African wild cat (I) and elephant shrew (I). Other species, not necessarily nocturnal that we only saw at night were steinbok (3) and Namaqua sandgrouse (many). Animals present (camera traps) but not seen include aadrvaak, leopard, porcupine and, I think, black footed cat. My night-time photographic skills are even worse than in daylight so I will only add a few shots:

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Atravelynn

"Craig was convinced that, when the owners had culled and had exclusively used a white bakkie, the game had been very spooky when seeing it, but not when vehicles of other colour passed." Fascinating.

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douglaswise

Thanks to those who have commented previously.

 

The next part of the post relates to the three day float trip down the Orange River. I will keep it brief because I doubt that many readers of Safaritalk are fishing aficionados. However, Craig can arrange non-fishing "nature floats" and the bird life on the river is impressive. Norman, who came with us but did not fish, counted 45 species out of a total of some 65 that Craig has seen during the course of his time on the river. We saw many of the "usual water-associated suspects", possibly the most surprising being a pelican. We also saw several cape clawless otters as well as vervets and baboons. There are no hippos or crocodiles in the part of the river we floated and it was safe to swim and to wash in it, obviating the need for showers.

 

Our float started about 60km downstream of Augrabies Falls and we set off from a private launching site on the Southern Cross Farm. Float distance was about 40km. Access to the river is very difficult and one is almost guaranteed that one will have the floated area entirely to ones self, never seeing any people other than those in one's party until take-out three days later. R and I had a small tent to sleep in, but the others slept in the open. Oddly, we hauled out on the Namibian bank on all three nights. In the evenings, as food was being prepared, William and Norman fished for catfish with baits and sometime caught a few, but failed to attach themselves to any large specimens. All fish are released and we used barbless hooks. From the fly perspective, we caught small-mouth yellow fish (but no large- mouth), mudfish and small catfish. I did hook one much larger one and fought it for 20 minutes before losing it in weed. Just before our arrival, the river level had risen and the water coloured up. This contributed to the fact that we caught far fewer fish than the previous week's party. However, the main reason was probably attributable to our senescence and lack of agility. One really needs a certain level of fitness to wade in rapids on a rocky river bottom if one wishes to maximise opportunities. Our wishes tended more towards survival - our joint age being 150 and our balance poor.

 

Setting off with our flotilla of 5 boats

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In action

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Sporadic success

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The end of the day

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Bed and breakfast (scrambled eggs)

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Return to Tutwa Lodge (Craig, West, self, Eric, R and William)

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Great to read a report on somewhere seldom covered on Safaritalk @@douglaswise

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Towlersonsafari

Several cape clawless otters- now I am very jealous! it does look like a fine trip down the river @@douglaswise

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Game Warden

@@douglaswise Indeed, as @@Soukous mentions above: you are a Safaritalk Path Finder on this trip. The river expedition certainly looks to have complimented the other more usual safari activities.

 

Matt

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Great report and interesting observations.

 

I will include myself as another person who has yet to see a zorilla (african Polecat) alive.. I see plenty as roadkill.

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douglaswise

After breakfast on our final day at Tutwa Lodge, Norman drove us to Southern Farms for a visit with Louis Hanekom, now the Chief Operating Officer of Southern Cross Marketing and Management. We toured the grape and date growing and packing operations (on a site of several hundred hectares). It provided a huge educational experience for us and clearly demonstrated how, with entrepreneurial thinking, capital, commitment and water extraction rights,.a desert can be made to prosper. The owners had had the foresight to anticipate that grapes grown here, some 60-70km from the established areas and infrastructure, would ripen two weeks sooner and thus could better supply the lucrative pre-Christmas European market. Louis was the manager in charge of creating the team to make this happen, starting with road building and provision of power before even getting on to plant growing and irrigation. The farm has 1300 employees and these are accommodated in two villages. It also has a health clinic, shop, creche, sports and other facilities, all necessary because the enterprise is in the middle of nowhere. A new activity, alongside the grapes, is that of date production, which will extend and dovetail with the grape season, providing a much longer employment period for the workforce and enabling the very sophisticated and expensive packing facilities to be used more efficiently. We were fascinated by the technical details - building up soil carbon to minimise water usage, experiments with different irrigation techniques, trials to see whether date palms could be drone-pollinated compared to the normal method of hand pollination etc etc. On the way from Upington, we saw several grape farms that produce raisins -sun-dried grapes. We were told that this type of operation, though requiring much less capital, was now barely profitable. Perhaps, this characterises what is holding back development in much of Africa - lack of innovation and investment, in turn attributable in part to political insecurity.

 

It is difficult to overstate how impressed I was with this, for me, total novel operation. I suppose its existence entirely depended upon the fact that the Orange River was tamed in the 1960s and its flow controlled such that water can be extracted all year. It is easy to suggest that exporting grapes (90+% water) from a desert region of Africa to a wet Europe seems to be an odd exercise in tipping water balance in the wrong direction. However, after much reflection, I see it as a laudable exercise which provides high levels of employment in a relatively small, concentrated area and one that does relatively little environmental damage.

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douglaswise

Premature press. I had intended to add pix and continue with rest of post. Will attempt to rectify:

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Finally, a few date factoids: The average annual per capita consumption of dates in the USA is 0.5 and, in the UK, 0.8. Consumption is vastly higher in the Arab world, peaking during Ramadan. A large date palm in full production requires 1200 litres of water/day.

 

After this visit, we returned for lunch at Tutwa. Thereafter, Craig collected us and drove us to Augrabies. We spent about 90 minutes in the Park and saw the falls and the endemic Augrabies flat lizards. Dassies in the fall's area were highly habituated and their behaviour was in marked contrast to those we had seen in the Southern Cross GR, which were very skittish.

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Having left the Park, we went on to the nearby Dundi Lodge,an extremely comfortable small hotel at which we spent two nights. The manager, Berto van Zyl, was very friendly and informative. He is a partner in the Southern Cross GR, his family having originally farmed sheep on a considerable chunk of it. We were, therefore, able to glean useful information on the economics of farming domesticated stock in the region. Farmers had been very hard hit by the seven years of drought that had preceded our arrival. Some farmers in the worst hit areas had had to divest themselves of all stock.

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I had intended, at this stage, to conclude with a quite detailed report of a visit we made to a game breeding ranch, owned by Doppies Nel. However, I will abbreviate it because of an ongoing Safaritalk debate on the subject started by @:Janzin ("Interesting Article on Game Ranching in South Africa and its consequences"). Furthermore, @@Bugs posted a very good link to the more intensive type of game breeding (www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/game-and-wildlife/learn-how-to-farm-game/). Apparently, quite a few people, often without a lot of land, were sucked into game breeding because of the very high and escalating values of sales of individual animals. This represented a sort of pyramid selling venture. It now seems that the market is saturated and prices of animals, particularly from the more intensive farms, have plummeted. The ranch we visited was definitely an extensive operation. In fact, having driven around the ranch with Doppies for the best part of three hours, he said he was mortified by the fact that he was unable to find many animals and assumed that he was wasting our time. Given that I was able to question him continuously, this was far from the case. Furthermore, it was an important illustration that the ranch could, in no way, be classed as overstocked. In fact, Doppies explained that there were regulations in place which governed both the species and numbers of animals he was able to keep. Apparently, it was incumbent on him to obtain two independent reports from specialists before he could get permission to stock anything. This was reassuring, but seemed at odds with information contained in @@janzin's link. I would guess that the breeding ranch was stocked at similar density to the Southern Cross GR, but with different, more highly valued species. All we saw were sable, roan and tsessebe, but there were apparently.ten species represented in total. Having passed through the perimeter fence, we saw only one further fence. This was a double fence designed to prevent damage between aggressive males. The best progeny are sold for restocking and the remainder are sent to one of two hunting ranches some 150km away, both also in the ownership of Doppies as is an export farm producing grapes, citrus and nuts, which is adjacent to the breeding ranch. I gained the impression that most profits came from the export farm and that there was a hobby element to the other operations. At a guess, I would guess that the breeding farm made money and the hunting farms lost. Apparently, if hunting is confined to meat or biltong hunting, one is likely to make significantly less money than from sheep farming on an equivalent area of land. Given that sheep farming has, itself, recently been unprofitable, it would seem that a hunting ranch will only pay if patronised by foreign trophy hunters. Doppies said that if he could attract trophy hunters to shoot 20% of his surplus stock, he would do well. However, this would be difficult in the area of his hunting farms because they are remote and there is no nearby high quality accommodation. He was unwilling to make the substantial investment needed for such accommodation because he thought the risks would be too high and the payback too slow to justify.

 

I asked bout styles of hunting. Meat hunters typically shoot from bakkies, eviscerate the animals and take the carcases home with them still in the skin. Very few trophy hunters "walk, stalk and shoot" in a manner typical of red deer stalking in the UK. The traditional method ("voorsit") involves static shooters with beaters, either on on foot or mounted on horses, moving game past them. This seems equivalent to some types of wild boar shooting in Europe. Bow hunting typically takes place from blinds, often in the vicinity of water points. It was Doppies' opinion that bow hunters tended to rank highly with respect to conservation values and that modern bows very rarely left any wounded animals that needed any follow up.

 

In summary, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that game ranching is uncompetitive with farming domesticated stock without the high added value obtainable from foreign hunters. However, I am left wondering whether subsistence farmers on community land might not prosper more by sustainably hunting their wildlife than by continuing to keep what are generally very unproductive domesticated stock.

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On the final afternoon of our last full day, Craig took us on a productive fishing trip above the Falls. We then returned to Dundi Lodge. Next morning, we had a leisurely, sight seeing trip with Craig back to

Upington airport for the afternoon flight.

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  • 1 month later...
Peter Connan

Thanks for a very informative and thought-provoking report @douglaswise

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Thanks Doug for taking the time to include all of the details, what an interesting and varied trip.   The river float and camping look particularly inviting.  Well done.  

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