As South Africa is in the midst of a Nationwide Lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, all travel has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future. Just because we can’t physically travel to some of our top African safari destinations, doesn’t mean we can’t experience all the natural beauty, amazing wildlife, birdlife and endemic fauna and flora virtually. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now embark on a virtual journey to Africa’s most beautiful wildlife destinations from the comfort of your home. Making it possible for nature and wildlife lovers to experience the sights and sounds of the African bush by means of live streams, interactive game drives, and live Q&As hosted by expert field guides, game rangers and wildlife experts on the ground. On top of that, several game reserves offer round-the-clock live footage of key wildlife hotspots through webcams connected to Africam.com and Explore.org.

While me might not be able to hop into an open safari vehicle and go on a safari adventure right this moment, here are some of the best virtual safaris to enjoy online during the Corona Virus Lockdown.

WildEarth

WildEarth Virtual Safari Experience

Photo credit: WildEarth

WildEarth SafariLIVE is an award winning, expertly hosted LIVE safari experience, broadcasted directly from the African bush into your home. Available on both the internet and television, WildEarth’s SafariLIVE gives you the opportunity to enjoy a virtual safari and interact with a knowledgeable game ranger in real time. In partnership with a range of Africa’s top game reserves, lodges, and safari companies, WildEarth will be broadcasting twice-daily, 3-hour long game drives as they explore the heart of the African wilderness. Currently their SafariLIVE virtual safari experiences are broadcasted live from Djuma Private Game Reserve, Chitwa Chitwa in The Sabi Sands, &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve, and Tswalu Kalahari. All these reserves are found in South Africa and offer a vast expanse of wilderness within which Africa’s magnificent wildlife can freely roam.

By making use of safari vehicles, guides on foot, drones, balloons, rovers, and remote cams, they give you the opportunity to explore the glorious African wilderness and its magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. From incredible sightings of the renowned Big 5 to other prolific wildlife and birdlife sightings, you will be right at the edge of your seat enjoying every second of the adventure. The WildEarth SafariLIVE broadcasts are entirely unscripted, unpredictable, and happening in real time. You never know what you’re going to get – making every sighting and encounter as thrilling as the next.

The WildEarth SafariLIVE is broadcasted in two main timeslots, Sunrise Safari and Sunset Safari. These virtual safari broadcasts can be enjoyed on the following days and times:

Sunrise Safari

  • Monday to Sunday
  • Central African Time (CAT): 06:30am – 09:30am
  • East African Time (EAT): 07:30am – 10:30am
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST): 00:30am – 03:30am

Sunset Safari

  • Monday to Sunday
  • Central African Time (CAT): 15:00pm – 18:00pm
  • East African Time (EAT): 16:00pm – 19:00pm
  • Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EST): 09:00am – 12:00pm

WildEarth’s virtual safaris are broadcasted live in real-time, but in case you miss the action you can visit their SafariLIVE YouTube channel as all the videos will be saved there.

WildEarth Kids

WildEarth also has an incredible virtual safari experience for all the young nature and wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy – WildEarth Kids! WildEarth Kids is all about connecting kids with nature and inspiring the next generation of conservation ambassadors. This exciting wildlife adventure takes kids aged 4-18 on free, live, and interactive virtual safari rides, transporting them from wherever they are onto the back of a virtual safari vehicle. For 45 minutes, kids join safariLIVE and tour some of the most iconic wildlife destinations in Africa. They can interact with the expert guides and game rangers in real time as they drive through the African wilderness, asking questions about what they see.

This fun and interactive virtual safari takes place during the first 45 minutes of both the Sunrise and Sunset drives. During that time, the guides will only answer questions specifically from the kids. These questions can be sent to them via [email protected]. Currently no bookings of sessions are required. This means the whole family can join in on all the virtual safari and wildlife fun as often as you want.

&Beyond

phinda-cheetah-game-drive-safari

Photo credit: &Beyond

Experiential travel company &Beyond is bringing the African wilderness to you by means of their WILDwatch LIVE initiative. &Beyond’s WILDwatch LIVE comes in two exciting parts that can be enjoyed by nature and wildlife lovers across the world.

On YouTube or Facebook

In an attempt to liven up your lockdown and give you an authentic African wildlife experience, &Beyond collaborated with wildlife broadcasting experts, WildEarth, to stream (in real time) twice-daily, three-hour long game drives from &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve – two of South Africa’s top game reserves, both of which are adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Authentic and non-scripted, the game drives will follow the sights and sounds of the African bush as they unfold. The stream will move between three or four live feeds to bring viewers the action as it happens. Creating a seamless multi-feed virtual safari experience hosted by both &Beyond and WildEarth’s expert field guides. Viewers will be able to interact with the guides in real time as if they were on an actual game drive by asking them questions on YouTube or using #wildearth on Twitter.

You can join &Beyond and WildEarth’s virtual safari adventure by tuning into Wildwatch Live for a sunrise or sunset safari which takes place at the following times:

  • 06:30am – 09:30am CAT (sunrise dependent)
  • 15:00pm – 18:00pm CAT (sunset dependent)

The first 45 minutes of each afternoon drive will be dedicated to young wildlife fans and the guides will only answer questions asked by children during this time. Parents can sign their kids up by selecting a date on wildearth.tv/kids. Children (or parents) can then email any questions to [email protected] for age appropriate and personalized responses.

On Instagram Live

Besides joining the &Beyond and WildEarth guides for a thrilling virtual safari in the heart of the African bushveld on YouTube or Facebook, you can also watch all the action unfold on Instagram Live. Their expert guides in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve are always out and about, and will be jumping online, ad hoc, on &Beyond Travel’s Instagram page when they come across any exciting wildlife sightings. If you’d like to sign-up and receive notifications for when these Instagram Live streams will be taking place, be sure to do the following:

  1. Follow @andBeyondTravel on Instagram
  2. Select the “Following” button and go to Notifications
  3. Select Live Videos and make sure “Get all Notifications” is selected

Check out andBeyond’s live WILDwatch game drives here.

Tintswalo Safari Lodge Virtual Safaris

tintswalo-safari-lodge-virtual-safari-experience

Photo credit: Tintswalo Safari Lodge

Tucked into the beautiful Manyeleti Game Reserve in the heart of the Greater Kruger National Park, Tintswalo Safari Lodge has launched free virtual safaris where you can explore the wonders of the African bush from the comfort of your home. The game rich Manyeleti Game Reserve is known for its incredible Big 5 sightings, which include lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos. Besides the African Big 5, Manyeleti Game Reserve also boasts a prolific variety of birdlife and other wildlife species. Now you get to experience all the action and spectacular sightings the Manyeleti Game Reserve has to offer courtesy of Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris.

Their ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris include phenomenal video footage of actual sightings and exciting wildlife encounters experienced by their game rangers on patrol. The videos will be uploaded daily on all their social media channels. Make sure you follow them to avoid missing out.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Photo credit: Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is a premier safari destination located in South Africa’s ecologically and culturally significant province of Eastern Cape. The head ranger of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Andrew Kearney, is doing a series of “lockdown” episodes where he aims to showcase the beautiful African wilderness to as many people as possible. These special lockdown episodes will feature highlights from his daily walks and drives, as well as other interesting titbits and insights into life at the Eastern Cape reserve. As the Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to the renowned Big 5 as well as vast herds of wildlife, birdlife, and incredible ecological diversity, you can expect some amazing sightings and encounters.

You can find head ranger Andrew Kearney’s virtual safari lockdown episodes on Shamwari Private Game Reserve’s social media platforms.

Singita Sabi Sand

Singita Sabi Sand Safari

Photo credit: Singita Sabi Sand

Singita is a conservation and ecotourism brand that has been preserving and protecting the African wilderness and its many inhabitants for the past 26 years. Singita’s unique philosophy lives on in each of their fifteen award-winning lodges and camps spread across six diverse ecosystems and four countries in Africa. At each of their premium lodges and camps they aim to offer guests an authentic African wildlife and safari experience unlike any other. Singita has three Sabi Sand lodges located in South Africa. The Sabi Sand is a privately owned game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Together these two areas make up some of South Africa’s most pristine land.

As they aren’t able to share their incredible wildlife and African bushveld with guests at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are doing it virtually by live-streaming game drives. These live-streamed virtual game drives will be hosted by resident photographer and former guide Ross Cooper twice daily on their Facebook and Instagram platforms. Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for their high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. Not to mention the spectacular lion, large rhino bulls and tiny baby elephant sightings Ross Cooper encounters on his live drives through the Singita Sabi Sand concession. This makes for a thrilling virtual safari experience filled with exciting up-close wildlife encounters.

Motswari Private Game Reserve

Motswari-Private-Game-Reserve_Game-Drives

Photo credit: Motswari Private Game Reserve

The Motswari Private Game Reserve is located within the Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve. These two breath-taking nature reserves form part of the Associated Private Nature Reserve region which borders on the Kruger National Park. The Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, which allows wildlife species to move freely between these expansive parks. This means visitors can look forward to some phenomenal Big 5 sightings as well as incredible wildlife and birdlife encounters.

To ensure nature and wildlife lovers don’t miss out on the wonders of the African bush, Motswari Private Game Reserve has two guides who patrol the reserve daily, filming their drives and wildlife encounters and sightings along the way. All the highlights from their drives are then posted to their Instagram feed for everyone to enjoy. Ensuring you get your daily dose of African bush magic from the comfort of your home. Follow Motswari Private Game Reserve on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the incredible wildlife action!

Savanna Private Game Reserve

Savanna Lodge Private Game Reserve

Photo credit: Savanna Private Game Reserve

Savanna Private Game Reserve is an exclusive 5-star lodge situated in the internationally acclaimed Sabi Sand Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy. Known for their authentic safari experiences and magnificent Big 5 sightings, it is considered completely normal to see lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos all in one game drive.  The numerous nearby dams and series of waterholes in front of the lodge also attracts several other wildlife and birdlife species.

To ensure wildlife enthusiasts don’t miss a single second of the action, Savanna Private Game Reserve has put together a virtual safari experience in the form of daily [email protected] Safari’ segments. These segments consist of +/- 10 – 20-minute videos featuring each day’s safari highlights and thrilling wildlife sightings and encounters. Savanna Private Game Reserve shares their daily ‘[email protected] Safari’ segments on their Facebook page for everyone to enjoy. Follow them as they explore the magnificent Sabi Sand Reserve and everything it has to offer.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve Pangolin

Photo credit: Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve and one of the best places in Southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild. Situated in the Savannah Biome, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve lies in a transition zone between the true Kalahari ecotype and arid Savannah. This unique location contributes to a greater habitat diversity than anywhere else in the Kalahari. The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is home to one of the very few mountain ranges in the southern Kalahari, the Korannaberg, as well as rolling hills and expansive grasslands. Tswalu is also known to receive more rainfall than many other parts of the Kalahari. Giving rise to a rich biodiversity, thriving ecosystems and diverse range of wildlife and birdlife.

In the shelter of the mountains you will find Tswalu’s 240 bird and 80 mammal species, including Hartmann’s mountain zebra and wild dog. On top of that you will encounter incredible Kalahari species you may never have seen before. While giraffe, zebra, and buffalo will be familiar sightings if you’ve been on a safari before, this will likely be your first opportunity to capture iconic Kalahari sightings such as dainty springbok with a backdrop of red sand, or the silhouette of a gemsbok atop a dune. It really is something special!

Now you can experience all the magic of the Kalahari and its unique wildlife from the comfort of your home. Every Thursday the area’s researchers and wildlife experts will post live videos and Q&A’s to Tswalu’s Instagram and Facebook pages, inviting you to enjoy every second of the action along with them.

Tau Watering Hole, Madikwe Game Reserve

Tau Game Lodge

Photo credit: Tau Game Lodge

Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve is located on the Northern border of South Africa and Botswana. The magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve is the fourth largest game reserve in the country and one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife destinations.  The beautiful Tau Game Lodge overlooks the famous Tau Waterhole, which is an oasis for a vast variety of wildlife species in the area. Elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, and cheetahs are just a few of the Madikwe Game Reserve regulars you will spot at the Tau Waterhole.

To share these spectacular wildlife sightings with the rest of the world, Tau Game Lodge has set up a 24-hour Tau live camera feed. This gives viewers the opportunity to enjoy a secret window into this sanctuary and its robust ecosystem as elephants bathe, lions roar, wild dogs roam, and crocodiles prey.

Check out the Tau Watering Hole live camera here.

The Naledi Cat-EYE

Naledi Game Lodge

Photo credit: Naledi Game Lodge

The Naledi Game Lodge is a World Luxury Hotel and TripAdvisor award winning wildlife safari and luxury game lodge located in an exclusive private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger extends across several private reserves with no fences to impede the migration of game. One of these private reserves is Balule Nature Reserve – The exclusive 40,000-hectare reserve in which Naledi operates. The reserve holds high natural densities of Africa’s Big Five as well as an abundance of other wildlife and birdlife species.

Explore.org in association with Africam.com is giving viewers a live window into the African wild with a live camera feed over the Balule Nature Reserve’s watering hole. For an entirely unique perspective of the animals that frequent the watering hole, this live camera has been set up at the eye level of a leopard. As other larger wildlife species such as elephants and giraffes tower over the camera, viewers will be able to enjoy a whole other viewpoint of these magnificent animals as they visit the waterhole. According to Explore.org, you are likely to spot a vast variety of wildlife species ranging from curious cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes, impalas, baboons and warthogs to Egyptian geese, meerkats, waterbuck, and porcupines.

Watch the Naledi Cat-EYE live camera feed here.

Tembe Elephant Park

Tembe Elephant Park

Photo credit: Tembe Elephant Park

South Africa’s Tembe Elephant Park is a 300kmreserve located between Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mozambique. It is known for having the largest elephant population on the African continent. Now you can watch these gentle giants of the African bushveld from the comfort of your home via a live feed. Both Africam.com and Explore.org have live webcams set up at the Tembe Elephant Park watering hole. Giving viewers the opportunity to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

Even when the largest visitors don’t make an appearance, it is still worth the watch as the reserve is home to a variety of other wildlife species, including lions, rhino, buffalo and suni antelopes, to mention just a few. As it’s a 24/7 live feed, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the African wilderness whenever you choose.

Check out Tembe Elephant Park’s live camera feed here.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

ulusaba-game-drive

Photo credit: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve South Africa | Virgin Limited Edition

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is located in the heart of the South African bushveld. As Ulusaba is a member of Virgin Limited Edition, a select group of luxury hotels, they have teamed up with Virgin to host a thrilling virtual safari experience every Monday at 3:30pm via Instagram. This is the perfect opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to see leopard cups, a lion pride or any of the Big Five in their natural habitat. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the action and incredible wildlife sightings and encounters.

The ‘Bushman Trail’ is situated in the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park.

A typical walk moves through grassy valleys that are flanked by rolling hills. The crests of these hills are crowned by piles of massive, rounded, blocky, boulders. It is difficult to walk at any pace here as you are tempted to stop and search these huge granite rockeries with your binoculars. They appear to be the perfect hangout for klipspringers, baboons, and leopards. If you look carefully you will see the first two. Leopards are more elusive. However, even if you do not see them, the setting creates an expectation that the cat lives here and will appear at any moment.

Male Baboon Steals Lion Cub Kruger National Park 009

Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours, captured this amazing sighting in the Kruger National Park.

Kurt came across a troop of baboons near Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park. The baboons seemed restless and it was soon discovered that one of the male baboons was carrying a Lion cub.

Male Baboon Carrys Lion Cub Through Grass Kruger National Park 001

Male Baboon Carrys Lion Cub Through Grass – Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Lionesses often hide their cubs in the nooks and crannies of large boulders and rock outcrops to protect them from other predators and dangers while they go off hunting.

Kurt said, “Knowing the area, I know there are cubs present in the area lately and being early morning, and close to a granite rock face, I suppose the baboon troop rested during the evening on the rocks. Then probably during the early morning moved down to start their day foraging for food came across the hidden Lion cub.”

“I first thought it was a female baboon but it was in actuality a young male baboon. The young baboon crossed the road and climbed up a marula tree. I waited for about 30 min before it came into view and was moving from tree to tree, the rest of the troop then moved away and the baboon was grooming and caring for the lion cub as if this was a young baboon.”

Male Baboon Climbs Up Tree With Young Lion Cub Kruger National Park

Male Baboon Climbs Up Tree With Young Lion Cub – Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Male Baboon Steals Lion Cub Kruger National Park

Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Male Baboon Steals Lion Cub Kruger National Park

Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Male Baboon Steals Lion Cub Kruger National Park

Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Kurt had to leave the sighting as he had an appointment at 9 am.

Male Baboon Grooms Lion Cub In Tree

Male Baboon Grooms Lion Cub In Tree – Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Male Baboon Grooms Lion Cub In Tree

Photo by Kurt Schultz of Kurt Safari Tours

Some people have commented on social media that the Lion King was happening “real life” referring to the scenes in the movie where Rafiki the baboon raises Simba up to anoint him as prince or the next in line for the Lion’s pride thrown and king.

Lion King Rafiki Riases Simba To Sunlight Lion King Real Life Lion King Male Baboon Lion Cub

However in reality Africa is a bit more brutal. Baboons are known to kill young leopards and sometimes lion cubs. After 20 years of guiding this is the first time Kurt has seen anything like this. He is referring to how the young male baboon took the cub up the tree and began grooming it, seeming to care for the young lion.

Because Kurt had to leave the sighting we do not know what happened to the young lion cub. Book a trip with Kurt Safaris here.

Watch a video of the amazing sighting below:

The Kruger National park is South Africa’s most beautiful and exciting African Safari destination. This South African National Park is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa.

Elephant shrews may in fact be one of the tiniest and cutest animals discovered in Africa. They are also known as jumping shrews. The elephant shrew has 19 species in total around Africa. They can survive in all kinds of habitats.  These include places like plantations, plains, mountains, and deserts.

These small mammals are adorable. Here are some fun facts about elephant shrews:

Only one Species of Elephant Shrew is Endangered

Among the 19 species of elephant shrew, the Golden Rumped elephant shrew is the only shrew that is an endangered species.  It is the biggest among all the elephant shrews.

It is endangered because of fragmented forest environments. They live all over the Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kenya. They are victims of traps in their living areas. Other animals do not like them as prey because of their bad taste.

Elephant Shrews are not Rodents

Elephant shrews are compared to mice, but they are not rodents. They look like gerbils or mice because of their shape. They aren’t really shrews either, but are more similar to tenrecs and moles. The name “elephant” is because of their long flexible snout.

Elephant Shrews like to Feed on Bugs

The elephant shrew feeds on smaller bugs like termites, beetles, ants, millipedes, earthworms, and spiders.

Secret Africa - Facts about Elephant Shrews

These small animals only feed during the daytime. They also maintain insect populations. They create a series of small paths to catch their prey. The elephant shrew has a sensitive sense of smell, sight, and hearing to detect both predators and food.

Elephant Shrews are Faithful

Elephant shrews always travel around or live with partners. They are monogamous animals sticking to their own territory. They keep track of each other’s whereabouts through marking their scents.

Young Elephant Shrews become more Vulnerable when leaving their Parents

In a single year, the elephant shrew can give birth around four to five times. When their babies are born, they are already covered in fur. They are usually kept hidden in the first three weeks and obey their mother for a period of one week. After they become more independent and weaned, the babies will remain in the parents’ territory for another six weeks before moving to their ow  territory.

Elephant Shrews are not Friendly

Elephant shrews are tiny but fierce. They are intolerant of intruders and will viciously evict anyone who invades the sanctity of their peace. Destructive encounters will usually include sparring, shrieking, jerking and snapping. When this happens it can be a huge blur of animals fighting against each other on the forest floor.

So, you’re planning a trip to Africa, how do you connect with the country that you are going to visit? Easy, you learn the language!

Samburu is a Maa language dialect that is spoken by the Samburu tribe in northern Kenya.  Tanzania is home to about 130 different tribes and each of these tribes speak their own language. Swahili is the language used in Kenya and Tanzania, which is fairly easy to learn.

While travelling around Africa, you will meet many Samburu and Maasai natives who live close to game reserves. So, in order to prepare for encounters, here are some basics that you need to learn.

Basic Samburu Greetings

  • Good morning – “Serian iteperie
  • Good afternoon – “Serian itumumutie mpar”
  • Good evening – “Serian etunye swom”
  • Good night – “Teperie nkai”
  • Hello – “kejua”
  • Goodbye – “ikidua”
  • See you soon – “Ikidua tookuna naatana”
  • See you later – “kidua kenya”
  • Have a good time –  “tewenie nkai”
  • I have to go now – “kaloito taata”
  • It was very nice – “keishupat duo oleng”
  • My name is  – “kaaji nanu nkarna”
  • What is your name?  -“Kijuai nkarna”
  • Pleased to meet you! – “Kasham kutumote”
  • How are you? –  “Aji itiu iye”
  • Fine, thanks. And you?  – “Keisidai, ashe, oh iye”
  • Thank you – “ashe”

Basic General Samburu Terms

Do you speak English? – “Indim airoro lkutuk e lachmb”

  • I don’t understand – “madamuta”
  • Please speak slowly – “iroro akini”
  • Please repeat that – “ngila”
  • Please write it down – “ingero”
  • Excuse me, please – “tining’okija”
  • Could you help me? – “Teretoki”
  • Could you do me a favour? – “Taskaki”
  • Can you show me? – “Ntoduaki ja”
  • How? – “Aikoja?”
  • Where? – “Aji?”
  • When? – “Anu?”
  • Who? – “Ng’ai?”
  • Why? – “Aanyo?”
  • Which? – “Aaha?”
  • I need – “kayeu”
  • Yes – “eeh”
  • No – “mara nejia”

Transcend Cultural Barriers

Secret Africa - Samburu-Kenya-tribe

These easy to remember words and phrases will make your trip even more enjoyable. Now you can converse with the locals, and get to know them a little better.

Sometimes communication in Africa can be tough because of the local slang. Even English has its own flavour in South Africa! Africa has 1,500 to 2,000 different dialects. A lot of languages borrow from Afrikaans, as well as the many African languages.

But a few phrases can go a long way, and learning the basics is a sure win to cross cultural barriers. Most African nations have countless different greetings which represent different races and tribes.

In order to be well prepared for your visit to Africa, here are a few ways that you can say hello in various African languages:

 

Well-known Greetings

 

  • Heita – A rural and urban greeting used by many South Africans, which is a cheery slang way of saying “Hello”

 

  • Howzit – South African traditional greeting that translates as “Hello” or “How are you?”

 

  • Aweh – South African slang used to greet someone or acknowledge something. It is used mostly in the Coloured community.

 

  • Unjani – Another way to greet a friend or someone you know in isiZulu, translated as “Hello”.

 

  • Sawubona – a first person or singular way to greet someone in isiZulu, translated as “Greetings”

 

  • Thobela – standard way of greeting someone in Pedi, translated as “ How are you?”

 

  • Molo – this is another way to greet someone in Xhosa, translated as “How are you doing?”

 

  • Hoe gaan dit? – An Afrikaans translation, which means, “How are you?”

 

  • Dumela (Setswana) – this term is used by the Tswana people, which can also be used to greet someone in South Africa, meaning “Hello” or “How are you?”..

 

  • Sharp Fede – this is a South African township term used to greet someone, translated as, “Hello, how are you?”.

 

Transcend Cultural Barriers

These will help you communicate with the locals better, forming an instant connection. With a little practice, you could be perfecting these words and phrases before embarking on your adventure.

 

Kosi Bay is a series of four lakes interlinked in the Maputaland area of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. There’s no bay specifically, but the town, which is referred to as Kosi Bay is 30km away from the coast.

Maputaland is located in the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal which is nestled in between Mozambique, Swaziland, and all those gorgeous white beaches of the warm Indian Ocean coast. It’s a remote place of forests, lakes, bushes, and untouched beaches.

This secluded island paradise offers diverse tourist attractions including diving, hiking, and turtle tracking. The mild subtropical climate makes it a perfect location to visit all year round.. Tourists can explore and discover lakes and forests by foot, in a canoe, or by boat during the day. If you have ever been one to take interest in this beautiful place, here is a list of the best things to do in Kosi Bay.

Tracking Turtles

Turtle tracking is usually offered in the evening during the summer months. Some accommodation facilities offer transfers to and from the beach. These excursions will normally last 3 to 4 hours, ending late night. But it is worth all the effort!

Secret Africa - Best Things to do in Kosi Bay

The turtles that are tracked include the giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles. These magnificent animals venture out of the oceans on land during the summer months of October toFebruary to lay their eggs in batches on the beach. Loggerhead turtles are endangered, so this is a once in a lifetime wildlife experience you shouldn’t miss.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Kosi Bay is home to some of the best diving sites in South Africa. It’s filled with stunning coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and a rich colourful marine life.

Secret Africa - Best Things to do in Kosi Bay

There are a lot of places at Kosi Bay that offer diving lessons if you are still a beginner. If you do not want to go too deep or are not comfortable with diving, you can still appreciate the marine life by snorkeling near the shoreline.

Hiking at the Kosi Bay Trail

There are various Kosi Bay hiking trails to choose from, suitable for a variety of fitness levels.  There are trails that take roughly four days to complete, but there are also flexible trails suitable for those who prefer a more leisurely hiking experience to just appreciate the scenery.

Secret Africa

One of the most popular trails unfortunately fell into disrepair. It’s possible however to walk along the same route again, but the accommodation options have changed.  On average, if you choose to walk the entire trail, you’ll walk for at least three to four hours each day. If you are up for a little fun on the side, there’s also the option to go horse riding, canoeing, turtle tracking, or a boat cruise.

The trail will expose you to some of the most beautiful landscapes, dune forests, deserted beaches, open savannahs and wetlands.

Raffia Palm Forest Walk

Enjoy guided walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon through the beautiful Raffia Palm Forest during your Kwazulu-Natal Holiday. There’s all sorts of things to appreciate during this walk, which include the harmonious chirping of birds, or perhaps a glimpse of the rare palm nut vulture. It will all depend on the time of day you choose to go on a walk. This is a highly recommended activity.

The Takeaway

Kosi Bay is truly one of a kind. After exploring all these great activities, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. You will not regret booking a trip to Kosi Bay!

 

South Africa is home to a wide variety of edible indigenous plants. The Botanical Society of South Africa is responsible for encouraging indigenous gardening, conservation awareness, and the proper use of indigenous plants in Southern Africa.

Planting some of these edible delights in your garden will give you easy access to fresh ingredients. If you want to use these ingredients in the kitchen, it is important to know what part of the plant can be used for cooking and how it can be prepared because some of them are only edible after certain preparation and in certain seasons.

Spice up your recipes with these these garden-fresh ingredients. Here is a list of 12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants for you to experiment with.

Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia Violacea)

This edible plant is great if you love making a lot of stews and roasts. It will also add a burst of colour to your garden. The plant shoots out striking purple flowers on top. In addition, the plant can be used in various ways:

  • The leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach.
  • It can help with fighting esophageal cancer and sinus headaches.
  • The bulbs on the plant can be used as a substitute for regular garlic.
  • The plant can be used to ward off fleas, ticks, snakes and mosquitoes.

Confetti Bush (Coleonema Pulchellum)

This herb can be used to add more than just flavour to your cooking, it also adds a sweet aroma. Traditionally used as a deodorizer, the Confetti Bush can be used in any savoury or sweet dishes — strip the little leaves from the stems as you would with thyme.

Also known as False Buchu, this pretty little shrub grows up to one meter or even more in width and height. They also grow faster and healthier when placed in a little bit of compost, drained soil, and when under a lot of sunlight. Take note that a bark or a mulch of compost will keep the shallow root system cool, which is very beneficial to the growth of the plant.

Garlic Buchu (Agathosma Apiculata)

This edible plant is superb for those home chefs who love experimenting with infused oils and making vinegar. The Garlic Buchu is a densely leafy shrub, which forms a single stem from the base and grows into an upright and bushy shrub.

12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants - Confetti Bush

The branchlets are covered with many finer hairs. The younger stems are usually light brown but eventually turn into a darker colour as they start to mature with white flowers that sprout from the tip of the stems.

When any part of this plant is touched, it releases a powerful garlic scent, which is how it got its name. Since the plant is jam-packed with natural essential oils, the oils in the leaves are used to manufacture various cosmetics, medicines, and food colourants. You can also munch on the leaves to get a quick fix of its organic healing remedies.

African Wormwood (Artemesia Afra)

The African Wormwood is known for its strong flavour, which is why it’s widely used in a lot of cocktails, iced teas, and herbal drinks. This plant grows in clumps, with woody and ridged stems reaching up to 0.5 meters to 2 meters in height. The leaves are soft in texture with dark coloured green leaves, similar to the shape of a fern.

12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants - African Wormwood

This plant blooms late in the summer, and produces butter coloured flowers. The African Wormwood releases a sweet, pungent smell when crushed or bruised. Aside from it being used for cocktails, it can also treat colds, flu, fever, asthma, coughs, sore throats, headaches, and pneumonia.

Crushed leaves can be used as a poultice for wounds and sores, while rolled up fresh leaves can be inserted in the ear for a quick earache remedy.

Wild Sorrel (Oxalis Pes-Caprae)

Also known as the Bermuda Buttercup, Cape Sorrel, English Weed, Goat’s Foot, Sourgrass, Soursob, and Buttercup Oxalis. This effervescent yellow plant can also be found all over California. The good news is, the entire plant is edible and tastes a little bit like lemon, which makes it a great addition to fresh salad ingredients.

Wood Sorrel - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

Technically, this plant is considered a weed so it will spread like wild fire in your garden if not maintained properly. It has a reputation for being hard to eliminate once it has taken over an area of land. Although it is difficult to maintain, it  will still make a wonderful edition to your garden.

Take note that the plant is sour because of the oxalic acid present in the petals, so it’s best not to eat too much of it as it can be hazardous to your health when taken in large quantities.

Num-Num (Carissa Macrocarpa)

The Carissa Macrocarpa is a shrub commonly known in South Africa as the Natal Plum or the Num-Num. The berries are what makes this plant unique, and why it was given the interesting nickname. It’s full of delightful flavours, which is why it is used for making jams. The berries can be eaten raw and taste a little like cranberries.

For better growth, the plant should be exposed to salty wind or planted in a coastal area. Other than the fruit that grows from the plant, some have claimed that the plant itself is actually poisonous to humans and dogs. The berries can also be used to improve nutrition, and is very rich in Vitamin C.

Balderjan (Mentha Longifolia)

Otherwise known as Horsemint, the Balderjan is known for its peppermint aroma. You can use this plant as an alternative to mint leaves. You can add it to raw or fruity salads for an interesting blend of flavours, or mix up a batch of homemade syrups with it. Like all other mint leaves, the Balderjan has a creeping rhizome, with creeping erect stems 40 to 120 cm tall. The flowers are 3 to 5 mm long, purplish in color or white on tall-branched spikes.

This plant will grow well and thrive in damp areas like marshes. It has been known to help alleviate a number of health issues like asthma, respiratory ailments, and colic stomachs. It can also help with stinky breath, teeth whitening, a stuffy nose, and dandruff.

Sour Figs (Carpobrotus Edulis)

Also known as the Hottentot-fig, Highway Ice Plant, or the Pig Face. The Sour Fig is a creeping, succulent, mat-forming species. Although it is loved in South Africa, other parts of the world consider this plant as invasive especially in Australia, California and the Mediterranean, which all have very similar climates as the Cape.

At the top of it’s moist leaves sprout bright flowers which make it a pretty sight to enjoy in your garden. There are approximately 30 species of this plant and it grows delicious fruits that are excellent for homemade jams. The leaves are also used to cure a number of health related issues like sores. The juice from the leaves can be used as an antiseptic, or can be consumed for treating a sore throat and stomach issues.

Many-Petalled Jasmine (Jasminum Multipartritum)

Also known as the Starry Wild Jasmine or the Imfohlafohlane. It is a crawler and can grow in areas where there is a lot of sunlight or semi-shade. The plant produces a lot of white, star shaped flowers that are scented like a perfume.

The flower that grows from this plant is used for different teas as a flavouring, salad ingredients, and it can also be used for baking and potpourri. If you are looking to impress your dinner guests, the flowers make a nice garnish on top of a mouth watering dish. But it can discolour easily, so it has to be used quickly and fresh.

Aromatic Sage (Salvia Africana)

The Aromatic Sage is a aromatic heavy-branched shrub that is native to the Cape provinces, along the coast of South Africa. This plant can be found on rock hills and coastal dunes. It can grow up to 60 to 90 cm, with grayish round stems covered with hairs. When touched, the plant releases a strong scent.

Aromatic Sage - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

A delectable herb to use in the kitchen. It works well with pasta, vegetable dishes, sauces, roasts, stews, and chicken. When eaten alone it is quite bitter, so only add a little bit of this herb into your dishes to add a dash of interesting flavour. To get rid of some of the bitterness, you can dry the leaves and store it inside a glass jar or you can add a little salt to the mix. If you are feeling creative, you can use the flowers as a garnish on your salads.

Wild Malva (Pelargonium Culullatum)

Otherwise known as Hooded Leaf Pelargonium, but more commonly called the Wild Malva. It is a species of plant from the Geraniaceae family. In the summer, this attractive plant produces masses of purple and pink flowers, which has been used to create a number of Pelargonium hybrids.

The Wild Malva is a fast growing shrub, which can reach up to heights of over a meter. The leaves grow in an upward direction and forms circular bowls with red tipped edges. The flower gives off a natural sweet scent.

When diffused, the leaves of this plant turn into a tea which can be used to treat stomach issues, while the crushed leaves turn into a poultice to treat sores and wounds. The leaves can also be used to treat earache when inserted into the ear. But be careful to not insert it too deep.

Aside from being a remedy for internal health related issues, the leaves can also be used to create a relaxing and fragrant bath to relieve tired muscles. Or add joy to your taste buds when making a salad or baked goods.

Tassel Berry (Antidesma Venosum)

The Tassel Berry is a shrub-like tree that grows up to 4 m tall with a roundish crown. The old stems are buffy grey in colour, while the smaller branches are scattered with brown pale grey lenticels with hairy twigs. The fruits are edible but not easily digested and taste slightly acidic and sweet, similar to mulberries. This plant is very decorative and is a great addition to your garden.

Berry - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

The Tassel Berry also has a number of other uses:

  • The wood of the plant can be used for building huts and fuel.
  • The fruits, bark, and leaves can help cure stomach issues
  • The roots have been said to be toxic to humans, but if you include the roots of the Tassel Berry plant into your bath it will help cure bodily aches and pains.

The wildebeest, also known as the Antelope of the African plains, is a mammal that lives all over the eastern, southern, and central parts of Africa. They are also called the gnu, which is sometimes referred to as the “fool of the veld” or the “poor man’s buffalo.” These marvelous, rugged, and graceful creatures prefer to hang out in grassy plains or wide open spaces. Every year many wildebeest take part in the great migration through the Serengeti, across Northern Tanzania and Kenya.

Secret Africa - Five Fun Facts about Wildebeest

There’s more to this animal than meets the eye and we are prepared to feed your curiosity more with a bunch of fun facts! Here are five awesome fun facts about wildebeest.

Fun Fact #1: Wildebeest are Playful and Intelligent Animals

Wildebeest are one of the bravest animals in Africa. They are always moving and never stay in one place for too long. Wildebeest like to graze around during the day or night. They also like taking naps, while some keep watch for potential predators.

Fun Fact # 2: There are Two Species of Wildebeest

There are two species of these magnificent animals — the black wildebeest, and the more common blue wildebeest.  The black wildebeest or otherwise known as the white tailed gnu has a long white, horse-like tail. It also has a dark brown to black coat and long, dark, coloured hair found under its belly and forelegs.

The blue wildebeest is also known as the white bearded wildebeest. Another name for it is the brindled gnu and it’s considered a large antelope. The blue wildebeest has broad shoulders, muscular chest, and a distinctive muzzle.

Fun Fact # 3: They live in Huge Herds

Wildebeest like to live in large herds, with adults of both sexes and their offspring. Life in the herd allows all members to feel protected against potential threats. So, when they are asleep or taking a nap during the day, some wildebeest keep watch.

Fun Fact #4: Wildebeest are Feisty Lovers

Wildebeest reproduce quickly and produce about 150 offspring every spring season. The herd is segregated into several smaller groups. Some of the most dominant males in the group perform elaborate mating rituals to impress all the females. Male wildebeest are referred to as the “clowns of the savannah.” This is because they perform many weird antics while trying to impress the females.

Five Fun Facts about Wildebeest

They attract their mates by rubbing their scent into the ground, or urinate and defecate to mark their breeding territory. This also keeps other male wildebeest away.

Fun Fact #5: Pregnancy Ends with a Single Baby

When female wildebeest get pregnant, their pregnancies last for 8.5 months. They give birth in the middle of the herd. 80% of calves are born 2 to 3 weeks before the rainy season.

Calves can walk very soon after being born. And just a few days after birth, they start running with the rest of the herd. During their first few months, they will suckle milk from their mothers. Their diets are milk based with grass 10 days after birth.