Great news for wildlife and nature lovers! It’s finally time to explore the nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled natural beauty and untamed wilderness and wildlife of the real African bush at the renowned Kruger National Park. South Africa National Parks (SANParks) announced on the 6th of June 2020 that self-drive excursions for day visitors will be permitted from Monday, 8 June 2020 in parks that cater for self-drives. While Namaqua National Park as well as Boulders Beach and Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park remain closed for the time being, most gates at Kruger National Park will be open except for Pafuri and Numbi gates. This means wildlife enthusiasts will once again be able to enjoy the authentic sights and sounds of the African bush by visiting one of the most sought-after wildlife destinations in Africa – the Kruger National Park!
**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
- Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in The Kruger Park
- Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
- General guidelines when visiting The Kruger National Park
- Entrance Gates telephone numbers
- Daily Conservation Fee
- About The Kruger National Park
Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
Although the re-opening of the Kruger National Park is great news for wildlife and nature lovers, strict guidelines have been put in place for self-drive day visitors that are in accordance with the Lockdown Alert Level 3 regulations. SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni issued a statement in which he said that while they are very happy to announce the re-opening of some of their national parks for self-drive excursions, it is their top priority to ensure that it is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both their staff and guests.
For self-drive day visitors who intend to visit the Kruger National Park during South Africa’s Lockdown Alert Level 3, here are all the guidelines, regulations, and information you need to know. Additionally you can visit the SANParks website for all Level 3 Lockdown protocols and regulations.
- Gate quotas for the Kruger National Park have been revised to approximately one third (30%) of what they were prior to COVID-19. As social distancing in vehicles is paramount, all vehicles are allowed to carry only 70% of their capacity. Here is a general guideline provided by SANParks:
|Vehicle Category||Seat Capacity||Max Occupants|
|Sedan||4 – 5||3|
|SUV||5 – 7||3 – 5|
|Double Cab||4 – 5||3|
|Single Cab||2 – 3||1 – 2|
- Group travel (any number of persons in one vehicle that is from more than one household) is prohibited at this stage; including OSV’s, buses & taxis. This means self-drive will be limited to households only and not individuals from different households in one vehicle.
- Visitors are highly encouraged to pre-book and pay online for day visits. Such bookings can be made online through SANParks website or through the traditional means of making bookings, e.g. email, telephonic (012 428 9111) or through one of the reservation offices. Wild Card members will have to ensure that their membership is valid prior to arrival.
- All visitors are requested to complete the Gate Registration Form (inclusive of COVID-19 questions) before arrival. This form can be found online and will make things run smoother if they are printed and filled out ahead of time and handed to the gate official upon arrival. Visitors will also be required to complete a SANParks Gate Client Declaration and Contact Tracing Upon Exit – This form can also be found online
- All visitors will be temperature screened at the gate and asked to confirm that you are not experiencing any clinical symptoms before you can enter the Kruger National Park.
- Before visiting the Kruger National Park it is essential to ensure that you have had no exposure with a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. Make sure to check body temperature and any clinical symptoms (cough, fever, dry throat, difficulty breathing) of everyone in your travel group. Anyone with a temperature above 37.3 °C or experiencing any clinical symptoms should remain at home and will not be allowed into the park. This is not only vital for your own health and safety, but for the health and safety of others.
- Ensure that everyone in your vehicle has a mask and sufficient hand sanitizer to frequently disinfect hands.
- All visitor’s movements will be traced and recorded upon entry and exit to the Park to ensure compliance with all regulations.
- Visitors are not allowed to depart from the Kruger National Park into a different province than the one that they entered from, unless they are valid permit holders to do so. No cross-border travelling will be allowed through Giriyondo and Pafuri border posts with Mozambique.
- No overnight guests/overnights stays are allowed until further notice.
- Ensure that you take acceptable means of identification along when visiting the Kruger National Park. This does not only apply to the drivers of vehicles but could be requested of all adults that enter or visit the park.
- Strict social distancing of at least two metres (2m) must be maintained in all permitted public areas inside the park.
Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
Three time slots for arrival will be introduced with the understanding that booked day visitors must arrive at the gate within that time span, especially if full quota is not booked.
- Slot 1 is from 06:00 to 08:00
- Slot 2 from 08:00 to 10:00
- Slot 3 from 10:00 onwards.
Gate hours and regulations should be strictly adhered to when visiting the Kruger Park. General Kruger National Park Gate Hours are:
|Entrance Gates Open||05:30||05:30||5:30||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||05:30||05:30||05:30|
|Camp Gates Open||04:30||05:30||05:30||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||05:30||04:30||04:30|
|All Gates Close||18:30||18:30||18:00||18:00||17:30||17:30||17:30||18:00||18:00||18:00||18:30||18:30|
Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in the Kruger Park
- Upon visiting the Kruger National Park during Lockdown Alert Level 3 all general park rules still apply.
- Access control into the gate reception office and safe social distancing (of at least 2m) will apply and should be strictly adhered to in all public areas.
- Plan your route ahead of time! The national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces must be observed within the parks. This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not be permitted. Visitors must exit into the province from which they entered the park.
- Bird Hides, Picnic Spots and Day Visitor Sites will be kept closed until ready for operation. Tshokwane – only ablutions available from 8 June 2020. Afsaal will be open from 12 June 2020.
- Braaing at picnic sites will not be allowed during this period.
- Bathroom facilities will be open at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
- All visitors should wear a mask and practice strict social distancing (of at least 2m) when making use of the bathrooms facilities as well as when out in public spaces.
- Alcohol may not be brought in or purchased in the Park by day visitors.
- Pack a rubbish bag to ensure you return home with all the waste you generate while visiting the park. Visitors are also requested not to deposit their litter inside the bins within the parks but to leave with as much of it as hygienically possible.
- Guests are urged to be extra cautious when driving in the Kruger National Park as animals are not used to vehicles after such a long period without them.
- The use of drones inside (and over) our national parks is strictly prohibited.
**Important note: If you experience any clinical symptoms while in the park, immediately avoid contact with people outside your travel group, keep on your mask, exit the park, and seek medical care. The COVID-19 Emergency hotline is: 0800 029 999 | WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456. For more information about our Parks, visit our website: www.sanparks.org
Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
- A limited number of filling stations/petrol stations will be open in some parks and will operate in strict accordance with relevant Level 3 lockdown regulations. These filling stations will operate 09:30 to 17:00 daily.
Bathroom Facilities & Rest Camps
- Designated toilet facilities will be open and available at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
- Camp receptions will remain closed during Alert Level 3 until further notice
Restaurants will be closed for sit-down dining; however some restaurants will offer limited take-away menus and services. Here is a list of the restaurant take-away services that will be open in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:
- Lower Sabie
- Afsaal Picnic Spot
- Punda Maria.
Here is a list of the shops that will be open for operation in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:
- Letaba (07:00 – 17:00)
- Satara (07:00 – 17:00)
- Skukuza (07:00 – 17:00)
- Lower Sabie Rest Camp (07:00 – 17:00)
- Orpen (06:30 – 17:00)
- Pretoriuskop (06:30 – 17:00)
- Crocodile Bridge (06:30 – 17:00)
- Berg-en-Dal (07:00 – 17:00)
- Shingwedzi (10:00 – 15:00)
General Guidelines when visiting the Kruger Park
The function of SANParks is to protect, conserve and control the national parks and other protected areas assigned to it. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip through the Kruger National Park, it is important for all visitors to the park to kindly adhere to the rules and regulations under the Protected Areas Act. Here are general rules, regulations, information, and guidelines outlined by SANParks when visiting the Kruger National Park or any of their national parks:
- Please always stay in your vehicle when exploring the Park. As the Kruger National Park is home to a glorious diversity of wildlife, some of which may pose a potential threat to humans as you enter their natural habitat, visitors are only allowed to get out of their vehicles in safe designated areas. Additionally no part of your body may protrude from a window or sunroof while driving and doors should always remain closed.
- Please take careful note of the maximum speed limits applicable in the various areas of the Kruger Park. Note that not all roads are accessible to vehicles exceeding a certain mass, type, or size.
- Safety while driving should always remain top priority. General rules of the road apply within the Kruger National Park. It is an offence to drive on South African roads without a recognized driver’s license or under the influence of alcohol. Driving or operating any vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner or in a deliberate disregard for the safety of a person, animal or property is a serious offence and can result in a summons being issued as per official SANParks regulations.
- Vehicles must always remain on the designated roads and off-road driving or driving on closed or no-entry roads is a serious offence.
- Feeding of wildlife inside the park is strictly prohibited! The feeding or intentional disturbance of wildlife is a serious offence.
- No plant, animal, wildlife or any natural or cultural items may be removed from the Kruger Park without permission. To cut, damage, destroy or be in possession of any plant or part thereof, including dry wood or firewood is a serious offence. Importing of any specimen of an alien or listed invasive species into a national park is strictly prohibited.
- No firearms may be brought into the Park.
- No pets (dogs, cats, birds or any other) may be brought into a Kruger Park. Transgressors will be dealt with firmly, issued with a summons and serious action will be taken. Guide dogs for visually impaired guests are the only exception, but only if the proper procedures are followed in consultation with park management and if the owner has the necessary inoculations and permits as ordained by the state veterinary department.
- The Kruger National Park has a NO TOLERANCE POLICY with regards to poaching, killing, or injuring of animals.
- Starting or causing of any fire, whether it be intentional or unintentional other than in a fireplace or container purposely made available is strictly prohibited and will result in a summons being issued.
- Behaving in an offensive, improper, indecent, or disorderly manner will simply NOT be tolerated. Playing of any radio, compact disc player, music system, musical system or instrument that may cause any noise that results in the disturbance of any species, specimen or wildlife as well as other individuals visiting the park is strictly prohibited and will be fined if not adhered to.
- The hindering, intimidating, or obstructing of an authorized Kruger National Park official in the execution if his/her duties or the performance of his/her functions will not be tolerated and is subject to a penalty. Violation, refusal, or failure to obey or comply with any prohibition, request or instruction imposed by these regulations or by the management authority or authorized official will result in prosecution.
- Beware of Malaria – The Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Parks fall within a malaria zone. A 24hour malaria hotline is available on 0822341800 and where relevant, please consult your medical practitioner.
- Kindly familiarize yourself with the general conditions prevalent in the park you are going to visit by visiting the website at sanparks.org and link onto Parks A-Z as there may be vital information contained therein to assist with your visit.
Entrance Gates Telephone Numbers
|Entrance Gate||Telephone Number|
|Crocodile Bridge Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6012|
|Kruger Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5107|
|Malelane Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6152|
|Numbi Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5133|
|Orpen Gate||+27 (0)13 735 0237/0238|
|Pafuri Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5574|
|Phabeni Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5890|
|Phalaborwa Gate||+27 (0)13 735 3547|
|Punda Maria Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6870|
Daily Conservation Fee
Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020
|South African Citizens and Residents (with ID)||R100 per adult, per day
R50 per child, per day
|SADC Nationals (with passport)||R200 per adult, per day
R100 per child, per day
|Standard Conservation Fee||R400 per adult, per day
R200 per child, per day
About the Kruger National Park
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. Home to nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres, the Kruger Park is spread across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa. Just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park truly offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience, boasting an incredible diversity of birdlife and wildlife.
Ranking among the best in Africa, the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly considered the flagship of the country’s national parks. Attracting thousands of visitors each year from all around the world looking to experience the ultimate African safari destination and magnificent sights and sounds of the African bush first-hand. A visit to the world-renowned Kruger National Park undoubtedly deserves to be on everyone’s bucket-list when visiting the beautiful and vibrant Africa. To find out more about when the best time is to plan your trip to the Kruger National park, have a look at our blog here!
But, just to get you a little more excited, here are some great wildlife and birdlife sightings you can look forward to when visiting the Kruger. The Kruger National Park is home to approximately 147 mammal species as well as a prolific diversity of bird life. With over 500 bird species on the Kruger National Park list, it’s any bird lover’s paradise.
Here are some amazing wildlife and birdlife sightings, as well as a few remarkable vegetation, fauna & flora, and incredible natural/cultural features to look out for when visiting the Kruger National Park:
- The African Big Five – Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.
- The Little Five – Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion and Rhino Beetle.
- Birding Big Six– Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet- faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork.
- Five Trees – Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, Mopane.
- Natural/Cultural Features – Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Masorini Ruins, Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library, Thulamela.
Besides these magnificent sightings and encounters, the Kruger National Park boasts such an incredible diversity of wildlife, bio-diversity and birdlife. With so many remarkable creatures and animals to see as well as bucket-list worthy sightings of rare species (some of which you may never encounter anywhere else in the world) it truly is any nature, birdlife and wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination. When visiting the Kruger, it is a great idea to keep up to date with the movements of the wildlife in the Kruger National Park by consulting the sightings map at reception as it is updated daily!
You can also follow the Kruger National Park on all their social media channels for spectacular wildlife sightings, up-close encounters, up-to-date information, recent spottings, and of course the unapologetic beauty of the African bushveld.
- Instagram: @sanparks
- Facebook: @South.African.National.Parks
- Twitter: @SANParksKNP
- YouTube: SANParks
**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rhino is the second largest among all land mammals. Unlike the elephant, it’s considered one of the most aggressive. However, despite its status as being one of the biggest bullies on the African planes when it comes to humans, rhinos are incredibly vulnerable.
These amazing animals are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. Conservationists are putting in their best effort to save them from extinction. There are many things to love about rhinos, and finding out even more information about them will give you more to appreciate.
Here are five interesting facts about rhinos, nature’s knight in shining armor.
Rhinos are Thick Skinned
A rhino’s skin is relatively sensitive, this is why it has a lot of layers. It’s like wrapping yourself in a bunch of soft blankets when you’re feeling very cold.
One layer will not really do much to protect you from the cold, but thick layers of blanket can keep you warm with protective padding. The same goes for the rhino, it has layers of skin to keep it protected.
There are Five Species of Rhino
Our planet is home to five different species of rhino. There’s the White Rhino and the Black Rhino which are both found in Africa, the Sumatran Rhino found in India (also known as the Greater One Horned Rhino), and the Javan Rhino which can be found in swamps and tropical forests around Asia.
They are Considered one of the Largest Animals in the World
The rhino is considered one of the biggest mammals in the world. The biggest among the five species is the White Rhino, which can grow up to 1.8m high and weigh 2 500kg.
Rhinos Love Mud
When it’s very hot and the sun is at its highest, rhinos can be found under the shade sleeping or wallowing in a muddy pool to cool off. They love mud, and can spend almost the entire day in it! The mud protects their skin from the sun and prevents irritation – kind of like a natural sunblock. It also wards off unwanted bugs that might land on their skin.
Rhinos don’t like being Social
Rhinos are not very sociable animals; most of them prefer to spend their time alone and try to avoid one another. However, the white rhino lives in a group which is called a “crash.” These groups are usually made up of a group of white rhino females, along with her calves. Sometimes adult females, which are called cows, can be seen socializing with each other too.
Rhinos do not have any Enemies
Since rhinos have strong horns, huge bodies and thick skin — no other animal wants to prey on them.
They do not have any natural predators. However, they get frightened easily. When they feel they are being threatened, their instinct is to directly charge at whatever it is that spooked them – whether it’s an animal or a harmless object. They will do this to humans as well when they feel they are being threatened.
The Number of Rhinos are Slowly Depleting
Sadly, it’s projected that there are only 29,000 rhinos left on our planet. At the beginning of the century, there were a total of 500,000 rhinos. Illegal hunting is the biggest threat to this animal, which is why they are slowly decreasing in number. Their horns are used in traditional folk medicine in Asia, which is why they are so sought-after. Their horns are also sold for various decorative pieces, similar to an elephant’s tusk that is valuable because it is used for ivory.
At first glance, seaweed might not seem like much. A slimy shrub floating in the water we see at times floating in the ocean, or washed up on the beach. Many people are repulsed by it, refusing to swim with it. Don’t be fooled though, these marine plants are completely harmless and essentially very beneficial to our health in many ways.
Rich in nutrients, seaweed contains many trace minerals and cancer fighting compounds that is said to heal the body and rejuvenate the skin. With the help of scientists, we are learning that seaweed is far more precious than we originally thought.
In fact, a lot of people now are finding different ways to include seaweed in their diets and skin care regiments. Don’t believe the hype? Here are some interesting facts about seaweed that might change your mind.
Seaweeds are not Plants
Seaweed is actually a type of algae not a plant. They have no leaves, stems, or roots to transport water or nutrients. As an alternative however, each cell develops what it needs directly from the seawater around it. The only similarity land plants and seaweed have with one another, is that both rely on sunlight for energy through photosynthesis.
Most of the Oxygen We Breathe comes from Seaweed
You may want to give a silent thank you to seaweed the next time you take a deep breath, because of the glorious oxygen it provides for all of us. Seaweed, kelp, phytoplankton, and algal plankton produce 70% of the air we breathe, which is why they are very important.
Believe it or not, the rain-forest only produces 28% of our oxygen, while the remaining 2% comes from other sources. Surprising, right? This is one of the reasons why we need to protect our oceans and keep them free of pollution.
Seaweed is Used with many Asian Dishes
Kombu, Nori, and Wakame are all well-known seaweed ingredients used in most Asian countries as an add-on or an actual ingredient in food. Asia consumes around 2 million tons of seaweed every year to use in their complex fusion of culinary dishes. This is why we love seaweed so much, because it is both nutritious and a great snack.
Seaweed can be used in Many Skincare and Healthcare Regiments
Seaweed has been used for many centuries to cure all kinds of illnesses. Seaweed can help cure tuberculosis, prevent obesity, and ovarian cysts. Another good reason why the Japanese are extremely healthy is because they include a lot of natural seaweed in their diets. The ancient Romans used seaweed to treat burns, wounds, and rashes. Today, many hospitals also use seaweed as a form of wound dressing.
Seaweed Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes
Seaweed can come in many shapes and sizes. There are the microscopic micro seaweeds and the large macro seaweeds. The smaller ones are those you can see that are washed up on shore at the beach, while the bigger ones are those you can find covering large rocks or carried to shore by large waves.
Seaweed Has Over 12,000 Species
Seaweed does not refer to just one plant alone but rather it is a common name for many other species of marine plants and algae. There is still no formal term for this though, but seaweed is grouped into three main categories which include brown, red, and green algae.
It is also considered a super food and can provide your body with many health benefits starting with lowering the risk of breast cancer to fighting off deadly diseases. Seaweed is in reality considered the kale of the ocean and can be used in many different ways to help us become more intentional with our health.
Seaweed Can Make a Great Substitute for Bacon
Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? But you’re big fan of bacon and will sorely miss it? You’re in luck then, because seaweed can actually taste like bacon when it is served fried. Not only does it taste wonderful but this unproved strain of seaweed has more nutritional value than kale.
Seaweed is also gluten free, a low carbohydrate, sustainable, and organic. All thanks to seaweed, you can now have a healthier alternative to bacon without the guilt.
Rwanda is considered as one of the smallest countries of Africa. It is located just a few degrees south of the equator. The country is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mutilated by perhaps the most ruthless post-war genocide and political drama of the 20th century, Rwanda has come a long way since its rough past. Today, despite many claims of low-key exploitation and human rights abuse, the country remains a reinforcement of hope for other central African countries trying to recover from an agonizing past.
Rwanda is considered Africa’s kick ass come-back country. Two decades after the genocide, the country has made extensive effort to promote harmony and opulence amongst the people, inspire clean streets, and enrich the country back to its illustrious natural beauty.
With its awe-inspiring landscapes, captivating wildlife, and lush green forests — it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. Here’s our top travel picks for Rwanda:
Kigali Memorial Centre Genocide Memorial
The Kigali Memorial Centre is not a very scenic site but holds great historic significance. The somber building with gardens and a concrete mass of graves marks one of the largest massacres sites. You should consider visiting it to truly understand the impact of Rwanda’s terrible past, and how the country has recovered from it.
The display is thought-provoking, depicting the horror of the three-month long genocide, which wrecked the country in 1994. Personal photography, film footage, and personal accounts of the historic moment were all captured. 99.9% of the population was affected by the genocide — a painful past that makes the present kindness and positivity of the locals more significant.
Congo Nile Hiking Trail
One of the best ways to experience Rwanda in all its natural beauty is through a quick hike. The Congo Nile Hiking Trail is a famous route taking you to the edge of the country’s most alluring stretch of crystal clear water, Lake Kivu. While on the trail, you will experience thick forest vegetation, intense landscapes and rolling hills, which is how Rwanda got its nickname, “Land of a Thousand Hills”.
Volcano National Park
If you want to experience seeing mountain gorillas up close, Volcano National Park is an excellent choice. This small park is considered the safe haven for these critically endangered animals. The park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families existing in different parts of the park. Other than the mountain gorillas you will also get to see over 75 species of different mammals like buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, bush bucks, and spotted hyenas.
It is also home to over 180 species of birds and 26 of these you can find in the Rwenzori and Virunga mountains. Other than wide variety of animals you’ll see in this park there is also the Dian Fossey Grave, Mount Bisoke, and Mount Karisimbi.
King’s Palace Museum
This palace was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa until his death in 1959. It’s located in Nyanza, about 88km south of Kigali City. It was built by the Belgium Government in 1932. The museum is considered a cultural center that sheds light on Rwanda’s monarchy practice of the past 200 years.
Inside, tourists can view the king’s traditional seat. Unfortunately many of the other objects and materials of tradition were destroyed or stolen in 1994 during the genocide. In order to rebuild it back to its former 19th century state, other materials of traditional heritage had to be added. These include traditional cows also known as “lnyambo”, which represents the Rwandese culture. The museum also allows you to view the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Rosalie Gicanda on the neighbouring hill of Mwima.