A Journey as a Nature Guide in South Africa - Blair Yeatman

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Join me today as we embark on a captivating adventure, deep into the heart of the wild, as I share my experiences as a nature guide in South Africa. As a guide, my days are filled with awe-inspiring encounters, forging connections with guests from all walks of life, and fostering a deep appreciation for the wonders of nature. South Africa's rich biodiversity offers a tapestry of landscapes, from vast savannahs to dense rainforests and dramatic coastlines.

Blair Yeatman

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a nature guide is the opportunity to connect with people from around the world. Each day, I encounter guests eager to learn and experience the magic of South Africa's natural wonders. Whether it's spotting a lion on safari, or witnessing a majestic sunset over the African plains, these shared moments create lasting bonds and lifelong friendships.

Guests enjoying a Phelwana Bush Walk with Blair

Being surrounded by South Africa's mesmerising landscapes encourages guests to reflect on the importance of preserving our planet's natural heritage. As a nature guide, I have the privilege of inspiring a love and respect for the environment through storytelling, game drives, and guided bush walks. Witnessing the spark of curiosity ignite within our guests' hearts as they discover the interconnectedness of all living things is truly a humbling experience.

Witnessing the joy and wonder on their faces as they encounter wildlife up close, learn about traditional cultural practices, or simply take in the raw beauty of nature, brings immeasurable fulfillment to my soul. With each interaction, we inspire compassion, curiosity, and a determination to protect and preserve our planet for future generations. Let us embrace the wonders of nature together and forge unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

This is not a laughing matter… Hyenas on board, by Flora Molepo

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In the most unexpected of circumstances, Phelwana Game Lodge met an unusual guest, Crocuta Crocuta... the spotted hyena. Phelwana is not a Big Five game reserve, but we do have Cape Buffaloes, the occasional leopard, and in this case, a rather interesting critter has joined us on the land. According to the tracks, they wander around the property at night and early in the mornings. We always come across the tracks when out for a morning bush walk, which is always intriguing.

Hyena Tracks seen on a morning Bush Walk

Yes, hyenas are frequently observed in the Kruger, but the prospect of having one on our modest property gives me goosebumps, which is why I find myself lost in time pursuing the animal... They say that time is of the essence, but not in the bush. We suspect they have crossed over in search of a den where they may give birth and rear their young.

Hyena Caught on our Game Cam

The spotted hyena weighs between 46 and 79 kg in males and 56 to 80 kg in females, making the females much larger and stronger than the males. Hyenas are matriarchal, which means the clan is led by the oldest female. They are known to feed on garbage dumps and even dig up dead bodies. They are also believed to have the strongest jaws and digestive systems in the savannah bush and can digest just about anything, from carrion to plastic. They are accepted by certain communities in East Africa because they clean up residential waste from the environment. The Maasai leave their dead for the hyena to "remove." (Aardvark to Zebra, Pg 367). Hyenas can smell carrion from 4 kilometers afar, despite having weak eyesight. It is believed that they only scavenge, but they do hunt as well, hunting about 73% of their food.

Some people find hyenas to be strange animals, but we all know that The Lion King is to blame for this enigma. Nevertheless, I'm here to inform you that these magnificent animals clean the earth, as other carnivores only waste about 40% of the carcass. In fact, they can even eat the bones, which produce faeces that are a strange white color. Other creatures, such as leopard tortoises, feed on the excrement owing to the quantity of calcium they emit.

A Spotted Hyena

To summarize, remember how important they are anytime you come across them, and remember that not everything you see in movies is accurate. I hope you liked this eye-opener. By Flora Molepo, Phelwana Guide

Step into my office.....the bush, by Flora Molepo

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As a field guide, you do not have an office at the lodge; instead, the bush is your office. Please enter. Even though it may seem difficult, the bush doesn't actually understand that it is an office. Funny, right? Of course, the animals would be horrified at the prospect of working as a receptionist.

Afternoon Game Drive

We had the opportunity to witness the birth and death of a baby hippo, but unfortunately, we do not intervene in natural situations because, to be fair, we are in their natural habitat and we always maintain and observe our game from a distance without interfering with or harming their way of life. However, animals are more unique than we think, and their way of survival is beyond human understanding. Being in nature allows you to become one with it, heighten your senses, and begin to realize why going into the bush is necessary. It also fosters partnerships and increases your degree of love and respect for the wild.

Really, this little hippo is a tower of strength. His given name, Mahlatse, is an African name with the meaning of "fortune." He was attacked by a female leopard and a buffalo bull. He was only two to three weeks old, had a wound on his left leg, and struggled to walk in the hopes of survival. Hippos have sensitive skin, thus they prefer to graze at night to avoid the sun's rays during the day. The game lodge is home to a family of hippos, which comprises the dominant male and two additional females. They can move up to 10 kilometers out of water and consume roughly 35 kg of grass, which will make it easier for them to move given that Phelwana has three substantial dams.

Baby Hippo, Mahlatse

Being a part of their world and seeing buffalo, giraffes, vervet monkeys, baboons, and of course, antelopes every day is still remarkable. It has always been a delight to go on game drives and walks at the Phelwana Game Lodge. Although it may not seem ideal to assume that animals might have hope or even trust in something unseen, it is satisfying to know that they can live and make repairs for themselves. It is survival of the fittest in the wild, a concept that humans can identify with.

Come and see the natural splendor that inspires us every day.

By Flora Molepo, Phelwana Game Guide

Flora Molepo