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Fauna & Flora

Shepherd’s Tree

The Shepherd's tree (Boscia albitrunca) is an easy tree to identify on your travels around the Reserve, especially in the northern reaches of Buffelsbed and Sibon.

Shrikes' Nests

Thank you to Chris and Auriel Thorpe in Bungalow # 197 for sharing the fascinating world of the Southern White- Crowned Shrike (Eurocephalus anguitimens) and Black Cuckoo-Shrike (Campephaga flava) with us.

Sjambok Pod

The Sjambok pod (Cassia abbreviata) is a deciduous tree that is easily identified through its exceptionally long tail like seedpods. An alternate common name is the Long-tail Cassia.

Snake Activities

Snakes have been noticeably active and hunting for food, characteristic of them “fattening” up ahead of the cooler months to follow when they become less active.

Snakebite Season

Johan Marais is a world-renowned herpetologist who very kindly provided Ingwelala with the following educational material on snakes that we are likely to encounter in South Africa.

Social Spiders

Users visiting Sibon recently will have noticed the large social spider nest/web in the marula tree above the gazebo area. In South Africa the social spider Stegodyphus mimosarum occurs in the eastern parts. 


With the change of season, you may have noticed that the very scary looking solifugids have started making frequent appearances on your walls and floors, or in your shadow.

Southern Stiletto Snake

Chris and Auriel Thorpe in Bungalow # 197 found this Southern Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis bibronii), pictured below, along Heliotrope Loop on Sibon.

Spider: Golden Orb

An outstanding feature in the Ingwelala landscape during March was the Golden Orb spider. There were hundreds of them everywhere, spinning and guarding their webs, and going about their spider business.


The Springhare derived its name directly from the Dutch/Afrikaans name Springhaas which describes its mobility, almost kangaroo like. 


The Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) is a small antelope that is often seen on Ingwelala. I was recently asked by a Member why currently it seems that the Steenbok numbers are more prolific than usual.


The focus in this month’s report is another mammal that rarely makes it to the reception sightings book!


Stuart Woodhead from Bungalow # 153 took the stunning and interesting picture below of terrapins swamping a hippo resting up in the pan as Buffelsbed Hide.

The World Beneath the Reeds

If you come to a wilderness area such as the Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, you immediately notice the myriads of different land animal forms of all different shapes and sizes.


Falling in the Class Reptilia, tortoises are from the Order Chelonia and are parallel to other Orders Crocodilia and Squamata, these being crocodiles and snakes and lizards respectively.

Verreaux's Eagle Owl (Giant Eagle Owl)

Most mornings in camp, at precious dawn, if you listen very carefully and are able to shut out the rhythmic sound of your partner’s sleepy breathing, you can hear the distinct call of Verreaux's Eagle-Owl.

Vervet Monkeys

The troop of vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus pygerythrus) that frequents the Reception car park are a growing concern from the point of view of behavioural changes.

Vine Snake

A very interesting meal was witnessed first-hand by Rob and Sylvia Vollet in Bungalow # 148. This ingestion took place in their Mbombela garden, amongst the busy branches that overhang the bird bath. 

White-headed Vulture

The White-headed Vulture (Aegypius occipitalis) is one of five species of vultures that can be seen at Ingwelala. Of huge concern is the steady decline of population numbers for the White-headed Vulture.


Special mention is made of the two sausage trees (Kigelia Africana) at the office that have flowered twice this summer. The sausage tree is relatively well known and easy to identify when in flower and bearing fruit.

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