Reserve Activities - February 2024

Hello, Ingwelala Members! Happy Easter!

February has been a stiflingly hot but incredibly productive month here at Ingwelala. Our main focus for the month was some heavy-duty maintenance and upgrading at Sibon camp, which included adding Solar Power, work to the thatched roofing, the swimming pool, the electric fence and the area around Sibon pan. We are excited to share the result with you after the hard work of the Maintenance, Conservation, Building and Pool crews over the course of the month.

With very little rainfall, we experienced some of our hottest days for the entire summer, so the pool was a constant hub of activity. Sightings were still fabulous though, with multiple lion, leopard and wild dog sightings enjoyed by many, along with some great rarities too!

The bush is starting to dry out and the shades of green are waning as our Fire Danger Index bounced between “Moderate” and “Dangerous/Very Dangerous” levels, where we are now.



Lowest Temp: 13.0°C (Avg: 21.2°C)
Highest Temp: 36.0°C (Avg: 19.8°C)


Rainfall for the month: 21.3mm
(Avg: 76.3.7mm)


Projects of the month:

Our main focus areas were:

  • Sibon Maintenance and Upgrades:
    • Thatching
    • Swimming Pool
    • Electric Fence
    • Clearing around Sibon Pan
    • Other general maintenance and upkeep, including adding Solar Power
  • Road, crossing and airstrip maintenance as usual
  • Veld Rehabilitation and Water Conservation
  • Camera Trap Research continued; Southern Ground-Hornbill Research
  • General maintenance, upkeep and neatening:
    • Road signs
    • Main garden at reception
    • Bomas, picnic sites and hides
    • Elephant fence and lath screens in camp


Our Month Expanded:

Veld Rehabilitation

This month we started on some Brush Packing on Buffelsbed. We have selected multiple areas that need across the reserve, all focused on grass communities. The by-products from clearing at Sibon were used to get this underway.

Brush packing involves taking plant material, old thatching grass, etc. and using it to pack over an affected area in the hopes of reducing soil erosion and increasing the chance for vegetation to grow back with a reduced risk of herbivory. The areas we have selected have been chosen because of a lack of established grass communities where they should be well established.

If you see these areas on the reserve, don’t be alarmed - it has been done for a reason, and we will be monitoring the areas closely over a long-term period to ensure we give the grass communities the best chance of re-establishing.

Brush Packing in progress
Basic brush packing – initial layer


Social Media Update

As many of you know, we have 2 Social Media accounts running - one on Instagram and one on Facebook.

We love seeing your sightings on the Facebook group and would love to share some of your sightings on our Instagram page as well, if you want us to.

We have already started with this, but if you’d like to submit photos or videos for us to share on Instagram, please do. You can email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and we will post the best ones that come through. You can also tag us on Instagram for us to re-post as well.

Please bear our Social Media Policy in mind, as always, and thank you to everyone who shares photographs and videos on our pages already! We really appreciate it.

If you want to join/follow our pages, search for the details or click on the links below.


  Ingwelala Private Reserve

(This is Private Group that requires admission and is only for the Members of Ingwelala and their families.)



Animals in Camp

We have had quite a few different animals visiting us in camp over the summer. This included wild dogs, lions, leopards, many antelopes, quite a few buffaloes, a hippo at the causeway for a few days, hyenas, monkeys, and baboons (along with many others). Some of the highlights were the predators, the bushbuck family, and the hippo, all of which were quite a surprise! It is always a treat to see them in camp, and we are grateful every single time we do.

Monkeys, hyenas, warthogs, and baboons have been our most regular visitors, and we’d like to remind and encourage everyone to give the animals their space, and to please not feed them. This applies to both active and passive feeding: actively leaving food out/offering it, and passively forgetting food in an area the animals can access.

We know sometimes it slips the mind, but please be aware that feeding animals is a serious no-no. It is discouraged particularly because of the change we see in animals’ behaviour when it becomes habitual for them. This can put both humans and animals in danger, and it encourages animals to stick around when they should be moving around in search of food, as would be the natural pattern for them if there was no regular food available through us. This is particularly prevalent with baboons, monkeys, and hyenas now - all of which are capable of serious harm and will habitually hang around and become more brazen as the feeding continues. This can also lead to destructive behaviours, which we want to avoid.

As is, the ongoing repairs to lath screens from the baboons are quite extensive, and we want to minimise the damage caused by animals that have learned to hang around camp as a result.

Please also report any feeding of animals or strange animal behaviours to the Conservation Team, so we can get to the bottom of it and encourage those animals to move out of camp safely before it becomes habitual and comfortable for them.

Thank you to those that are mindful of this - please keep it up and remind others to do the same.

Some animals seen in camp over the last 3 months


Sighting and Spotlighting Etiquette on Argyle Road

Most of us are seasoned bush-goers and have spent quite a bit of time out there on game viewers. So, we know you probably know this, but following discussions with the Warden and the other properties in the Umbabat Nature Reserve, we felt it would be good to give a refresher of our Sightings Etiquette, particularly when viewing animals from Argyle Road.

If you stop to view animals on the tar road, or are approaching a sighting on the tar road, please take note of the following:

  • Approach slowly, so as not to disrupt the animals or the sighting.
  • Respect the animals’ comfort zones. Do not try to drive too close to them, to push them off the road, or speed through/around the sighting.
  • Do not block the road. If the sighting is on one side of the road, stick to that side of the road so that other vehicles can pass you easily in the open lane.
  • Do not overcrowd a sighting. If there is traffic build-up, once you’ve had some time rather move on and come back later once it has quietened down a bit.
  • Be mindful of the fact that the tar road is a main servitude - there will be many vehicles up and down the road, including service vehicles and potentially at times even emergency service vehicles. It is imperative, therefore, that we keep the road as open as possible.

When using a spotlight at night, please take note of the following:

  • Please refrain from using spotlights on the tar road as much as possible, particularly when driving past housing/accommodation near the road.
  • Please do not shine directly into an animals’ eyes. Rather shine below the animal, or on their back, but not directly on the face.
  • If you can, please use a red/coloured filter when viewing animals at night. This is easier for their eyes to adjust to and has less impact than a normal spotlight.
  • Please do not disrupt/impact hunting animals by using a spotlight - you will either give the predator’s position away, or you might unfairly expose the prey and disadvantage them.
  • Please turn off unnecessary lights when approaching other vehicles, and do not shine at them with your spotlight.

For full game drive etiquette, click here. Thank you!


Our Staff Member of the Month

This month our superhero of the team is Nellie Ndlovu. Nellie is our wonderful, smiley recycling area attendant who makes sure all our waste in camp is sorted into the correct recycling categories, and that the area is kept neat and tidy, and cleaned regularly.

Nellie also helps the rest of the Conservation team in the main garden and car park when she can.

If you see her, please say a big thank you!





Words by Tess Woollgar. Images courtesy of Tess Woollgar, Josh Hibbett, John Llewellyn and Willichia Venter


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