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  • Thank you more particularly for arranging my trip to nDzuti, at such short notice and against all the odds of stolen passport and therefore also no currency exchange! I did so appreciate the utter trust you placed in me when you paid for the entire trip yourself! I hope you did not have a sleepless night! In recommending nDzuti I think you interpreted my wishes exactly! The style of the place suited me perfectly and it was the most marvellous experience. The facilities, as you will have found, were fairly basic but quite adequate for a comfortable stay. Brett and Sherie were welcoming and hospitable. Sherie supplied plenty of nourishing food for breakfast, lunch and supper in a friendly, homely fashion. Brett was a great guide on our safari drives. The lodge was full for the first night, including a lively and talkative family group, but when they departed midday on Monday it was then calm and peaceful, with just a young couple and myself, and it was a real joy to be in the midst of the vastness of the bush with no other people within sight or sound! The wildlife, apart from fairly ubiquitous impala, was somewhat scarce (not that I have any measure of experience to go by!) but I liked the feeling that there was no guarantee of seeing game that was free to roam far and wide. Sometimes fleeting glimpses were all the more exciting for being so brief! We did get very good viewings as well! On the first evening we saw quite a wide range of wildlife, including a close-up of a very large rhino who was not in any hurry! On the way home in the dark we came across a lioness with two 6 week old cubs (what a great guide we had!). I was amazed how unperturbed she was by our presence and was moving in a very leisurely way, so we had extremely good viewing. Brett found them again the following evening, just as relaxed, with the cubs playing within yards of the landrover - fantastic! Talking of lions, that same evening, as we relaxed after supper, Brett heard a couple of lions roaring some distance away and said "Let's go and find them!" - so he did, and in the spotlight we saw two fine males unhurriedly patrolling their territory. Again they were totally unfazed by our presence, stopping for a scratch and a lie down. While the lights were turned off to conserve batteries, a roar from a far distant lion prompted a response from our two, and their roaring just a few yards from us in the darkness was a spine-tingling experience! We spent some time tracking a leopard which was stalking impala and which Brett was determined to find, but we had to be content with leopard tracks! Elephant were unusually elusive and it was only on the final morning that Brett located a fine 25 year old male after hearing a solitary trumpet from across the river, so I did see all the big five except the leopard. Together with sightings of many other mammals, birds and reptiles as well as the bush, the scenery and stunning panoramic views it was a wonderful and memorable safari trip! Some people might want slightly more sophisticated accommodation and cuisine but the style of nDzuti in the hands of Brett and Sherie suited me very well. With many thanks for your excellent arrangements of my safari trip, best wishes, Gervase.
    - Gervase .UK
Hoedspruit Accommodation
RoomsForAfrica.com

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Beetle Mania- Dung Beetles in Africa

Published 9 September 2010 under Travelogue • Comments: 36
Beetle Mania- Dung Beetles in Africa

 Beetle Mania - Dung beetles in Africa

Mention Dung Beetles and we all think of a pair of large black beetles struggling to manoeuvre a hefty ball of dung along a difficult trail. Nonetheless there are over 4000 different species of dung beetles each having a specific technique of using dung to feed and breed. If fact it’s been said God had an inordinate fondness for beetles in general.

This ball rolling technique appears to have evolved to minimise competition with other beetles most of which simple burrow and bury smaller balls of dung beneath the actual dung heap. This species of dung beetles have specially adapted front legs that aid in the collecting of the fresh dung and fashioning it into the ball.  In the Scarabaeus sacer species the males prepare the nuptial ball and rolls it away with his back feet while the female rides on top of the ball or follows behind. He then buries it and she follows him into the hole where they mate and then feed off the ball of dung. This can take several days.

 

Once at the chosen site the female goes down into the chamber alone. She lays a large single egg into the ball and then smoothes the dung over the hole to keep the inside of the ball fresh for the hatched grub to devour. She then emerges to repeat the process. In a life span of 4 years she can produce 50-60 balls, each one containing a single egg. The egg hatches within a week or so and the larva feeds on the dung ball over a few weeks and undergoes the change to become a pupa and later an adult beetle.

 

The wings of dung beetles are terrifically powerful and operate on a sophisticated system of hydraulics. Have you ever tried to hold a dung beetle in your fist? (The residual smell aside!) These beetles “pump up” their wings into the flight position by combining blood and air pressure that is then later released after flight. The resultant movement of the wings is incredibly rapid, moving up and down between 40 and 90 times per second.

(A humming bird by contrast moves its wings 30 to 50 times a second.)

 

Here in Africa we owe much to dung beetles. They remove and bury dung thereby controlling the fly population and the spread of disease. Natural fertilizer is better distributed and soil porosity improved.  In1968 Australia imported dung beetles to control their fly problem.

Dung beetles are preyed on by many birds, lizards and toads while the nests are often violated by jackal and honey badger that crack open the huge brood balls and eat the larva.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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