03 Mar Gone Wild
Mabula Private Game Reserve is teeming with wildlife, including the famous Big Five and 15 species of antelope. Each year a ground census is conducted, and this is combined with the results of the helicopter survey which takes place every three years, plus the daily observations of the guides and reserve managers. In this way, it is possible to build up a comprehensive picture of the wildlife of Mabula and of the health of each population.
The helicopter census for 2016 showed surprising increases in some populations and decreases in others, although none of these changes was considered problematic. Mabula Private Game Reserve covers more than 120km2 (75m2), a huge territory with massive herds of wildlife. This is roughly half the size of Ranthambore National Park in India. The official game counts totalled almost 3000 animals. Within these numbers the zebra, wildebeest, warthog, impala, kudu, nyala and buffalo were amongst the largest populations. The undulating grasslands make for easy spotting of the wildlife whilst on safari, including the big cats that inhabit the reserve such as the cheetah, lion and leopard, which prey on the herbivorous populations. The ostrich population has seen a fall in numbers as the cheetah seem to find these large birds particularly appetising.
Our new leopard research project has been established in order to monitor the number of these elusive big cats which live in the reserve, or visit from neighbouring farming areas. Using camera traps has enabled the researchers to identify three different individual leopards so far. Once we understand more about their habits and movements, images of these cats will be placed in camp for guests to see. Guests will then be able to identify which leopard they have seen on their daily safaris and by sharing this information with their guides, they can play an important part in helping the reserve manage information on the leopards and their movements throughout the area and seasons.
A visit to Mabula Game Lodge never disappoints. Whether you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for some much-needed relaxation, or explore the bushveld in search of the Big Five, Mabula is definitely the place to be.