ranger diaries

This page is specially for our rangers, who are constantly coming across interesting things on their guest drives through the Reserve. Here you can keep an eye out for the latest news and intriguing discoveries from Bartholomeus Klip.

Looking forward to the next generation

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Calling all hands on deck.... The lambing season is drawing near as the staff of Elandsberg Farms gather the sheep for scanning. With sweat on their brow they herd roughly four hundred and thirty sheep together and guide them one by one to be scanned for lambs.This scan will show if they are carrying 1 or 2 lambs and Abraham our sheep manager is able to predict his birth rate. A productive day was had with good humour and pride as the numbers rolled in.225 Single lambs / 177 Double lambs (Twins) / 30 inconclusive to be rescanned at a later time One of the highest turn-overs in the farm’s history- Well done to the sheep team!

A fresh breath of air

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Spekboom  Portulacaria afra, also known as elephant bush, dwarf jade plant and pork bush, is a small-leaved  indigenous succulent plant found in Southern Africa. It is a soft-wooded, semi-evergreen upright shrub or small tree, usually 2.5–4.5 metres. The spekboom is widespread in the Southern Africa. In this moist climate, it is relatively rare, and tends to favour dryer rocky outcrops and slopes. It is also found in much denser numbers in the dryer Southern Cape.

 

Can you eat this plant? Yes, it is commonly eaten in Southern Africa, usually as one component of a salad or a soup but the most amazing quality this plant has is its ability for carbon sequestration. It is capable of either C3 or CAM carbon fixation, depending on factors such as the season and the age of the leaves. In layman’s terms it absorbs large quantities of carbon dioxide, almost four tons per hectare. It is also water wise and drought resistant and can survive on just 250 -350mm of water a year. Make sure you add this to your garden it can definitely improve the quality of air you breath.

 

Meet the Cats

Friday, 20 January 2017

Caracals are medium-sized wild cats native to Africa; it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and threatened by habitat loss due to  human habitation and farming of natural habitat. Its  habitat includes semi-deserts, open savannas, and scrublands. Typically nocturnal, we say typically because out in Nature you’re not allowed to use two words , ALWAYS & NEVER, because nature can surprise you most of the time as we were surprised by the Cat in picture! Caracals are highly secretive and difficult to observe. They are nocturnal but can be active during the day in protected areas. Caracals are carnivores and feed mostly on hares, rodents, rabbits, hyraxes, antelopes and birds. 

African Wildcat- Rare and endangered,however, there is currently thought to be at least five different subspecies: the European wildcat, the African wildcat , the Southern African wildcat  the Asian wildcat and the Chinese alpine steppecat. These cats are hardly ever seen and to get a picture with  the cat and its prey is very rare too.  We are very fortunate to have got  pictures of these cats walking around during the day on our Reserve and hope to share many more.

 

Meet the Team

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Its a new year and a new team and we are very happy to welcome Jonty and Rebecca to the guiding department. They both have their own skill set with Jonty a keen mountain biker and birder and Rebecca a trails guide who loves everything creep crawly and of course cuddly!

They will be sharing their stories with you weekly and we hope that you will be able to learn more about our fascinating Reserve and the Flora and Fauna found here.We do hope that you will get to meet them when you next visit us in the future.

Welcome to the family

Monday, 10 October 2016

Meet Andrew our new Merino Stud Ram bought at a recent auction and originally from Craddock and named after his breeder Andrew Jordaan.Andrew spent a month in Bloemfoentein at a facility who store and collect samples from animals and are a specialist semen centre where breeders can have samples frozen of their animals in case something happens to them and  if another breeders would like to purchase a specific Rams DNA for their stock.Andrew was brought back to the farm to help start the stud programme with our merinos ewes.He had a new haircut after is arrival with over 10kg of wool sheared .After a few weeks of rest from his travels,Andrew will start his new job and Abraham,our sheep Manager and the sheep team are very excited to have him here on Elandsberg- watch this space..!

A helping hand for the bees

Thursday, 8 September 2016

With all the flowers around the bees are having a tough time pollinating them all. Luckily they have a helping hand in the form of Monkey beetles and various fly species. The down side is that the monkey beetles eat the pollen. In the end nature has a way of working things out. 

Some of the pollen gets stuck to the body of these little creatures which is transported to several different flowers as they move around them, thus pollinating them. Be sure to watch them go about their business next time you are in die field as they provide great amusement while fulfilling a vital role in nature.

Spring is on the way

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

It is that time of the year where every day is warming up little by little. That means Spring is on the way. If you ask anyone living in the southern hemisphere they will tell you the 1st of September is the start of Spring. The reserve is starting to come alive with colour as the flowers start to gather in numbers awaiting this day. If the number of flowers that are already out is anything to go by, this might turn out to be a very good flower season. Be sure not to miss it! 

From 0 to 100 in 2 months

Friday, 5 August 2016

The past 2 months saw a remarkable amount of rain fall on the reserve. The dam has gone from almost completely empty to just about 100%. The pictures show a steady increase in the dam level thanks to 250mm of rain funnelled in from the mountain side.

With the dam so full it is the perfect time to take a canoe and enjoy a relaxing row while taking in the scenery. Plenty of aquatic birdlife has also come back to spend a sunny day on the dam.

Time for the sheep to get a new hairstyle

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

July is the month almost every sheep on the farm gets a haircut. This has to be a well-orchestrated event when there are close to 2600 sheep to sheer. Early morning signals the start of the sheering marathon which carries on until late afternoon. Once they received their trendy 2016 hairstyle they are returned to the flock to show off to their friends.

The wool on the other hand is first inspected. After any dirty bits of wool are removed it is sorted according to quality and length. Each of these piles is then compacted into bags to be sent to Pretoria where tests are done on it to determine the grade. The different grades are sold on auction and turned into the latest winter fashion for you to enjoy.

Geometric Tortoise Update 2016

Thursday, 30 June 2016

There was great excitement on the farm yesterday as some of the Geometric tortoise females were scanned to see if they are carrying any eggs.  This is done with an ultra sound machine either by the back or the front legs. Once they have been scanned and recorded they are put back into the veld where they can safely lay their eggs. They will be monitored on a regular basis to see if we can expect any new additions to the Bartholomeus Klip family.

Lovely winter rain

Monday, 20 June 2016

The past week has seen a bit of rain falling on the reserve filling a lot of the dams and streams. The first picture shows a view almost 180 degrees from Ronde dam. The rain also brings cold weather in the mornings with mist collecting on some of the bushes.When the sun comes out to warm everything it creates beautiful reflections on the drops. 

Drought shrinks BK dam to a fraction of its normal size

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Recent aerial photos by Lee Krawczyk-Brown show how the current absence of rainfall is affecting the dam at Bartholomeus Klip.

New Buffalo Bull Arrives

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Its been a long wait for our new buffalo bull but Virgil has arrived and is settling in very nicely with his new herd.The cows have been very accomodating and Virgil is relaxed and adjusting to his new home.

Its a Leopard!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

At last we have captured an image of a leopard in our Reserve. Our Reserve manager believes it to be a new male not recorded before on Elandsberg Nature Reserve. The images will be sent through to the Cape Leopard Trust who can hopefully identify him.There were other images of the leopard spraying  the bushes around the camera, hence our assumption that he is a male.We will keep you updated.

February Camera Trap Pictures

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Here are the latest camera trap photographs, no leopard yet but some great images of all sorts of antelope,birds and mammals using the watering hole.

New Camera Traps

Friday, 15 January 2016

We are always looking for great photographs of the animals,scenery and plants in our Reserve to share. We have started off 2016 with some new camera traps placed around the Reserve to monitor the activity of the animals and to capture images of  some of the more elusive night animals. For the past few weeks we have been able to capture the Aardwolf, Aardvark and Carcal on camera. We will be adding more regular posts and hope we will be able to share some images of the elusive leopard soon.

Game Capture

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

With the dry months ahead, the Reserve manager and the team undertook a capture, to control the population numbers and to protect the veld from overgrazing and  maintain healthy populations of animals in our Reserve during the dry months. The Karoo Game team was on hand to assist with Black Wildebeest, Eland and Bontebok being moved. A few of the eland calves were donated to the Gantouw project in Cape Town and the Bontebok family groups have been relocated to various farms around the Cape.

Autumn on the farm

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

With the chill in the air the winter is fast approaching.The veld is dry from the long summer and we are still waiting for a good pouring of rain. Our dam is the lowest in 15 years but the springs are still flowing and life continues on the farm.We have seen a few great sightings of the Geometric Tortoises in the Reserve and a glimpse of the Nerine humilis, a beautiful pink flower which grows upto 400mm tall.Its has a  relatively wide distribution and is not a threathened species. These plants undergo a dormant summer period, so are able to survive long, hot and dry spells. Flying insects such as bees and butterflies easily pollinate the striking flowers that raise the stamens above the flower. The seeds are dispersed by wind along the ground.

Planting time on Elandsberg

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

It is the time of year on the farm when the tractors with their planters can be seen on the fields from early morning till  after dusk. Wheat, barley and oats are planted aswell as canola which brightens the area with its yellow flower in August and September when it blooms.

Seen in our Reserve

Monday, 30 March 2015

Armed with their new camera the BK field guides have been able to photograph more of the wonderful sightings of animals, plants and birds seen on the nature drives.It has been a busy season and we are pleased to say the sightings of the Geometric Tortoises has increased  this season and the game have been moving around the Reserve with more sightings of Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra closer the the dam.

Newly hatched Geometric Tortoises found

Friday, 20 March 2015

Its been a great end to the week with the discovery of four newly hatched Geometric Tortoises in our  Reserve. Jackie our tortoise keeper who  was surveying  the Reserve,came across the nest with the newly hatched tortoises. They were in good health and will be monitored very closely.

Large Geometric Spotted

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Heading off on the nature drives, you are never quite certian what you will see. Our guests were in for a treat yesterday with Daniel spotting a very large female Geometric Tortoise in the Road. A huge thanks to Mr Gamble for the lovley pictures.These critically endangered tortoises  are solitary and are confined to a small corner of the Western Cape in lowland fynbos. Their lifespan is estimated to be around 20-35 years.Elandsberg Private Nature Reserve has the largest known population of the Geometric Tortoises.

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