Tuesday, 25 November 2014


As Ubizane Wildlife Reserve we are always thrilled when we have guests who return to stay with us. This is why we have decided to profile one of the most distinguished returning guests to ever stay with us. November 2014 marks the 20th visit of the Norwegian Sir - Professor Eik-Nes Sturla to Ubizane and we wanted to share his story with everyone.

Professor Sturla, (as he is commonly known) studied at Minster University in Germany. He went back to Norway to start practising, in 1985 he became a Professor in the field of Ultra Sound and Women Health. In 1998 he became President of the World Federation of Ultra Sound. This position led him to his first visit to South Africa in 2000; he was the official guest of the South African Ultra Sound Association. Here is a Question and Answer on his life and his visits to Ubizane Wildlife Reserve.

What was the defining point in your life that led you to decide to be in the field of Ultra sound?
When I was nine years old I took a keen interest in photography and when I was studying in Germany one of my professors remarked how good my ultra sound pictures where and asked why and I told him that it was because I had been an amateur photographer for over 15 years and it was at that moment that I decided that this was what I wanted to do and from then on I have not turned back.
Who was the most iconic person to you in history?
Nkosi Albert Luthuli the work he did fighting apartheid in South Africa and him receiving a Nobel Peace Price for his efforts truly inspired me. The main inspiration came from my father who explained to me when I was 15 years old why Albert Luthuli was getting a Nobel Peace Price, he deeply touched me when he talked about apartheid and how Chief Luthuli was fighting it.
What is your favourite book?
Anything about Nelson Mandela and Nkosi Albert Luthuli is my favourite book.
Tell us about your family
I have one wife to whom I have been married for over 46 years now, I have three sons and eight grandchildren.
What is the greatest project of your career?
There are many big projects I have done in my line of work but the project of building an Ultra-Sound machine specifically for the African environment is the most exciting project I have ever been involved in. Building a machine that is not too sensitive and can work in the changing climates and extreme conditions in terms of weather and power shortages.
When did you first visit Ubizane Wildlife Reserve?
In March 2001 I booked a Safari trip and I stayed at Zululand Tree Lodge, I booked a game drive to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park  that was my first time here.
What aspect of Ubizane stood out to you that first visit?
The staffs, when we arrived, were exceptionally friendly and immediately I liked it.
How would you describe Ubizane to another person?
Ubizane is a paradise on earth, it frees me from the stress of work and the fatigue of research. Over the years I have made many friends and am making even more friends with the staff at Ubizane.
Why do you keep coming to Ubizane?
Ubizane has been so inspirational and calming to me that I bring my colleagues, students and family. Over the past 13 years I come sometimes twice or thrice a year because the place gives me a homely feel, the more I come the friendlier the place and the people become.
What would people not readily know about you?
I am very emotional mainly because I like people and their lives mean a lot to me.
What is the greatest compliment that you have ever been paid?
Being Knighted for my efforts in the field of Ultra Sound and Women health.
What makes you laugh?
Anything and everything. Humour is an integral part of my life because I work with very intelligent and highly ambitious people and without humour it would be difficult to coordinate them.
What’s your advice on how to become successful?
Education. Without education people cannot succeed.
What are your most poignant moments of Ubizane?
·        The Boma dinners with the warm atmosphere, the lights around the Fever trees and the general ambience of the dinners, are a memory I never forget.
·        At Safari Lodge the last 60 minutes before sunrise, having a cup of coffee while hearing only the birds and the animals is such a peaceful and serene time, free from any disturbances.

We as the Ubizane team are happy to have you Professor Sturla Eik-Nes and we look forward to your next visit, Sir.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

MaLungile vs Tiaan & Dwain- ALL THE ACTION IN PICTURES

*      The MaLungile vs Tiaan & Dwain Picture Story.  “Our famous feisty female croc, MaLungile, really put up a fight when she was being moved from the vehicle to her new pond at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve. Her adventurous first day is outlined in our blog http://ubizane.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-crocs-are-here.html Here is a step by step picture story of our amazing newcomer’s shenanigans on her first day on Ubizane Wildlife Reserve:

Friday, 7 November 2014



For over a year Ubizane Wildlife Reserve has been awaiting the arrival of the crocodiles. Now after tons of paperwork, payments and permits, the crocodiles are here. The float of ten one year old crocs consists of two males and eight females. The Ubizane team assembled at the pond which was prepared well in advance in anticipation of the new arrivals. Once two of the crocodiles had been offloaded, Chloe, our “Goatdarshian” decided to run into the pond and welcome the newcomers, which sent the whole team into a panic craze trying to get her out of there, one of the team members had to chase her out or risk her becoming a welcoming feast for the crocs. These guys are the first predatory animals on the reserve so Chloe thought they were the usual harmless neighbours she is used to.
Tiaan and Dwain did the work from taking the crocs out of the vehicle, carrying them to the pond side, removing the duct tape from the mouth and ushering them into the pond. This was no easy task as one of the males, who I nicknamed “Boris” (after every obstinate movie character in the ‘90s), made it very difficult for them to take him to the pond. Boris made a growling steam- like hissing sound and jerked around while lashing out with his tail. His escapades where put to shame by the displays of one of the female crocs, our General Manager Natascha named her “Ma Lungile”, for a good eight minutes she was struggling and fighting with Tiaan and Dwayne, every chance she got she would make a run for it into the Fever Tree Forest. The two movers sustained quite a number of cuts from her claws, thank God her mouth was duct taped otherwise it could have been worse. At one point “Ma Lungile” ran in the direction of the driver who was standing a bit far from the pond, he was like Usain Bolt in the 100meters at the Olympics.
While offloading croc number nine the team had a photo op with her. Once the crocs where released into the water they lay low for the whole day, probably just getting used to their new home or just resting from a very long trip to Ubizane. The entire Ubizane Team happily welcomes the new addition to our ever growing family.


The Crocodile {Crocodylus Niloticus}
The Nile crocodile is found throughout Africa. Large, lizard shaped reptile with four short legs and long muscular tail. The hide is rough and scaled. Juvenile Nile crocodiles are dark olive to brown with darker crossbands on tail and body. Adults are uniformly dark with darker crossbands on tail. 
Crocodile are found throughout South Africa in rivers, freshwater marshes, estuaries and in mangrove swamps.
Length: 2.5 to 5.5m; Weight: up to 1000 kg or more.
They live in lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps and brackish water, in deep pools and on sand banks with suitable nesting spots and a sufficient food supply.
The Nile crocodile is the most common crocodilian found in Africa today.
DIET: Up to 70% of the adult diet is fish. Other prey items may include zebras, hippos, porcupines, pangolins, and migrating wildebeest.
Crocodiles are gregarious animals. Groups of crocodiles are known as "floats" when in the water, and on lands, groups are referred to as "basks". The group sizes depend primarily on availability of or abundance of food sources and may range from as few as two crocs to as many as 200 individuals in a group.
Sexual maturity relates to size. Males are mature at about 10 feet at approximately 10 years of age, where as females at about 6.5 feet at approximately 10 years of age.
Females nest in November and December on sandy shorelines, dry stream beds, or riverbanks. 
Females lay 25 to 100 eggs in the sand. 
She guards until they hatch 3 months later. 
When young crocodiles are hatching, either parent may help them out of the egg by rolling it between their tongue and palate. This cracks the shell allowing for an easier escape.
LIFE EXPECTANCY = 45 years in the wild, up to 80 years in captivity.
Nile crocodiles have no natural predators.
Outside water, crocodiles can meet competition from other dominant savannah predators, notably lions and leopards


Whether it’s chasing Chloe or bringing in the Croc’s – it’s all in a day’s work at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve.







Thursday, 30 October 2014


I got excited about the game drive, I visualized myself taking a picture under the tall legs of a giraffe. While doing all this I felt a sense of fear, I feared that I would get attacked by an animal or get bitten by a snake and that took away most (if not all) of my confidence. At 15 00 hours it was time to go and I had no form of journalistic armour to take my mind off my paranoid thoughts. The tour consisted of a French family of five who were taking an eight day holiday going around South African safaris and game reserves. Their enthusiasm and curiosity of the animals soon rubbed off on me and I soon began to enjoy the drive.
My joy especially came from seeing the animals in their natural environment, the way their eyes quizzically stared at the truck and how after just a few moments they would either turn and run, or scamper away shyly or simply went back to eating or sleeping. The serenity of their peace in their natural environment made me realise just how important it is to preserve the environment.
The drive was good for me though I did not share my fellow tour members’ enthusiasm at seeing every animal; I had more joy from noting the characteristics and mannerisms of the animals. These are just a few which I noted.

·        The cat walking - modelling female giraffe
·        The dismissive stare of a male giraffe chewing the curd
·        The jaunty moody steps of the male Inyala
·        The flirty eyes of the female inyala
·        The obstinate warthog
·        The elusive skip of the red duiker.
·        The hyperactive monkeys
·        The gossiping ostriches
·        The comical and playful eyes of the wildebeest
·        The austere zebra
My fears where allayed because of this drive, I got to understand that animals are not aggressive as long as their natural environment is not disturbed. My favourite animal is and will always be the giraffe. I learnt that the female giraffe are dotting and very loving to the babies and the male giraffe are very dismissive of the young giving them a gentle but firm kick whenever they get too close to them. The male parental instinct usually kicks in when their life, children or territory is under threat. I also learnt that, the kick of a giraffe can destroy a car’s engine, so there goes my dream of taking a picture under the giraffe legs.
 I really got a feel of Ubizane and it's purpose, the Ubizane Game drive gives an experience that’s unique for each person ensuring that the joy that nature brings never gets extinct thus keeping people conscious of how nature is an essential part of life.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

WRITE Relief - Aiding Rural Education, Globally.

Meet Justin Brogan, the face behind Write Relief organization aiding rural education in South Africa as well as East and West Africa.

The Write Relief Organization was started in 2005 and has gone on a number of adventures stretching throughout Southern, East and West Africa. Write Relief's hope is to take their Expedition Vehicle, the CHUMMER, and go on an adventure, exploring Africa and helping schools, children, missions and orphanages on their route.

The expedition starts at the most Southern tip of South Africa, Cape Agulhas and then makes its way in an anti-clockwise rout around the inside perimeter of South Africa.

The route that Justin takes will cover various terrains involving gravel and tar roads, wetland and mountains. He also visits protected areas such as St. Lucia, Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

In his travels Justin will encounter many forms of social structures, beliefs and traditions: bringing educational awareness to everyone he meets, right around South Africa.

Ubizane Wildlife Reserve had the privilege to assist Justin on his travel with a night's stay at Zululand Safari Lodge on Friday the 12th of September.

After checking in, Justin asked if we could go with him to a primary school to hand out stationery as well as other gifts to the children. 

Elizabeth and the principal of Ntuthuko Primary School
Justin, accompanied by Elizabeth and Dennis, went to the Ntuthuko Primary School in the local community. Upon arrival they were taken to the Principal's office where Justin explained what he did and that he was there to hand out stationery to the school and to the children and asked if the Principal could get some of the children to go to his vehicle to receive some stationery and gifts.

Everyone was very excited to see what Justin had in the back of the CHUMMER and before you knew it, a group of children had assembled behind Justin and his vehicle.

A group of 20 boys and girls were then randomly chosen to receive a hat, a backpack with a pen, pencil and ruler, and a water bottle. This group also took part in a small competition to see who can guess the name of Justin's vehicle.

Elizabeth helping Justin hand out some gifts and stationary to a few lucky children.
Justin and the young boy who won the competition.
Justin then opened a box filled with rulers, and with the help of Elizabeth, started handing them out to the children.

Justin handing out stationary to the children.

Ubizane Wildlife Reserve would like to wish Justin all the best on his endeavour to aid rural schools and children with stationery. Something so many of us take for granted.

For more details on Justin's travels, like his Facebook page,


Or follow him on his website,


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Ubizane’s new Reservationist!

For all our guests who have lately been booking stays and for all future new guests who would like to see the face behind the beautiful voice you hear over the phone when you book a stay at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve, meet Precious.

Precious has been part of the Ubizane family for the last couple of months and as tradition, we decided to ask her a few questions about what she likes and how she is adapting to staying in the bush seeing that she comes from the city.

1) Where are you originally from?
I'm from Newcastle but I spend my high school years in Underberg because my parents wanted to send me to a good school. So I consider both towns 'home'.

2) What inspired you to join the Ubizane Family?
I was a bit tired of city hotels and only dealing with corporate clients. I wanted something more challenging and leisure hotels offer more variety of things to do and you get to know the people as well.
So a growing lodge like Ubizane was the first choice for me.

3) What's the best part of living in the Bush?
The beach! LoL because my job is dealing with people and putting a smile on your face even when deep down you know you have been pushed too far. I also want time off to just be alone and grumpy like any other human being. But most importantly observing how nature works and appreciating the things most people take for granted. For instance, the high rate of Rhino poaching. Being here has opened my eyes to how serious it is and how this beautiful animal will soon be extinct if this is not stopped.

4) If you could choose what animal you could be for a day, which animal would you choose and why?
Growing up I was obsessed with dolphins. I love their playful behaviour and wonderful stories about how they risk their lives to save humans. They are just the Cutest!!

5) What animal reminds you of a cartoon character?
The first time I saw a warthog here at Ubizane, I immediately thought of Pumba. He was my favourite character. I just loved how silly he was and how he didn't like it when anyone but his friends pointed out his flaws. I guess that is how I also dealt with bullies and peer pressure growing up.

6) Out of the BIG 5, which animal is your favourite?
It would have to be the lion. Observing the two women that raised me (my mom and grandmother). I learned from them how a woman like a lioness gives a man his place and let him be the king but still go out and be a hunter that provides for her family, be a mother and wife. The lioness never tries to outshine the king and that is what I want to be as well.

7)  What city luxury do you miss most out in the Bush?
The shoe shopping (hides) and actually wearing heels out LOL.

8) Seeing you work in an office, if you have an Ostrich attack you in the office and all you had to defend yourself with was a ruler or a stapler, what would you choose and how would you defend yourself?
Such a bad selection! :) I think I would go for the ruler to try and chase it away with. How I will survive the kick, I don't know!

From the Ubizane Team, we are very happy to have Precious as part of our Family and hope she enjoys every moment in the Bush with us.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ubizane’s very own, Chloè the Goatdashian.

When guests arrive at Ubizane Tree Lodge Reception, there’s always one member of the Ubizane team that they either can't wait to meet or meet as they arrive and her name is… Chloè the goat, or as Wayne, our Lodge Manager has nicknamed her, Chloè: Ubizane’s very own Goatdashian.

Chloè was found about a year ago stuck in one of our fences that borders the community. It isn't unusual for the community’s goats to either get stuck in our fences or to even get through the fence and enter Ubizane. When this does happen, we normally either release the goats back in the community side or if the goat is very young or has been injured, we take it into our care until the goat is back to full strength or until a community member comes and claims the goat back.

With Chloè, she was very young when one of the Ubizane staff found her in the fence. We decided to take her into our care until one of the community members come and claim her.
As days, weeks and months passed, Chloè was never claimed back and has become a big part of our team as well as Ubizane's mascot. She has her own very unique personality and is always a few steps behind Natascha (Ubizane’s General Manager).

The staff at Ubizane had to learn quickly that one of Chloè’s favorite daily activities is to eat almost every piece of important paper she could find, everything from guests information pamphlets to our daysheets and we couldn't use, “The goat ate my paperwork” as an excuse every time.

Chloè’s mornings normally start with joining us at our early morning meetings, she has her very own chair whereby she climbs on and either listens to what we discuss or taking a quick snooze before her hectic busy day starts (you know the life of a Goatdashian has never a dull moment).

When Chloè isn’t found eating paper or following Natascha, she is sure to be found lying on one of the Tree Lodge swimming pool loungers with her friend Ziquenya, our anti-poaching dog, getting a nice mid-day or afternoon tan and a quick nap before jumping up and bleating either for attention or more food.

 Chloè has become such a big part of our team and we know that there will never be a dull moment with her here at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve.