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August 17, 2014

“All Creatures Great and Small” Samara Private Game Reserve

All Creatures Great and Small

It is winter at Samara and whilst we cuddle around fires at night, we have also been enjoying some wonderful warm weather with midday highs in the mid to high twenties. This together with the unique majesty of a winter Karoo sunset is making Samara a most desirable winter getaway. Add to that sightings of bat eared fox, porcupine, aardvark and baby giraffe plus big log fires, red wine and delectable food – what more can you want? Perhaps rhino and cheetah, which we are seeing too.

Flocks of Blue Crane

Blue cranes abound and this is the magical season of the Blue Crane mating – haunting, breathtaking beautiful sounds never to be forgotten – He swoops low, prances and flutters his feathers in his endeavours to entrance his mate.

Sibella and Cubs
Now that Sibella is back on her own, with her two cubs finally cutting the apron strings and setting off– she is once again displaying her skills as a hunter. Earlier this week she had successfully targeted an adult kudu and for a few days thereafter was seen lying around with an extremely full stomach. So much so that Tendai thought she might be in fact be looking to extend her maternal prowess to a further litter of cubs!! It seems however that she is presently content to stop at 20! Chilli & Pepper, the two cubs, are also interestingly enough, apparently happy to maintain their brother/sister coalition and also meeting with success on the hunting front. They have also been sighted looking replete and fully satisfied with themselves.
The dryness of the veld at the moment is coaxing the buffalo into the camp for a taste of fresh green grass and water from the fountain. This much to the delight of the guests who can sit on the stoep and watch these bovine beauties.
The Viewpoint with its proximity to Paardekraal Dam has proved to be a hugely successful for sightings of cheetah, rhinos and all the various antelope and Burchells Zebra
Samara the Cheetah!

Friends in SanParks darted “Samara” at Mountain Zebra National park to put a new collar on. Samara is a cheetah who is one of Sibella’s progeny who has been propagating the species around South Africa!
Said Murray: “I thought you might like to see a pic, not the most flattering of her though, but she was happily asleep and in good condition, she has 3 youngsters which were about 100m from her when she was woken up”.
Sibella Watercolours

A recent guest painted these beautiful watercolours of Sibella.
We will be selling them at R150 per watercolour print plus postage and packaging. Proceeds will go towards the film on Sibella that we are trying to make before this incredibly special cat ends her natural life. It will be made by longtime friend of Samara Tim Neary and will honour her story: “From Tortured to Treasured”. Anyone wishing to donate directly to the making of the film can contact me on We also need funding as our diesel costs have gone up hugely to protect rhinos on nights of full moon so again anyone wishing to contribute please get in touch with me.
Leopard and Brown Hyena Spoor

In early June, we had friends from the industry, Thornybush Collection, (Glenn and Inna van Heerden, Nic Griffin and Andre Cilliers and their guests) come and visit us. And Andy Payne, who used to run Wilderness Safaris for 20 years, whom we have been trying to get to Samara for years!! On a trip up to Mountain Retreat, they stopped and discovered leopard and brown hyena tracks. We now need to ascertain whether this is a new leopard or whether this is the same leopard we captured in the camera trap in January. And a huge joy that brown hyena have made their way back to the area! These animals were persecuted and have not been present in the area since the 1970’s so it is wonderful that they are coming back.

Rhino Horn Trade

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa asked for input on talks about the possibility of legalising the rhino horn trade. “Stakeholders are invited to indicate whether they would like to make representations to the panel. Their inputs will be considered in formulating recommendations to government, on an appropriate position on the legalisation of rhino horn trade,” the department said in a statement. A panel of 10 experts was established to help an inter-ministerial committee with its investigation. It was expected to report to the committee by the end of the year. “[One of] the key areas of work to be undertaken by the panel include analysis of the current rhino situation and interventions to address illegal killing of rhino and illegal trade in rhino horn, with a focus on government initiative.”
Other areas the panel would focus on were the socio-economic impact of wildlife trafficking (illegal killing and illegal trade) on communities, game farms, and private game reserves.
Since January 496 rhino have been poached in South Africa and 141 alleged poachers arrested
Samara is opposed to the legal trade which we believe would signal the end of rhinos in the wild. If you would like to voice your opinion please e mail me at or join in the debate on our facebook page

Tripadvisor Rankings and Guest Comments:
Our Tripadvisor rankings and guest comments continue to spell out the wonders of our special corner of the Karoo
“Magical and Spectacular” -Family Trip to the Mountain Retreat
“This place is amazing. Had the best time of my life! Definitely enjoyed the cheetahs.”- Bruil (TWINS)
This place is absolutely stunning. One of the best game reserves I have been too. This place is beautiful!! Outstanding!!!!!
“Sublime, Thank you for the Aardvark” – Tom, Kate, Emma, Thomas Imrie
“Wonderful stay, friendly staff and service was great. Sad to go – we will be back next year. Thank you!”– Scrheuder

Category: Blog

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