Fishing at Sibuya Game Reserve

The Kob is probably one of the most targeted edible saltwater fish off South Africa’s coastline and is known by many names in Southern Africa: Kob, Daga, Drum, Daga Salmon and Kabeljou. The Kob grow to big sizes and put heavy tackle to the test. They are also a great species to target on boats in estuaries with lures. Kob are aggressive fish and mainly move around in shoals where they feed on smaller fish and crustaceans.

Fishing - Sibuya

Breeding Habits

Most adults migrate from the Cape to KwaZulu-Natal to spawn between August and November. Juveniles enter the upper reaches of estuaries where they remain until they about 15cm. The juveniles prefer the sandy or muddy substrates in shallow embayments.

Feeding Habits

Most kob species are voracious, shoaling predators and some species have become highly specialised for feeding in their muddy, murky environment. Their lateral line system (a sensory system found in all fish that enables them to detect vibrations and pressure changes in the water) is very well developed and this, in conjunction with the sensory barbles which some have on their snouts, makes the kob less reliant on sight when feeding. Small fish, crustaceans such as prawns and crabs, and molluscs such as squid and cuttlefish are all eaten by the various kob species.

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Plains Zebra Facts

The plains zebra, also known as the common zebra, is the most abundant of three species of zebra, inhabiting the grasslands of eastern and southern Africa. The plains zebra remains common in game reserves (including Sibuya Game Reserve).

Habitat

Its habitat is generally but not exclusively treeless grasslands and savanna woodlands, both tropical and temperate. They generally avoid desert, dense rainforest and permanent wetlands, and rarely stray more than 30 kilometres from a water source. Predators of the zebra include lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs.

Physical Description

Like all zebras, they are boldly striped in black and white, and no two individuals look exactly alike. They also have black or dark muzzles.

Function of the stripes

Perhaps the best explanation for the stripes is that they serve a social function.  Individual zebras can apparently recognize each other by their striping patterns.  The stripes may also serve as visual cues for grooming.  In addition, they could serve to help zebra groups stay together when they are fleeing.

zebra

Interactions with other grazers

Plains zebra herds will mix and migrate together along with other species such as wildebeests. Wildebeests and zebras generally coexist peacefully and will alert each other to predators. However, aggressive interactions occasionally occur.

Secretary Bird Facts

Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannah of the sub-Saharan. Although a member of the order Accipitriformes, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, hawks, vultures, and harriers, it is given its own family, Sagittariidae.

It appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa.

Description

The secretary bird is instantly recognizable as a very large bird with an eagle-like body on crane-like legs which increases the bird’s height to as much as 1.3 m (4.3 ft) tall. This bird has an eagle-like head with a hooked bill, but has rounded wings.

From a distance or in flight it resembles a crane more than a bird of prey. The tail has two elongated central feathers that extend beyond the feet during flight, as well as long flat plumage creating a posterior crest.

Distribution and habitat

Secretary birds are endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa and are non-migratory, though they may follow food sources. Their range extends from Mauritania to Somalia and south to the Cape of Good Hope. These birds are also found at a variety of elevations, from the coastal plains to the highlands and occasionally spotted around Sibuya Game Reserve.

Secretary birds prefer open grasslands and savannas rather than forests and dense shrubbery which may impede their cursorial existence. While the birds roost on the local Acacia trees at night, they spend much of the day on the ground, returning to roosting sites just before dark.

secretary-birdStomping

Secretarybirds specialize in stomping their prey until the prey is killed or immobilized.  This method of hunting is commonly applied to lizards or snakes.

Diet

Prey may consist of insects, mammals ranging in size from mice to hares and mongoose, crabs, lizards, snakes, tortoises, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes dead animals killed in grass or bush fires.

Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat

This species is found in Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa (it is broadly distributed across Southern Africa, and also commonly found within Sibuya Game Reserve).

Description

Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat is brown to tawny colored with white hair patches at the base of the ears. Males are typically darker in coloration than females. This species is named for erectable epaulettes of hair that form around large scent glands in males only. Males are also distinguished from females by air sacs on the neck that may increase the volume of courtship calls.

Range and Habitat

Populations have also been found in wooded urban areas and roosting in man-made structures.

Diet

Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat is frugivorous, its diet mainly consisting of figs, guava, and various fruits of Diospyros species. Collected fruit is typically carried away from the source tree to another tree. The soft tissue and fruit are consumed while the seeds and skins are discarded. Leaves from Balanites species and several insects may also be eaten.

Roosting

E. wahlbergi is nocturnal. It roosts in well-lit open trees, under palm fronds, in dense forests near rivers, under thatched roofs of sheds, and, rarely, in caves.

Fruit Bat

Photo taken by Chris Ovens

 

Elegant Grasshopper

Elegant Grasshopper (Zonocerus elegans), a short-winged and flightless grasshopper found throughout much of Africa south of the Sahara as well as on Sibuya Game Reserve. They are sometimes also referred to as Rainbow Locusts. They are apparently slow and clumsy, relying primarily on their accumulated toxins for protection from predators. The toxins make them taste bad, although apparently not bad enough to make them inedible for humans. We found numerous references suggesting they are eaten in various parts of Africa.

Insects in particular use colours for protection as their predators, such as birds and other insects, have colour vision.

Elegant Grasshopper

Photo taken by Ranger Pablo

Cape creeper scorpion

Description and Habitat

While on a game drive on Sibuya Game Reserve we found this species of scorpion (Opisthacanthus capensis). With its robust chelae (pincers), dark brown to black in colour, turning green when under cover for some time – this scorpion is ground-dwelling, and found mainly in moist habitats in dense vegetation, forests, hiding under bark and rocks.

Diet

This species features in the diets of the bat-eared fox, the yellow mongoose and the small grey mongoose, just to mention a few.

Venom

Its venom contains powerful neurotoxins and cytotoxins, the venom from this species is largely composed of melittin which stimulates the release of the enzyme phospholipase A2 causing inflammation and pain.

Karoo boer-bean tree

Description

The Karoo Boer-been tree is small in stature (max. height 5 m), evergreen, with rigid branches and has a gnarled trunk. The flowers are numerous, bright red to pink in colour and are borne in small clusters during the months of February to March. They are distributed throughout the tree.

Flowers produce copious amounts of nectar which attract birds, especially the Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and Malachite Sunbird. The butterfly Dantalis breeds in the tree. Flowers are followed by attractive, large, lime green to pink seedpods which turn brown when ripe. The seed is dispersed through an explosive seedpod, which when dry, catapults the seeds great distances from the parent plant. Seeds are produced in May and June of each year. Under normal circumstances the seeds would germinate in moist soil in late spring after the winter rains.

karoo-boer-bean-tree2

Uses

It has a number of interesting uses. A decoction of the bark is taken to treat heartburn and hangovers. Bark and root mixtures are used to strengthen the body and purify the blood, to treat nervous heart conditions and diarrhoea, as well as for facial saunas. The seeds are edible after roasting, and although low in fat and protein they have a high carbohydrate content.

Distribution

The trees often occur along the banks of dry streams and small rivers in the Little Karoo, the drier areas of Eastern Cape, including Sibuya Game Reserve and the southern part of Western Cape.

karoo-boer-bean-tree3