Keeping the kids entertained, and enjoying family time along the Garden Route at Plett Game Reserve
Visiting the coastal paradise that is Plett, should be on everyone’s bucket list. Golden beaches, fairy tale forests, boutique vineyards and the like offer more than just a few ideas to keep you busy. Having said that, you do occasionally need a break from the scorching heat of the beach and that’s where you can treat your family to the beauty of nature and all her fascinating animals. A safari experience at a coastal town is not something that leaps to mind when first you see the ocean rising up to meet you, as you drive into Plett. It may come as a pleasant surprise then, that getting up close and personal with the Big 5 is part and parcel of what this wonderful community has to offer her visitors.
It’s no secret that the way to a child’s heart is through creepy crawlies and wild scary beasts! Well, the furry family at Plett Game Reserve have you covered. From snarling honey badgers, always up for a cheeky fight, to the ballerina like, elegant giraffe, the array of wild animals will keep the little ones enthralled. Here are a few facts on some of the animals you can expect to see. Afterall, there’s no harm in impressing with a few facts as you glide on horseback across the grassy plains or ride through the reserve in a bush whacking, four wheeled, steed.
The African Elephant
Weighing up to 6 tons the African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal. They are herbivores and can live up to 70 years of age. The Reserve currently has a herd of nine elephants. Elephants are the ONLY mammals that cannot jump! And thank goodness for that! Unless you’re ambidextrous, you probably prefer to use one hand over the other. Elephants are the same way about their tusks: Some are “lefties,” others are “righties.” They’ll favour that tusk when fighting other Elephants, picking things up, or stripping leaves and bark off trees. Because of constant usage, their preferred tusk gets shorter over time.
These large aquatic reptiles live throughout the tropics in Africa and are found on the Reserve. Crocodiles are meat-eaters. They have 24 sharp teeth which are used for killing of fish, birds, mammals and small crocodile. They don’t chew their food, but rather tear apart flesh and swallow large chunks of meat. They sometimes swallow stones to ensure faster grinding of the food in their stomach. Expression “cry crocodile tears” is based on the true fact – crocodiles produce tears when they eat. They don’t cry because they feel sorry for the prey, but because they swallow too much air, which gets in touch with glands that produce tears and forces tears to flow. Crocodiles replace their teeth throughout their life, usually with a new tooth every 1 to 2 months, so don’t mess with them!
The tallest of all mammals, they are an average of 6 feet at birth! Known for their long necks and legs and spotted patterns, each giraffe has its own unique pattern, just like humans have unique fingerprints. Their long necks help them to eat leaves from tall trees, typically acacia trees. Their tongues can be as long as 45 cm. If they need to, giraffes can go for several days without water, relying on the moisture content in the leaves they feed on. Unlike your children, giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period! They often achieve that in quick naps that may last only a minute or two at a time. Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth standing up.
The river hippopotamus is the world’s third largest and heaviest land animal, weighing up to 4,000 kg. They have thin skin that dies out quickly and secrete oil that keeps their skin moist and protects from germs. They spend most of their days in the water or wallowing in the mud, generally coming up on land to feed at night. River hippos are one of the most feared animals in southern Africa. It is claimed that every year more people are killed by them than by any other African animal. An adult Hippo needs to resurface every 3 – 5mins to breathe. The process of surfacing and breathing is automatic, and even a hippo sleeping underwater will rise and breathe without waking. Similar to teenagers going to the fridge in the middle of the night for a snack – automatic.
Exciting New Additions to the PBGR Family
New to the family are a few baby buffalo and buck – everyone goes gaga for babies, so use the cute factor in your favour! After two hours of intense ‘human – animal connecting’, treat the hungry family to a lovely lunch at the on-site restaurant. Dad and mom can enjoy a little tipple while the little ones play. The bushveld is a wonderful place to be for a few sundowners, so take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature at her best. Have a wild and wonderful festive season!