A Rare Encounter with the Bactrododema tiaratum.

A remarkable event unfolded as a seldom-seen creature, the Bactrododema tiaratum insect, also referred to as the “Stick Insect” made a surprise appearance at Moditlo River Lodge.

Known for its scarcity in sightings, this particular insect captivated our Guide Janno on Thursday, the 3rd of March 2024, with its distinctive size!

Janno measuring the Bactrododema +| – 25cm.

You can see the distinctive appearance characterized by a shield-like structure covering its thorax, the Bactrododema tiaratum boasts a unique and striking appearance that sets it apart from other insects.

The Ecological Significance

Beyond its captivating appearance, the presence of the Bactrododema tiaratum holds ecological importance. It plays a crucial role in nutrient cycling and plant diversity within its habitat. Additionally, it serves as prey for a variety of predators, further highlighting its importance in the local food web.

Habitat and Behavior

Typically found in semi-arid regions with sparse vegetation, where it can blend in with its surroundings due to its cryptic coloration. Primarily nocturnal, it exhibits fascinating behaviors during the night, including mating calls and foraging activities.

Conservation Status

Due to its rarity and limited distribution, the Bactrododema tiaratum is considered a species of conservation concern. Habitat loss, climate change, and other anthropogenic factors pose significant threats to its survival, underscoring the importance of conservation efforts to protect this unique insect and its fragile ecosystem.

The sighting of the Bactrododema tiaratum served as a reminder of the incredible biodiversity found in the untamed Lowveld. This extraordinary encounter not only enriched the experience of those present but also highlighted the importance of preserving and cherishing our natural world for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Experience. Explore. Embrace.

Exploring Nature’s Tapestry: Bushwalks in the African Lowveld

Step softly into the untamed beauty of the African lowveld, where each stride carries you deeper into the heart of nature’s symphony. At Moditlo River Lodge, we offer a soulful invitation to partake in an authentic exploration!

Immersing in Nature’s Melody

Amidst the rustling leaves and gentle whispers of the breeze, bushwalks at Moditlo River Lodge offer a serene immersion into the essence of the bushveld. Led by our seasoned guides, each footfall unveils a new chapter in the natural symphony, where every leaf, branch, and bird song tell a story of the land’s ancient past.

Tracing Nature’s Footprints:

While the primary focus of our bushwalks is to connect with the rhythms of nature, there are moments when we are graced by the presence of wildlife. Guided by the expertise of our knowledgeable trackers, you may chance upon the subtle signs left by passing animals – a faint paw print in the soft earth, a trail of broken branches hinting at a recent visitor. These fleeting encounters add a touch of mystery to the bushwalk experience, inviting individuals to become part of nature’s intricate dance.

Guided by Nature’s Wisdom:

Our guides serve as stewards of the land, sharing their deep reverence for the natural world with each step of the journey. While we occasionally have the privilege of a tracker joining our excursions, the essence of our bushwalks lies in the intimate connection with the environment – a gentle communion with the earth beneath our feet and the sky above our heads.

Savoring Nature’s Gifts:

You are invited to pause and savor the simple pleasures of the bush – the delicate beauty of a wildflower, the intricate web of a spider glistening with morning dew, the mesmerizing flight of a butterfly dancing on the breeze. These moments of quiet reflection offer a profound appreciation for the intricate web of life that surrounds us.

Embracing Nature’s Timelessness:

The rhythm of nature sets the pace and the wonders of the wilderness unfold at their own leisurely tempo. Whether tracing the ancient footprints of wildlife or simply basking in the gentle caress of the sun, each moment is a celebration of the eternal bond between man and nature.

If you are seeking a deeper connection with the natural world and a genuine immersion into the heart of Africa, you have come to the right place! 


Photo courtesy of Kontent Mint.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, The Jewel of African Wildlife

Kruger National Park, The Jewel of African Wildlife

Established in 1898, the park spans an impressive 19,485 square kilometres, making this larger than some countries. This exclusive park is a testament to South Africa’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.

One of the most enchanting features of Kruger National Park is its staggering diversity of wildlife. Within its boundaries, you’ll meet not only the famous Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) but also an overwhelming number of other captivating creatures, including cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, and numerous bird species. It’s a haven for both professional wildlife photographers and amateur supporters.

The park is further increased by its extensive network of camps, which serve as hubs for visitors to rest, refresh, and enjoy the park’s natural beauty. With numerous options to choose from, these rest camps offer a range of accommodations, from rustic bushveld huts to more luxurious lodges. Each camp has its unique charm and is strategically located for optimal wildlife viewing.

For individuals who seek a more in-depth experience, Kruger National Park provides two distinct ways to explore its wilderness: guided game drives and self-guided safaris. Guided game drives are led by experienced park rangers who possess extensive knowledge of the park’s flora and fauna. They offer an educational and thrilling journey into the heart of the African wilderness.

If you prefer a self-guided adventure, you can embark on a self-drive outing. These excursions allow you to explore the park at your own pace. The park’s well-maintained roads are accessible to most types of vehicles, and the network of tracks provides ample opportunities for wildlife encounters. Traveling from the southernmost gate to the northernmost, the park spans approximately 360 kilometres, which translates to a driving time of roughly 6-7 hours without stops. The park’s extensive road system offers flexibility, and you can choose routes tailored to your interests.

While Kruger National Park is a remarkable destination in its own right, it’s also the gateway to the Moditlo Private Game Reserve. Located just west of the park, Moditlo offers an exclusive and intimate safari experience. It’s a mere 30-minute drive from the nearest Kruger gate ( Orpen gate ) to the Moditlo entrance.

The Moditlo experience includes thrilling game drives guided by experienced rangers who share their knowledge and passion for wildlife. Expect close encounters with the Big Five and other fascinating species. A stay at Moditlo includes all meals and luxury lodging within the private Moditlo reserve, creating a well-rounded safari experience.

In conclusion, Kruger National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty and biodiversity. Whether you opt for a guided adventure within the park or an excursion from to a Moditlo, the experiences here will leave you in awe of Africa’s remarkable wildlife.

Photo courtesy of Sanparks.

The Fives

The Fives

The Big 5 have been mesmerising travelers to South Africa for many years, but these five big and exotic animals are not the only news worthy animals on this beautiful continent. South Africa boasts with a diverse and abundant wild life that also includes the Small 5, Ugly 5 and Shy 5. Let’s meet them.

The Small 5:

The lesser known small five won’t have travelers plan their holidays for the sole purpose of spotting them, even so they play a vital part in the ecosystem of South Africa. They are also, very cleverly, named after their big five counterparts namely the elephant shrew, the antlion, the buffalo weaver, the leopard tortoise and the rhino beetle.

Getting its name from the lengthened snout that resembles an elephant’s trunk, the elephant shrew is the most adorable, and hardest to spot, of the Small 5. Weighing in at around 28g the soft, furry rodent has a head and body length of only 10 cm. So cute!

The ferocious antlion is named for its lion-like method of ambushing prey. It uses a heightened sense of vibration (transmitted through the hairs on its body and legs) to detect the passing of insects. Waiting in its pit, with its jaws opened wide and barely visible under a thin layer of sand, the antlion strikes and drags its prey into the sand. Small, but tough!

Buffalo weavers live in the dry savannah and acacia woodland areas, where they forage omnivorously on the ground, often following the trail of buffalo herds. A beautiful find among bird watchers, these social birds tend to form large, loosely ordered colonies. Weavers build massive communal roosts in tall acacia and baobab trees, which can be easily spotted for their untidy appearance.

The large leopard tortoise gets its name from its attractive black and yellow speckled shell, clearly resembling a leopard’s spots. With a general lifespan of 100 years, it is the world’s fourth largest species, growing up to 70cm long and weighing over 50kg. The slow-paced tortoises are one of the easiest to spot of the Small 5.

The last Small 5 insect is the rhino beetle, which gets his name from the distinctive horn-like structure on its head. Both sexes have horns, which makes it difficult to distinguish between them. The horn makes an excellent digging and climbing tool, while the males also use them in combat during mating season. Adult rhino beetles are an impressive 5cm long. Not only are they one of the largest beetle varieties in the world; they are also proportionally the strongest animal in the world, known to lift 850 times their own weight.

The Ugly 5:

The exclusive Ugly 5 club consists out of the five underdogs only a mother could love; the warthog, the wildebeest, the hyena, the vulture and the Marabou stork.

Warthogs are day animals and spend most of their time looking for food. They are normally found in family groups and has the peculiar habit of kneeling on the front knees while feeding and foraging in a localised area. They are promiscuous as both sexes will mate with more than one partner. Warthogs can frequently be found at waterholes where they dig in the marsh and wallow in the mud with obvious enthusiasm.

The wildebeest looks as if it’s made from spare parts – a buffalo head, antelope body and horse’s tail. The large head and heavy front end are out of proportion to the slender hindquarters and spindly legs. One term for a herd of wildebeest is an implausibility, an apt description indeed. We might find their looks and feeding habits repulsive but they are the biological waste controllers, clearing up after others.

Associated with African myth and folklore, the hyena’s reputation as a backstabbing opportunist often gets him a bad rap. His sloping back and short hind legs add to the negative image of a permanently skulking creature. He prefers to scavenge rather than hunt and has the strongest jaws on the African continent. The only parts of a kill not fully digested are hair, horns and hooves.

Vultures are the villains of the piece; ugly, squabbling and  filthy. It’s true that when vultures are at a kill it’s every bird for himself, but they don’t circle dying animals waiting to cash in. They soar on thermals looking for their next meal. Many vultures have featherless heads and necks which prevent bacteria and parasites burrowing into their feathers and causing infection due to feeding on rotting carcasses.

The marabou stork is also known as the undertaker because of his cloaked appearance from behind, his long skinny legs and tufts of white hair. He has a bare head and neck and a distensible pouch. He stands around a lot and has the particularly unattractive characteristic of defecating on his legs which gives them a whitish colour. In terms of ugliness, he should take first place.

The Shy 5:

The Shy 5 are a completely different set of animals highlighting those more elusive and lesser-known species which include the largest rodent in Africa. They are the meerkat, the aardvark, the porcupine, the aardwolf and the bat-eared fox. All are nocturnal animals except for the meerkat which makes seeing these animals even more difficult to spot yet rewarding when you actually do see them.

Standing to attention at number one is the squirrel-sized meerkat. You’re unlikely to meet a lone meerkat as they live in groups known as mobs – each member of the mob is responsible for gathering food, looking after babies and keeping a keen eye out for predators.

Arguably the strangest looking of the bunch, the aardvark resembles an odd mix between a rabbit, piglet and kangaroo. This member of the elusive Shy 5 group possesses serious digging powers that are used to break open ant hills, create escape routes and gain access to delicious snacks found within termite mounds. Although destructive, the holes created are often given a renovation and used by other members of the Shy 5.

Although happy to travel alone, a group of porcupines is aptly named a prickle. With up to 30 000 quills, this is not an animal you want to cross! When feeling threatened porcupines rattle their quills to ward off predators; if that fails, these prickly rodents go into reverse, ramming their assailant.

At first glance, this dog-like animal could pass as a small, striped hyena. The main difference being their diet, where the hyena is a meat scavenger, the aardwolf feasts on termites. As their food source cannot be shared or transported, aardwolves tend to be solitary foragers who love to use burrows created by other Shy 5 members, particularly the aardvark. When feeling threatened the aardwolf puffs up its mane – much like a cat would raise its hackles – and produces a roar of sorts.

Although you may be imaging something along the lines of “all the better to hear you with my dear”, this member of the Shy 5 uses its satellite-sized ears for thermoregulation and to detect insect movement underground. The bat-eared fox is an insectivore as their diet mainly consists of beetles, ants, grasshoppers, termites and other creepy crawlies most of us would rather avoid!

Now you are all caught up on the fives! Be sure to be on the lookout for them on your next visit to Moditlo River Lodge.

Things you didn’t know about the majestic giraffe

Things you didn’t know about the majestic giraffe

Giraffes are extremely curious and sure to steal your heart with their long necks, beautiful patchwork coat, and lovable nature. Despite that they are one of the most recognisable animals in the animal kingdom, there are a lot of unknown facts about them. Here are 5 things you might not know about giraffes, including how to tell whether they are male or female.

Giraffes can go a really long time without drinking water.

Until you see it, you don’t realize how hard the world’s tallest animal has it. Sure, they may be able to reach the best leaves at the very top of the trees. But imagine the effort that giraffes have to go through just to get a drink of water. They have to get into a pretty awkward position, spreading their front legs wide and craning their neck downward. Not only does it strain their neck, but the awkward position leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators like crocodiles. To help with this, their digestive system can obtain almost all the water that they need from the leaves that they eat. Adult giraffes only need to drink once every couple of days.

You can tell if a giraffe is male or female by looking at the horns.

Both male and female giraffes have horns, but the tops of the horns on a male are almost always bald while a female’s horns will be completely covered with hair. This is because males establish dominance by fighting with other males and the hair on top of the horns gets torn off. Females don’t fight, so they never lose the hair on their horns.

Giraffes and birds are friends.

Giraffes have a symbiotic relationship with some birds, who help giraffes keep clean by eating mites and dirt off of them. What do the birds get in return? A tasty meal and a free ride!

Giraffes can run. Fast.

Though most of the time you’ll see giraffes walking leisurely around, they can run. Their long legs help them run up to 56 kilometers per hour over short distances or to cruise comfortably at around 16 kilometers per hour over longer distances. A majestic site indeed!

No two giraffes’ spotted coats are alike.

While the different sub-species of giraffes can appear to be similar, all giraffes have a unique pattern. Their spots also darken with age, and scientists have said that they can calculate their age from this darkening.

Impress your guide on your next game drive by sharing these interesting facts with them ????

Disease free Buffalos at Moditlo River Lodge

There is no denying that the buffalo is one of Africa’s most beautiful and unique animals. Lovers of the Big 5 will know first-hand what it means to want to conserve these creatures for future generations to enjoy and experience Africa in all its glory.

Moditlo River Lodge happens to fall into the Blue Canyon Conservancy area, which means we are moving forward with efforts to protect our buffalo as best we can. In recent years there has been an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease, as well as Tuberculosis that affects the buffalo. To eradicate this problem, conservationists have identified a controlled area in which healthy, disease-free buffalo can breed and live protected against threats. This double-fenced area was built in 2017 and to date hosts 20 buffalo.

As the project grows, it is important to Moditlo that the buffalo are continuously protected and able to grow to a large and sustainably-sized population before they can be released into the greater reserve with predators, and we hope to someday have the controlled area expand to cover the entire greater Kruger. This holds immense promise for buffalo moving forward into the future, as the reality with many of Africa’s indigenous species is the threat of extinction, weakening numbers due to disease, and poaching.

The buffalos are tracked and treated just as any other animal in the bushveld, and special care is taken to ensure they remain a beautiful part of our wildlife. Safari visitors are still able to see the buffalos while visiting the park areas, and efforts to educate guests are made to drive home how important the longevity of this part of nature is to Moditlo River Lodge.

About us
Moditlo River Lodge sits at the heart of the Blue Canyon Conservancy, a stretch of protected land in close proximity to the world-renowned Greater Kruger National Park, and is home to an astonishing array of fauna and flora.
24 28’53.90″S 31 01’48.51″E

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