A family vacation to the best safari lodge – Jock Safari Lodge – in the Kruger National Park is the perfect choice for continued post-lockdown social distancing…but this time in pure luxurious isolation. With 6000 hectares making up the Jock Concession, it offers plenty of opportunities for adventurous wilderness walks, exciting game drives or even just pure relaxation within the privacy of your suite and deck under the warm highveld sun.
But it is the plethora of animals that are the main draw card. We all have a favourite but what about some of the lesser known, slightly odd-looking creatures? Like the GNU.
BUT WHAT IS A GNU?
Most know it as a Wildebeest. Wildebeest are the largest of all antelopes and are from the genus Connochaetes. These large African antelopes are closely related to cattle, goats and sheep and are thin and muscular with large, sloping backs and curved horns.
BLACK AND BLUE WILDEBEEST
The blue wildebeest is the larger of the two and has a silvery blue sheen to its hide with dark vertical bands on the front quarters. A mane of shaggy hair starts at its head and moves down its back, while a beard hangs from the throat and neck.
Blue wildebeest are often seen on the Jock concession and around the Kruger Park. The concession has many sodic sites [salty soils] and small herds can often be seen here. Larger herds can be seen on the gabbro plains [impermeable clay-based soils with high-quality grazing] south of the Jock concession and many guides and guests have been fortunate to witness a few blue wildebeest births while out on game drives.
The black wildebeest has a dark brown almost black body, an erect mane and a long whitish tail. Both males and females have heavy, forward curving horns while their calves have straight horns at birth which will begin to curve around 9 months of age. Unfortunately, there are no black wildebeest in the Kruger National Park and many now only survive through special breeding programmes on game farms and private land, having been wiped out due to farming practices.
Wildebeest often fall prey to large carnivores like lions and especially the spotted hyena. It is for this reason that they often graze with zebra to give heightened awareness of nearby predators.
A large gathering of wildebeest is called a ‘confusion’, probably due to the noise and confusion that occurs as they migrate. It has been said that ‘confusion’ could also refer to their rather comical appearance perfectly portrayed in the song “I’m a G-nu” by Flanders and Swann. This humorous song is about a talking gnu who lives in a zoo and one which little eco-warriors will love!
JOCK SAFARI LODGE
Jock Safari Lodge is a luxurious private lodge perfectly positioned in the south-western section of the Kruger National Park and is regarded as one of the best Big Five game viewing areas in Kruger. Offering two lodges – Main Jock and Fitzpatrick’s at Jock – both are known for their unforgettable wildlife encounters, environmental efforts and warm hospitality. Fitzpatrick’s is ideal for a family safari getaway or for small groups of friends travelling together.
Our Reservations team is still operational and is working remotely, Monday- Friday from 8am- 5pm daily (excluding public holidays). Should you wish to speak to a consultant please feel free to contact us on: +27 (0) 13 010 0019 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org