THE DARK OF EVENING BECKONS THE OWLS FROM HIDING, SILENTLY SETTLING ON THEIR FAVOURED ELEVATION TO WATCH FOR UNSUSPECTING PREY, AS IT SCUTTLES ABOUT THE FAIRY LIKE MEADOWS, INTERMITTENTLY ILLUMINATED BY THE EVER PRESENT FIREFLIES.

Over the years, Tala has become a favourite birding venue for many. The grasslands are a treasure trove for those who are stimulated by a challenge with enough Larks, Pipits and Cisticolas to make your eyes water and your head spin! Three of South Africa’s magnificent Crane species, The Blue Crane, The Wattled Crane and the Grey Crowned Crane can be found at Tala, on many occasions on the same day! With 349 species Tala Game Reserve is a must for all who are interested in Avifauna!

Two frequently asked questions we receive from visitors to Tala are:

“What is the best time for game viewing at Tala?”

A question with a simple answer – “Anytime”

Tala is relatively small at 3000ha, with no large predators, so the wildlife is relaxed and visible at any time of the day. Tala is very well stocked with a diversity of game, ranging from the tiny mongoose up to the biggest of all southern African antelope – the Eland. The reserve boasts about 20 species of antelope, which includes some “specials’ such as Oribi, Bushbuck and Reedbuck with general game in abundance.

“If there are no predators why can’t I get out of my vehicle?”

Game generally does not associate vehicles with people so staying in your vehicle allows you to get very close. Getting out will result in the animals running away. In addition to this the animals in the reserve are wild and respond in one of three ways, fright, flight or fight. The last response being the most dangerous, because if any animal feels trapped, its only defence mechanism is to attack. Even the smallest of the antelope species can inflict untold damage. Hippos are not classified as predators; however they kill more people than any other animal, besides the mosquito. Do you want to take a chance with this killer? Have you ever crossed paths with an Ostrich with chicks? Rest assured, it’s not something that you want to experience! Rhino can easily out-run you and your car is like tin-foil to an angry rhino. There are areas such as Rock Pools where you can get out of your vehicle safely, but please don’t get out where you shouldn’t. It also spoils the game viewing for other guests when the animals run away!

ANTI-POACHING INITIATIVES AT TALA

In 2014 the founder of RAVE approached the Tala management asking if they needed assistance with regards to the security of the Rhino and wildlife at the reserve. This was as a result of the attack and senseless killing and de-horning of two female white rhino’s and a third female white rhino being de-horned and left for dead. After intensive medical assistance this rhino has survived and is still on the reserve at Tala. An opportunity was seen to merge and upgrade conservation efforts with the reserves existing anti-poaching unit and so with the assistance of four other directors that come from extensive military and police backgrounds and expertise, they got together and started RAVE in order to assist Tala in protecting their rhinos and wildlife against the senseless killings, injuries and de-horning in their natural environment.

The unit, which functions 24 hours a day in the reserve, relies on donations, sponsorships and other fund raising efforts to keep functioning. Individuals and Corporates are welcome to visit www.raverhino.org.za and contact them directly should you wish to contribute or support in any way.

As part of the efforts the Rhinos on our reserve have been dehorned, we believe that it's valuable to have living species without horns or none at all.