Savanna Private Game Reserve lies in the Western Sector of the Sabi Sand game Reserve. It is one of the top game viewing destinations in South Africa and the lodge itself is just fantastic There is always a friendly face, and the people and family element involved ensure the camp operates and run the lodge in a very pleasent manner. The team is very involved in the adjacent communities and the Savanna Trust supports numerous projects. One of the most recentwas started by the General Manager, Natasha Whyte. Spending most of her life on the lowveld and in the safari and wildlife world, Natasha has the struggles the communities face with regards to livestock and domestic animals. Both are crucial to their welfare and means of survival and income, and such their care is of vital importance. There has been very little veterinary care available for these animals and there was need for a change. This is how Khumba Ncila was born. Meaning “Touching Tales” in Shangaan, the project focuses on helping the neighbouring community and their animals by giving support, education and care for all their livestock and pets, as well as aiding homeless animals in need.
Their work is focused on three core areas:
- Dipping dogs for ticks and fleas to prevent tick-bite fever, which is prevalent in the community, as well as doing home visits to check on patients that have been ill or are in need of help.
- Veterinary care and sterilisation days.
- Puppy classes with the focus on education.
Dr Bjorn Reininghaus is the head veterinarian and is the key driver of this. His passion for domestic livestock and animals is incredibly inspiring to witness. We got to see this when 0ur first point of call was to help attend a community members prize cow that had a foot and hoof infection. This animal was his pride and joy and an important source of income so the importance of this work for him is really high. After wrestling the animal WWF style to the ground and lashing it tightly so that it could not move during the procedure, we began. We were fascinated on how intensely meticulate Dr Bjorn was in performing his duties. This was in the middle of a cattle kraal performing a complex wound drain in what would usually be done in a clinic. Although not for the squeamish, it was amazing to witness and to watch how they value the life of one animal and the meaning it has to the community member is why Khumba Ncila and Dr Bjorn do what they do.
After sewing up the wound, with some assistance the cow got up and gingerly manoeuvred around the kraal. Time will tell if she she will be okay, but in the circumstances she received the best care possible.
We will continue to support Khumba Ncila and the next drive is a cat and dog sterilisation program happening in May. We will uoudate you on this once it has occurred.