2019 was a productive year for the buffalo herd. The herd is breeding well and thriving as a wild buffalo herd. A real time GPS collar was fitted to a young cow so that we can monitor their movements. A new buffalo bull was introduced in December to provide new blood to the herd. Matamba is from very good genes and will enhance the herd and hopefully produce magnificent calves.
We are excited to report that we have made improvements to Waterbuck camp with the addition of two new cabins. Each cabin has an en suite bathroom and a verandah to enjoy the beautiful views. We have also added the Mbezi waterhole which has become the hub of the camp. It is built in Mozambique style so is lovely and cool and a perfect spot to relax, play games and bird watch.
In August 2019 we celebrated Mbezi's first birthday. She is now a strong and healthy sub adult and is free to roam the reserve. With the help of her trusty companion Bongi ( the donkey) she has learnt to graze and has the confidence to explore the reserve. It has been a long challenging road to get here to this stage but it is so rewarding to see her galloping around and showing interest in becoming a wild zebra.
15 Nyala Ewes and 4 bulls have been introduced to Mankwe. We are happy to report that they have settled well and 2 juveniles have been born since their release.
A 2 day old zebra foal was spotted from the helicopter, she looked in a bad way so a management decision was made intervene and rescue her. Fortunately vets were on site and were able to stitch up her wounds and administer a drip and treat her with anti-biotics. The foal was taken to Lynne's house where she with the help of Nkombi Volunteers nursed her and got her drinking from a bottle. She is named Mbezi and is now 3 weeks old and doing very well. She has made Lynne's house her home and has all the other animals living there for company. It is hoped when she is older she will be able to be released back onto the reserve.
On the 2nd August 2018 over a 100 members of the Mankwe family gathered to celebrate 18 years of student and volunteer groups at Mankwe. The Mankwe family continues to grow and the reunion was definitely a night to remember. With friendships reunited and experiences relived. The partying and dancing carried on to the early hours of the morning, so much fun was had by all.
Lynne MacTavish was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by The University of Brighton in recognition for her major contribution to conservation in South Africa. Lynne was asked to do a 15 minute speech to the graduates of 2018 to which she received a double standing ovation. The speech may be viewed on the University of Brighton's web page or on this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSz0gkvU1HE&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop
Mankwe hosted, The University of Durham, The University of Gloucestershire, The University of Brighton, Nottingham Tent University, Lincoln University, South Staffordshire College, North Shropshire College, Hartpury College, Hadlow College, Derby College and Otley college
Askari and Surabi along with 7 young bulls were released on to the reserve in order to bring new blood on to the reserve to ensure a healthy gene pool.