Wilderness Safaris in partnership with the Ditsong National Museum are conducting a bat survey in three different habitats around Pafuri Camp in the Makuleke Concession in the Kruger National Park. It is the first bat survey in the area since the 1980’s.
A team of researchers and professors took samples from the bats to screen for viruses. They also took tissue samples which will be used to compare identifications based on DNA with more traditional methods of identification like skull and dental characteristics. The team was assisted by the Pafuri’s environmental officer who made some suggestions regarding which areas to survey. One of the guests assisted the team with the netting.
The team used mist and hand nests to catch the bats and a total of 118 were caught from which 15 different species were identified – representing six families – namely the Old World Fruit Bats, Leaf Nosed Bats, Free-tailed Bats, Horseshoe Bats, Vesper Bats and Sheath-tailed Bats.
The team noted that the species composition appeared to vary between the different sampling sites – as was previously seen in Botswana. Seven different species were located in the narrow riverine edge of the Luvuvu River. These included the Egyptian fruit Bat, the Mauritian Tomb Bat, the Butterfly Bat and the cave dwelling Fruit Bat.
At a site called the ana tree grove, six further species were identified including the Giant House Bat (which has not been recorded previously in this area), the Angolan Free-tailed Bat and the Ruppell’s Horseshoe Bat.
The floodplains adjacent to the Limpopo River were teeming with both insects and bats and in one evening alone a total of 71 bats were caught – representing 8 species.
When the team left the camp the environmental officer found a further bat species, Percival’s Trident Bat, which had not been recorded in the park previously. These new finds may be evidence of species shifting distribution as a result of climate change.
Pafuri Camp is a luxury tented camp situated on the northern banks of the Luvuvu River in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. The twenty luxury tents (six of which are family tents sleeping up to four people per tent) are furnished with local fabrics to reflect the history and heritage of the Makuleke people and are shaded by enormous ebony and nyala berry trees. The tents sit on raised platforms which are joined by elevated walkways, allowing for the wildlife to move freely to and from the river which draws large herds of elephant, buffalo as well as nyala and wading birds.
The main deck area has stunning views over the river and is a great place to sit and relax and watch the passage of wildlife and to watch the sunrise and sunset. The camp also has a swimming pool where you can cool off after a day of good game viewing. The area can also be explored on foot by means of the Pafuri Wilderness Trail.