What's been going on: 15-28 July


Koos on his lunch break

It was so cold yesterday that we decided to put Koos inside the Curio Shop. A few months ago the poor bird was so sick that he very nearly met his maker. HESC’s manager, Gretha – who also doubles up as the Centre’s personal Florence Nightingale – had to take our desperately ill patient home with her and feed him with a syringe.

On top of being our Stoep Supervisor and demagogue, Koos is also our resident alarm system. And since he was safely out of sight in the Curio Shop, an opportunistic monkey took advantage of this and grabbed a sugar pot off one of the tables outside the Deli. Gretha had to shout really loudly before the monkey acquiesced and gave up his booty.

Today marks the first working day for our new practical student. Elzabe Holl will be part of our hardworking team for the next six months as part of her EcoTraining studies. We wish her warm welcome and everything of the best during her time with us.


Zita was also whisked off into the more confined space of our orphanage yesterday. Much to her utter indignation. Our zebra normally has free reign of the Centre, but a large group of about 300 schoolchildren were set to descend on us first thing this morning. It’s one thing to have our rambunctious resident harass the adult guests, but we need to make sure the little guys aren’t unnecessarily intimidated by the large (albeit) harmless animal.

Zita and Erika bonding over an Olive branch (of sorts)


With the constant supply of elephant dung at their disposal, we joined heads with our sister operation, Camp Jabulani, and came up with an innovative way to use it up.

Enter the Weeping Boer-bean tree project.

The “grow-it yourself” kit – which is now on sale at HESC – consists of an elephant dung ball with potting soil in the centre. All you have to do is plant the bean (which you’ll find in the kit) in the soil and add water. We’ve also included specific instructions and additional information on your new tree in a separate envelope (to avoid a potentially stinky situation).

This inspired idea is in support of National Arbor week which takes place during the first week of September.


A Weeping Boer-bean tree snuggled inside a ball of elephant dung


We will be closing the vulture restaurant from the beginning of August until the first rains come. Past experience has proven that the risk of an anthrax outbreak is greatly reduced (if not eliminated entirely) once we’ve had our first good spring rain. Even though there’ve been no cases of anthrax reported in the Kruger National Park yet, we’ve decided to err on the side of caution and close the restaurant anyway.


Hungry diners tuck in

And don’t forget that our old bird has a passion for the environment and mother nature, and is constantly coming up with ingenious ways for us to be more “eco-friendly”. You can always email Koos if you have a specific question, but we’ll also be including a couple of tidbits at the end of these weekly updates.


  • RECYCLE: Don’t just throw everything away. Separate glass, paper, cardboard plastic etc. Do some research and find out what exactly can be recycled and then find out where your nearest drop-off point is. In some areas it actually gets collected from outside your house. Super easy and well worth the effort!
  • Monkeys should be watched closely at all times as they are likely to steal your sugar should the opportunity presents itself.

That’s it for this week folks,

The HESC Team 😉