October has seen some huge wild fires sweeping through Sinamatella, Robins and Kazuma. There were also large fires in Botswana and in Matetsi. These fires are fairly normal for this time of year (the Sinamatella fire was started by a lightning strike) and although the areas might look bleak and devastated, there is actually not too much damage done, and the areas soon recover with the rains. These fires have occurred for thousands of year, and have been instrumental in the formation of these areas, especially the Kalahari forests, and these forests rely on the fires for their continued health. Over protection of these forests from fire is more damaging to them then frequent burns, as it changes the natural evolutionary system for a man-made artificial system. Over protection allows for the build up of flameable detritus and scrub plants, with the result of when there is eventually  a fire, it is then devastating and damaging - this has happened in many places in the world.
I read with interest an article sent to me by Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders on the Potential Connections of all the Southern African Elephant Populations - Mike is one of the co-authors.  This survey is based on telemetry of 254 collared elephants in various regions . Of interest to us was that 94.5% of all the elephants were to be found within 10km of water - this bears out a conversation with a WEZ observer doing waterhole surveys before the annual game count in that they seldom saw elephant more than 15km from water.
 This adds emphasis the value of our program of putting water into the back areas of Robins, where there is ample food. This will pull a lot of elephant away from the more utilised waterpoints, relieving the pressure and also reducing the human-wildlife conflict possibility on the Park boundaries.
We had our long time supporter and friend Patrick Jacquemin visit us for two weeks - it was a pleasure to show him around, and he could see where and how his funding supported us
We also had Peter Lindsay from Lion Recovery Fund visit for a few days, and again it was a pleasure to show him around
A note received from some people camping in the Chamabonda:
Another wonderful night of camping with special friends. Wild dog, lion, loads elephant, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, Hyena, jackal, Warthog and many more.
Thank you Trevor Lane & Bhejane Trust for making this all possible with you tireless hard work keeping water in the pans & the camp spots so clean & well maintained

Nice to have some appreciation!
A pack of 14 Wild Dog briefly visited the Chamabonda - seen here at No 1
(photo's by Liz Lane)
A big fire came in from Botswana  and burnt much of the Depression area, but Aleck and his rangers got it under control after a while. With the oncoming rains, this will green up quickly and keep the herds of Zebra, tsessebe etc on the Depression.
All water points working, and the difference at Roan Pan is remarkable, from when we discovered it was a faulty inverter and not a failing borehole that was giving us erratic flows!!
The hide at Corner Pan nearing completion! Kiggen builders putting in the toilet/shower and storeroom. It has been a great all round effort between Andrew Brown, Kiggen Builders and Bhejane Trust. Bookings for it are already coming in - Kazuma is now firmly on the self drive map!
October was a bad month for fires in Robins with the fire previously reported in Sinamatella sweeping through into Robins. Our team spent many days and nights, in extreme temperatures, fighting this extensive fire.
We had the Wildlife and Environment Society (WEZ) Annual game count in early October, on the full moon. This was their 54th count and there were 22 teams for Robins - a great turn out!! A couple of teams had to evacuate when the firs swept towards them, but otherwise looks like a good count was had.. We wait the figures to be collated and published. Well done WEZ!!
We have also been carrying on with our water rationalisation program, measuring recovery rates in Boreholes and matching pumps and motors to suit the borehole water available, while also updating all our records. It has been an interesting exercise and valuable to ensure we get maximum performance from our underground supply without over pumping it.
Game water
    We started October with a list of outstanding game water jobs and the hottest and busiest month of the year ahead of us. As it turned out, it wasn’t too bad. It was certainly hot – over 40oC at times – and we were certainly busy, but by month end we had coped with all of the problems outstanding from September, as well as a few new ones, and the water situation was as good as we could hope for the time of year.
   Of course, the elephants did their best to keep us on our toes, especially at Shumba where at various times they pulled up pipes at the trough, on the way to the trough and in the picnic site. With help from Camp Hwange (many thanks), we were able to fix the problems fairly quickly but Shumba Pan is badly silted and a relatively small drop in the water level exposes a big area of mud which looks awful. There is, in fact, still plenty of water but it is constantly stirred up and full of mud. The elephants don’t like that so those of them that have learned to associate pipes with fresh water are always keen to break any pipework they can find in the hope that there will be clean water inside. It was a huge relief that a freak storm, reportedly 75mm in just 2 hours, on the very last day of October, almost refilled the pan and gave the elephants many alternative places to drink so the pressure was off – for now anyway.
    Masuma Dam is another place where we usually have to tidy up after the elephants. In October they only struck once, breaking a pipe where it crosses the river. We spent half a day repairing then carefully burying the pipe then we then went up to the picnic site, from where we were able to watch a quality control inspection on our work by a herd of elephants. As soon as we left, they headed over to the site. First a youngster tried to move the rocks we had packed into the trench but he couldn’t manage. Next an adolescent had a go but his heart wasn’t in it and he very soon gave up. Finally, an adult bull pushed him aside and studied the situation before trying to do some serious damage. I was sure he would undo all our work in a matter of moments but in fact the rocks held firm and eventually the herd wandered off to drink elsewhere. They really don’t have any excuse for breaking things at Masuma, where there is always good clean water in the trough, but maybe they just enjoy watching us run around.
    October is a great month for seeing wildlife but we are always aware of how hot, hungry and thirsty the animals are towards the end of the dry season and that takes away a lot of the pleasure in game viewing. At home, the various birds, squirrels and dassies around our house besiege us looking for handouts – even coming into the house to beg. Out in the Park, many of the larger mammals have given up bothering to search for unappetizing dry grass and leaves and just spend hours sheltering in whatever shade they can find…….
Not much shade from this Mopane tree, but better than nothing I suppose.
   Late in the dry season we often see Sable around Shumba…..
  On one of our visits to the Pan we saw a nice herd of Sable. They had waded into the muddy water around the edge of the Pan and were happily drinking when a lone elephant turned up. For no reason that we could see, he immediately chased the Sable, sprayed water at them as they ran away, then went on to chase a couple of Blacksmith lapwings. He probably felt tough but he looked ridiculous!
The annual WEZ 24-hour mammal census took place at the October full moon. Sue and I counted at Grassy Pan for the third year running, accompanied by our friend and Bhejane benefactor Patrick Jacquemin. It was very hot during the day and uncomfortably cold overnight (by my standards anyway) and we didn’t record all that many animals but even so all three of us enjoyed it and it was good to see animals drinking where, a few years ago before we drilled the boreholes and installed the pumps, there would have been no water.
   As if we didn’t have enough to do with game water work, October also kept us very busy with vehicles and transport. The one National Parks vehicle at Sinamatella broke down and was out of action for a week or so, leaving us to fill the transport gap, but worse, our Land Rovers gave us even more trouble than usual. Twice, we had to get one or other of them towed in to the workshop (once by a Toyota – the shame!) where we spent many oily hours getting them moving again. At month end one of the two game water vehicles was a (limited) runner, the other was in the workshop waiting for the gearbox to be taken out so we could get at the clutch, and the rhino monitors’ Land Rover was out on patrol so we were more or less grounded for a while. As I write this, a couple of days into November, and after prayers to Saint Jude, the patron saint of Land Rover mechanics, we are back in action – until the next time.
    A running theme in my diary for October is ‘no electricity’ - if I type the word ‘no’ in a whatsapp message, the predictive text on my phone immediately suggests ‘electricity’ as the next word. Many of the power cuts were apparently due to problems at the power station but there were others that were caused by faults on the line out to Sinamatella. We try to be patient but, inevitably, certain words spring to mind (and lips) after travelling 50km into Hwange to collect the ZESA technicians, 50km back to Camp to get a fault fixed, another 100km round trip to take the techs back to Hwange then getting home and having the power go down again 2 hours later.

Report By Nick Long
I usually start the newsletter with the total number of patrols and distances travelled but unfortunately I can’t do that this month thanks to Mr ZESA, towards the end of this month we have had continuous power cuts and I haven’t been able to download all the SMART devices.
We did a mixture of rhino monitoring and anti-poaching patrols this month but we did more anti-poaching patrols as ZPWMA have a serious shortage of manpower so we have had to fill some strategic points for them. One such patrol was along the game fence behind Chaba mine to check up on the Chinese mine there to make sure that they hadn’t encroached into the park. They have indeed started to mine in an area called number 4 but they haven’t crossed over into the park and we hope it stays that way. The air pollution from the mining operations is obvious in this picture, taken from inside the Park.
The new mine in question
During one of the Rhino monitoring patrols, we had a visit from Patrick Jacquemin from France who is a donor to the trust. We went to Bumbusi camp with him for a couple of days to try and find the elusive rhino that lives in that area but as usual we didn’t find it. It seems we are always behind this rhino by a day and we never see him and for that reason we call him ‘Ghost’. We tracked it on one of the days but the spoor we had found was from early the evening before and the tracking was very difficult as the bush had been burnt by the bush fire we had a couples of weeks before.  We eventually gave up mid-afternoon when we realised we had no chance of finding it and still had a long walk back to base.
Halfway through the month I was in Camp and I joined The Painted dog researcher Washington Moyo on his daily searches for his dogs as he travels through areas which the rhino frequent and there were chances that I might see some rhino spoor on the road. Unfortunately we did not find either of the 2 but we did see a pride of 7 lions at Masuma on one of the days. This pride is going to be a force to be reckoned with as it was 5 males all the same age and 2 females.
    While on our patrols we don’t only focus on our core objective of rhino monitoring we also collect data for quite a few other projects like the Bhejane Giraffe project, Painted dog conservation, Cheetah research and Lion research. I will be passing on the lion pictures to Lion research as one them had a collar and we presume it has come through from Main camp sector as we haven’t had any collared lions in this area for a long time.
2 of the males hiding from the heat in the shade of some Blue bushes
Six Zimbabwean nationals were found guilty of conspiracy to commit rhino poaching and possession of illegal firearms in the Makhanda court in South Africa. They were remanded in custody to await sentencing on 4th November. However, 5 of these felons broke out of the Makhanda jail - apparently by sawing through the bars with a hacksaw!! They are still at large!
Amos Gwema is with a woman from Figtree who found a pangolin while cutting grass and handed it in. She was rewarded with $50 worth of groceries (paid for by Tikki Hywood Trust) and a 3 Tee shirts and some conservation books. A very happy customer and a great message to send out to local communities1 On the right is Amos releasing two pangolins into the wild in Hwange National Park
"Mr Gwema another pangolin has been handed over at West Nicholson. What happened is the a named villager from Mberengwa heard his dogs barking around 0600 hours at his homestead.
He checked and saw the pangolin.
He then get hold of his brother in West Nicholson who advised him that he should handover the pangolin to Parks because dealing in Pangolin attracts 9 years.
We went to the homestead which 70 km away and collected it."

We have had an amazing period of support from all our friends, new and old, out there, and we really appreciate all this support. Our heartfelt thanks to (in no particular order):
Simon and Portia Rowlands for funding the refurbishment of Shumba attendants quarters and the Shumba Camp
Ryan and Alex Lane for donation of a thermal imager - a great asset for night time ops, and for their cash donation
The Mzuri Wildlife Foundation for their donation towards Manzinbomvu Borehole.
Patrick Jacquemin of Les Animaux for his generous donation
Mark Unwin and the Clarkson Family Trust,his generous donation.

AutoWorld Zimbabwe - Isuzu agents - for their support for the motorbike Enduro and thus for the Bhejane Trust
Hwange Conservation Society (UK) for their support and purchase of much needed equipment, through John Gillon and Anne Wilkinson
Ray Haakonse for his support
Adrian Clayton and NorthStar for their support
Frank Zindel of the Bright Light Foundation and a longtime supporter has made a very generous donation, which is very much appreciated.Thanks to Stuart Danks of Simply Africa for facilitation
Friends of Hwange and Dave Dell for sponsoring the borehole and new battery system at Masuma
Lion Recovery Fund and Rhino Recovery Fund  - a big thanks to Peter Lindsay and Markus Hofmeyr 
Morne and Michelle Muller of Surgical and Opthalmic Supplies for their pledge of support for this year, and purchase of a pump badly needed in the Chamabonda
Piet Weller, through Lionel and Annelise Finaughty for the offer to sponsor a wateroint in Kazuma in memory of Wessels Weller
Dr Mark Bristow and Hunters and Guides for the financing of our Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit. Mark came out and pledged assistance for a further three years!!!
SATIB and the Southern Africa Conservation Trust for their support on insurances - thanks to Brian Courtney
Ian Gloss of Victoria Falls Liquorama for his continued assistance
Pieter and Anthea Erasmus for their continued support, and for the donated equipment, and for supporting our membership to GRAA.
Michel Buenerd of Le Pic Vert, and Le Pal Nature Foundation, for funding their THIRTEENTH  borehole and pump in Sinamatella/Robins area!
Antoinette van Wijk of Holland for her sterling fund raising effort
Nicholas Duncan and the SAVE The African Rhino Foundation of Australia – a staunch supporter.
RAM Petroleum
Ricky Forster and Forster Irrigation of Bulawayo for donated pumps and continued assistance
John Karasellos of Hisspan Motors for his continuing assistance and support.
Inke Kreling-Boysen for her generous donation
Mike Karasellos for grading and mowing roads in the Chamabonda
Craig Gobey and Zambezi Sands Drilling for their assistance
Brendan Malloch-Brown - for his support.
Michelle Sindall for her donation ( which finally reached us a month late!!)
Sandy Elsworthy for his donation
Machaba Safaris for their hospitality and assistance
Patrick Williamson for helping on updating maps
Jeff Weingarten - donation 
Richard Scripps - donation
Colin Baker for the donation of tyres
Jeremy Nichol for his donation.
Ian and Sue Thomson for their support 
Charlie Bracher for his support
The Albert van den Berg Charitable Trust for their donation
Winston, Lol and Sue Goatly for their uniform donation
Lynne Beard for her uniform donation
Mark Bucknill for his donation
John Hall of the USA for his donation
Brink Bosman for his donation
Mike Howard for his donation of paint
Richard Jones for his contribution
Andrew Lane for sorting out QR codes
Andrew Holborn for his donation

Andrew Brown and Browns Engineering, and Dale and John Kiggen from Kiggen Builders for their donations and efforts in putting in the hide at Kazuma

Thanks to our Board of Trustees for all the hard work they are putting in - Ian Gloss, Dave Carson, Dan Jones, Stephen Long, Jerry Gotora and Trevor Lane
A big thanks to Ministry and Parks Staff :
 Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, the Hon. Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu
The Director General - Mr Fulton Mangwanya
The Chief Conservator - Mt Arthur Musakwa
The Regional Manager - Mr Samson Chibaya
Area Manager - Zambezi --Mr Marvellous Mbikbiyana
Area manager, Sinamatella - Mike Jonassi
Area Manager, - Robins and Kazuma - Mrs N Moyo
Kazuma Wildlife Officer - Aleck Makamure
 and all their guys on the ground for all their support and assistance.

To my wife Liz for her continual support in all my comings and goings, and for doing instagram!!

Apologies if we have inadvertently left anyone out!! Your help is much appreciated 


With the increased diesel costs, increased prices, increased requests for assistance from Parks, and the increased elephant and wildlife pressure at our waterpoints, the Trust is very financially stretched, and is appealing for support!
The Trust urgently needs your help, no donation is too small in this fight for our wildlife, please simply scan the QR Code or follow the PayNow link to donate. Or you can donate directly to our bank account
Any donation is much appreciated!

Bank details :

Bhejane Trust,
FBC Bank,
Sawanga Mall
Victoria Falls
Branch Code : 8512
Swift Code : FBCPZWHAX
Account No : 2245093780275

Bhejane Trust office address:
231 Sopers Crescent,
P.O.Box 210
Victoria Falls,

Note - we do not have postal codes in Zimbabwe (00)


Trevor Lane :         +263 777 057 024
Stephen Long : 

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Bhejane Trust · 231 Sopers Crescent · Victoria Falls · Zimbabwe

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