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Wild Life At Hornbill Lodge


All of Nature is precious; please help us to preserve it for future generations. No plants or other natural material to be removed from the property please.  This Lodge is a part of a very delicate biosphere.

​Hornbill Lodge is situated on approximately 10 hectares of probably the most beautiful property in Magaliesburg. There is a path cut all along the riverbanks and you are most welcome to explore and enjoy a walk along the riverbanks. Adjacent to our property next to our entrance is the Mountain of Faith. You are most welcome to extend your walk onto a beautiful path cut all round and over the mountain. For the more adventurous we can arrange a walk onto the mountains and takes you into “wild” territory.

Hornbill Lodge is a nature Reserve and you will encounter some wild animals like baboons, snakes, mongoose, otters and of course a variety of incredible birds, including the Hornbill. All walks are at your own risk and the resort cannot be held liable for any events or mishaps.

Please stay away from the baboons, which are of course the big Magaliesburg Adoonse (Chacma baboon). They usually cross our property from 6H00 to 8H00 in the mornings and 15H00 to 17H00 in the evenings. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THEM. It is really a pleasure to watch them in their natural habitat.


The word “chacma” is derived from the Hottentot (Khoikhoi) name for baboon, viz choachamma or choa kamma.

Chacma baboons (P. ursinus) are the largest members of the monkey family and are a highly social species that live in groups of four to 200 individuals. Within a troop, adult males form a dominance hierarchy that is established and maintained by fighting and aggression.


Chacma baboons are largely omnivorous and are common in savannah woodland, steppes and sub-desert, montane regions (e.g. Drakensberg Mountains), Cape Fynbos and Succulent Karoo areas of southern Africa. Although the species is not threatened, increasing overlap between their natural range and human settlements has resulted in human-wildlife conflict.


Chacma baboons are large, hairy, terrestrial monkeys that have a dog-like head, with a prominent muzzle and a heavy brow above beady, close-set eyes. Males have long (about 5 cm), razor-sharp canine teeth and a dark mane on the neck and shoulders.

Friends and foes

Chacma baboons’ predators include the central African rock pythons (Python sebae), leopards (Panthera pardus), lions (Panthera leo), spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), domestic/ feral dogs (Canis familiaris), black-backed or silver-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas), Verreaux’ eagles (Aquila verreauxii), tawny eagles (Aquila rapax) and humans.


Chacma baboons living near agricultural land often raid farms, which can result in human-wildlife conflict and retaliation by farmers (e.g. shooting, trapping and poisoning). Chacma baboons that live near human settlements are always in danger of being run over by traffic and they may also be hunted for use in traditional medicine.

Chacma baboons spend their nights in trees, high ridges, on cliffs or in caves to avoid predation. Chacma baboons are very vigilant and are usually on guard, especially when moving through cover that could conceal a predator. If danger is detected, a warning bark is issued to alert the troop and members seek refuge in trees and rocky outcrops. Male Chacma baboons may gang up on a predator and even kill it using their long, sharp canine teeth.

Chacma baboons play a role in aerating the soils and spreading seeds. They are a source of food for many animals and thus play an integral part in the local food web.

Other Wildlife Include:


  • Baboons and monkeys: large troops cross the property in the early morning to cross the river to feed on the mountainside.

  • Jackals

  • Wild cats

  • Snakes (cobras, mambas, adders) mostly found on the mountain. (Ask at reception for snake book to identify snakes on premises. N.B. most snakes are afraid of Humans, but don’t touch.)

  • Monitor lizards: We have spotted two Water Monitors, one at the parking area of the lodge and one at the rock pool.

  • Guinea Fowl

  • Owls: two large Barn Owls can be spotted at night near the front gate.

  • Birds: About 170 species of birds have been sited in this area.  The Grey Hornbill breeds in the riverine forest behind the Lodge and the young are often seen hopping around the property and pecking at their reflections in the windows!

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