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The end of my first week guiding

The afternoon drive was punctuated by locating rhino, elephant and buffalo.

Cape Buffalo sighting

Cape Buffalo are the scariest of the big five in my opinion. They can be in large herds and of all the wildlife seem to always look angry.

The sighting we had was of a lone bull – referred to as a ‘dagga boy’ (or mud boy) because these old males have frequently been wallowing in the mud. They are usually starting to lose their hair (and what is left has a grey sheen), they have battered faces and huge, worn horns. They are also frequently belligerent as their teeth are worn and it is becoming difficult to feed, eating the softer plants found near water. They no longer have the defence of numbers enjoyed in the breeding herd and they are usually no longer able to mate. All this adds up to a large and potentially aggressive animal. Their grumpy demeanour and surprisingly quick turn of speed has always made me more wary of the dagga boys than any other animals in the bush.

The only buffalo picture I managed was a relatively poor image spoilt by my camera focussing on the grass in front – an occurrence we all should know well enough to avoid!

Rhino

The final day of the week saw both my morning and afternoon drives with opportunities to see the mother cheetah once again. We also saw a number of white rhino including one that came past our vehicle to drink at a waterhole and then was reluctant to move away from the water, preventing my departure. Although Rhino in the park are usually placid I was not willing to drive past this large male in a situation where doing so would trap the animal between us and the water giving him little option but to charge us if he took fright.

Cheetah sighting

Although we sighted the mother and cubs some distance from the road we were travelling, we were able to drive around them and relocate them on the other side, where they crossed the road a little ahead of my vehicle. They went to drink and then mother watched while the youngsters proceeded to chase each other up and down the rise on the other side of the waterway.

What a magical end to a fantastic first week working in the bush!

 

Auteur

Paul Griffin