Trying to touch a small Tame Springbok.

The chalet we slept in overlooked a dam and the open grasslands of the Freestate
The chalet we slept in overlooked a dam and the open grasslands of the Freestate

My friend and her husband took me to Blaauwboschbank Private Nature Reserve, their family farm for the weekend. This small Nature reserve is in the Freestate, South-Africa and only 126 hectares big but a lovely place.
The farm is what they call typical freestate “vlakte” with open grass fields where all the animals graze.

The open grass fields of the reserve where the animals graze
The open grass fields of the reserve where the animals graze

The most surprising part of the weekend was finding out that they have a small tame springbok! A springbok (Afrikaans and Dutch: spring = jump; bok = antelope) is a medium-sized brown and white antelope of southwestern Africa. It is extremely fast and can reach speeds of 100 km/h and can leap 4 m into the air and jump a horizontal distance of up to 15 m.

The little Springbok, named "bokkie" hiding in the grass
The little Springbok, named “bokkie” hiding in the grass

My friends trying to get the little antelope to come closer!!
My friends trying to get the little antelope to come closer!!

They found the little antelope next to the road a short while after it was born. They then took him in and hand reared him. It is still a wild animal and they brought it back to the reserve as soon as it could feed itself and it is now again part of the herd. Although it now lives with the herd it still comes when it is called. Well it took him a while to leave the herd and actually come to us and we had to bait him with some food to convince him its safe. We threw down some dried maize on an open piece of grassland for him and hoped it looked enticing. His name is “bokkie” which is like calling him small antelope. It was quite funny having everyone call “bokkie” in the hope that he would leave the herd. I did not expect the little antelope to actually come very close to us and was quite shocked at how close it actually got, it got within and arms length of me!

"Bokkie" was so close...if only my arms were longer I might have been able to touch him!!
“Bokkie” was so close…if only my arms were longer I might have been able to touch him!!
Just look at how close this little half wild, half tame antelope gets to people!!
Just look at how close this little half wild, half tame antelope gets to people!!

He is so cute you just want to hug him!!!
He is so cute you just want to hug him!!!

It is still a wild animal so we couldn’t make any sudden moves, but if you stood still long enough it would feel safe and actually move closer. He came quite close to us but would not let us touch him, believe me I tried! Unfortunately all my efforts to touch the poor little thing only made him try and move away from us. I think I ended up scaring him with all my stalking as he soon ran back to the herd.

Trying to sneak up to the antelope to touch him!!
Trying to sneak up to the antelope to touch him!! Maybe leopard crawling would have worked better!

I still want to know if he feels as soft as he looks!!
I still want to know if he feels as soft as he looks!!

It was amazing to be this close to a wild animal, to see it up close. I don’t think I have ever been so close to an antelope that I could actually smell him! It was such a great feeling to be out there in the middle of no where surrounded by grasslands and animals, not a car or building in sight. This is what I think of when I think of South-Africa!!

Everyone has given up trying to touch the poor little thing...think we were scaring it a little
Everyone has given up trying to touch the poor little thing…think we were scaring it a little
I give up....think I chased the antelope away with my stalking
I give up….think I chased the antelope away with my inadequate  stalking
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5 comments

    • It was a lovely encounter!! I don’t think you get many chances to get this close to a wild animal,and that in Africa. So close you can almost touch it!! I feel very privileged to have had this chance! I feel very lucky to have been this close to a live specimen of South-Africa’s national emblem, the springbok.

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  1. A universal truth seems to be that we humans desperately want to touch animals, wild or otherwise. Maybe Bokkie will cooperate on your next visit.
    Thanks for stopping by y Post.

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