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 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.
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!
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.
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!!