For our family get together of 2017 we all went to Shindzela for safari. Shindzela is an authentic tented bush camp, set within the Timbavati Private Game Reserve and is part of the greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. Our experienced guide for our stay was my brother who took us on both our games drives each day. Our game drives were conducted in the early mornings and late afternoons. With our afternoons spent relaxing in camp with a good book.
On one of our morning drives were were fortunate enough to find a huge herd of African or Cape buffalo at one of the watering holes. Being large animals they can easily overheat, so they feed mostly during the cool night, and rest during the heat of the day. We got really close to these huge animals and I was just glad that they were all very calm as I have heard stories about how dangerous they can be. Buffalo in herds are placid, although some of the old bulls in the herds tend to be easily angered and prone to charge when disturbed.
The Buffalo is one of the so called Big 5 animals, an old hunter’s term given to the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa. In the buffalo’s case it is mainly due to their dangerous and cunning nature. They do not have very good eyesight but apparently their hearing and smell is exceptional.
There are many hunting tales that mention wounded buffaloes setting ambushes for hunters that follow them, by circling back on their own tracks, to stand and wait for the hunters that are tracking them. A number of hunters were injured or killed by buffaloes through the years while hunting them. So I was not planning on testing this.
The birds you see sitting on the hide of a Cape buffalo are called oxpeckers. They have a symbiotic relationship with the Cape buffalo and remove ticks/insects embedded in their skin. It was quite difficult to get a good shot of one as they kept flitting about, searching for ticks.
The Average lifespan of the African buffalo is about 20 years in the wild.Buffalo cows have their first calves at age 4 or 5 and they become completely reliant on their mothers, right up until a year old. This herd had no young calves and we were informed that it was because of the drought. In the last couple of years the area had been experiencing a drought so the buffalo just had not been having any calves as there is already a food shortage.
This is another disadvantage of climate change and how it is affecting nature negatively.