The Cape Buffalo...Interesting river sightings of this mystical beasts...we're off to Kruger this morning...

 Check out our video of a large obstinacy of cape buffalo we spotted on the Crocodile River.

"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This is the youngest giraffe in Marloth Park from what we've seen recently.  Check out those knobby knees that will eventually result in some very long legs.
We're rushing to get today's post uploaded.  Today is a warm sunny day and we're heading to Kruger as soon as we complete the post.  We have great leftovers for dinner and won't need to be concerned as to when we return.  

A few days ago we spotted this good size herd of buffalos.
A leisurely drive in the park without time constraints makes the experience all the more exciting.  When we spot a scene that piques our interest we can wait as long as we'd like for the perfect opportunity for good photos.

It was a dark and cloudy day, cool for the buffalos as they gathered by the Crocodile River.
Last night, we had the fewest numbers of visitors than we'd had in a long time.  We're attributing it to being Sunday with many holidaymakers in the park based on the numbers of cars we'd seen on the roads over the weekend.

It usually takes a day or two for the wildlife to begin visiting us after the crowds dissipate.  Generally, we see some action on Tuesday or Wednesday. With rain predicted for Wednesday, we decided going to Kruger today was our safest bet.

There were over 100 buffalos on the river at this sighting.
Today, we're sharing several cape buffalo photos we've taken in the past several days.  They are such interesting and unusual animals, often thought to be slow and lazy.  But this is hardly the case as indicated in the following from Kruger's own site here:

"A large and powerful bovine, the African Buffalo reaches shoulder heights of up to 1.5 m and a mass of 750 kg. Both sexes have horns, those of the bulls are characterized by a heavy boss and upward curved horns.

Cape buffalo, also known as African buffalo are often seen in herds.  
Mating occurs between March and May. The gestation period is 330 days. Single calves are born between January and April, with a distinct peak in February. African Buffalo are strongly gregarious. Stable herds of up to several hundred are often observed, but which fragment into smaller herds in times of drought.

Mainly preyed upon by lions. When a herd member is attacked, others will rush to its defense. Collectively a number of buffalo are more than capable to stave off an attack by an entire pride of lions. A wounded buffalo bull is regarded as most dangerous by hunters and is one of the reasons why this animal is included in the so-called 'big five'. This trait is the origin of many hunting adventures, myths, and legends.


They are often accompanied by cattle egret and oxpeckers.
It is said that Buffalo look at you as if you owe them money, and this is an appropriate description if you should ever come across them on foot in the bush.
Buffalo are inherent carriers of viruses fatal to domestic stock, and for this reason, disease-free Buffalo are being specifically bred in areas such as the Eastern Cape in South Africa and fetch very high prices."

Here are "10 Wacky Facts about the Cape Buffalo" from this site:

  • Buffalo are actually fantastic swimmers. They will swim through deep waters to find better grazing areas.
  • We refer to them as the mafia, not only because of their strong character but because they never forgive and almost always seek revenge. They have been recorded seeking revenge on someone years after being threatened by them.
  • They are one of the most dangerous of the big five because they simply ambush their prey without giving any type of warning signal.
    This cape buffalo seems to have a few resident oxpeckers who keep the ticks and other insects under control.
  • 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.
  • The most experienced cows are known as pathfinders. They are responsible for taking the herd to the most beneficial area for grazing and water.
  • If you see a lone buffalo bull, it is probably a “dagga boy”. Dagga boys are older bulls who have past their prime and have separated from their herd. They generally spend their days wallowing in mud either alone or with other dagga boys.
    On occasion, we'll see a buffalo alone usually close to the river.
  • 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.
  • If a buffalo herd comes under threat from a predator they form a circle around their young. All of the adults face outwards in an effort to hide the vulnerable. The adults actually lower their heads and form a protective barrier with their horns.
  • The cape buffalo is a grazer and prefers tall grasses to short shrubs. They are nature’s lawnmowers and thin out the dense the grasses, exposing more foliage.
  • The collective noun for buffalo is “herd”, but other terms include “gang” and “obstinacy”. 
  • Another symbiotic relationship, the buffalo and cattle egret who hover around buffalos for their scraps.
    So there it is folks, lots of facts on the cape buffalo which, if safari luck is on our side, we'll see more of today during our foray into Kruger National Park.

    Hopefully, tomorrow, we'll have some exciting new photos to share on whatever "safari luck" comes our way today. 

    May your day bring you wonderful surprises!
    _____________________________________


    Photo from one year ago today, November 5, 2017:
    Another visit from one of our little furry friends, the Variegated Squirrel, commonly found in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

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