Yesterday morning after breakfast we set out on a bush walk with a group of German guests. Normally every walk is preceded by a thorough safety briefing, explaining in detail what should and shouldn’t be done in case of an emergency or encounter with dangerous animals. The guides are normally armed, as is legislation in a dangerous game area, and it is really just a safety precaution if a dangerous situation arises and enables us to adequately protect ourselves and our guests.
We left the lodge after the briefing and some distance into our walk we entered a small clearing on the eastern sector of the reserve when suddenly I heard a snort and saw a big Buffalo bull erupting from the bush around 25 metres away from us. I immediately gave the command “stop” to my guests and shouldered the rifle as solitary buffalo bulls are renowned for their unpredictability and somewhat aggressive behavior towards humans on foot. Strangely enough they understand that when we are in a vehicle we poses no immediate threat, but on foot they are extremely aggressive and alert to our presence and would not hesitate to defend themselves.
The buffalo stared at us for what seemed an eternity then tossed its head, snorted and trotted of in the opposite direction…. what a relief, and I was quite happy to see the back end of that bovine disappearing away from us.
This little incident certainly got our attention, and luckily the rest of our walk passed without any other “hairy” situations and me and my guests thoroughly enjoyed what nature offered. Of course we had plenty to talk about when we eventually arrived back at the lodge.
The aim of a bush walk is never to go out and see how close we can get to animals, or how much reaction we can get from them, and we as guides understand that we are in their domain, and we need to take the back seat to stay safe and prevent any kind of unwanted reaction from dangerous animals to ensure ourselves and our guests safety.
Sebastiaan Jansen Van Vuuren
Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge