We were busy tracking some lions when my tracker Friday whispered “nyari”. I immediately checked the direction of the wind with a blue-seed grass inflorescence. We were facing directly south and the wind was blowing from the south-east at a 10 o’clock position.
We stopped at about 80 meters from the herd. The older bulls on the fringes were staring at us intently with their noses in the air, straining to pick up our scent. They were alert, but unsure as to the nature of what was approaching them. We began our journey around the herd, keeping a distance of 100meters between us and them. As we went around the old bulls followed our progress. By the time we reached the southern end of the herd, the closest bull had picked up our scent,and snorted loudly. He threw his massive head to the right, commencing the anticipated stampede away from us. Within seconds the whole herd followed, thundering into the distance as a dust cloud emerged over them. I stopped and my tracker Friday made a joke “and I told you they would run!”

Buffalos are the animal that I am the most afraid of, especially the old buffalo bulls. They have an extremely acute sense of smell and I have a great deal of respect for them for that.

Story by Richard Venter, River lodge ranger

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