Cape buffalo day!…Difficult day for wildlife in Kruger…

No expression on this cape buffalo’s face can more clearly illustrate his disdain over the hot weather and lack of water nearby.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

I took this photo of Tom at the Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie on the hottest day we’ve experienced since we arrived in South Africa last February. It was 42C (108F). Moments later, we moved to a table in the shade so Tom wouldn’t get sunburned.

Actually, it made sense to be in Kruger on the hottest day of the year. It allowed us to see how the wildlife stays as cool as possible under such stressful conditions.

Three cape buffalos crossing the road in Kruger.
In one single outing, we saw so much wildlife. We were stunned. For us, it isn’t always about spotting the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo. We’ve accomplished this on several occasions during our extended periods in Africa.
Thirsty, hot, and exhausted cape buffalo by the almost completely dry Verhami Dam.

We tend to focus on the wildlife we encounter along the way, never specifically searching for any particular species. Sure it’s exciting to see “cats” and rhinos and appreciate every sighting.  

Cape buffalo stay close to any water they can find.

But, we also get wrapped up in many other species, especially when there’s a story to tell, such as in yesterday’s thrilling newborn elephant sighting, as shown in this post.

A lonely-looking cape buffalo.  

In the case of today’s cape buffalos, we didn’t glean a specific story over our many sightings. Still, we did extract a common theme on the hot-weather day…cape buffalos, along with many other wildlife species, need proximity to water to find any degree of comfort during the hottest days of the season, as described here at this website:

“The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss.” Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies and the largest one found in Southern and East Africa. S. c. nanus (African forest buffalo) is the smallest subspecies, common in Central and West Africa forest areas, while S. c. braceros are in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. According to some estimates, they are widely regarded as hazardous animals, as according to some estimates, the gore and kill over 200 people every year.

Only arid bush for sustenance.

The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Owing to its unpredictable nature, which makes it highly dangerous to humans, the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles and can defend themselves. Being a member of the big five games, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.”

When male cape buffalo don’t “win” the right to mate, they are ostracized from the herd and left to wander in combination with other males in a similar situation.  Our last guide in Kenya, Anderson, called them “retired generals.”

One of the “big five” African game, it is known as “the Black Death” or “widowmaker” and is widely regarded as a hazardous animal. According to some estimates, it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Buffaloes are sometimes reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is also made of hippos and crocodiles. These numbers may be somewhat overestimated. For example, in Mozambique, attacks, especially fatal ones, were much less frequent on humans than those by hippopotamuses and Nile crocodiles. In Uganda, on the other hand, large herbivores were found to attack more people on average than lions or leopards and have a higher rate of inflicting fatalities during attacks than the predators (the buffalo, in particular, killing humans in 49.5% of attacks on them). However, hippos and even elephants may still kill more people per annum here than buffaloes. Buffaloes are notorious among big-game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.”

These cape buffalos hung out with hippos at the Sunset Dam, a short distance from Lower Sabie.

A few months ago, we posted our video of two cape buffalos whose horns had become entangled, which ultimately was posted on Kruger’s website per their request. Click here to see our video and here to see it again on Kruger’s own site.

Having access to water surely made life easier for these cape buffalos on a sweltering day.

We’re often able to spot cape buffalos on the Crocodile River, as shown below in one of today’s photos taken from the fence at Marloth Park overlooking Kruger.  We took this photo only two days ago. With all the zebras in the photo with the buffalos, we were pleased with the sighting.

Cape buffalo and zebras on the Crocodile River.

Today, the holidaymakers return for the upcoming two-week school holiday officially beginning on Monday. We can already tell the influence of the rush of visitors is impacting the peace and harmony of Marloth Park with many vehicles on the roads and less wildlife visiting us.  

An unbearably hot day in the bush.

Many animals head to the parklands with all the commotion, where they’ll stay until quiet is returned to the bush. This morning we had quite a few visitors, including 15 kudu, a half dozen warthogs, and our usual bushbucks, whom we expect will continue to visit several times a day, even during the busy time.

A cape buffalo hanging out with a yellow-billed stork.

The construction next door has ended, which has provided us with the quiet we so much treasure. We’ll see how these next few weeks pan out with all the tourists here. We’ll continue our daily drives to the Crocodile River, where once the wildlife is in Kruger National Park, they pay no attention to what’s transpiring in this little piece of paradise in Marloth Park.

Water and vegetation surely made this cape buffalo content.

May your day bring you peace and comfort.

Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2017:

A beautiful scene in the yard at Iglesia de Catholica Zarcero in Costa Rica. For more photos of the church, please click here.

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