There were 80 of them

29th May 2014

Thursday 22nd May 2014

The final walk for this Trail, as per the last one we saved Houtini Gorge for the end. This isn’t just because it’s a very special walk but because it’s close to camp. Invariably people have long journeys ahead of them so we don’t want to waste time driving the length of the concession before we even start the walk.

As has happened quite a lot on the last couple of trails we haven’t been long into the walk before we get an encounter. This time it was a herd of buffalos. First there were a couple that we could see at the far end of the pan, then slowly but surely more appeared from around the corner from behind the Crotons.

We made our way to a good vantage point where there were some decent rocks. These weren’t for protection, more so that we could have a comfortable seat. We then waited for all the buffalo to show themselves. They did and they kept on coming, they were heading around the pan towards us. I was disappointed when Rhodes said we should fall back, up we went, further up the incline until we found some more rocks to sit on.

He was right, the buffalo walked passed where we were originally sat by no more than ten metres – we were now a safer 30m. In all there were 80 of them and we now had an excellent vantage point.

They did catch our scent but couldn’t pick us out on the ridge. Rhodes was constantly commanding, be as quiet and as still as possible. There was one tense moment when a big bull was staring in our direction. The last thing we wanted was for the herd to take fright and stampede. This wouldn’t be a threat to us but it would have horribly changed their behaviour for the morning.

He eventually gave up trying to locate the source of the fowl human smell and moved on. This gave us the chance to enjoy watching the buffalo behave naturally, this included an old bull having a good roll in a mud wallow at our end of the pan.

After walking through the gorge we made our way up to the lookout. As we walked up a honey guide was calling us. It wasn’t his usual territorial “Victor, Victor, Victor” call but more of a continuous bleat. It wanted us to follow him to the honey. One of these days we should do that. I’m not sure how far it would be though and I’m not too keen on cracking open a beehive either.

I’m on trails again tomorrow, this meant I could have had a relaxing stay at the Pafuri camp. But I was keen to get back to EcoTraining, it was the last night for the current Trails Guide group which meant it was Fines night.

I was also keen to get a run in, Pafuri Trails food is going to be my downfall. Unfortuntaly I didn’t manage it, instead it was a cuppa over lunch catching up with everyone. Then it was slashing around the tents and a game of cricket, South Africa against Britain and Ireland (Jomi was playing today). We won.

Jomi and I hosted Fines night, good fun but surprising how many people were fined for dropping their rifle. Including someone of the highest rank.