In conjunction with the prehistoric rhino, the Cape buffalo and African elephant are the big five’s colossal herbivores. Found in abundance in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, our buffalo and elephant sightings make up the bulk of our big game sightings on our traverse. Both buffalo and elephant have a penchant for pure water and are often found congregated around waterholes indulging their favourite past time – wallowing, swimming and replenishing their thirst.
The major waterholes on the Walkers Bush Villa traverse seem to be a favourite spot for buffalo. A recent sighting included a huge breeding herd of bovids casually lapping up water, and private guide Brett managed to get up close with the herd. Buffalo are bulk grazers and therefore need to drink on a daily basis. Together with the necessary water intake due to ingestion of rough vegetation, buffalo will also wallow in shallow waters to cool down their systems.
In order for the herds to travel from one area in an open plain towards a waterhole they need one of the herd members to lead them in the right direction. This appointed leader is called the pathfinder and isn’t necessarily the older more dominant one within the herd. While out on drive your private guide might follow the pathfinder while the buffalo are the move – it’s bound to end up somewhere exciting.
Brett managed to locate the herds and track them to the waterhole where many moments were spent observing the young bulls coating themselves with mud and the youngsters tentatively testing the water’s edge.
Elephants are a constant source of entertainment in the Timbavati and the huge herds are consistently spotted lumbering their way through the reserve in search of edible greens and unspoilt sources of water. They provide guests at Walkers with scenes of grey jumbos using their trunks as snorkels, calves stumbling at waterholes and young bulls constantly sparring with one another in an attempt for dominance. This particular morning game drive in the Timbavati delivered a fair share of pachyderm sightings and Brett managed to angle the vehicle so that guests could get up close and personal with elephants !