Safari 2018 #35 Missing Buffalo

by david on September 5, 2019


What we were expecting to find. What we were expecting to find.


Too hot to sleep after lunch.  I stripped down, best I could, and wet the large cooling bandana I had brought along, which resembles a chamois cloth.   It soaks up quite a lot of water and as it evaporates, it provides cooling to whatever it is draped across. In this case, yours truly.  Sitting in the shade with the chamois across my neck and shoulders, I was able to tolerate the heat. I used the time to read, or catch up on journal entries.  With rest time over, it was time to get back to hunting. Johann and I would pair up this afternoon to look for waterbuck and or buffalo, while Byron and Peter would look for elephant.  Maybe the change would bring us luck. Fat chance. The waterbuck hunting was worse than it had been the previous two afternoons. All but one of the previously spotted waterbuck had moved on.  The only one we could still see had moved across the river and was more than safe on the Botswana side. Cape buffalo it would be.

First stop was at the camp of the anti-poaching rangers.  These guys are friendly enough and always willing to help out with a quick scouting report.  The rangers told us about two old dugga boys they had spotted yesterday. Spending a great deal of time in an area, they know it forwards, backwards and have a darn good idea if any new game has moved into the area and where it might be.  I know what you are thinking: Why are anti-poaching rangers helping out hunters? Anti-poaching does not mean anti-hunting. Since one of their co-workers, George, the concession game scout, was with us as required by the conservancy rules, they knew we were playing by the rules and there was no reason not to help us out.  After exchanging some pleasantries, the guys told us they had not seen the buff move out, but they had not seen them today either. That was good enough for us, and we headed towards the strip of cover the rangers told us about. The area the buff had entered was a patch of trees and low scrub. A perfect location for them to stay out of the heat and relax the day away.  We started along the outside edge and slowly worked our way down, looking for the buffalo. If they were standing in a relatively open spot, they would be easy to see. If they were in the shadows or laying down, we might not see them until it was too late. Buff normally run the other way unless wounded or mad about something else. Startled? There was no telling how they would react.  They could run away from us or over the top of us. Personally, I hoped for no running from the buffalo or, for that matter, from us. It took the better part of an hour to cover the small roughly two-acre patch of cover but, to no avail, the buff were not ther

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