Most of the campsites that we stay at have one or two local residents that come and welcome us as soon as we arrive. We like to think that they are just being hospitable, but we secretly know that they have been lured in by all our predecessors and they’re really hoping that we will keep up the tradition of feeding them scraps. They vary from birds to jackals and monkeys, but when we visited Cape Vidal we had a marvelously different array of hungry souls that came in search of food. With the Park’s strict “No Feeding” policy we were hard-pressed not to give in to the pressure as they scrounged around our vehicles.
During the day we had this sweet little Red-capped Robin Chat (and his wife) getting underfoot. With their beautiful bright feathers they were welcome guests (or perhaps WE were actually their guests) and we were glad to have them around. Their happy chirping always heralded their arrival and they weren’t scared when we moved around the campsite doing our daily chores.
Night-time brought other visitors. On our first night around the campfire we were visited by a Large Spotted Genet. As we sank a few beers and/or Gluwein we debated whether our Genet was a large Spotted Genet or a Large Spotted Genet – there is a difference you know. As you can see, the conversations are very deep and intense when you’re in the bush and staring into the dancing flames of a campfire.
Our second night brought in a rather large visitor in the form of a wild Bushpig. When he came bumbling into our campsite humans and chairs scattered and we dived for our cameras. It’s always a good policy to keep a camera close on hand when you’re in the bush – you never know what is about to come into your viewfinder! The Bushpig was a first for us, as we’d never seen a wild one so close by before. He snuffled around in the sand hoping for some leftovers and then disappeared back into the bushes without so much as wishing us good night. He came back a couple of times during our stay, but this was the best photo that we got of him.
We were woken up every morning by the chattering of dozens of Striped Mongooses that swept through our campsite like little vacuum cleaners. They weren’t content just to scour the dusty ground, but even managed to climb into the sealed refuse bin to feast on peels and bones that had been thrown away. Of course they were always in competition with the monkeys that I wrote about in my last blog.
Competition for food is tough in the bush and every animal is on the lookout for easy pickings. Next up was a sweet little Tree Squirrel that also wanted a piece of the action. His magnificent tail looked like a golden bottle brush in the early morning sun. He was rather shy and fled if we so much as moved a finger.
Last but not least was a pair of Bushbuck. They looked so vulnerable on their delicate long legs, but they could take off very quickly when the need arose.
Imagine having all these different creatures in one campsite. We didn’t even have to take a game drive to enjoy them either. What an amazing place to park off for a few days to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. As an added bonus, the game drives during the day also offered up opportunities to enjoy lots of animals and birds. Definitely worth a visit and a revisit sometime soon.