Home to 35 species of mammals, the Western Cape is a popular habitat for exotic wildlife. From the Cape mountain zebra to the bat-eared-fox, guests at Bushmans Kloof have the opportunity to discover some of the region’s rarest residents. Check out our top tips for getting up close to the reserve’s amazing wildlife on your next trip.
Cape mountain zebra
As its name suggests, the Cape mountain zebra is the only variety of zebra that prefers a mountainous habitat over grasslands or open plains. Visitors are more likely to see them in small social family groups, rather than large herds, and they also tend to be smaller than other zebra. In partnership with the Treadright Foundation, the reserve is responsible for the protection of one of the world’s largest herds of Cape mountain zebra, and continues to help prevent the extinction of the species. For the best chance of a sighting, scan the hillsides throughout the heat of the day as they will most likely try to avoid the midday sun. As with all zebras, they have to drink a fair amount of water on a daily basis, so they can often be found near water sources in the late afternoon or early evening.
Bat-eared foxes eat mainly insects such as termites, but supplement their diet with reptiles, rodents and wild fruits. They’re typically found in open country such as short scrub and grassveld. Visit these areas during the low-light hours of the day or at night for the best chance of locating them whilst foraging. According to Jannie van Wyk, Field Guide at Bushmans Kloof, a great way to increase your chances of spotting them, is by locating the den or finding evidence, such as track, in the daytime, and then going out in the evening to stake out these areas.
The Chacma baboon is a common visitor around the fringes of the lodge itself, due to its location along the Boontjies River. Baboons will frequently visit riverine areas or small streams in more arid areas to forage on the aquatic vegetation and have a drink of water before returning to their preferred habitat of cliffs or tall trees to spend the night. Chacma baboons are quite gregarious and live in troops of 15, and sometimes even 100 or more. They are quite vocal and have a characteristic “bark” which might give away their location; more often than not, you will hear them before you see them.
Bushmans Kloof has a number of nocturnal animals; caracal, Cape mountain leopard, aardvark and aardwolf, to name but a few. These animals are elusive by their very nature, most being rather small and shy, often keeping a low profile as many are hunters. Sometimes called the African lynx, caracals are recognisable thanks to their pointy, tufted ears and can live in a variety of habitats, from woodlands and savannas to dry, sandy regions. At Bushman’s Kloof, you’re most likely to see them stalking the plains of the reserve. The Cape mountain leopard is the most elusive Western Cape resident, and Bushmans Kloof works in partnership with the Cape Leopard Trust to protect this rare predator. The project focuses on collars and tracking devices that allow conservationists to study leopard behaviour and movement in the Cederberg region. Easier to track down, the nature reserve is also a chosen habitat for both aardvark and aardwolf.
After a day out game spotting, relax and unwind with a treatment at Bushmans Kloof’s award winning spa.