Africa, Family & Kids

Less Abundant Herds

My man Tobias Gumede has lost seven of his herd, once twenty five-strong, in the drought. He lives downstream of the Jozini dam on the Makathini floodplain on the right bank of the Pongola river. Not on the riverbank, but some kms away.

His son Mpilo is his herdsman and the poor fella is certainly putting on mileage as the cattle venture ever-further in search of grazing. Lately where they have found grazing there’s no surface water, so every few days they turn round and head off near home to drink. He gets home on average every third night for a meal and a bed, leaving early the next day to get back to the cattle wherever they are.

That’s when you really have to know your cattle as there are no fences and they can mingle with anyone else’s herd. Good thing Marguerite Poland recorded all the names of the coat patterns and horn shapes, and good thing Leigh Voigt painted them!

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Winter – Now his son is home without the cattle. They have not been seen for weeks. They have headed off on their own.

October – The rains have arrived at last. The cattle are home again. Down to just eleven in number.

Life, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Helping the Needy

Its really dry here in Westville. Our resident troop of vervet monkeys are feeling it badly as they glean the area for food. I decided to put food out on the boundary away from the house for them to ‘fortuitously find’, but since the jungle gym has gone off to the grand-niece I had to find somewhere to place the food.

I put it out in a long trail from the garden bench to the corner of the yard, spread out so the big powder-blues don’t grab it all. Try and give the females and teenagers a chance at it too.

As I turned round I realised I had been followed by the plump black labrador. She’d hoovered up all the choice bits! She’d left the fruit, but even the bread had been labradored. Ah well, I’ll have to think of another way.

I gave her the bowls to lick.

20150706_073238 Sambucca the Needy

Here’s the dismantled gym on the farm with its new owner:

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