A Belligerence of Buffalo


Nebulas of dust and grit swirl softly in the breeze – marking a stark contrast to the commotion caused by several tonnes of animal pawing the ground, kicking up galactic clouds in a general fit of the obstreperous.

October heat has arrived early, and with it (increased) dry conditions and fodder even more scarce for the grazers and browsers. From the deep shade of the canvas canopy of Zambezi deck, ceiling fans idly billowing cooling misted water, we watch the impact of this difficult climate over an obligatory cup of afternoon tea.

Today its buffalo versus elephant: an unfamiliar elephant bull, no doubt just passing through camp, has spent a quiet few hours shaking the Winterthorn of their fruit, gently scooping the gnarled and twisted pods – orange, red, purple and brown, into the every grinding millstone jaw. Now, though, the biggest and most ill-tempered of the resident dagga boy buffaloes has taken objection to the intruder… (I still maintain that one of the reasons for the infamous bovine bullying may stem from the continual migraine of carrying their massive horns – let’s face it, if you had 10 kilos of densely packed keratin sitting squarely above your eyebrow, you’d probably be grumpy too). That being said, this particular buff (Boggis, as I affectionately call him) has taken umbrage at the audacity of the interloper, waiting for the tree to be shaken before charging the hapless elephant, driving him off to the shelter of a nearby shrub. There are several attempts to reclaim grazing rights, but Boggis is having none of it, pawing the ground and lowering his horns. Eventually, the elephant gives up and ambles off in search of greener pastures and less belligerent guardians.

Peace resumes and the action of the past half hour settles with the dust.

Wriords and Image by: Tara Vivian-Neal

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